The Complete Instagram Marketing Guide [2024]

The Complete Instagram Marketing Guide [2024]

Instagram marketing: Instagram is a crucial place for your brand to market your products. But its ever-changing landscape of hashtags, engagement and continuous content can be overwhelming.

But that’s why we’re here! To provide you with the resources you need to get the most out of your Instagram marketing.

In this guide, we’ve compiled all of our information on Instagram marketing (and I can personally attest that it’s quite a lot), so that you can easily find the answers you’re looking for. It’s all broken up and laid out in a fancy table of contents, so feel free to read it all or click directly to the section that is most pertinent to you.

Whatever you do, feel free to ask questions or let us know if we’re missing something. We love to keep improving! Now, let’s get into it.

What is Instagram Marketing?

instagram marketing

If you’re still not entirely confident in what marketing on Instagram really entails, we’ve got the information you need to get started!

If you’re still not entirely confident in what marketing on Instagram really entails, we’ve got the information you need to get started!

Every day at least 95 million images are shared by 1.4 billion active Instagram users. The platform’s powerhouse popularity means that if brands want to reach customers online, they’re going to find them on Instagram.

95 million images are shared by 1 billion active users on Instagram

So now that we know where to find customers, the question then becomes: how can you use Instagram as a tool to market your products? Here we look towards business best practices to truly understand the value of Instagram marketing to your overall strategy – starting with getting an Instagram for Business account.

Instagram for Businesses

As an eCommerce business owner, you don’t have to do much searching online to see why a strong Instagram presence is essential to growing your brand. It’s where your customers are spending more and more time, which means your brand should be too. While 90% of users follow a business on Instagram, brands can’t afford not to be in this space.

90% of users follow a business on Instagram, but how can you ensure that your Instagram efforts are actually going to bring you sales? This is the big question when it comes to Instagram marketing. Having a social media presence is one thing, but using online platforms to actively convert customers is a whole different ball game.

First, you need to get yourself an Instagram business account and learn how to use it to sell your products on the platform. Then comes posting the kind of content that will get your customers interested in your products. And finally, ads.

What’s the best way to model your Instagram marketing? By looking at how other brands have been successful on the platform! In the next section, we look at Instagram marketing theory and how to think about developing a killer strategy.

Approaches To Instagram Marketing

Understanding Engagement Rate

What’s the buzziest word on Instagram? You guessed it: engagement. It’s what everyone wants but doesn’t quite know how to get.

Here at Flowbox, we’re interested in providing the best insights into Instagram engagement based on the numbers. Using data collected from the Instagram API prior to its deprecation in April 2018, we navigate through the numbers to provide insightful analysis to understanding Instagram engagement rates.

While engagement rate is the most talked about aspect of Instagram marketing, we may not understand it as well as we think! For example, we’ve found that once a brand surpasses 100,000 followers, it becomes extremely difficult to engage more than 1% of their total audience with each post.

Once a brand surpasses 100,000 followers, it becomes extremely difficult to engage more than 1% of their total audience with each post

Let’s look to the data to find out where we really stand.

Understanding the Algorithm 

A lot of users claim there are ways to crack the Instagram algorithm, but the truth is that it isn’t as simple as understanding one single algorithm. Instead, Instagram utilises different algorithms, rankings and classifiers in each part of the app that changes over time. Therefore there is no specific formula to ‘crack’ the algorithm.

Before 2016, each user’s feed was in chronological order, which meant 70% of posts would be missed, even the most engaging posts. To solve this, Instagram introduced a feed that ranked posts based on what each user would engage with the most depending on their metrics. 

“Each part of the app – Feed, Explore, Reels – uses its own algorithm tailored to how people use it. People tend to look for their closest friends in Stories, but they want to discover something entirely new in Explore.”

Instagram

This can be quite frustrating if you are looking to grow your presence as one day the algorithm seems to be working in your favour and the next day not. What we can be sure of though is that consistency is key, so as long as you are posting high-quality content regularly, you are guaranteed to grow at a regular pace, and will not need help from the algorithm. 

How to Build an Effective Instagram Marketing Strategy 

Now that we have a better understanding of Instagram engagement, we can move on to see how we put this information into practice and build a top marketing strategy

Identify and Understand Your Audience

If you’re blindly creating content without knowing your audience, it is near impossible to create engaging content that resonates with your followers. 

Luckily instagram has a business dashboard that includes analytics of your followers such as their age range, where they live and what hashtags/communities they follow. From there, you can take inspiration from hashtagged content and tailor your feed to your audience’s interests.

Timing and Frequency matter

The timing and frequency of content publication can impact engagement levels. Many brands opt for daily or near-daily publication schedules but still maintain their focus on quality over quantity.

Take time to write captions

Though they seem unimportant, each caption should be original and creative for every post. Even seemingly minor details can affect your engagement rate and determine the discoverability of your post.

Although there is the option to craft long captions (up to 2,000 characters), it is best to stick with shorter captions as they are more likely to grab the attention of a user.

Define your marketing goals

Are you looking to achieve viral exposure? Maximise profile engagement? Or build a close-knit community?

These are all questions you have to take into consideration when choosing what you want to gain from Instagram and visualise the profile that you want to create. Creating goals can act as a guideline for your strategy, and you can refer back to these to ensure you are on the right track, and also see the progress you have made.

Considering Posting Rate

There’s a rumour going around that posting too frequently affects reach. And what’s the best way to bust this rumour? Looking to the data. Our data shows that beyond posting once per day, decline of engagement is relatively low. Beyond posting once per day, decline of engagement is relatively low.

Run Instagram Contests and Giveaways

Did you know that Instagram accounts that run contests and giveaways grow 70% faster than those that don’t?

Instagram accounts that run contests and giveaways grow 70% faster

When you think about it, Instagram contests and giveaways just make sense. What’s the best way to get customers interested in your products? To give them away for free!

If you haven’t started using Instagram contest or giveaways in your Instagram marketing, you’re missing out on a huge potential for racking up engagement and increasing sales/interest in your products. Plus, giveaways can help you with so many other aspects of your Instagram marketing.

How does an increase of followers, influx of User Generated Content, or more likes/comments on your posts sound? All of this can be increased by implementing targetted contests or giveaways into your Instagram marketing. Users are happy to do it for the chance to win something great!

Where to go from here?

Instagram Contests – 7 Tips To Successfully Leverage Contests

The Ultimate Guide To Running An Irresistible Instagram Giveaway

Craft The Perfect Instagram Captions

It’s amazing how much people care about captions on a social media platform dedicated to images.

If you feel like your captions could use some work, we’re here to help. With over 25 million business profiles on Instagram, don’t overlook this crucial aspect of Instagram marketing – which could be your next leap to upping your Instagram engagement.

Where to go from here?

Instagram Captions: Craft The Perfect Caption For Your eCommerce Photos

Consider Influencer Marketing but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box

You aren’t really talking about Instagram marketing if you’re not talking about Influencers. Nearly 80% of fashion, luxury, and cosmetic professionals implemented influencer campaigns in 2017, and that’s up by 13% since 2016.

Nearly 80% of fashion, luxury, and cosmetic professionals implemented influencer campaigns in 2017

If you’ve been holding back from reaching influencers, either for inadequate resources, disinterest, or lack of a clear strategy, we’re here to show you why and how to get influencer marketing into your book of Instagram marketing strategies.

Where to go from here?

How To Find Influencers Suitable For Your Brand

How To Plan An Influencer Marketing Strategy

Insights Into the Fate of Influencer Marketing 

Inspiring Instagram Marketing Examples

Looking for examples of stellar Instagram marketing in action? Have we ever led you astray?

From large, well-established brands, like RayBan, to brands that have grown their following on Instagram, like Daniel Wellington, we’re excited to share with you how brands are playing the Instagram game today.

Seeing how other brands are succeeding could inspire your creative juices to produce something even better. With 60% of Instagram users finding new products on the platform, brands can use all the inspiration they can get!

Before you get into modeling these amazing Instagram marketing examples, we have to go back to the basics. Above all, Instagram is about getting your brand seen so that people can engage with it. And what’s the best way to do that?

Hashtags

How To Create The Perfect Hashtag For Your Brand

Hashtags are everywhere you look – from social media feeds and TV ads, to billboards and city buses. But do you know how to create a hashtag for your brand?

If you haven’t created a hashtag for your customers to latch onto and share across social media, you’re missing out on a crucial Instagram Marketing tool.

Without a hashtag, your users are less inclined to engage with you on social media, which means less brand awareness, less conversions, and say good-bye to any chance of a User Generated Content strategy. And it’s pretty clear that the larger your brand is on Instagram, the more your hashtag will be used

So if you still need to create a branded hashtag or feel like yours isn’t doing its job, we’ve got you covered.

Do you already have an active hashtag that collects lots of User Generated Content? Request a demo and see what you can do with that content to upgrade your eCommerce strategy

Getting Users To Post With Your Hashtag

How can you quantify the power of Instagram hashtags? Did you know that Instagram users don’t see 70% of the media on their feed? Meaning that unless they specifically look up your Instagram hashtag, there’s a good chance they’re not seeing what you post. And meanwhile, everyone else is working their hardest to be a part of the other 30%.

So what can you do to make sure users check your hashtag? Get them interested in using it themselves!

If you’ve chosen a branded hashtag, you’re doing great. But committing to a hashtag is only half the battle. Now you need to get users to post with your hashtag to see the benefits.

Brand evangelism, having users posting multiple times per month on your brand hashtag, is a major contributor towards getting the overall use of a brand’s hashtag as high as possible.

Brand evangelism is a major contributor towards getting the overall use of a brand’s hashtag as high as possible. There’s a lot of power in a hashtag, and your Instagram Marketing will thank you for learning why.

Now that your hashtag is up and running, it’s time to look to actionable strategies that can start getting you results today.

Instagram Tools To Spice Up Your Content

VSCO app

Once you’ve worked out the logistics of your Instagram Marketing strategy, you need to make sure your actual content is on the right track. Don’t let all of your hard legwork go to waste by posting pictures or videos that don’t work for your brand! In the end, the content on your Instagram will represent all of your strategizing – so make sure you’re putting your best foot forward with imagery that dazzles.

If you feel like your content could use a new burst of energy or creativity to get the engagement you’re looking for, get inspired with the use of an Instagram tool or app. From fabulous filters to color correction and more, these tools will help you step up your game from the platform’s built in features to ensure that your pictures stand out!

Here are some of the best editing apps:

VSCO 

Adobe Lightroom

Snapseed

Prisma Photo Editor

For Reels 

Instagram Reels were launched back in 2020 and have since become an important aspect of the platform, especially when it comes to video content. In fact, thanks to Flowbox you can collect Reels to use as UGC. Here are some recommended Reel editing tools:

Canva 

Capcut

Adobe Rush

Where to go from here?

Creating Irresistible Content To Market Your Products With These 9 Instagram Tools

Now that you’re happy with your content, it’s time to find out if your followers are too! But how can you know?

Analyzing Your Instagram Marketing Performance

Now that you’ve strategized the perfect game plan for your brand – how can you be sure that all of your choices are helping you reach your audience?

This all comes down to Instagram analytics.

Whether you use Instagram Insights (the Instagram for business analytics tool that comes in-app) or a different tool to analyze your performance (may I recommend a free Instagram analytics tool – the Visual Marketing Index), measuring your performance is crucial if you want to create content that will work for your brand.

We can’t stress enough how much analyzing can help you reach your potential, especially in a crowded social space that’s constantly changing. Without analyzing, you may not realize that next month your followers are no longer interested in something they were dying for the month before. And don’t you want to be the brand that’s always keeping up with the latest trends?

So pick a tool and start analyzing! But first, let’s do a little review of everything you should be measuring…

Where to go from here?

How Well Are You Using Instagram Analytics To Market Your Products On Instagram?

With all these strategies in your back-pocket, it’s time to get out there and start Instagramming! But are you up-to-date on all the latest Instagram technology?

Instagram Updates

Instagram is constantly changing. It seems they release new features every week and the endless marketing opportunities can feel daunting.  

This is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of Instagram marketing: how can you know if you’re doing the best marketing with the available platform…if the technology could change tomorrow?

We get this. And we want you to stay as up-to-date as possible.

Over to you

We hope all of these resources have been helpful for getting your Instagram marketing where you want it to be. Now it’s time to get out there and make it happen for yourself!

If you still have questions or feel like we didn’t cover a crucial topic, please let us know. We’d love to continue improving this guide along the way.