When marketing your business online, Instagram is vital in effectively connecting with your customers.
Before you start posting, you need a strategy. After all, you want to play smarter, not harder, with social media. That’s why we created this ultimate guide to Instagram to help you through every step in the Instagram marketing process.
From creating an account to building your audience to posting tips and updates, this one-stop, comprehensive guide will help your Instagram marketing strategy soar in 2023.
What is Instagram Marketing, and How is it Different from Marketing on Other Social Media Platforms?
Instagram marketing uses the tools of the social media app to grow brand awareness, launch new products, and connect with customers through visual aesthetics.
The biggest challenge companies face when using Instagram for marketing is that they need to realize that specific strategies that work on other social media platforms have a different impact on Instagram.
Instagram is all about photo and short video sharing, company branding, and visual aesthetics.
In July of 2022, Instagram rolled out a trial update that made the app look and work much more like TikTok.
The reception to this update was so negative that within a week, Instagram reverted the platform after users made it clear that they didn’t want Instagram and TikTok to be the same. Instagram users like the unique experience that the platform provides.
Focus on growing your audience, promoting products/services, and being part of the community. Utilize pictures, Reels, and hashtags to connect with customers while adding a personal touch to your business’s online interactions.
If you are still determining whether your business is right for Instagram, check out our post about the best businesses for Instagram.
You’ll find success in no time by posting great content, interacting with your customers, and streamlining your professional goals.
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How to Set Up Your Instagram for Business
Setting up your Instagram account for business is straightforward.
The first step is downloading the Instagram app and signing up for an account. Without it, Instagram won’t let you sign up for a business account. (Note: You can create ads on Instagram without an account as long as you have a business account on Facebook, but you cannot post organically on Instagram without an account.)
While logged into the app, click on “Settings.” From there, pick “Account” and tap “Switch to professional account.”
You will be prompted to choose a category that best describes your business: select “Business.”
From there, there are a couple of pieces of information you will need to fill out about your company.
By changing your regular Instagram account into a business account, you now have access to a variety of specially designed tools to help get the most out of your account.
Now that your business account is set up let’s look at how you can verify your Instagram account and professional dashboard.
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Verifying Your Instagram Account
Your Instagram account does not necessarily need to be verified to be successful. However, having a verified account adds to your authority and can help distinguish your business from similar, duplicate, copycat, or fan accounts.
How to Verify Your Instagram Account
Before you can even start the verification process on Instagram, your account needs to:
- Be public
- Have a bio and profile photo
- Have at least one post
Once you have met these requirements; you can start the verification process for your Instagram account.
- Log into your account in the Instagram app
- Go to Settings
- Go to Account
- Select Request verification
- Follow the steps to apply for Instagram verification
Step 1: Confirm Authenticity
To start the verification process, you will need to provide Instagram with your business’s full name and a document such as your driver’s license, passport, national ID card, tax filing, recent utility bill, or articles of incorporation. The document type you select will differ between individuals and businesses, so choose the one that makes sense for your account.
Step 2: Confirm Notability
This step will show that your business’s account is in the public interest.
You will need to select your business’s country/region and the category: news/media, sports, government and politics, music, fashion, entertainment, digital creator/blogger/influencer, gamer, global business/brand/organization, or other.
There are also additional options to input a description of your audience and any “also known as” names your business may have. These two items are optional.
Step 3: Links (optional)
Step 3 is entirely optional but can help add to your application for verification. This step allows you to add links to articles, social media accounts, or other links that show that your account is in the public interest. The Loop Marketing recommends completing this step if you can, as it will help make your case to Instagram for account verification.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
A few things to keep in mind to be able to verify your account are:
- Your account has to be for “a real person, registered business or entity”
- The account you are verifying should be the only account for your business
- Your account needs to “represent a well-known, highly searched-for person, brand or entity”
Once you have completed all of the steps for verification, your application will be sent to Instagram for review. Your verification will then be approved or declined within 30 days. If your verification application is denied, you can still use your account just as you would before, and you can resubmit an application for verification once you have established your brand more.
For more information about Instagram account verification, Instagram has put together a complete guide.
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Navigating Your Instagram Professional Dashboard
At the beginning of 2021, Instagram introduced Professional Dashboard, a new way to “track performance, access and discover professional tools, and explore educational information curated by Instagram.”
Instead of separate sections for analytics, branded content, and Instagram Shop, the Professional Dashboard keeps track of everything all in one place.
The first graphic you will see pop up when you open the dashboard is Instagram Analytics.
Like Google Analytics, Instagram Analytics features a collection of insights about your account, including profiles reached, accounts engaged, and total followers over a set period.
These data points are especially important when figuring out your business’s Instagram reach. The more accounts you reach, the more eyes are on your posts.
From here, you also can receive an elementary grasp of which posts or hashtags seem to get in front of the most people.
Engaged means various activities ranging from comments and shares to mentions and direct messages.
There are two reasons why engagement matters.
First, it allows you to know what your followers care about. If your followers are commenting, sharing, saving, swiping through, liking certain posts, or seeming more interested in a specific topic, you can get an idea of what kind of information your audience wants.
Don’t be discouraged if your initial posts aren’t setting the world on fire with high engagement. It takes time to build a dedicated Instagram audience.
Secondly, engagement matters to Instagram’s algorithm. Like all social media products, if more people are engaging with your posts, then said posts are more likely to be boosted in Instagram’s newsfeed. Generally, Instagram bases how “important” your post is to show more people the engagement it receives within the first hour it has been published.
Instagram Ad Tools
If you want to promote one of your top engaged Instagram posts, Ad Tools is what you are looking for.
Designed with simplicity in mind, Instagram Ad tools allow you to create promotions and ads from posts you have already published with only a press of your finger.
The Ad Tools page will also enable businesses to manage their ads from the Instagram app.
Check out the desktop version of ad tools if you want a more detailed look at your Instagram ad information. Because Instagram is a part of Meta, the desktop version of ad tools also includes information about Facebook ads.
Tips and Resources
At the bottom of the Professional Dashboard are a collection of posts and videos produced by Instagram to help you on your business journey.
Not only are these short posts filled with helpful information, but they also provide you with a roadmap to create your own Instagram posts.
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When is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?
With about 500 million users accessing the app daily, Instagram is one of the most consistent and reliable platforms for connecting with your customers. And, while you might have the perfect post ready to publish, it may get buried under a sea of other pictures if you aren’t publishing at the right time.
Most Instagram users follow hundreds of accounts, so posting at the most optimal time will help your discoverability.
For example, if you post when most of your followers are asleep, it’s unlikely they’ll see your post on their feeds by the time they wake up. This can also hurt your post’s “ranking” in Instagram’s algorithm.
A general rule of thumb is to post around 11 am local time on weekdays or in the evening between 7 pm and 9 pm, as this is a period of high engagement. But also think about the times of day you usually scroll through social media. Many people check their phones throughout the day, but the times people scroll are based on their daily routines. Check out this chart from Sprout Social that details Instagram engagement.
We’ve compiled some questions you should ask yourself when scheduling your Instagram Stories and posts to help you find the best time to publish and optimize your audience engagement.
When is Your Audience on Instagram?
Knowing your specific audience is crucial in deciding on a posting schedule. Think about your ideal customer’s day and when they can access the app.
If you’re a local boutique selling to high school students, avoid posting in the mornings. Instead, try posting during lunch times or after the school day has ended.
For businesses with customers on both coasts, remember that 10:00 A.M. EST will be 7:00 A.M. PST, so meeting in the middle or prioritizing the west coast’s schedule may prove beneficial.
Ideally, you are posting at least a couple of times per week at various times, so you reach the most people no matter what timezone they are in. Depending on your industry, the ideal time for posting differs.
Keeping your audience in mind will help you narrow down a more specific, personalized posting schedule for your Instagram activities.
The Type of Business Matters
Depending on what products or services your business offers, it may be better to post during the evening than in the morning and vice versa.
Restaurants that are only open in the evenings may find more success in posting shortly before they open for the night as opposed to posting during lunch hours since customers won’t be able to take action until later.
When you post should make sense for your business.
Thanks to Instagram’s ability to schedule posts through your Meta Business Suite, there’s no need to wait to post when you have the time. With your business account, you can schedule posts whenever you want, so take advantage of that and post when it is most optimal.
(Note: You cannot schedule Instagram posts directly through the app at the time of publishing this blog. Suppose you do not have your Instagram account connected to a Facebook business account. In that case, you will need to use a paid scheduling platform like Sprout Social or Buffer to schedule Instagram posts)
Take advantage of Instagram scheduling and design your posting schedule as soon as possible. With great content and excellent timing, you’ll notice that your Instagram account’s engagement will skyrocket.
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How to Get Found on Instagram
There are three main factors (or Signals) that influence what you see on your Instagram search results: text, activity, and information.
Depending on the text you type into the search bar, Instagram will match you with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags, and places.
In addition, Instagram also includes accounts you follow, posts you’ve viewed, and how you’ve interacted with accounts in the past as part of your results. So if you visit or comment on a particular page more than others, that account is more likely to appear at the top of your search results.
Lastly, the service considers popularity signals: the number of clicks, likes, shares, and follows for a particular account, hashtag, or place.
To appear more often in search results, the quality of your content matters, as does the amount of engagement you have with other posters.
The more people see your name, the more likely you are to generate interest.
Rather than try and find the secret sauce behind which accounts to follow, focus first on creating great, unique content. Those who do tend to perform better than those who do not.
Although hashtags may be most-associated with Twitter, their importance to other platforms like YouTube and Instagram is much more crucial.
There’s no place more important for hashtags than Instagram. The # symbol has become synonymous with content organization and helped various niches find a home and grow online.
Using hashtags is a great way to make your business more discoverable online, but to maximize your social media success, you’ll want to make sure you know what you’re doing. Using the wrong hashtags or too many of them may put off potential customers, so you’ll want to ensure that your hashtags are appropriate and streamlined.
How to Do Hashtags Work?
A hashtag is a symbol (#) used on social media to help categorize topics or keywords.
Hashtags can be found in almost any Instagram post you see. You’ll likely stumble across a post with #travel, #food, or #tbt (throwback Thursday) at some point in your social media life.
Hashtags can help categorize your posts so that people searching for them can find them.
The best way to use hashtags will be different for every business, depending on your target audience, business type, and goals.
Still, you can do some general things to get the most out of your hashtags regardless of those factors.
Instagram shared their own tips for using hashtags on their Creators account (@creators) that will aid you in your quest for hashtag mastery.
We recommend commenting on your hashtags after you’ve posted or hitting the return button several times after your caption to ensure your hashtags do not overwhelm or distract from your caption.
There is also the new hashtag experience, where Instagram determines relevant hashtags and connects with a related organization to drive engagement toward specific causes. This allows users to donate, support, and fundraise through hashtags.
If you’re a new business or a fresh Instagram account, it’s unlikely this will affect you but be aware of what other hashtags are being used, so you do not inadvertently drive traffic to a competitor or unrelated website.
Creating a unique hashtag for your business can help you build a brand identity.
Take, for example, Coca-Cola’s incredibly successful hashtag campaign #ShareACoke. Combined with the release of personalized Coke cans, this hashtag helped create the idea of a community within it.
Not only can users use the hashtag to search for your posts, and customers can use the hashtag to show you off. It’s kind of like free advertising.
Every post can feature up to 30 hashtags, so mix and match business-branded hashtags with more popular related hashtags for optimal performance.
The hashtags you use, not just the ones you create, set the tone for what image you want your business to have online. Is your company more serious, or would you like to appear more casual and carefree? What kind of customers are you trying to attract?
What hashtags you use and their frequency will affect your branding, so be sure to focus on how you want to portray your business online when using them.
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Types of Posts on Instagram
Instagram is more than just a photo-sharing app. Founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2010, the platform has evolved into a giant virtual space where you can post various types of content.
This is why Instagram is the perfect place to market your business.
After you’ve set up a business account on Instagram, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the different posting options you’ve now discovered.
No need to fear–we’re here to break it down for you.
Photos are the most shared content you’ll find on Instagram, and they’re also the easiest to post.
You can select multiple photos by tapping on the icon next to the camera on the right-hand side of the screen.
With photos, you can apply filters or customize individual values within the app, making editing easy. Instagram isn’t very flexible regarding image dimensions, so make sure that the focus of your photo will fit within the borders.
Much like posting photos, it is pretty simple to share videos. According to Instagram, the maximum file size for 10-minute-long videos is 650MB, while the maximum file size for 60-minute-long videos is 3.6GB.
On the mobile app, you can review insights on your Instagram videos. These insights include audience retention and average video percentage watched, giving you more scientific feedback than the average like or comment.
Instagram Stories are posts that last up to 24 hours and disappear after this period.
Suppose you want your Story to remain available. In that case, you can create a Story highlight, which will keep the Story available for anyone to see after its original posting period has ended.
Unlike regular posts like photos or videos, Stories do not appear on your Instagram feed but are at the app’s top. Your followers can view your Stories by tapping on your profile picture. These also show up chronologically for your followers, so you do not have to fight against the algorithm to get your story seen.
Stories are a great way to engage with your target audience directly and highlight or hype up your upcoming posts. And, with Instagram’s newest update, you can easily share links in your stories for content sharing, event signups, and more!
Added to Instagram in 2020, Instagram Reels are designed to be brief, attention-grabbing videos, much like what you would see on TikTok. Reels are recorded within the Instagram app and are 90 seconds or less.
Still, you can apply various fun filters and effects while editing.
Reels are especially great for discoverability, as they’re easily found in the Explore tab and are shown as suggested videos while scrolling in your feed.
Even if you’re not interested in adding effects, posting short videos as Reels can significantly help you attract new followers or customers to your business’s Instagram account.
By using Instagram’s Live feature, you can host a live stream.
Your viewers can comment or request to join you during these live streams unless you turn these options off. You can share a replay of your broadcast after it’s ended by posting it to your profile as an IGTV.
Live videos are perfect for interacting with your customers in real time.
If you’re hosting a Q&A session, showing off a new product or service, or even just wanting to say hi, going live is an intelligent and excellent way to build a relationship with your audience.
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What to Post on Your Business Instagram Account
Because Instagram is primarily used for sharing images and videos, it can be intimidating to figure out what to post if you are running a small business.
We’ve got some ideas for content that you can post to draw in new customers and keep your current ones engaged and ready to return.
Below are some of our favorite Instagram content ideas for your small business.
Highlight New Products or Services
Do you have something new coming soon? Instagram is great for sharing the news and showing off what you’ve been working on.
Take advantage of Instagram’s photo-sharing ability and post pictures displaying your new products.
Additionally, if your posting is a significant announcement for your business, daily countdown posts always excite audiences.
Customer Reviews and Results
If a customer made an Instagram post highlighting your product, share it! Reposting is easy.
You can take a screenshot of the desired post(s) and crop accordingly, or use a platform like Repost for Instagram, an app designed specifically for this very purpose!
Please remember to ask permission before reposting a customer’s post and to give credit for their photos in your caption.
Behind the Scenes (BTS)
Posting content during your business’s working hours can make your business feel welcoming and approachable. And it makes for excellent Story content and future Highlights.
Showing what goes into making your product or service lets your audience know that you genuinely care about what you’re doing and that you want to build a relationship with them.
Additionally, posting content of your employees (with their permission, of course) can make things feel more personal.
If you’ve got a great work environment, show it off! People love to see that the people behind the products or services they’re paying for are just as good as those things themselves.
Letting your audience know that you’ll be a part of a community event makes you that much more reachable to them. Plus, if you’re going to be physically at an event, it’s an excellent opportunity to speak with potential new customers!
This is even more important if you’re doing a charity event. Share a cause you care about with your followers–it’ll show them your business values and draw in new customers who share similar ideals.
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Building Your Instagram Community
Here’s where the leaders on Instagram separate themselves from the beginners.
Some people believe that once you set up an Instagram account, take a couple of photos, maybe include a link to your website, and you’re all set.
Then when your posts get zero traction, or your analytics show no traffic coming to your site, discouragement kicks in, and you give up.
But if you learn how to build an engaged Instagram community early, you’ll expand your business’s reach while providing another connection to your community.
Never Buy Followers
That zero next to follower count on an Instagram dashboard can feel lonely, but whatever you do, never ever buy followers.
There are a ton of services that claim to provide cheap, easy, and real followers (especially on places like Fiverr), but none of those are legitimate.
Not only will paid followers not provide you with any long term gains, fake Instagram followers are against Instagram’s terms of service. Add in the fact that these paid follows (and likes) don’t authentically engage with your posts, and you end up with a waste of money.
No matter how good the deal sounds, never pay for Instagram followers. The best way to gain followers is by organically engaging with people on Instagram that are a part of your community. Follow people and like posts.
Fill Out Your Profile
This might seem obvious, but the first step towards building an Instagram community is to fill out your profile.
That means uploading a profile image (preferably your logo), choosing a proper Instagram to handle (should be as close to your business name as possible), and filling out your bio.
While you are putting in information, think about what link you’re going to include. Some businesses are linking followers to pages directly related to the products they post on their Instagram to drive more traffic to specific pages. If you need to provide more than one link in your bio and don’t want to update it constantly, apps like Linktree are a good link hosting option.
Consider the most important information for potential customers to see and include it in your bio.
Similar to having a consistent blog post schedule, it’s essential to post on Instagram consistently.
Some people and businesses post multiple times per day, but most marketers recommend posting three times a week and no less than once per week. This allows you to keep a consistent presence while not overwhelming your followers.
In the next section, we talk about automated social media calendars, which automatically schedule the correct number of posts for you. Whether you use an automated service or not, you should at least keep an updated social media calendar for posting.
Promote Your Instagram
One way to gain more Instagram followers is through simple promotion. Use your other social media profiles to let fans and customers know you are now on Instagram.
Add a link on your website, and even include your Instagram in an email bio. The more places the Instagram logo is visible, the better. No one can follow you if they don’t know you exist.
Another option is to reach out to your contact list to see if they’d be interested in promoting your account. Sometimes a brand with many followers that you’ve worked with in the past might be willing to swap social media links which would allow you to get in front of an entirely new audience.
Don’t be afraid to promote your Instagram: it’s the easiest way to connect with an audience already familiar with your brand.
Social media is all about connecting with your audience. What better way to do that than start the conversation?
Maybe make a post asking a question or share an intriguing thought that might usher in some user engagement.
Just as important, though, is to start conversations on other people’s posts. Commenting, discussing, and even just liking someone else’s photos can help get your account in front of other users.
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Automated Instagram Posting
From the advent of social media comes one of the best business tools to invest in: automated social media posting. Many options are available online, and most share similar functionalities with varying price points.
The key to finding the right automated Instagram posting software is knowing what you are most interested in. Do you want to post without having to log in all of the time? Would you like more detailed Instagram analytics? Is engagement high on your priority list?
Based on those factors, we chose a few of our favorite (and most popular) social media automation tools to help you grow your business on Instagram while saving time.
Scheduling within the Instagram App
Confirmed reports now state that Meta is slowly rolling out the ability to schedule Instagram content directly from the app itself. As of 2022, there are no signs of when this feature will make it out to the general Instagram audience, but keep your eyes open for that announcement.
While Meta continues to tinker with the ability to schedule posts on Instagram, the landscape of social media automation hasn’t changed much from last year. Here are The Loop Marketing’s recommendations for the best social media automation services.
If you are looking for something easy to use and decently priced, then Buffer is the way to go.
With a free version and paid subscription version ($5 per month per social channel), Buffer is one of the cheaper options on our list, but it is quite formidable for the price. For $5 per month, there is individual post analytics, historical data access, and hashtag performance information.
Unsure of what time to post? Buffer sets three preferred times daily based on social media metrics to give your Instagram photos the best chances to be seen.
On the free version, users can schedule posts, but to get the best results, you will need to sign up for the paid plan.
Hootsuite has been around forever, so it’s no wonder they’ve managed to find themselves on our list of the best automated social media platforms.
Like other platforms, Hootsuite has a limited free plan and a bevy of more expensive subscription options ranging from $49 a month to $599 a month.
The biggest difference between the plans is how many posts you can schedule. On the free plan, it’s five maximum, whereas the paid plans allow for unlimited.
Posting is relatively simple through Hootsuite: choose your photo, write your caption, and schedule your post. That’s all. Hootsuite also publishes suggested best-practice times for posting.
The platform features a robust collection of analytics, including Hootsuite Impact. With this feature, you can “track, analyze, and understand audience engagement on your social channels at every step of the customer journey to grow the value of your content and campaigns.”
Add in a customizable analytics dashboard, and you have one of the most powerful social media tools at your fingertips.
One of the biggest companies in social media automation is Sprout Social. Trusted by over 30,000 organizations and brands, Sprout Social’s strong reputation precedes them.
With Sprout’s social media engagement tool, you control everything. From complete conversation management to keyword/hashtag tracking, Sprout Social is designed to be the only social media management platform you need.
They offer a 30-day trial, but everything else is under a paid plan. Sprout Social revised their paid plans, doing away with the $89 a month plan, and replacing it with the more expensive $249 per month Standard plan. The Standard plan is limited with its available features – if you want preferred scheduled posts, limited analytics, and more than five social media profiles, the cost is $399 a month.
If you’re looking for a full-featured, well-designed social media management platform and aren’t afraid to spend a little money, check out Sprout Social. Otherwise, some of the other subscription sites listed here are better options.
CoSchedule is a little bit of everything. Part social media calendar, part marketing suite, it’s easy to get lost in all of the features that CoSchedule offers.
When talking about Instagram for business, CoSchedule allows you to connect your account to a social media calendar. From there, you can post “single-image, multi-image (Carousel), and video posts through CoSchedule.”
CoSchedule as a platform really shines because they offer a full-size content organizer. With one calendar, CoSchedule allows your entire team to visualize all of your posts (social media, blog posts, etc.).
You can even schedule follow-up Instagram posts to advertise your blog posts.
As a whole marketing suite, CoSchedule is one of the best. It’s simple to use calendars, automated publishing, and holistic schedule views that allow you to have complete control over everything content.
For the marketing calendar, CoSchedule charges $29 per month per user. As for the marketing suite, CoSchedule requests you schedule an appointment online, where a representative can help provide you with the most accurate and personalized information.
Which Option is Best for You?
If you’re looking for something simple dedicated to Instagram, something like Buffer or Hootsuite might work. But if you want to become an advanced content marketer, CoSchedule and Sprout Social are the best.
However, be on the lookout for newer, similar scheduling platforms like Kontentino, which offers many similar features to Sprout Social and CoSchedule but could be a better price or workflow option for you.
If you don’t want to pay for any of these options and have a Facebook business account with your Instagram account connected to it, you can also schedule Instagram posts in the Meta Business Suite on a desktop or mobile app.
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Instagram Updates to Know for 2023
Instagram is constantly adapting and evolving. From how you post to the types of content you can post to what you can do with your posts, it can be hard to keep track of everything you can do on the platform.
While some updates are just nice for users or targeted towards creators, we want to help you stay on top of the most important updates to help you market your business successfully on Instagram.
Posting from Desktop
Instagram previously only allowed users to post from their mobile devices. As of 2021, posting directly from your desktop is now possible. This is a crucial change not just for the platform but for your business as well.
Previously, if you stored images on a desktop or edited those photos on your computer, you would need to transfer those images to your mobile device and type out a caption with the touchscreen.
Not every business is tech-savvy, and identifying hashtags on mobile is challenging. You can share an image or video directly from your desktop and write your hashtags as intended from the comfort of your computer.
However, one big thing to note is that Instagram only allows you to post images and videos via desktop, so Instagram Stories, Reels, and live videos still require a mobile device and app.
New Accessibility Features
Instagram introduced new accessibility features in 2022 to assist those who are visually impaired and deaf or hard of hearing that everyone can universally benefit from.
One such feature is the automatic alternative text functionality: using object recognition technology, Instagram generates a description of photos for screen readers. Meta also introduced the ability to customize the alt text on your photos.
Another new addition to the Instagram accessibility features is a series of new closed captioning features. Auto-generated captions are now the default for creators and are supported globally.
When viewing any video, simply hit the three dots in the corner and toggle the captions on and off as you see fit.
One of the biggest updates for Instagram marketers was the introduction of Instagram Collabs. This feature allows “users to co-author a Feed post or a Reel with another user.” This is the perfect tool for creating engagement and attracting new leads to your products.
The Loop Marketing has discussed the benefits of collaboration before when it comes to guest posting emails or hosting webinars, but Instagram allows you to do the same thing (albeit in a much different method). Collaborating with complementary brands, influencers, and organizations is a great way to get your brand in front of a new audience.
Instagram Collabs, if done right, are one of the best new ways to build an audience and drive leads to your products.
Add Yours Stickers
Ready to create immediate engagement with your Instagram Stories? Then you need to utilize the Add Yours Stickers feature.
Simply put, this feature allows you to add prompts to your Stories, allowing customers, fans, and leads to engage with your content. The possibilities are endless.
Want to poll your audience to see what they like? Add a sticker.
Need to announce your latest product? Add a sticker.
Starting a conversation online? Add a sticker.
If you’re unsure what to post, Meta includes a series of recommended posts.
No More Getting Cut Off in Stories and Reels
Tired of getting cut off by the short time limit for Instagram Stories and Reels? Good news! Instagram has extended the length of both.
Story posts can now be up to 1 minute long instead of the previous 15 seconds, and the length of Reels has increased from a maximum of 60 seconds to 90 seconds.
Pinning posts on social media platforms isn’t a new concept. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have all had a version of this feature for a while now, but this helpful tool has finally made its way to Instagram.
Those familiar with pinned posts on platforms like Facebook and Twitter know the value of having a post at the top of your feed that introduces your business or makes a promotion visible at the top of your page for longer. Now, this strategy can be implemented on your business’s Instagram account.
While similar to its predecessors, Instagram’s grid pinning is less like pinned posts and more like pinned posts on TikTok. Users can pin multiple posts to the top of their grid, which means you don’t have to decide between pinning a long-running promotional post, a featured carousel post, or even a company intro post; you can pin all of them to the top of your grid.
How do you pin a post? Click the three dots on the top right of your post and select “Pin to your profile.” Easy as that!
Product Tagging for Everyone
No longer is product tagging limited to just brands and creators: in 2022, Instagram introduced product tagging for every user on their platform.
The pros of this addition include the fact that every one of your raving fans now has the opportunity to showcase your products to their friends and family. This is a massive boon to your business as your account no longer has to be the only place driving leads to your page or products.
The downside, of course, is that everyone else can also share their products on people’s timelines.
Product tagging encourages Instagram users to build communities of fans willing to market their products and services for free.
Customize Your Feed
Despite the possibilities of reaching new audiences with collabs and product tagging, Instagram also introduced a feature that allows users to customize their feeds.
Favorites connect users with the people and brands they interact with the most: you need to create great content that drives engagement; otherwise, other users won’t add you to their favorites list.
Following is similar in that it will only show you posts of people you are following rather than introducing you to new creators and content.
The biggest takeaway from these new additions is the same: as long as you create useful, educational, or entertaining content, you won’t have to worry about any recent changes ruining your reach. However, it’s still important to be active on Instagram to stay on top of trends and capitalize on updates.
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Tips to Help Your Instagram Marketing Strategy Soar in 2023
If you want your business to skyrocket, you’ll want to use these Instagram marketing trends.
Develop Your Brand Personality
What is your company’s identity? What are your goals?
These are questions to consider when developing your brand’s personality on Instagram.
An inconsistent feed will put off and confuse your potential customers, so you’ll need to decide what kind of content you want to post.
Try sticking to lighter colors and everyday language if you’re going for a relaxed, family-oriented vibe. Alternatively, keep things clean and direct if you’re seeking a more professional look.
Your images, captions, and hashtags should complement one another and reflect your brand personality. Keep your target audience in mind as you curate your content.
The most important things to users are authenticity and consistency when developing your brand personality.
Make sure your posts make sense with the company’s goals and that all interactions with your audience maintain a similar voice.
While it may be tempting to use generic or broader hashtags, it’s important for small businesses and growing accounts to use more specific hashtags. Look at suggested hashtags to create narrower tags that allow you to show up in search results more easily compared to big accounts with generic hashtags.
Don’t forget about your local audience as well. Adding an area code or town name to a more generic hashtag can be a huge win. Instead of just #foodie, try #chicagofoodie or #312eats if you are a restaurant in Chicago. Users on Instagram often follow niche hashtags like these as if the hashtag were an actual account.
If you’re not already using hashtags on your Instagram posts, add them! You can go in and edit your old posts to include hashtags.
Link in Bio
Your link in bio is a more “permanent” resource for followers to get to your site or a blog you may have posted. At The Loop Marketing, we recommend using link hosting tools like Linktree and Linkin.bio by Later to keep multiple links in your business’s Instagram bio.
Instagram is also in the testing stages to allow you to have multiple links in your bio without needing a link hosting tool; however, link hosting tools can help you visually find the link to a post you have referred to in your feed.
You’ll need to direct your followers somewhere in your calls to action. Having the content linked in your bio will always be the best option until Instagram adds the ability for Instagram posts to have clickable links.
Links in Stories
Until the last few months of 2021, only verified accounts and those with 10,000 or more followers could share links in their stories. Now, this feature is finally available to all users. Link sharing has also changed from a swipe-up to a link sticker (like the location and tagging stickers).
The ability for everyone to now share links in stories opens up more marketing opportunities for small businesses that don’t have a large enough audience or “clout” for verification to convert views on Instagram to clicks and site visits.
This feature allows you to share anything you want in your stories, such as company blogs, newsletter signups, product pages, and more. A link in your Instagram story is a quick and effective way to direct your customers to what you want them to see.
Story links don’t replace the importance of your “link in bio.” Rather, they are a good supplement as stories only last 24 hours unless you use them in an Instagram Highlight.
Set up Your Instagram Shop
For those businesses that sell products, consider setting up Instagram Shopping.
Instagram Shopping allows you to sell the products featured in your posts in the easiest way possible for your customers. Simply tag your products in your posts, and if followers want to learn more, they can click on a product detail page (PDP) to learn more information.
Not only that, Instagram allows customers to tag your products too. If a customer uses your product in a post, they tag it and drive traffic to your website.
Also, put your business on the shopping tab, a section designed to discover new products and brands.
Keep Up with App Updates and New Features
The world of social media is always changing and evolving, so it’s essential to stay on top of what’s new to get the most out of your social media marketing on any platform. However, this is especially true with Instagram.
For a long time, Instagram has been one of the more time-consuming for social media marketers as you could only post from a mobile device, sharing links was nearly impossible, and people only saw your posts in their feed if they followed your account.
While some of this has changed with the addition of Instagram Stories in 2016 and Reels in 2020, the biggest and most exciting changes have come in just the last year and will be coming in the year to come.
Understand the Algorithm
Your posts don’t need to be perfect in the eyes of Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm. However, understanding how Instagram pushes out your content is important to give your posts the best chance of success.
As we said, Instagram is constantly changing and adapting, which means the algorithm is too. But Instagram did us all a favor by shedding some light on how Instagram works and explaining the algorithm.
Follow Adam Mosseri on Instagram
Adam Mosseri is the Head of Instagram and posts various series to help you make the most of your experience on the platform. If you want to be one of the first to know about any Instagram updates, @mosseri is the account to follow.
Mosseri’s six series tackle announcements, advice on using Instagram, question and answer sessions, interviews with creators, addressing common complaints, and more. Every week, Mosseri shares a video that will provide helpful tips for making your Instagram presence a phenomenal success.
Instagram is an ever-changing and ever-growing platform, so the best source of information regarding new or improving features to the platform would be its leader.
Additionally, because Instagram is a Meta Platforms company, many of these tips can be carried over to Facebook.
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Let The Loop Marketing Take Your Business to the Next Level.
If your business isn’t already on Instagram, now is the time to start.
Instagram is a handy tool to grow your business online, but if you still need guidance, The Loop Marketing is here to help. We offer various social media services, such as setup, management, and social media promotion, including Instagram. Contact us today with any questions.
In the mean time, make sure to sign up to our bi-monthly newsletter below to stay up-to-date on digital marketing industry news, tips, and more!