How to use Instagram marketing: 11 practical tips

As we’re mediating influencer and brand collaborations, we are using Instagram marketing on a daily basis. Based on the experience, we wrote down 11 practical tips on how to use Instagram marketing to get the most out of it. Among them there are some well-known tips that are good to be reminded of sometimes, as well as some less common but still important ones.

1. Know how the algorithm works

The most important criterion that determines whether a particular user sees your content is your previous relationship: how much you have liked, commented and saved each other’s previous posts, responded to Stories or chatted in direct messages. Therefore it is important to engage your followers as much as possible: ask questions by using Story stickers, encourage them to reply to your Stories etc. 

The reach of a particular post, Story or Reel is affected by their general popularity: the more followers interact with your content (likes, comments, saves, sharing) the more users Instagram will show it to. 

Like most social media platforms, it is also important to keep in mind when doing Instagram marketing that the platform highlights content that increases users’ screen time. This means that any activity that encourages people to consume your content for a longer period of time will result in higher reach. So increasing users’ screen time is one principle you should definitely keep in mind when creating Instagram content! 

Recently posted content also gets a small advantage: you’re more likely to see content posted today in your feed than content posted four weeks ago.

You can read more about how the Instagram algorithm decides which posts are shown to whom here.

2. Engage with other users

Broadly speaking, there are two rules for increasing your Instagram following: consistently create good content and be social. 

Communicating with your followers not only helps to reach more people, but it’s also crucial to build your community and strengthen relationships with your customers – this is probably one of the main reasons why you are doing Instagram marketing as a brand!

Also, don’t forget to like, comment, or even share other people’s posts if it’s relevant to your account. When you are social, you build relationships and reach new users.

3. Add an informative “About me” section

Bio is usually the first thing that grabs the viewer’s attention when they land on your profile. Use these few characters to convey what your account is focusing on. When reading the introduction, it should be immediately clear what the brand is about, what kind of content can be found on the profile and why someone should follow you.

You can also add a website, your online store, business phone numbers, or other important links to your profile. To get as many link clicks as possible, you should also add a clear CTA: for example, “Download the app”, “Go to our e-store”, “Download our free e-book”, “Watch the video”, etc.

Tip! Use a keyword after your name that describes your brand. This way, you will come out in the Instagram search when someone’s looking for that keyword.

how-to-use-instagram-marketing-keyword in bio

When typing “influencer” in the search bar in Estonia, our account is the first one that comes up thanks to the keyword used in our bio

In addition to the “about me” section, it’s also a good idea to review your profile picture (you probably want to use the brand logo) and the Highlights. These are also the parts of your profile that people check before moving on to the posts.

4. Create a beautiful Instagram feed

An attractive first impression is one of the most important factors of a profile – it determines whether the user even wants to delve into your content. Not to mention if they’ll even become a follower of yours

For an aesthetic feed, it is recommended to use photos in similar tones or to use a similar filter on your images. Undoubtedly, the quality of photos is also important as they create credibility – it shows that you are dedicated to providing high-quality content for your followers by not using blurry photos.

To keep your feed as aesthetic as possible, it is a good idea to use a post scheduling app. There you can see what your feed will look like before even posting something on Instagram – this way you can plan your posts accordingly. We’ve brought out some of our favourite Instagram marketing tools at the end of this article!

Tip! It’s a good idea to have a familiar face in your feed: it could be a well-known content creator or a public figure.

5. Offer more than just information

If you only share information about your products or services, your content will become very monotonous and therefore uninspiring. Try to be as versatile as possible when doing Instagram marketing: share helpful tips, throw in a few jokes, share customer-generated content, or show the faces of your team!

It’s definitely worth experimenting with different content and formats on Instagram – this is the only way to find out what works best for your target audience!

6. Share user-generated content

A person who is already using your product is live proof that it really works. When you share this kind of photos on your social media, it builds credibility in your viewers’ eyes.

That’s why it’s also worth sharing photos created by influencers – their pictures are often high-quality and catch the eye on social media better than visuals created by so-called regular social media users! Unfortunately, we’ve seen that brands often don’t share photos posted by content creators on their own channels.

How to get user-generated content?

The first step is to notice the content your customers have already shared by responding with a heart or a short comment. By sharing their posted content on your account, you indicate that it matters to the brand. This will encourage other users to post photos mentioning your brand as well – and this in turn will boost word-of-mouth marketing.

You can also think about how to make your customers share your brand on social media more. If you have an e-store and someone makes an order, you can include a letter in the package encouraging the customer to share the product on Instagram if they like it. In this case, it’s also worth mentioning the brand’s Instagram account and your hashtag.

Of course, it’s also worth keeping an eye on brand mentions, posts marked with your brand’s hashtag (we recommend to follow that hashtag so you can see the new posts right when they go live), and photos where the brand’s account has been tagged on.

Keep an eye on the posts where your brand has been tagged on

7. Write engaging captions

7.1. Avoid formal communication style

Write your texts in a way that the reader actually feels that you are trying to communicate with them or even start a conversation. Often, when doing Instagram marketing for a brand, the communication style automatically tends to become a bit official – but there is still a person behind each company!

7.2. Start with a short and striking sentence

When the viewer’s attention stops on your post, they only see the first sentence of the caption. Therefore it is important that it grabs attention and arouses further reading. It should definitely not be too long: the most important part should be said before the “See more” button. Give the reader a reason to press this button!

7.3. Leave long sentences for your blog

Instagram is rather a fast-consuming channel where users’ attention is short. That’s why short and compelling captions tend to work better!

When writing a caption, think about the central message of your post and build the caption around it. If it seems too long, remove unnecessary words and phrases that don’t support your post’s goal. 

Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend using a copy-paste text from another channel for Instagram. This is also because the communication style on Instagram is more free-going than on a website or newsletter.

7.4. Use line spacing

If you write your caption in one line without spacing it, it seems like a lot and is difficult to read – so the chances of someone reading it at all are quite low. Dividing the text into paragraphs makes it so much easier to read! In addition, you have a better overview of whether everything important was said.

7.5. Do not include links in captions

Instagram hasn’t made it possible to add clickable links to captions yet – so it’s pretty pointless to do that. If you want to direct followers to a page, add the appropriate link to your bio and mention it in the caption. It is also possible to add links to your Story by using a link sticker and direct followers there – in this case, of course, it’s important that you do the Story before the feed post.

The caption is written without spaces and there’s a link at the end that isn’t clickable

The text is separated by spaces and no link has been used

8. Be active in Instagram Stories

8.1. Engage your followers

Instagram Stories is a great place to engage your followers: ask for their opinion, make them vote for something, create a small quiz, etc.

Not only does it help to build a better relationship with your followers and strengthen your community, but the Instagram algorithm also loves it. When users interact with your content, it shows Instagram that your content is valuable – and it will be shown to more people!

If you use question stickers, it’d be good to share the results with your followers as well. With our Promoty accounts on each of the 8 markets, we’ve noticed that sharing our followers’ responses makes others share their opinion as well – this way we always get some more responses!

8.2. Create attractive Stories

If your followers know you have cool and eye-catching Stories, they might open yours among all the new Stories just for that reason alone! Instagram itself has a lot of opportunities to be creative: different pens, filters, stickers, fonts, etc. To find ideas for making your Stories visually more exciting, you can search for “Instagram Story ideas” on YouTube or Pinterest.

Definitely important not to forget the visual language of brand designs when talking about how to use Instagram marketing. On one hand, Stories that are designed directly on Instagram work better. On the other hand, consistent visual style helps to strengthen the brand. Ideally, when looking at a Story, your follower would immediately recognize that it is your brand – without looking at who posted it.

For example, in the case of Promoty, we try to keep the brand colours, use round corners and the same font all the time, plus bring in our branded Instagram stickers as design elements.

8.3. Share Stories multiple times in 24 hours

To ensure the highest possible reach of Stories, it is worth sharing something there several times a day.

If you create new Stories but a user doesn’t look at them, your profile picture will go behind all the other active Stories. However, if you post something new after your first Stories, your profile picture will come forward in the active Stories line again.

In Promoty, for example, we’ve noticed that our most viewed Stories are takeovers where our team members share Stories throughout the day.

8.4. Share new feed posts in Stories

If you made a new post, it is also a good idea to share it in your Story. This makes it more likely that your post will reach those who are not scrolling their feed too often.

9. Make sure to use Instagram Reels

If you want to reach new people, Instagram Reels is definitely the place to create content at: they are a lot more popular than Stories and regular posts!

Here are some tips on how to support Instagram marketing with Reels! 👇🏼

9.1. Keep Instagram Reels short

Videos that are short and vibrant work the best on Instagram! If you notice that your video is getting a bit too long, make sure the frames change quickly.

9.2. Keep up with the trends

Trends are a feature of TikTok and Instagram Reels – you’ve probably noticed that certain video ideas are becoming popular very fast. If you can catch a trend at an early stage and create it your own way, you could reach tens of thousands of people!

9.3. Use popular songs

Using a song that is currently popular in Reels will help you achieve a higher reach. It is important to dive into Reels made by others and notice current trends. Popular songs can be identified by clicking on the used audio and seeing how many Reels have been made with that sound and what the numbers of views are.

Tip! If your song selection is very small, your account is probably set to a Business Account. If possible, switch it to a Creator Account so you could see the whole music library.

9.4. Pay attention to the quality

The Instagram algorithm supports Reels that have good quality, are not pixelated or don’t have a TikTok watermark on them. Also try to edit your video so that it has no black borders at the top or bottom and make sure that no part of the text is out of the frame (when editing on Instagram, you can see light blue lines that you shouldn’t go over when you add your text).

If you want to post your TikTok video to Instagram, download it without the TikTok watermark by using a specific tool (mentioned at the end of the article). In this case, we recommend putting a sound from Instagram over the video rather than using the sound of the original video.

9.5. Avoid excessive text

In the case of videos, it is important that the content is conveyed visually, not through text. The added text should just be supportive so that the viewer does not have to focus on reading.

10. Be consistent

Consistency is especially important if your goal is to grow your audience. This means setting some goals for yourself: for example, making 3 posts and 1 Reel a week, plus sharing something in your Stories every day. 

To avoid running out of ideas on what to post this week, plan your posts a week or two ahead. You can use an Instagram scheduling app to do that, which you can find from the list below.

11. Free tools for Instagram marketing

Here are our team’s recommendations for some tools that make Instagram marketing a bit easier:

Video editing: InShot
Photo editing: Lightroom
Photo filters: Promoty Lightroom presets
Graphic designs: Canva
Story collages: Unfold
Feed/post scheduling: Feed Preview
Reposting images/videos: Inflact
Download TikTok videos without watermark: SnapTik

👉🏻 Read more: 6 tools for Instagram marketing

BONUS: work with influencers to support your Instagram marketing

If you want to support your Instagram marketing with influencer collaborations, you might want to consider Promoty! With our help, you can find the right content creators for your brand: we offer a platform where you can quickly and easily manage all your collaborations, campaigns, results, and payouts – everything in one place!

screenshot of the search for influencers

Get detailed profile analytics for every influencer.

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