Instagram is ideal for promoting a business and a personal brand. While the processes of registering and posting photos are understandable even to beginners, promotion raises many questions. How to gain followers, how to monetise them, how to properly manage your account? We will answer these questions in our article.
Start with the most important thing - write down your promotion goals. For influencers, for example, it's followers, which are their asset (which they can later monetise). For a company, it’s sales on Instagram, brand awareness, expanding the customer base, increasing customer loyalty, changing product usage habits (define primary and secondary objectives).
These goals can be divided into 4 groups.
- Business objectives: increase profits by 35%, change company's market position, increase average bill.
- Marketing: launch an additional sales channel, increase the percentage of repeat purchases, expand the customer base, introduce a new product to the market.
- Communication: increase brand awareness, increase customer loyalty, connect with customers, get feedback.
- Media objectives: increase reach, increase engagement with content.
Let’s have a look at a simple example of goal setting for a psychology expert who earns by selling books and conducting webinars.
- Provide a 40% increase in subscribers from the current number by the end of the year
- Sell 500 copies of books by the end of the year
- Enroll 1,000 students in webinars by the end of the year.
Based on goals set, you can move to creating an Instagram promotion strategy. It’s important to follow certain key steps.
Instagram promotion strategy
1. Setting goals (discussed above).
2. Competitor analysis. Check both direct and indirect competitors. Evaluate their pages according to several parameters: number of followers, quantity and quality of content, activity under posts, how they communicate with their audience, which Instagram tools they use (e.g. posting Stories often, using all interactive stickers). You must also analyze the product itself, its prices, advantages and disadvantages. For example, the product is objectively competitive with yours, but the seller takes a long time to reply to messages, and offers only 1 method of payment.
3. Create a portrait of your audience. You need a clear idea of who your audience is, how they behave on Instagram and what kind of pitch will help to attract and retain them.
4. Come up with a visual packaging concept. At this stage, you need to develop a brand identity for the page. Ensure that product photos look well together and create a unique identity of the page.
Let’s have a look at the influencer @codymillers, who calls himself the “king of yellow”. His recognisable feature is that yellow is a must of his content. Of course, this doesn't mean that you have to come up with something exceptional or use color as a basis. At the very least, you need to choose a common style of your account (like a particular Lightroom preset) and images that look great together on the page. A recognisable characteristic increases the likelihood that people will want to know more about you and follow your updates.
5. Develop a content plan. Here the main two questions are: what and when to post. It is advisable to make a plan for a month or at least a week. Recently Instagram has become more complex, with new functions, which are determined by automated algorithms. Now you need to think through all the content: posts, posts, Reels. It is not enough anymore to plan the frequency and content of simple posts.
6. Plan the means and tools for feedback from your followers. You need to think about how you are going to communicate with your followers. For example, you are going to communicate only in Direct messages or also in comments. Will you provide additional channels for communication, such as other messengers? We advise using multi-linking services to add more contacts, links to other social networks. It can be a YouTube channel or your own website. At the initial stage of promotion you can handle messages and comments yourself, but as time goes by you will simply not have time for this. We advise you to start delegating the communication with followers to another person from your team.
Think through the advertising strategy. It is possible to start targeting advertising in Instagram through Facebook, organize promo actions or influencer marketing. However, remember that you should buy ads after you have first active subscribers on your page. As soon as you have enough content on the page, you can start implementing your strategy. If you run ads on a half-empty page with 10 photos and 300 subscribers, which has almost no comments, it's very likely that you won't get the effect you expect from the ads.
Analyze the effectiveness and make adjustments to the promotion strategy. As a minimum, you need to monitor and analyze Instagram's statistics. You can also use more informative paid services. Data analysis will help to understand in what direction you are moving and what should be changed in the promotion strategy.
Now let's take a closer look at how to promote your account. Specifically, from registration and design to the launch of advertising.
33 ways to promote your account. Part 1
If you're already active on Instagram and you've noticed a drop in reach or engagement, we recommend checking your account for fake accounts (bots), they might be the ones ruining your account. The more your audience is active, the higher your engagement, reach and ,as a consequence, sales. An account should be cleaned after any tweaks, especially if you've tweaked bots. In case you haven’t noticed any drops in followers’ activity, read on and learn creative ways to promote you insta.
1. Create an account and set up a business profile
If you start promoting from scratch, the first step is to register your company on Instagram. You can do it both from your phone and PC. The next step is to switch to a commercial profile or an author's account. To do this, create a business page on Facebook, go to the "Settings" section of your Instagram account and switch to the business profile.
So why do you need a business account? It has many advantages compared to a normal profile.
Availability of statistics (views, likes, comments, engagement, reach and more);
Contact buttons (phone number, e-mail and directions);
Specified category (a special block where you can specify the sphere of activity);
Display of the actual address of the company (the client can immediately get to a page with a map).
2. Nickname (username)
This is a unique set of characters in Latin, which are also displayed in the URL (https://www.instagram.com/lavarice_/) by which you can be found. In the nickname, use the company name, your first or last name, a keyword or a link to a region. In a compound nickname, use an underscore to separate words. The use of a full stop is also allowed. To change your nickname, click "Edit Profile" and change it in the "Username" field. When you're done, save the changes. If the nickname is occupied, a notification will appear.
3. Account name (first name)
Here you can also enter the name of your brand, a keyword that potential customers can use to find you, or the name of your product. For personal blogs it is best to use catchy, provocative names or simply your real name.
When you use a unique name or title, you are working for brand recognition. If you choose the right keyword, your profile will be more demand-driven and searchable.
To change your account name, click "Edit Profile" and enter text in the "Name" field. You can also use emoji. The maximum length is 30 characters. It is allowed to change your page name a maximum of 2 times within 14 days.
4. Description (section “about you”)
The description should include the basic features of your business: the types of products you offer, the benefits of working with you, your experience, and so on. If you can’t come up with one, post links to your other social media communities.
5. Profile picture
There are two things to keep in mind. The final image will be in the shape of a circle, which means the original version will be cropped around the edges. Secondly, the avatar should definitely evoke an association with the services you provide (or the brand as a whole).
6. Contact details
Go to your profile settings and enter phone number, email, address and website link. If you don't have a website, put a link to your messenger. You can also duplicate the phone number in your profile description.
7. Fill the profile with content
Promotion of Instagram is primarily based on creating attractive visual content. It is what encourages subscribers to get familiar with the text accompaniment of the selling proposition. We prepared some important characteristics of graphic content for Instagram, that you should take into consideration:
- High quality (apply the rule of daylight or natural light). Light should fall on the subject of the photo as a result images are sharper, brighter. When you process the photo, use built-in filters, they will help to eliminate existing flaws.
- Storyline (make each photo a short story about the characteristics of the product, the life of your team outside the work process or any other relevant type of story).
- Unified style. A consistent color scheme or repetitive visual components will all contribute to your identity and independence. As an output, your profile will appeal to a diverse target audience.
An ideal example of perfectly made and designed content from @manasbhatiadesign
8. Texts for posts
Text plays an equally important role in promotion as the visual appeal of your posts. Try to think of the topics for the posts in advance. Remember the important rule: one topic - one post. Avoid going too much in detail or speak about few different topics/products in one publication - you will lose the attention of your followers very fast. Don’t forget to structure your texts. Divide them into paragraphs, use emoji, make lists. Don't post lumps of text - no one will read them. It might be useful to create different types of posts. For example, entertaining, selling or expert (e.g. how-to's and guides). Keep in mind that there should be more useful content than the selling one. The optimal scheme would be the following: for 2 selling posts, 6 useful and 2 entertaining posts. Always try to engage users from the first lines of the text. It might not be easy, but if you manage to do so, the probability that your followers will read it drastically increases. After you imagine a catchy introduction, think about a call to action. Use CTA at the end of the text. Get people to be active below the posts, ask them questions, suggest other types of interaction. For example: "Share your experience in the comments," "What do you think about this topic?"
9. How to use geolocation for posts
Geolocation is a tool that allows you to point the location where a photo has been taken. To enable it in your posts, click "Add location" in the caption box and then enter your geolocation information. As a geolocation you can use not only the place where your organization is located, but also popular places of the city (shopping and entertainment centers, places of cultural rest, parks and squares, museums, etc.), which will allow you to reach even more people. If the search doesn't yield the right geo-location, you can add your location via Facebook.
10. Create a guide
Manuals or guides are the best tools that allow you to bundle up to 30 publications. This is useful when you want to link posts on the same topic. You can also include other accounts' posts if their privacy settings don't prohibit it. When the first guide has been created, a tab will appear on the page to display all of the guides. Guides can be bookmarked, reposted and forwarded.
Example of a guide. A guide on the fashoin trends of 2023 by Prada.
11. More Stories
Publish Stories more often. Since the advent of Reels, Stories have dropped slightly in reach but are still popular. Users are so used to Stories that pages without them (or where they are rarely posted) are perceived as abandoned. They may be less likely to be subscribed to. Some authors post Stories every day or every two days. As a minimum, you should post at least a couple of Stories a week. Also, keep important Stories up to date, so they don't disappear after 24 hours. You can post entire storylines of themed posts. For the promotion purposes, create a unified look for such sets.
12. Use Reels
At the moment Reels work on the principle of Tik-Tok. This means that by publishing Reels, you can attract new subscribers very quickly. Instagram is always actively promoting new features, and now it is also trying to compete with Tik-Tok. Reels are now like Tik-Tok in the early days, when you could quickly become popular and get a lot of free views from recommendations.
To promote on Instagram, Reels is not only worth using for influencers, but also for brands. For example, a construction firm can use a short video to present a house they've built.
You can generate both new ideas and take old content and adapt it to the new Reel. The important point is to make a separate video for Reels, rather than simply re-posting content from Tik-Tok. Instagram threatens not to show such videos in recommendations.
13. Set up shop
Relevant for online shops only. By setting up a shop and shopping tags on Instagram, your customers will be able to buy directly from posts (and, soon, from Reels as well). This shortens the path from product selection to purchase, thus increasing conversion rates. In other words, simply by catching a user, who is surfing through Instagram and checking nice pictures, you can get a customer.