woman holds phone while at laptop, instagram is open on her phone

Can you picture how immense one billion is? It’s bigger than we tend to imagine. For instance, one billion seconds is 32 years. If you wanted to take one billion steps, that’s the equivalent of going around the equator 15.278 times!

A billion is enormous — and that’s how many people use Instagram. 

With such a large user base, Instagram provides plenty of marketing opportunities. However, finding your niche audience amidst those billion individuals is a challenge that requires a comprehensive strategy. So, to get started, here’s how to use Instagram for marketing and expanding brand awareness: 

How to Use Instagram for Marketing: Getting Started 

First, the basics. Namely, your Instagram profile. You should have a business account, not a personal one. A business profile provides several benefits, such as the ability to include your contact information next to the “Follow” and “Message” buttons and the privilege of adding links to Instagram Stories

Complete your profile as thoroughly as possible. When people find your page, you don’t want them to question your business’ validity because it has little detail. Consumers’ trust in you depends on how much they know about you, so make sure you have a branded profile photo, a link to your website, a friendly and informative bio, and eventually, a few highlighted Stories for legitimacy. 

How to use Instagram

Create Engaging Content 

Content is the most critical part of using Instagram for business, but it’s also the trickiest. Content is how you connect with users and motivate them to follow you or make a purchase. Each of your posts and Stories needs to hold people’s interest and communicate the message you’re trying to convey. 

The more you get to know your audience, the better your content will be. Start by telling a story — not like a script, but with a captivating image and an accompanying caption that lets people know who you are, what you stand for, what sets you apart, and why their lives would be better for following you. 

Give people reason to interact with your content. For example, if you are a real estate agent, pictures of houses’ insides have their place, but they shouldn’t be the only images you post. Your audience wants to see you having fun at your job. They want to see people living in those homes, so they can imagine what it would be like. A house being built or remodeled. Information about neighborhoods. Your followers will like and comment on your posts if there are opportunities for deeper connection beyond still images of living rooms, no matter how well-arranged. 

It’s also possible to use your Instagram content for offline marketing. Though Instagram is a social media platform most people use online, displaying your posts on screens in your physical location can help you connect with visitors and tell your story. 

Leverage Instagram Insights

Another perk of having an Instagram business account is that it includes access to the platform’s native Instagram Insights feature. Plenty of other more robust social media analytics tools exist, like Hootsuite and Sprout Social, but Instagram Insights can provide you with a wealth of information about your followers’ demographics and your content’s reach. 

Say you just launched a campaign to attract more followers to your profile. Your first two posts garnered a few likes, your third was a hit, and your fourth didn’t fare so well. What gives? You can use Instagram Insights to identify what it was about post number three that resonated with your followers and what they didn’t like as much about the others. 

Optimize Your Discoverability 

SEO on Instagram works similarly to Google: you need to account for it. As incredible as your content may be, you won’t grow an audience if no one can find you. Chances that someone stumbles upon your profile organically are slim unless you take advantage of hashtags, write creative captions, and interact with commenters. 

There are no definite rules for using hashtags, but experts usually suggest between eight and twelve (fewer reduces your visibility, and more makes you seem like you’re trying too hard). Don’t be overeager and go for hashtags with millions of posts; instead, aim for less saturated hashtags that won’t drown out your content. 

Responding to commenters is essential for your discoverability, too. Don’t let your posts sit there and hope they’ll attract engagement like flies to honey — it’s important to thank them for compliments, answer their questions, and address their criticism. Do this, and potential followers will see that you are an active Instagram user that is happy to engage with your audience. 

Take Advantage of Instagram Ads

If you want to use Instagram for business, then Instagram ads are a no-brainer. Besides the work you put into your own profile, ads provide you with a way to reach consumers searching for related content but haven’t discovered your particular brand yet. 

Define your target audience: what kind of people are you trying to appeal to (based on age, professions, location, interests, or any number of factors)? Set your ads to target those users to maximize the likelihood they’ll visit your page. You can create product demos, promote discounts, raise brand awareness, or produce various other sponsored advertisements. 

If you want to know how to use Instagram for marketing, remember that you’ll have to find your own way to create content that resonates with your target audience, but the best practices discussed above can help you grow your online presence and reach new followers.