• Fiona Anne

Instagram Marketing: Short Business Guide

Updated: Aug 26, 2018

Instagram today faces less competition and has a more engaged audience than social media giants like Twitter or Facebook. With Instagram being one of the fastest growing platforms on social media; it has long passed its category as bring a niche social network with over 500 million active users per day.

‘You only have milliseconds to capture the attention of your customers; the ability to directly connect them with products that pique their interest is priceless’

The fact that Instagram is a simple platform available to millions worldwide; has made it quintessential when having a business today; mainly since it helps advance your business by weaving graphically rich and inspiring stories about your brand through visuals while providing your business an opportunity to market your product to an interested or targeted audience without significant expenditure; making Instagram the ideal network to include in your social marketing mix.

If you are a new business owner or in need of a new set of tactics for your business on this social platform you’ll hopefully find this brief guide for your account useful:


Formulate a username and profile photo that illustrates your business

When creating a username select one unique to your profile that makes cross posting simple while further engaging your brand. Pick an Instagram handle that matches your business name if possible. Now if that isn’t doable try selecting one that matches your business name as closely as possible; which might mean using characters, slight variations or even abbreviations—but try keeping it close to the actual name of your business as much as possible.

One of the first things people see when searching or visiting your profile is your photo, the type of picture is not important but rather your image so try keeping a consistency in terms visual markers and branding. Try using your logo, storefront or similar pictures to exemplify your brand and its image.

Construct a simple but catchy bio

Instagram bios have a 150-character maximum so you need to be direct and concise. This means summarizing what your business is about in a way that reflects the image you hope to present by telling your followers who you are and what you are. You can also use this to add your URL to drive traffic to your site or other social handles. You can also encourage your followers or users to be further engaged with your brand by using specific hashtags or visiting your website.

For example, Good American and Tim Horton’s respectively include a brief sentence in their bio about their brand philosophy, hashtag or link to their site.

Simple, yet catchy while providing the all necessary information and hashtag. Keep in mind if you have a physical location mentioning the hours and where you are located is important too.


After creating your account, it is time to add content. Instagram is one of the most visual social platforms available; it allows you to post various types of content like photos, videos, and stories. Below we’ll talk about the different types Instagram posts and practices for encouraging user engagement. In order to make your Instagram successful you need to make it stand out visually now that does not necessarily mean your products themselves need to be beautiful, but your Instagram should be cohesive that the photos you share should be well-lit and of the highest quality possible.

A short summary of the basic of Instagram visuals include:

  • Lighter images have a higher success rate as they receive 24% more likes than darker photos.

  • As far as images are concerned a color should be the most dominant as pictures with one tone or a dominant color get 17% more likes.

  • Photos with more background space are preferred as images that are less cluttered or heavy are able to get 29% more likes.

An example would be thestylephiles; the handle follows a specific theme; with a lot of light in most of the images, awash with a few contrast colors in open spaces. This Instagram page reads as a cohesive, attractive set of photos. The 80/20 Rule

Since people use social media for recreational purposes they do not want to be subjected to an online sales pitch. Here’s where the rule of 80/20 comes in. Use 80% on quality content to engage your followers whereas the remaining 20% can be used to market your brand. In the 20% used to market your brand include; information to benefit your followers i.e. discounts or online vouchers codes. The remaining 80% should be dedicated to content that appeals to your audience, this can be done by adding educational or informative content, trivia, teasers or even behind the scene of your business.For instance with summer coming up P.F.Chang’s Middle East has not only used their page to promote the restaurant but also to display new menu items. They have done it by subtly marketing—showing their followers how to relax this summer.

Use Instagram Stories

Take advantage of the feature of Instagram Stories, it is not only a tool for live streaming but rather an aid to help you personally connect with your audience.

Example: Kylie Cosmetics uses the story feed to showcase new product launches, swatches and promotions.

Feature Pictures Taken by Users

This does not only drive user engagement but also help you reach a wider audience and helps you gain original content while simultaneously marketing your brand.

Starbucks Middle East encourages its patrons to take a picture and use #starbucksme

Try Newsjacking

Newsjacking is a great way to instantaneously reach interested followers. With new media keeping us connected worldwide every day has something new to celebrate…National Pizza Day, Star Wars Day all manage to create hype on all social platforms. A newsjacking post is a great way to join the bandwagon by posting content that relate to such light-hearted events.

Like this ‘chill’ post by thebbtshop celebrating Star Wars Day


Liberal Use of Hashtags

It is important to keep in mind that in order for your posts to be found your account needs to be public; that said choosing a hashtag to help broaden your reach is critical. Be sure to research your hashtag to make sure that it is unique to your business. Try to select a mix of popular hashtags and specific hashtags to increase your post life. For instance, if you’re planning on using the tag #hydrate, you can use related hashtags like #drinkwater, #replenish, #rehydrate, or #hydration to broaden your post reach.

User Engagement

Use promotions, contests, charity events, teasers to drum up traffic and drive engagement to your handle. Instagram is the perfect platform to host contests and also broadcast live events. Take the simple example of hosting a contest; by doing so you create buzz which also creates follower promotion—by mentioning your hashtag and brand you are automatically exposed to a new audience.

For instance Huda uses the giveaway as a platform to start the week not only with freebies but also promoting her products subtly.


You can have the best marketing mix and strategy for your business but the reality is that all these efforts would fail if you are unable to track your account efficiently. You need to be sure that your goals are being met; say your aim to increase your following or user engagement without using analytics you might be focusing on the wrong area all together. Make sure you use the right tools to achieve the set goals you have made for your platform. Once you’ve selected them go about studying and finding out how to do better and perform better to not only achieve your set goals but also guarantee your followers satisfaction on this platform.

By now, you should have an idea of what you would like to do to create an all-round winning strategy for your business page. Although the thought of creating and maintaining a platform encapsulating your brand’s visual persona might be daunting Instagram makes it simple and easy, while giving you the opportunity to connect with your customers and take your brand to greater heights.

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