How to use Instagram for marketing your business in 2021

In this post I will show you how to use Instagram for marketing your business. Instagram is a powerful tool to show your business and brand to thousands of people, who could all be potential customers. So, let me show you how to do it.

Instagram is a powerful marketing tool. Right now there are 1.386 billion active users on the platform, and from that number there are 140 million Instagram users in the U.S. that could pay attention to your business or your brand, but you need to find the right way of stealing their attention.

Instagram has changed a lot over the years. First it was a social media platform for photographers, though, when Facebook purchased Instagram, the platform started to support videos, and now Instagram wants to be a video platform and to compete with TikTok.

From time to time, you need to figure out if hashtags play a role in the organic reach of your content.

As you can see, learning how to use Instagram for marketing your business is a little tricky because the social media platform is constantly changing to redefine its role.

But, like Facebook, Instagram’s algorithm wants you to stay on the platform as long as possible because Instagram also wants to show you adverts. In case you didn’t know, Facebook and Instagram are one business.

Lately, Instagram has embraced ecommerce, allowing people to shop directly from the platform. The social media platform calls it: Instagram shopping.

Why learn how to use Instagram for marketing your business?

This is an important question because, as I said before, being on social media is time consuming. You need time to create content for your business that your community likes.

If you love to take photos and to make videos, this is the right social media platform for you because Instagram is a visual platform.

The key is finding out how to showcase your products on Instagram in a way that your community can engage with. This is because your followers have to react to your content with a like, a comment, a share, or by just buying your product.

But if you want to learn how to use Instagram for marketing your business, first you need to know your audience.

You need to know if your audience is on Instagram and if they’re consuming content on Instagram.

If you have a physical store, you can do that by just asking your audience personally, or you can use a digital survey, but do not guess.

Also, learning how to use Instagram for marketing your business has to be part of a larger strategy for your business.

Remember, a strategy is not just opening an account on a social media platform; opening an account on Instagram has to be part of a business strategy.

How to approach Instagram for marketing with a strategy?

Like I told you before, Instagram is a powerful tool for marketing, but to get the most out of it you need to have a clear understanding of your general marketing strategy.

Instagram is perfect for:

  • Showcasing your products or services
  • Creating a community around your brand
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Getting leads
  • Boosting sales

My recommendation is that you have at least two goals that you want to achieve using Instagram for your business. That way you can focus only on those two goals and your work will be more efficient.

How to use Instagram for marketing your business

Create a business account

The first thing to do when using Instagram for marketing your business is to create a business account.

There is no direct way of creating a business account from the get-go.

You have to create a personal account first—like the one you might already have to engage with your friends.

You will have to name this profile with the name of your business or your brand.

If you already have a profile for your business on Instagram, but it isn’t a business account, you can also follow these steps.

The steps are:

  1. In settings, find Account and tap Switch to Professional Account.
  2. Pick a category that best describes your business, then select Business.
  3. You’re all set; you’ve got an Instagram business account.

Now you have your business account, here comes the most important part.

the technology savvy instagram business 2
the technology savvy instagram business ellevest

Optimize your profile for Instagram for marketing

This is a very important part of using Instagram for marketing your business because your potential customers or followers will check your profile before hitting the follow button.

You only have 150 characters to write about your business. I know it’s short but you have to make the most of it.

My recommendation: Just write what your business is about. Be straight to the point.

For example, Adidas has a very good bio:

the technology savvy adidas instagram bio

A very good example of a small business’ bio is Ellevest:

Instagram for marketing

You have to be creative here, and convince people to hit that follow button in 150 characters.

You also need to include a link. You can include the link to your home page or landing page of your business website to get leads.

But what happens if you’re a blogger or if you have an ecommerce business? You might like to send your followers to a specific page where your post or your product is.

To do that you need what’s called a smart link or a smart bio.

My recommendation for that is to use Later.

Later is a social media scheduler and linkin.bio tool. With this application you can schedule your Instagram posts and replicate the homepage of your Instagram account, but with the ability to click on a particular photo or video and send the follower to a specific page of your website—this could be a product or a new post.

What I like most about Later is that it has a free plan that you can use to test the application.

As you can see, you have to be creative to use Instagram for marketing.

Make sure every post is aligned with your branding and aesthetic

Before you start thinking about content for your account, be sure about the branding and the aesthetic of your business.

What I want to say is that if your brand or business has a logo, your brand or business already has a personality.

For example, if your logo is cheerful, you shouldn’t make any sad content on Instagram; your content has to be happy and full of spirit, not boring.

Also, if your logo has distinctive colors, try to use those colors in the composition of your photos and videos.

In other words, keep the “vibe” of your brand in your Instagram account; that is a good use of Instagram for marketing purposes.

Create visually compelling content

Yes, Instagram is all about visual content—that means videos and photos. Right now my recommendation is to use more videos than photos for Instagram for marketing.

Like I told you in my previous post: 9 Instagram Photo Ideas for your Personal or Business Account, you have to be creative to post on Instagram at the moment.

For example, on one day of the week you could think about all the content you’ll need for your account. This could be photos or videos.

Then on another day you could do a “photoshoot” of your products or yourself.

Then it’s time to edit your photos; if you are not a professional designer you can use Canva. It’s free and has all the tools you need to edit amazing photos..

I use Canva to edit my photos. It is very intuitive and you can find tutorials on YouTube.

And remember to shoot videos too. On the Instagram feed you can upload videos of up to one minute. Trust me; in one minute you can say a lot of things about your business.

Don’t be shy. Make videos for your business. Using Instagram for marketing is all about videos right now.

Instagram stories

There are many brands which don’t post too often on their Instagram feed, but they are continually posting on stories.

This tactic of Instagram for marketing has pros and cons.

Pros:

It is easier to pick up your phone and make a 15 second video than it is to take and edit a photo.

Stories keep your audience engaged.

Cons:

Stories don’t help to grow your community.

What I want to say here is that many brands or businesses show the day-to-day on Instagram stories, and that is what people like to see—the “behind the scenes” of a business. This is a good tactic for marketing on Instagram.

It is very easy to record 15 second videos every day.

This is very good for engagement but it won’t help you to get more followers, and that can be a downside for this tactic for marketing on Instagram.

So, what should you do on Instagram stories?

Use them, but don’t forget to upload content for your feed. A good combination of stories and regular posts is what you need.

You can make an infinite amount of stories per day, but you only need to upload one post for your feed per day; that is what the algorithm loves.

What topics could you post about on Instagram stories which make for a good tactic for marketing on Instagram?

Fun/casual topics: You can talk about your day, your ideas, or talk to the camera like you are talking to a friend.

Networking topics: You can talk about what you’ve learnt from following other accounts. The idea is to mention other accounts so you can grow your network.

Industry topics: You are an expert on something. Share your knowledge to your community with small posts.

And to get more reach for your stories, don’t publish anything for 24 hours. You will see that your first post will get a good amount of reach.

My recommendations for a story are to:

  • Share a photo of yourself
  • Include a poll sticker
  • Have a clear call to action
  • Be human
  • If you prefer video, share something your audience would find useful, or share something that your audience wouldn’t have known about you or your brand.

Stories are a good use of Instagram for marketing, but don’t forget that your account has to grow. Instagram for marketing needs Stories.

Hashtags

Instagram for marketing is all about hashtags too, but let’s look at it in detail.

Hashtags are still important for getting more reach for your content, and to get your content discovered by other people.

I know that you’ve seen other people using up to 30 hashtags per post, but I don’t think that’s good.

I learnt this from a post on Instagram by @thelucasokeefe. The post says that you have to use hashtags to talk to the algorithm.

And if you think about it, it’s right that you have to teach the algorithm about who you are and what your content is about.

For this reason you have to use hashtags to create a persona for your account for the Instagram algorithm.

You should use hashtags to tell the algorithm what identity and niche you want to create on Instagram.

Use fewer hashtags—between eight and fifteen—and that will give you a more focused identity for the Instagram algorithm.

If you are using 30 hashtags, you will confuse the algorithm.

So what do you have to do now?

Include about eight to fifteen hashtags on your posts, but lean towards eight.

Approximately three of them should be the same on each post to tell the algorithm what identity/niche you want to form.

The remaining ones should be highly relevant to that particular post.

Hashtags should home in on who the post is for.

Other good hashtag tips that I can give you are:

  • Use hashtags that are relevant to the theme of your content.
  • Check which hashtags your fans already use and follow.
  • Mix well-known and niche hashtags to broaden your discoverability.
  • Use specific hashtags so your fans can easily search for your content.

Don’t do the following with your hashtags:

  • Don’t use hashtags that have nothing to do with your content.
  • Don’t use overly generic hashtags; these will make it harder for people to discover your content due to the volume of other people using the hashtags.
  • Don’t use too many hashtags; adding up to 30 won’t help you get additional distribution.

Using the right hashtags will help you to grow your business, and that is a good tactic of Instagram for marketing .

Experiment

Yes, you have to experiment with all the tools that Instagram gives you. What I want to say is that, for example, some hashtags may already work with your content, and that’s fine, but maybe your content could have more reach without those hashtags.

Also, maybe a photo could get you more engagement than videos. You need to experiment and see which of the tips that I’ve given you work for you.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Instagram for marketing is all about experiment.

Reels

If you love to make videos for TikTok, you will love Reels. Instagram Reels is a copy of TikTok.

As Instagram wants to compete with TikTok, the platform is giving Reels a good organic reach.

For that reason, my recommendation is to make at least one Reel per day, and, in the copy of your Reel, use hashtags so the algorithm will know what kind of audience your Reel is good for.

Reels is a quick way to get exposure and to get new followers for your account.

But be aware—don’t upload the video you did for TikTok on Instagram with TikTok’s watermark. The Instagram algorithm will notice.

The use of Reels is a good tactic of Instagram for marketing

Captions

Instagram says you should use relevant keywords and hashtags in captions. For a post to be found in the search, put keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the comments.

So use the captions to complement your videos or photos, but do it in a human way. Don’t write long, complicated words that will bore your audience. Remember that nobody wants to read a technical manual or textbook.

My recommendation is to write two to three paragraphs, and in every paragraph you should write one keyword that is related to your post/niche.

What I do is write the captions as if I’m talking to a friend, then I try to subtly insert the keywords. That way, the keywords will look natural.

Conclusion about using Instagram for marketing

As you can see, using Instagram for marketing is good, but do it wisely. Now you have good tactics that you can use for your business or brand to get leads and sales.

My last recommendation for you is to experiment with these tactics, and you will see which to use and which not to use for your Instagram marketing strategy.

Remember, it’s all about experimentation and creativity in the marketing world.

Because to use Instagram for marketing or other social media platform is about to test and fail to get knowledge.

Using Instagram for marketing can give you leads and sales.

So use Instagram for marketing right now for your business.

Leave a Reply