Instagram Marketing for Your Business: Tips for Beginners

scrolling through instagram feed

How Can Instagram Help Your Business? 

Times are changing and Instagram is no longer a fun social app where people post photos of what they’re doing or eating (although that’s all still great stuff!). It has grown to be a huge marketing and sales platform for all types of businesses. Instagram marketing can work for service-based businesses, brand awareness, growing an email address list, personal coaches, entrepreneurs, direct sales, and more. A wide variety of people use Instagram every day– in fact, Instagram is growing at the speed of facebook!

An estimate of 70% of users on Instagram have spent time on the app looking or following brand and business accounts. With the common flow of partnerships, affiliates, and brand giveaways, Instagram marketing is one of the most engaging and creatively “human” ways of improving your business in the world. 

The Point of Instagram: 

It’s important to remember that Instagram is intended for current content that is shared in the present moment. If you stop posting, your audience will either unfollow you or forget about you– two things that are no ideal for growing a business account! There are some practical tips to stay on top of things, but before that, it’s helpful to consider how much time and resources will actually go into creating your Instagram marketing page. 

instagram stats

What Types of Ads Can Be Use in Instagram Marketing? 

To start posting ads onto the Instagram platform for users to see, you will first need to set up an Instagram business account. We’ll get into this in just a moment! First, let’s check out what types of ads are available on IG, and why each type of ad can be helpful for you— as well as your audience.

Sponsored Posts: Are These Ads?

The bare-basic type of ad you can promote on Instagram is the Sponsored Posts. On a regular (personal) IG account, only your followers tend to see your posts and photos. With a business account, you can Sponsor certain photo, carousel, and video posts to reach the followers of your followers, accounts with similar hashtags to you, and local users, among other groups of people. 

Similar to Facebook Ads, you’re able to set a specific budget for your Instagram advertisements. This can range anywhere from $3.00 per day or several hundred dollars per month. Not too bad, considering it’s possible to spend less than your daily Starbucks and still make a potentially HUGE ROI. 

Now for the Actual Types of Ads: 

We mentioned above that you can turn already-existing posts into Sponsored advertisements. These are photo/video/carousel posts that will show up in people’s feeds who don’t follow you (or know about you yet) with “Sponsored” next to your Username. 

The types of sponsored ads you can get into are: 

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Instagram Stories
  • Carousel Ads
  • Dynamic Ads
  • Stories – Canvas Style

While photo, video, and carousel are pretty self-explanatory, as they show up directly in the scroll feed, we’re gonna take a pause to educate some of you on the powerful, beautiful potential of IG STORIES.

What Are IG Stories? Why Do They Matter for Ads? 

Instagram stories came out with a new feature in 2016. The concept is similar to Snapchat stories (who, arguably, kind of flopped for not patenting their UX system!). You, as well as the people you follow, can post photos or videos publicly to their stories, which will remain at the top of their profile for 24 hours and then disappear. 

Stories post in chronological order throughout the time of day you post them. There’s a unlimited amount of stories you can post per day, and they show up automatically to users during their time viewing stories. Again, remember Instagram values in-the-moment content. Hence the IG Stories feature keeps users, friends, and followers coming back for more. 

instagram feed

Although stories only last 24 hours, they can be saved for later use or put into “Highlights” on a public profile. When it comes to Instagram marketing through stories, though, you can save your ads in Story format and reuse them.

Many product promotions and sales experts advise that one major key to leading customers into buying products is the “Behind the Scenes” insight. People don’t buy products just to buy them. They buy the overall purpose and story behind it. This is one reason businesses and brands use IG Stories– it is a good place to reveal “behind the scenes” and less “professional” content that you don’t want to keep up on your main page forever. Stories can veer away from your overall theme or brand aesthetic, which makes things more light-hearted and casual. 

Tagging Accounts and Collabs on IG Stories 

One suuuuper helpful feature is the mention (@username) option within IG stories. You can tag other brands, companies, or individuals which in turn makes a promotional snowball effect roll across the ‘gram. 

Then you got those cool effects like filters, stickers, GIFs, hashtags, music, questions, polls, and text. Basically, you can spice up your stories with a wealth of visuals, interactions, and fun brand quirks to keep people engaged.

How to Set Up Your Instagram Business Accounts to Start Making Ads!

Ok, now are we getting excited about using this amazing tool? You’re probably wanting to create a (or improve an existing) Instagram business account. Before we start strategizing any ads for it, what do you actually hope to get out of using Instagram? 

We talked about Marketing Goals before in a recent post. You will need to start honing in on what your goals for Instagram are. 

Do you want to gain more loyal fans? Grow an engaging community to be proud of? Generate more leads and sales? Promote your overall brand identity? The options are endless, but make sure you’re vision is clear. 

Questions to Ask While Setting Your Goals 

Why do you want to use Instagram? 

What can you achieve on Instagram that other platforms don’t allow?

What is your budget per year, month, and week for posting ads? 

How much time do you (or an assistant or employee) want to dedicate to making your IG goals come to life? 

Who do you help, what do they want, and how can you stand out to best serve them? 

This last question leads us into another important factor of Instagram marketing: Knowing your audience. Then targeting them (in a good way!).

Finding Your Target Instagram Audience

You’ve brainstormed your “why”, now it’s time to decide on “who” your IG is best suited for.

This comes down to knowing who your ideal customer is. Many of us know about a “buyer persona” or a target audience. 

Write down what type of person (be specific) NEEDS and WANTS your product or services. What age groups? What do they love to do? Where do they hang out? What do they need help with? What type of content do they consume daily? What types of forums, online groups, or public communities are they actively a part of? 

All these things can spark creative ideas in what you want to aim your Instagram goals at. This can also help you when it’s time to strategize and select appropriate #hashtags to use in your posts and stories.

hashtag symbol


We won’t go too crazy about hashtag research– that’s a whole other topic of its own. The main thing you need to know is that hashtags are like digital “niche” folders that collect whatever posts are archived under that specific hashtag. For example, #pugswhohike is a very (very) niche hashtag that has few posts (only ~600, as of August 2019). Anyone who posts a photo of the pug while hiking and puts the hashtag #pugswhohike on the photo or comment will show up whenever someone clicks or searches for that hashtag. 

When deciding your company or marketing hashtag for Instagram, try to aim for the micro instead of the macro hashtags that have Millions of 100,000+ posts under it already. You want to be found, not lost in a sea of posts under the same hashtag. Do your research and aim for hashtags that are 200 to 20,000 if possible.

How to Set Up Your Instagram Business Account!

  1. First, you can benefit by setting up your business Facebook page. If you already have one set up, then you can go into setting up a business Instagram page. Make sure for both Facebook and Instagram you select what category your business is.
  2. Create an Instagram and connect it to your Facebook page.If you already have an Instagram account for your brand, but you don’t have it as a business account yet, turn it into a business account!
  3. Optimize your account and start creating content for your business! This part is specific to YOU and your brand. If you need help with this step, we got your back. Call us today and we can start getting you winning the Instagram Marketing game.


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