Instagram Marketing: A Simple Guide To Get Started

Time tested tips to get you started or better results on Instagram.

Instagram marketing offers a unique opportunity to grow your audience and build your brand. This Forrester study found that Instagram generates 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter. Instagram is six years young, but many small business owners still shy away from the mobile app.  The most recent recorded survey stated that 2% of small businesses use the platform.  How low is that?

Small Business Instagram Marketing

How should a Small Business approach Instagram?

My simple answer to that would be.  Approach Instagram with at least a rough plan! 

Before you start posting away,  put pen to paper and plan out your  outline. Here are some areas of consideration to set you on the right path.

Storytelling is Gold: A story will help you to connect with your audience on an emotional level. For instance, post visuals about the history of your company. If you belong to a charity, share photos of a fundraiser you organised or attended. Behind the scene, images offer a feeling of exclusivity that makes people feel special.

Be Present: Few small business owners have a lot of time on their hands. But, spare 5 minutes a day to engage with your new audience and let them see that you are present on Instagram. Reciprocate by liking and following them back. Don’t pretend to be some spoilt celebrity that follows no one.

Make use of Filters: Use good quality images with a size of 1080 x 1080 pixel.  This Fortune 500 report says that Mayfair filter receives the highest engagement. I will be a little controversial and say- go with your gut feeling. I feel that the filter should suit the story that you tell.


Think outside the Box: You may be a restaurant, but you don’t have to post images of food all the time. Take Topshop as an example. Rather than posting clothes all the time. They engage their demographics with pictures of pop culture including music and gigs.

What purpose should Instagram content serve?

Sorry but regardless of what the gurus say:  I have to tell you that Social Media have its limitation and Instagram is no different. For the most part, Instagram is a lead generation channel. Everything that you do should be to generate leads. But not right away, your goal is for people first to trust your brand. (Right?) The purpose of your content should be to:

 Increase Engagement: Engagement on Instagram are likes, comments and repost. Compel your audience to take action with your content. You can use text overlay on your photo to ask your followers to comment or share.

Build Trust: Instagram is an excellent way to build trust.  Let your authentic personality shine. For instance, rather than just post an image. Communicate your thoughts and feelings behind the post.

Increase  Traffic: You cannot add clickable links to Instagram updates. But, it can still be a source of traffic. Direct your followers to the “link in the bio” using a call to actions (CTA). Best practice: Don’t just send people to your blog. Instead, share a summary of content and ask followers to read more on the blog or website.

What Types of Content works well on Instagram?

Quotes: Quotes are an excellent way to connect with your audience.  You shouldn’t overdo it. But, the right balance could boost your other content and inspire your audience.  PayPal use quotes to communicate their brand message in a creative way.

User-Generated ContentYou can encourage your audience to share images around a particular Hashtag. UGC is an excellent way to get brand advocates on Instagram. It could also grow your audience with target followers.

Another beautiful day. #Cheers #Regram: @aalbarout

A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on

Conversation: Ask engaging questions that people want to answer. For a B2B account, it can be industry related. For B2C accounts, it can be common questions but always make it about your audience. (People like to talk about themselves). Here’s a tip that will make you look smart and interesting. 
 Use Postplanner to find interesting, high engaging questions. They don’t post to Instagram but for $7 a month. You cannot go wrong! Also, you can use it for your Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest marketing.

What's your best social media tool or tip? Ta for sharing.

A post shared by Francene Mullings (@digitalmarketcoach) on

Competitions: Reward your audience through a simple photo contest. Also, it’s an excellent way to grow your audience.  You will need to plan, promote and run the competition well for it to be a success. Platforms such as Wishpond can help with Instagram contests. They also provide useful guides to help you get up and running.

Instagram marketing is here to stay. Get on board and let me know how you get on. For only £7, here are my 150 designs to get you started.

You can also download there here for FREE.

Leave a comment in the link below to tell me where you are now and your plans for Instagram in the future. 

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Your Digital Marketing Coach!

Digital Marketing Strategist. The author of The Practical Digital Marketing Planner. Top 500 Social Media Influencer by Agilience. I work with small to medium size companies and entrepreneurs to develop a robust Digital Marketing Strategy so they can thrive online.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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