The Ultimate Instagram Marketing Guide for Beginners

Nov 27, 2018 13 min read

If you're not using Instagram for marketing yet, you might be doing your business a great disservice!

Instagram is a champion amongst the most well known social media platforms around the world, which had reached 1 billion monthly active users in June 2018, up from 800 million in September 2017.

In fact, as per the survey of Pew Research Center, 35 percent of US adults utilize Instagram for marketing as well as personal use. The highest concentration of Instagram’s user base is between 18 and 29 years old; certainly a demographic every marketer wants to reach.

Since its inception, Instagram has turned out to be an incredible marketing tool, and the number one reason why people use it is to expand their brand presence and the visibility of their products.

With all this information in mind, in this Instagram marketing guide for beginners, we’re going to disclose all that you have to know to begin Instagram marketing.

Update: This week at Statusbrew our team organized a webinar on the topic - 'Instagram Marketing Essentials' in which we talked about the basics of how to use Instagram for marketing. If in case you missed it, you can find the recording below. Also, find the slides of the webinar here.

How to boost your Instagram Marketing Game?

We'll uncover the answers to the following 5 questions and also the tips for effective Instagram marketing that will help you boost your Instagram marketing game:

  1. How to create and optimize your profile for better Instagram marketing?
  2. What type of content to post on Instagram?
  3. How to write remarkable captions to market your business on Instagram?
  4. How to effectively use hashtags for Instagram success?
  5. What are the Instagram features that you never knew about?

1. Creating a perfect profile for better Instagram Marketing

Brands, Small-business owners, Thought-Leaders - Everyone want to win on Instagram! The initial step to winning the Instagram game is creating a profile that everyone will want to follow.

So, how would you create the ideal Instagram page?

Let me tell you exactly how.

Setting up your Instagram Account

You'll have two options for creating your account when you open Instagram - Create a personal account or a business account! Ask yourself the questions listed below to figure out what type of account will be suitable for you:

  • Are you a business?
  • Do you have 10K+ followers on Instagram?
  • Do you use Instagram for marketing?
  • Would you ever run ads on Instagram?
  • Do you use Instagram stories?
  • Would Instagram analytics be useful for you?
  • Would a contact button on your account be helpful to you?

If the answer to most of these questions is a 'YES', you should consider setting up a business account! Otherwise even a private account could work for you.

Optimize your Instagram Profile!

Once you've decided what sort of account you want to set up, the next thing that you need to do is make your Instagram bio 'TO THE POINT'! When you come across someone's Instagram profile or page you want their profile to convey answers to the following three questions:

  • What the person/business does?
  • What their niche is?
  • What should you expect if you follow them?

Chances are if you're expecting this from others, they might be expecting the same from you! Thus it becomes essential to optimize your Instagram Profile in such a manner that it answers all these questions.

Underneath your bio, you should have a link to your website, and everything else that will increase your chances to be followed by a targeted set of audience.

instagram marketing strategy - Optimize your Instagram Account

Here are a few essential elements of the Instagram profile that you need to take care of:

  1. Username – This is what people will type to mention you in their Instagram posts or respond to you. To keep the things simple it is best to utilize your name or business name as your Instagram username. What if Instagram says 'THE USERNAME IS UNAVAILABLE'? That doesn't mean you have to make use of a complicated username! You can make use of a combination of letters, numbers or underscores to come up with a valid yet easy to remember username!

  2. Name – This is the name that people use to look for you. When people search for you, the search results should show your profile straight away. Thus keep your profile name simple!

  3. Bio – Like your profile picture, it is one of the first things that people will see. You've just got 150 characters to describe yourself, in an Instagram bio. Thus, keep the description short and to the point and utilize this space wisely to clarify your identity, vision, etc.

  4. Website Link – Instagram lets you add your website link to your profile - it’s the first place where Instagram allows for a clickable URL. The second place where you are allowed to place a clickable URL is Stories - if you have 10K+ followers.

  5. Profile Picture – You don't have to stress about uploading a circle photo, Instagram itself trims your profile photograph into a circle. You should upload a square picture with the area you want to show up concentrated in the center so that the corners can be cut off without cutting off the critical parts of your picture.

    Remember this while choosing a photograph - for your personal page, your profile picture should ideally be a headshot, and for your business page, it should be a company logo. This is necessary for executing consistent branding efforts across all social media platforms.

2. Type of content to post on Instagram

instagram marketing strategy - type of Instagram posts

When you've filled your profile information, it's time to decide what type of content you'll be posting on Instagram. Content is the key to developing organic followers and communication with your target audience.

So, What sort of content should be posted to Instagram? What kind of content generate more engagement on Instagram?

After all, you can’t always remain salesy, post promotional, and low-quality content, and then expect engagement and followers to pour in.

Thus, to get a good ROI from your Instagram efforts, you need to invest the time and resources into regularly publishing the engaging image and video content. Let's have a look at the types of content that typically work well on Instagram!

Successful image types for Instagram Marketing:

Greater the users engage with your posts on Instagram, greater are the chances that your posts will be shown on the top of the explore tab, and the more likely it is that new users will find your content! Following are the few examples of images that help you bring in a lot of engagement:

  1. UGC: User-generated content is the best way to generate more engagement, i.e., more likes and comments! The added benefit that UGC comes with is that it saves you time and money as it is being created by someone else. Posts with your brand hashtag are an excellent source for UGC. Here is an example of a leading global brand NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC that generated over 63K post on Instagram with the launch of their


instagram marketing strategy - #WanderlustContest

  1. Behind the scene images: These images that are mainly taken by the employees are as useful as the user-generated content. Behind the scene, images give us an enlightening glimpse into the inside look at the company, its culture, and its employees. For instance, here is an inside look at our company culture showcasing how our employees work at Statusbrew.

    instagram marketing strategy - behind the scene

    Extra tip: You can make use of a Repost for Instagram app to repost the user-generated content or the employee-generated content.

  2. Motivational Posts: Uplifting motivational quotes combined with simple visuals can enable you to tap into a person's desire to be a better version of themselves. For instance, One brand that shares motivational videos and images on Instagram like a pro is Nike, and they have a massive amount of followers as well as engagement to back their Instagram strategy up.

    instagram marketing strategy - motivational posts

    My favorite text overlay applications are Picsart and [Canva]

    Other different Instagram image types for encouraging engagement are - Educational posts, Throwback posts, We're hiring posts, Offers and Giveaways posts, Shoppable posts, Posts that promote good causes, etc.!

    Now that you've known what type of images works the best on Instagram let's have a look at this infographic on Instagram Best Image Sizes by to make sure your image content is successful on Instagram!
    instagram marketing strategy - Best Instagram Image Size

Successful video types for Instagram Marketing:

After images, videos are the type of content that generates maximum engagement on Instagram! In 2013, when Instagram was launched, it was challenging to upload a video. Users were restricted to a few seconds of video captured live on their mobile phones. But, with time Instagram emerged as an incredible platform that gave its users more alternatives to either record a video directly into the application or post pre-recorded videos from their camera roll.

Not only this but now Instagram also offers the ability to edit videos, add filters, combine videos or even trim the clips - to come up with high-quality videos. Here are a few ways by which you can post videos on Instagram:

  1. Record a video through Instagram and post it right away or later
  2. Post a pre-recorded video file on Instagram
  3. Create and post a video with Boomerang
  4. Record a video on Instagram Stories and IGTV

Originally for regular accounts, Instagram allows posting the videos of following lengths:

  • 60 seconds maximum - Instagram feed
  • 15 seconds maximum - Instagram story
  • 60 minutes maximum - Instagram live stories
  • 10 minutes maximum - IGTV

If in case you have a video that is too long for Instagram, you can make use of Hyperlapse from Instagram - It lets you create smooth time-lapse videos by condensing lengthy videos into shorter, post-able content.

3. Creating remarkable captions to market your business on Instagram

Instagram is all about images! This is what I've been hearing since I am using Instagram. But, it is not so!

There's no doubt that a picture is worth a thousand words but you need to say something about the context of the image to make the target audience to relate to whatever you are showing.

So, how to engage people with your words? How to build brand awareness and grow your audience and potential customers?

Thanks to Instagram captions! A good Instagram caption provide context for the photography, inspire your followers, and show brand personality.

Here are some Instagram marketing tips you should focus on to create remarkable Instagram captions that compliment your images:

  • Although you have 2,200 characters available for an Instagram caption, write a caption that is nice, brief and direct
  • Keep a check on grammar and spelling. Doing this will help your audience to acquire trust in you and your company
  • Incorporate emoticons to demonstrate your present state of mind and brand identity
  • On Instagram, only the first few words of your caption are shown in the feed. Make the first part of your caption super captivating with the goal that it makes people want to click on the “show more” button
  • Consider including the CTA (Call To Action) to the beginning of your caption! Use actionable, and non-passive words to encourage people to react and engage
  • If you're running a contest on Instagram, place the words “giveaway,” “contest,” or “challenge” in the first few words of the caption
  • Find a suitable Instagram voice. Keep your tone light-hearted and authentic. Remember, it can take a while to develop your brand’s voice

Words and emotions - this is what your Instagram caption is all about! A piece of your caption is also about hashtags, which can help your profile reach the desired audience.

4. Ways to effectively use Hashtags for Instagram success

The hashtags on Instagram are probably the best way to categorize content on social networks. They not only enable you to discover your own content but also allows you to find relevant content from other people and companies. The hashtag likewise allows you to connect and engage with other social networking users based on a common theme or interest.

  • Instagram #hashtags = free advertising.
  • Instagram #hashtags = gaining potential clients.
  • Instagram #hashtags = a way to an astonishing community.

Do you know - Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without!

At first, we were all utilizing hashtags carelessly; not knowing their significance in the computerized world. What started as a joke, has now become an integral part of Social Media Marketing. Now, it has become essential to keep up with the continuously evolving nature of hashtags.

So to master the art #hastagging, let us go through a few essential things about Instagram hashtags:

How Hashtags are utilized on Instagram?

With nearly 80 million photos shared every day on Instagram, it has become difficult for your account to stand out and get noticed by people!

That's where the use of hashtags come in. They make your content more discoverable! Creating a hashtag is simple, but for coming up with a successful Instagram campaign, it is worth bearing in mind the following aspects:

1. How many hashtags can you add?

You are allowed to add up to 30 hashtags in your Instagram captions, but that doesn't mean you add all of them in a single post. To avoid making your captions hard to read, use 4-5 hashtags per post. Hashtags should naturally blend within your post, and if they don't, consider placing them at the end or in the first comment of your post. Regardless of the place where they are put, they are going to work the same way.

2. How to choose an Instagram hashtag?

Have you ever thought what a good hashtag looks like?

Well, good hashtags are not the ones that are most trending or popular universally, good hashtags are the ones that your audience are searching for to find a business like yours. Begin in the Instagram's Explore Tab to locate the relevant keywords. Here, you can look for the posts that are famous and see what hashtags they make use of.

instagram marketing strategy - explore tab

You can likewise search for the related hashtags here if you already have some hashtags in mind. Merely type the hashtag in the 'SEARCH BAR', and filter your results by 'TAGS' to perceive what number of posts have utilized that hashtag and also other related hashtags.

Numerous organizations utilize their very own hashtags to roll out a new product, manage an Instagram campaign, promote an event, and collect user-generated content. If you’d like to do this for your business, make sure yours isn’t being used for another purpose and then we can encourage our audience to use it!

3. What are the other important things that you need to keep in mind about Instagram Hashtags?

  • In hashtags, you can incorporate emoticons. Special characters, such as % or $ and spaces, don’t work.
  • Don't bother individuals by stuffing irrelevant hashtags onto posts! It is spammy conduct.
  • To reach a targeted set of audience, make use of specific hashtags. It will increase the chance of quality engagement. For instance, the hashtag #nikeshoes will get you in front of a higher converting audience than something broader like #shoes when you post the picture of newly bought shoes on your account.
  • Don’t clutter your content, hide hashtags. Keep the reader focused on what’s important!
  • Consider using brand hashtags to promote your company—the people, wins, and culture. At Statusbrew, we use #lifeatstatusbrew for that purpose.
  • Your brand hashtags should be easy to remember. Make them short.
  • You can include up to - 30 hashtags on a regular post, and up to - 10 hashtags on a Story. But, that #does'not #mean #you #have to #hashtag #everything.
  • You can capitalize the hashtags to improve readability. #KnowWhatIMean?

5. What are the Instagram features that you never knew about?

Instagram has been adding a ton of small-yet-powerful features since it's inception. From interactive ads to zoomable images, here’s a list of the top new Instagram features you've probably missed:

1. The optimal time to post on Instagram: Instagram is a platform on which the users stay active at all times of the day. However, still there are some of the critical times to post on Instagram:

  • The best time to post on Instagram are Mondays and Thursdays at any time other than 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Thursday is the best day to post on Instagram.
  • Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. are the safest times to post to Instagram.
  • The least engaging day on Instagram is Sunday.

instagram marketing strategy - Optimal time to post on Instagram

2. Share your content across other social networks: The best thing about Instagram is that it lets you post content seamlessly across different social networks. All you need to do is go to your profile, tap the post you'd like to share and tap share. Using Instagram, you can also share your content across Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr

3. See the photos and videos you’ve liked: In the Instagram settings menu, you can see the 300 most recent photos or videos you've liked. Just click 'Posts You’ve Liked' under the Account section.

4. Pinch to zoom: This gesture has been a popular feature on Instagram for a while now. Like on Facebook, Twitter, and many other apps, users can now pinch to zoom on videos and photos on Instagram.

5. Hide posts you’ve been tagged in: If someone tags you in a post; it’ll show up under the 'Tagged' section of your Instagram. All these posts will not only be visible to you but also your followers. If you want to hide a photo or video you're tagged in, tap the photo or video, tap username and then consider clicking on the hide from my profile option. Doing this won’t remove the posts from your Instagram, but it’ll remove them from your profile.

instagram marketing strategy - instagram tagged posts

6. Save posts that interest you: Instagram is a hub of incredible content. There may be chances that you've come across some stunning content on Instagram, and you wanted to save it for the future reference! So how could you save this content for later access? Well, Instagram makes it simple — via Saved content.

instagram marketing strategy - instagram saved posts

Using the ribbon like icon in the lower right corner you can save posts on Instagram. You’ll see Save to Collection pop up along the bottom of the post when you tap on it. Once you've saved the desired content, you can access it through your profile. Tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner of your Instagram profile and click Saved option. There you'll find two options - All and Collections. You can discover all your saved content in sequential order under 'ALL'. Under Collections, you’ll see that content sorted out into Collections.


Other Instagram Marketing blogs that you may like:


Instagram was at one time a simple photo-sharing app, but now it has transformed into a captivating social experience that enables you to share your experience or knowledge with people and stand out from the rest.

Consider sharing simple tips and tricks to connect with your target audience. Instagram users value the high-quality content. The more valuable and knowledgeable oriented your Instagram is, the easier it will be for you to gain their trust.

You may find it terrifying to create and maintain your brand's identity; however, a platform like Instagram makes it fun and simple. To begin with, your Instagram marketing strategy, follow our Instagram marketing guide for beginners and feel inspired.

If you have more questions concerning Instagram, leave them in the comments below, and one of our social media experts will answer them. ?

Ritika Sharma

Ritika is a digital marketing specialist and a writer who works on putting together creative and useful content for Statusbrew. Other than this she's an adventure seeker and a photography enthusiast.

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