Instagram Marketing: The Definitive Guide

To those not in the know, it may look like Instagram is a simple photo-sharing app. While that may have been the case ten years ago, in 2022, Instagram has become an incredibly powerful platform not just for everyday content creators but also for marketers. Business owners who have yet to embrace this popular social network can read on to find an accessible introduction to all of its most useful features.

How to Get Started

Let’s start at the beginning. The first thing that business owners who are new to Instagram will need to do is create a profile and post a bio. To make the most of limited space, be sure to include clickable hashtags, profile links, and story highlights.

Understanding the Instagram Algorithm

While creating an accurate and optimized profile provides a good foundation, it’s when businesses first start creating posts that the real fun begins. Instagram offers all kinds of features to make posts more interesting and engaging. That said, they’ll only make a difference if a brand can get its posts in front of the right audience, which is where the Instagram algorithm comes in.

The Instagram algorithm is actually a collection of algorithms designed to prioritize the posts that will be most interesting to users. Instagram marketers can use this to their advantage once they understand basic ranking factors. Many of them can’t be 100% controlled, but new users can learn more at twicsy about how to hack the Instagram algorithm and jump-start a profile with extra likes, views, and follows.

The Importance of Engagement Rates

The reason starting out with a small collection of pre-ordered likes, views, and follows can make such a difference is that it indicates a higher engagement rate with a post, which Instagram’s algorithms love. Every social media platform measures engagement in slightly different terms. When it comes to Instagram, calculating this metric generally involves analyzing the number of likes, follows, and comments on a post in comparison to the brand’s audience size.

What’s nice about engagement rate as a metric for understanding Instagram popularity and success is that it scales up with the brand. It doesn’t matter if the brand has 200 followers or 200,000. The percentage of users who actually engage with the content will still be important.

Instagram Content Types

Instagram began as a photo-sharing platform. Now, though, users can also post videos, go live, and include long-form captions. The best approach is to use a combination of these tactics to maximize reach.

Every audience is a little different. Although Instagram’s user base tends to skew young, that doesn’t mean it’s homogenous. Marketers need to start out with a well-developed audience persona and tailor content types to that theoretical user. Here’s what novice social media marketers need to know about each of them:

  • Reels are short videos with content focused on reaching new audiences.
  • Single-photo posts are the simplest and most traditional form of Instagram content, but also one of the most effective for reaching current followers.
  • Carousel posts are collections of up to ten images that users can scroll through all found in the same post. The Instagram algorithm tends to prioritize them over single-photo posts.
  • Video posts are long-format videos that usually target a brand’s existing audience.
  • Live videos are generally less polished and more interactive than other types of Instagram posts, so they’re great for boosting engagement.
  • Guides make it easier to gather reels, posts, videos, and other content into one place. Think of them as mini-blogs.
  • Stories are usually less time-consuming to create than the more polished photo and video posts because they come with lower expectations. Use them to boost engagement and humanize the brand.

The Role of Instagram Analytics

Instagram makes it easy to collect and analyze data by offering native analytics tools. These tools are only available to users with business profiles and include key performance data that can offer insight into current engagement rates. Comparing the information garnered from Instagram analytics against other posts makes it easier to identify effective marketing techniques and refine audience personas.

Start Making the Most of Instagram

Instagram can be an incredibly powerful platform for business owners who want to reach new audiences and connect with their existing customers. Learning how to use Instagram to full effect can feel like an overwhelming task, but once novice marketers have established brand profiles and begun to experiment with different content types, the rest is a matter of making little changes until everything is just right. Remember, the first step is always the hardest.


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