Cover image with text create your Instagram strategy with a phone next to it.

At first glance, Instagram may seem like a hub for selfies, smoothie bowls and avocado toasts. But did you know being on the platform may just be the thing you needed to grow your business?

The reality is that with 1 billion Instagram users, more and more businesses are using Instagram to scale, sell and promote. Basically, it’s a goldmine for businesses in all shapes and sizes. And if you’re not on it yet, you should have started yesterday!

But it’s not too late. With a solid Instagram marketing strategy and appealing content, you can take your business to the next level and reach more potential customers.

That said, it’s not as simple as posting cute photos and adding nice captions. And many brands are struggling to grow and utilise Instagram as part of their social media marketing strategy.

Gone are the days when #ootd and #throwbackthursday were getting thousands of likes. Today, having a clear-cut, actionable Instagram marketing strategy is needed to grow and make a visible impression on the platform.

Here's how to create an Instagram marketing strategy, that works! #

1. Define your goals and purpose on Instagram #

Just like starting a business, knowing why you are on Instagram should be a the first step.

Is it to generate more leads? Or maybe to reach more audience? How about gain brand awareness?

Whether it’s one of these or all of them and more, it’s important to know there is no ‘correct’ or single goal you have to stick to. By simply identifying your goals and purpose for being on the platform, it will help you distinguish everything from content strategy to how you often you use the platform.

2. Determine your audience #

Once you know your goals for Instagram, ask yourself this: who are you trying to reach on the platform? How positive are you that your target audience is even on Instagram?

A great way to start is knowing that Instagram’s biggest audience are females, with over 68% of them on the platform. Also that most of them are under 30.

So before you even start thinking of creating an Instagram marketing strategy, it is best to execute a market research on your target audience. Determine the age, gender, location and interests of your ideal customers. This way you can make sure you are creating content they will want to follow or are attracted to.

3. Analyze competitor content #

They say one of the best ways to ace any strategy is to look around. Research and find out who are your closest competitors and look around what they are already doing and what they are not doing.

It will be easy to see what kind of content are doing well for them - the posts with more likes, shares or comments, and figure out how you could do improve it with your own flair.

The best thing about looking at your competitors, especially the big players, is that their target market is also your target market.

To take it a step further, here are some key Instagram metrics you should be looking it:

  • Their engagement rate - Are they receiving more likes but almost no comments at all? Or they may have hundreds of thousands of followers but only up to a hundred likes per post? There are many sites you can check out and see these results for you, but it’s also great to manually scan and research yourself.
  • Their community management - Are they answering to comments? How often do they respond to questions? How do they speak to their audience?
  • The questions they are getting - Are they receiving questions about their product or service? Or are the comments directly related to their posts?
  • The hashtags they use - Do they use any hashtags at all? What kind of hashtags? This is a good step towards creating a hashtag strategy as well as knowing whether they are performing well or dominating the hashtags they are on.
  • The form of content they mostly use - Pictures and videos? Memes? Lifestyle photos? Info-graphics?
  • Their call to action - Do they point their customers to their website, blog or product? Or if they have any at all?

You can use a tool like sharemyinsights.com to track your competitors

Sharemyinsights instagram competitors tracking section.

Researching these on your closest competitors is helpful for gaining insight about the platform, figuring out what works, and knowing your audience better.

4. Optimize your Instagram profile for engagement #

The best thing about Instagram is that setting up your profile is as easy as it can be.

But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put much thought into it.

There are details to look out for that could definitely help strengthen your Instagram game, and if you want to know how to create an Instagram marketing strategy then you need to know about these:

  1. Convert to business profile - First step, switch your account to an Instagram business profile. This allows you to see more insights on how your profile is doing on the platform aka reach, saves, shares, etc. It also allows you to add key information that makes it easier for your audience to know more about you and reach out. Things like your industry, location, phone number and email address.
  2. Write a compelling Instagram bio - Easy to miss, but gold when done right: bio. While you’re only limited to 150 characters, you can make your profile easily searchable and/or impressive. Make sure your bio includes at least one hashtag related to your business, a call to action and a trackable link to your website.
  3. Choose a great profile picture - Think of it as the face you show the world, you wouldn’t want it to look bad. An Instagram profile picture is only 110x110 pixels. Meaning, a sleek, minimal and high resolution picture is best. We recommend a variation of your brand’s logo as a good start.

5. Create a content strategy your customers will love #

Here comes the best part - creating content. There are lots of possibilities in the world of Instagram. And the more creative you are, the more likely you’ll be confused on where to start.

However, with your goals and your target audience in mind, it should be easier to create content that appeals to them.

Here are some content ideas that saw and are still seeing a lot of success on the gram.

  • Great, eye-catching imagery - This is what made Instagram the platform giant it is now, and it’s here to stay. It’s all about the stylish snapshots on the platform. But even though you’re not much of a photographer, making sure you’ve got great, high quality photos is a good start.
  • People-centric photos - At the end of the day, social media is still all about socialising and that means highlighting people. Whether it’s your customers or your team, people still want to see a ‘human’ behind the profile.
  • Videos - While user-generated content and the magnificent travel photos are still popular, videos are becoming bigger and better. A 10-second reel of your product, may it be an unboxing or a fun animation, is a good way to attract more eyes to your profile.
  • Memes and graphic quotes - People love to laugh and feel inspired. Memes and inspirational graphic quotes are the cure for that. If you’re down to nothing, these do the trick and are easily shareable and likeable.

6. Create a content calendar #

With a content strategy comes a content calendar. Now that you have content and know who your audience are, it is time to figure out when they are online and what days and times they will most likely see your posts.

If you’re starting from scratch, start posting once or twice a day at times you *think* your audience are online. When you’ve gain a bit of insight, look at your analytics and see when they are most active during the week and post during those days.

Creating a content calendar doesn’t only help with knowing how often and when you should post but also to post consistently on the platform. Lucky for you, there are many platforms offering automatic posting and scheduling for Instagram so all you have to do is schedule them in and they’ll start rolling in.

7. Track progress #

One of the most vital thing when learning how to create an Instagram marketing strategy is to always test, learn and optimise your content. And just like its algorithm, Instagram is always changing and so are the people on the platform. What may work on day one, may not work at all anymore.

When you create an Instagram marketing strategy, ensure you are also putting time and effort in tracking important metrics that shows which posts performed the best and which ones are not. From there on, continue posting content that has the most likes, shares and engagement and less of the ones that didn’t receive as much.

So there you have it! The best tips and practices we’ve mentioned are a great starting point for whatever kind of businesses you are in. And now that you know how to create an Instagram marketing strategy - go on and conquer!

But before that, we would love to hear from you. Where are you in your Instagram game? What’s working for you? Have you made any changes to your Instagram marketing strategy lately? Tell us in the comments below!