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How to do Instagram Marketing: Step-by-Step Guide (Must-Read)

Ultimate Instagram marketing guide

What started off as a platform where people would share and circulate photo (and later, video) content, is now a multifaceted visual content platform. Visual content tops all forms of content. So, if you aren’t already leveraging Instagram for your brand, you need to start right now. 

Whether you want to plunge into organic content or boost your brand with paid Ads and sponsored content, Instagram has a lot to offer. 

This platform allows you to experiment with multiple content formats. Brands can create short videos with Instagram Reels wherein they can follow trends or come up with trends. The platform also helps you post lengthy videos with its IGTV feature. With Instagram Stories, brands can post content that has a short shelf life of 24 hours. 

While there is tremendous scope for you to build a brand presence on the platform, you need to follow a fool-proof strategy to stay on top of your Instagram game. From content ideation to creation to tracking your performance, a lot goes into building an effective Instagram marketing strategy for your brand. 

To help you build a smart Instagram marketing strategy, we have created an expert guide on Instagram marketing. To get started with your Instagram marketing campaign, we will first help you understand the benefits of using Instagram for brand marketing. 

Benefits of Using Instagram for Brand Marketing 

Netflix follows a very smart Instagram marketing strategy for their brand. Interactive posts and exciting IGTV videos featuring the audience’s favourite characters are some of the things Netflix is doing to market itself. The brand has a strong follower base of more than 16 million people. 

Netflix is only one of the many examples of brands that are leveraging Instagram to market themselves. 

Here’s how Instagram can help you market your brand on the platform- 

1. Gain access to a huge audience base

Instagram boasts of a huge user base of 1 billion monthly active users. Access to such a huge audience base will make it easier for you to reach out to different audience segments along the sales funnel. 

The larger the audience the better the scope to segment, target and generate leads for your campaigns. Instagram, in this sense, lets you make the most of your brand by offering you access to a huge target audience. 

 2. Leverage visual storytelling with multiple content formats 

With Instagram, you can get access to diverse content formats. From Instagram Stories, posts, live videos, Reels, and Ads to IGTV, there is a lot of scope for marketing your brand on the platform. These visual content formats can help you put out your brand message effectively.

Unlike textual and other content formats, visual content grabs and keeps the attention of your audience intact. In fact, when it comes to visual content, there is a lot you can do to send out your marketing message and engage your audience in the process. 

3. Exceptional targeting with Instagram Ads

Instagram allows you to target audiences effectively with Ads. You have the option of targeting audiences by location, demographics, interests, behaviours, and look-alike audiences. 

Besides offering exceptional targeting options with Ads, Instagram also allows you to try multiple formats. You can try experimenting with carousels, videos, pictures, story Ads, and various other options. In this sense, there are many ways in which you can build Ad creatives and push them out in a well-targeted manner. 

4. Offer an In-App shopping experience 

Instagram has created a delightful experience for users with its in-app shopping feature. This has made it possible for product brands to shorten the sales journey for their products. You too can add products to your posts with price tags and share them. 

With Shoppable Instagram posts, you have more scope for bringing new customers on board. Instagram, in this sense, serves as a multifaceted platform to showcase your products creatively and at the same time, make them shoppable in the process. 

Now that you know how Instagram can be of great help to your brand, the first step you need to work towards is setting up your Instagram Business Account. We’ll now quickly take you through the process for creating your Instagram Business Account. 

How to Set Up a Business Account on Instagram

To create your business account, unless you already have a personal account on Instagram, you need to create one first. Here’s what you need to do to get started with setting up an Instagram account: 

Sign up if you don’t already have an account on Instagram. If you don’t already have an account on Instagram, you need to sign up with your email address or phone number. You also have the option to use your Facebook account to sign up and log in on Instagram. 

Head to your Instagram settings. Go to your Instagram profile and head to your ‘settings’. Go to ‘Account’. 

Tap on ‘Get more tools’ that you will see at the bottom. 

You can then select from the following 2 options: 

After selecting ‘business’, you will have to go through the different steps to setting up your business account. 

Select your business category. 

Now that you have selected your business category, you can move on to adding your contact information. You need to add your email address if you have a business profile on Instagram. You can choose to add or remove your location and contact number on your Instagram profile. 

Finally, link your Facebook page to your Instagram and you’re all set! Now that you have a business account active, it is time to optimize the account with the necessary details. 

Optimize Your Instagram Profile 

Your Instagram profile plays an important role in building an impression of your brand on the platform. Your profile is the main source of information about your brand on Instagram. If a user wants to know more about your brand, they will head to your Instagram profile. As such, it is important for you to optimize your Instagram profile. 

Your Instagram profile represents your brand on the platform. You need to present the best possible picture of your brand through your Instagram profile. 

This is what you need to do to optimize your Instagram profile: 

STEP 1: Add a username

Your Instagram handle needs a username that users can look up and/or tag. Your username plays an important role in building brand awareness and exposure. Remember that your username is different from your name on Instagram. Your username is the name of your Instagram handle.

You need to be mindful of what username you set for your brand on Instagram. Pick a simple username for your brand. Go for something that is easy to remember and spell. You can use your business name as your username on Instagram to make it easy to discover. 

STEP 2: Set up your Instagram profile picture 

Your profile picture is as important as your username on Instagram. It is a part of your branding strategy and users come to associate your profile picture with your brand. 

In fact, your profile picture plays an important role in building brand awareness. Using your brand logo, for instance, will help you enhance brand recall. So, every time you post content on the platform, your audience will see your branded profile picture along with your user name. 

Adobe, for instance, is using its logo as its profile picture on Instagram. 

STEP 3: Write an informative, yet catchy Instagram Bio 

Your Instagram bio is the space in your profile where you can put out a brief description of your brand. Within this 150-character space, you have to briefly introduce your brand. 

Keeping your brand and product as well as your target audience in mind, craft a catchy Instagram bio. So, the idea is to put out your brand message in a simple, yet concise manner. 

Not only does the bio describe what kind of products the brand specializes in, but also makes for a fun and quirky description. The brand, in this sense, is trying to capture the attention of its audience. 

Apart from product and/or business descriptions, many brands are also using this space to share information about their brand campaigns.  You can also utilize your bio to lead your target audience to your other social media handles. 

An important thing to remember when you are crafting your Instagram bio is that it is the only space on Instagram where you can add links (unless you have more than 10K followers, in which case you can add links to your Instagram Stories as well). 

You can use your Instagram bio to take your audience to your website, blog or any other landing page. Don’t forget to add a relevant call to action caption or emoji in your Instagram bio with the link, so as to make it easier to lead your audience. 

STEP 4: Don’t forget to add contact links on your Instagram Profile 

Make the most of your Instagram profile and generate leads on the platform by using the contact links on your Instagram bio. 

Add your contact location, number, and email, so that it is a quick and simple process for your prospects to get connected to you. Do check if the links are working and leading to the right destination or not. 

Go through each of these steps to create a well-optimized Instagram bio for your brand. 

Understand the Instagram Algorithm 

Now that you have gone through the process of setting up an Instagram profile for your brand, you can start planning and creating content for your brand. But before you get started with the content creation process, you need to understand how the Instagram algorithm works. 

The Instagram algorithm determines how every piece of content appears on the homepage feed of every user. To put it simply, the Instagram algorithm determines how different posts are ranked on the platform’s homepage. 

Three main factors that influence the Instagram algorithm include – Timeliness of your content, Your relationship with your followers, and How interested will your followers be in your content.

The timeliness of your content refers to how often you post content. 

Your relationship with your followers means whether the algorithm categorize you as the ‘friends & family’ of your followers or not. This is largely determined by how often a particular user interacts with your brand on the platform. If a user engages with your content very often, then you are more likely to be placed amongst their ‘friends & family’. 

The interest of an Instagram user also determines how the content will appear on their homepage feed. The algorithm looks into every user’s past behaviour and activity on the platform when putting out content on the homepage feed. 

Build your content creation and content delivery strategy while keeping these factors in mind. Post content consistently, keep it engaging and interactive and conduct an in-depth study of your audience. 

Instagram Content Formats 

One of the best things about Instagram is that it offers multiple content formats and features for marketing your brand. So, let’s dig a little deeper into the different content formats on Instagram. 

  • Instagram photo posts 

This is one of the first features that Instagram rolled out from its inception and continues to be a popular content format. To put an Instagram photo post, you can either pick an existing picture from your phone gallery or click one using the Instagram camera. 

You can post a single photo or select multiple photos and share them simultaneously as a photo carousel. You can post no more than 10 photos at a time on Instagram.

Once you have the photo (s), you can go on to apply one of the filters that Instagram offers. 

Next, edit and fine-tune your images using the in-app editing tools. 

After this, add a relevant caption for your post. Don’t forget to add the relevant geotag for your location. Tag other accounts, if needed and post them on the platform. 

  • Instagram video post 

Just like Instagram photos, for Instagram videos too, you can select a video to be uploaded on Instagram from the phone gallery. The other option is to shoot one with the in-app camera. 

Remember- you cannot upload videos longer than a minute at a time. 

Once you have the video ready, you can add the necessary filters and refine the quality of the video. 

After that, you can go on to add your caption and tag the people or accounts in your video and post it on the platform.

  • Instagram Stories 

Instagram allows you to share short-lived content that expires 24 hours after posting it. The Instagram Stories appear on top of the Instagram homepage feed. 

You can add photos, videos, boomerangs, typographies and so much more. 

Instagram Stories come with their own set of features and tools. You can use filters, stickers, gifs, different fonts, and do so much more to enhance your stories.

You can create your restricted list of ‘close friends’ with whom you would want to share your story on the platform. 

Instagram allows you to save your Instagram story beyond the 24-hour time margin, in the form of story highlights. You can create clusters of stories and add customized covers for each. The Instagram story highlights appear right below your Instagram bio on your Instagram profile. 

There are many tricks and hacks by which you can optimize your Instagram story to gain maximum traction. 

  • IGTV 

Instagram launched its vertical format, long-form video content platform, IGTV in June 2018. 

You can add videos with durations ranging from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. If you have a verified account, you can post up to 60-minute long IGTV videos. 

You can create your IGTV channel with videos having catchy captions as well as covers that grab audience attention. 

Here’s a quick tip on how you can enhance your IGTV activity- share IGTV video previews as video posts on Instagram. Capture the audience attention within the first minute and then lead them to the rest of the IGTV video. Check out more such IGTV tips, tricks, and hacks, here!

  • Instagram Live Videos 

Live videos make for the most engaging content type on the platform. Real-time engagement is the most powerful engagement type and Instagram Live helps you with just that. 

The more people view your live videos, the more are your videos likely to generate engagement on the platform. The Instagram algorithm favours content that generates engagement. So, you need to make the most of this content format. 

To get maximum viewership, you can send out notifications to your followers about the live streaming session. You can also make an announcement on your Instagram Story. 

  • Instagram Ads

One of the perks of using a business profile on Instagram is that you can get access to the Ads on the platform. The Instagram Ads manager allows you to set up Ads in a comprehensive manner.

You can create Ads from scratch or you can promote your existing posts. To set up your Instagram Ads, you can select an Ads objective- whether it is to generate brand awareness or to get more sales for your brand. 

You can then select the target audience for every Ad that you put out on the platform. Instagram Ads, in this sense, helps in optimized targeting on the platform. Target your audience by location, demographics, behaviours, and interests. Further, you can create custom audiences and lookalike audiences for Ads’ targeting. 

Following this, you can pick the format for your Ads. Depending upon your branding message, you can decide as to which of the Ad formats are more likely to go well with your Ad creatives. 

Showcase multiple products with carousel Ads. Put out paid content on stories with Stories Ads or share your brand story with an impactful video Ad for your brand. 

Tips, Tricks, And Ideas For Using Instagram Effectively For Your Business

1. Showcase your products 

Use Instagram to showcase your products. Leverage the visual nature of the platform to highlight your products’ features and USP. Given the multiple content formats that the platform offers, there are many ways in which you can get the limelight on your products. 

In fact, you can use Instagram to build buzz ahead of product launches. So, Instagram is a great platform to get audience attention before you launch a new product line. 

Here’s an example of a smart pre-launch tactic using Instagram. The catchy visuals compel the audience to know more and this curiosity leads them to go through the caption. 

2. Maintain the visual quality of your content 

Make sure to maintain the visual quality of your content. Always refine and fine-tune your content before posting it on the platform. 

Decide upon a colour palette for your brand to create an eye-catching feed for your brand. 

With so many users and brands putting out content on the platform, only the best quality visuals can help you stand out. Use the right set of tools to enhance your visuals to perfection. 

3. Engage with your audience 

The key to developing a loyal community of followers is interaction. The more you interact and engage with your target audience, the easier it will be to forge connections with them. 

Conduct live streaming sessions on a regular basis. You can hold an interactive 1 on 1 session with your audience or you can hold a Q&A session with them. You can also use live videos to introduce your team to your audience or give them a tour of your organization.

Besides using live streams, you also need to have a very interactive approach in your Instagram activity. To put it simply, make sure to respond to all the questions, queries, comments and messages your audience is leaving on your posts. 

4. Add shoppable products 

Leverage Instagram’s shoppable feature to showcase and sell your products, directly on the platform. Many brands like Zara have made their products shoppable on the platform in an effort to boost sales. 

5. Create optimized Instagram copies

While visual content plays an important role in grabbing the audience attention, it is important to back up your visual content with creative, quirky captions. 

Whether it is captions for organic content on Instagram or Ad copies for your brand, keep your messaging as crisp, catchy and to-the-point. Your copies can, in fact, make or break your Insta-game. A good caption can help you earn a new follower or even a new customer, while a badly framed caption can put off your audience. 

6. Run influencer marketing campaigns 

Influencer marketing can help you take your brand to the next level. Influencers come with expertise as well as the following. By bringing them on board through different campaigns, not only can you generate more engagement and gain new followers, but you can also leverage their content creation skills. 

Finding the right set of Influencers for your Instagram campaigns can be difficult. To make your job easier, you can use an Influencer marketing platform. The Influencer Suite by Unbox Social helps you discover niche influencers in a streamlined manner. Apart from that, you can also rely on the Influencer Suite to send out detailed campaign briefs and monitor performance through campaign reports. 

7. Build hashtag campaigns 

Create branded hashtags and run hashtag campaigns that generate traction for your brand. Some of the top brands like AirBnB, GoPro, and Nyx Cosmetics are using branded hashtags to run user-generated content campaigns. 

8. Know your target audience 

 Posting content without understanding your target audience is like making a shot in the dark. It is important that you understand who your audience is. Use reliable social media tools to monitor your audience and study your followers actively. This will help you dig deeper into your target audience and build content strategies that align with their likes and preferences. 

9. Listen to audience conversations 

Knowing your audience is important, but it is equally important to take stock of what they are saying about your brand. 

The Social Listening feature by Unbox Social lets you understand and uncover audience sentiment by listening to conversations. You can gather all the information and insights about important hashtags and keywords associated with your brand with the help of this tool. 

Using the insights and information derived from the tool, you can capture audience feedback and sentiment to build strategies and campaigns that engage and entice your audience. 

Measuring Your Instagram Performance 

All your marketing efforts are in vain if you do not even know how your content is faring on the platform. Use a social media tool such as Unbox Social to know how your content is performing and build a strategy based on insights from the tool. 

The Social Media Analytics feature by Unbox Social helps monitor your performance at a macro-level, as well as at a micro-level. Find out how much engagement is your content generating and who all are engaging with your content. 

Know who your followers are as well as when are they most active. It is important to plan out your content delivery strategy in alignment with your audience’s activity. This will help you get better reach as well as engagement. 

Look into your audience’s demographics to understand their passion points and sensitivities with Audience Insights. Using this information, you can build more effective, engaging strategies for your brand. 

You can look at individual posts and stories on Instagram to know what kind of content is drawing more engagement and interactions. Based on this intelligence, you can create strategies that help you take your brand forward. 

Instagram offers unlimited scope for building brand awareness, generating engagement and boosting sales for your brand. If you aren’t already using the platform to get your brand across to your target audience, get started now!

Here are a few more blogs to get you well-versed with Instagram marketing. Take a look-


What is Unbox Social?

Unbox Social is a powerful tool that offers solutions for influencer search, social media analytics, and competition tracking. The platform helps you get in-depth social media performance data of your brands, campaigns, and competitors. Get detailed reports and implement the findings in your strategies to get the most out of your campaigns!

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Working with influencers?

Use our brand scan to find who competition works with!