The Starter Guide to Instagram Marketing for Beginners

May 25, 2022
9 min

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms out there. With more than 600 million daily users and 150 million Instagram stories posted every day, this social media platform has enormous potential for anyone who wants to promote their business or products, or anything else for that matter.

In fact, it might be the perfect tool to expose potential consumers to your product, because according to an Instagram report, 7 in 10 businesses use this social media platform to interact with clients and expand their business. In addition, their level of engagement rate surpasses those of other social media platforms making it the perfect tool for marketing.

With so many benefits, we decided to put together a starter guide to Instagram marketing for everyone who wants to get a more engaged Instagram audience, grow their followers or customer base, and step their game to the next level.

Setting Up Your Account

You might be familiar with this initial step when you already have an Instagram account of your own, however, we will go through as setting up a business account has its differences. The first thing you should think about is what do you want to achieve with this new Instagram page? Is it a personal account where you want to promote products or brands, or is a company account trying to grow its reach? You need to have that properly settled before you move on.

Don’t expect to see your Instagram account become your main source of income straight away, it requires time and skill. At first, you should focus on engaging with followers and growing their number and slowly start generating content for your social media blog.

Your Profile

You should aim to have the most complete profile you can, as this will make you look more trustworthy of your followers and more professional. Here’s what you need:

  • @Handle – This is your username on Instagram, or your brand’s name if you will. Make it accurate so people understand straight away, what you are into. In case the chosen handler is already in use, you need to get creative and add a few underscore or dash to your name.
  • Brand name – Under the picture you will use, you can write your brand’s name as it is.
  • Website – You should add the URL of your website (if you have it) below your picture and description. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the homepage of your website, in fact, if you are running a certain campaign you should use the URL that links to that, or to a merchandise page. The important thing is to change the URL according to what you are doing at the moment in terms of marketing.
  • Instagram bio – This is the section where you explain what you or your company do. Mention just what is your main product or your main activity and go straight to the point because you only have 150 characters to use. You can use a couple of hashtags that link nicely to your page, so they can pop up on search results.

Business Account

Here are the differences between creating a user’s account and a business account, so you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision about the type of account that you want to have. Here are the main features you will find on a business account:

  • Instagram Insights;
  • Addition of contact information;
  • Industry profile;
  • Addition of links to Instagram Stories.

However, there are a few things that you cannot do with a business account when compared to a user’s account. For instance, you cannot make your posts private anymore, and you can only link your Facebook business page to your Instagram.

What Should You Share And How?

Don’t expect your Instagram page to become popular if you post sales pitches and other glaring marketing posts. That is not what Instagram is about. Instagram is, more than anything, about aesthetics and your post should be visually attractive to gather enough engagement.

You should convey your product or services through visual aids such as videos, pictures, GIFs or even memes. However, not only that, the format of your posts are just as relevant for you to track engagement. Using the right format will allow you to get more exposure on the social media platform. So, what is the right format?

According to SimilarWeb research, slightly more than half of all Instagram users visit the platform on their mobile devices, and so, we should cater for those types of formats.

  • Format for Stories – 1080 X 1920 is the ideal format for Instagram Stories to be played on your phone, but they look just as good if you are playing the Story from a laptop or a tablet.
  • Format for images – 1080 X 1350 is found to be the best format to post your photos on Instagram. This is an 8:10 ratio.
  • Format for videos – 1080 X 1920 for vertical videos as it matches with the scrolling of the platform. Alternatively, you can also use 1920 X 1080 if you want your followers to see it on full screen and so have to turn their phones.

Editing Your Content

Instagram comes with its own editing tools, however, many times those are not enough, and you will have to go for third-party tools to upgrade your photos or videos and to make them more attractive to your followers. Some of these tools are paid and others are free. It is up to you the level of branding you want to give to your posts, but we will list some of the most popular tools out there when it comes to editing your posts:

  • Adobe Photoshop – Is one of the most popular editing tools out there. The starting cost is around $34 a month but it has all the necessary tools you will ever need when it comes to editing your videos and photos.
  • Canvas – For a cheaper alternative, Canvas is also a great tool for editing your Instagram posts. From $12 a month, you have access to great editing tools and one of the easiest interfaces in the market.

When Should You Use Filters?

When Instagram first started to become a popular social media platform, filters were king. Nowadays the trend is to add a reasonable amount of filters, or sometimes no filters at all. However, the right filter can change your post in a drastic way.

Here, you should only use a filter if it is a clear upgrade to your post, if not, people tend to prefer more “natural” looking photos and videos.

Stories and Its Importance

These are temporary video posts that you can share with your followers. There are many things that you can use while posting an Instagram Story, for example:

  • Ask questions;
  • Share GIFs;
  • Add polls;
  • Add quizzes;
  • Sharing live countdowns.

But what is the importance of sharing a Story? Well, there are a couple of reasons why you would want to share an Instagram Story. First, they allow your followers to be more exposed to your brand and create more engagement, as well as inform them of your last piece of news.

They also increase the traffic on your page. Once you reach 10k followers, you have the ability to add a swipe up link and your followers can go straight to a webpage of your choice. This is great to generate traffic and potential earnings.

User-Generated Content (UGC) Strategies

The UGC is a marketing strategy that allows your followers to create content for you. This is a great tool, and even though it is premium, it can have many more benefits. For instance:

  • It’s more efficient if your followers create your content because it comes across as more genuine and people usually tend to pay more attention and engage.
  • You don’t have to create your own content, freeing you to do other important aspects in your small business.

A popular use of UGC is the GoPro company. Because of their product, they manage to blend their user-generated content perfectly with their brand.


Contests are easy to create, and unlike UGC, are available to virtually everyone. The only thing you need is to find an appealing prize so people engage with your contest. You can give away anything, but it is more relevant if you give away your product. Once, you have chosen the prize, here’s what your followers should do in order to join your contest:

  • Follow your account;
  • Like the post of the contest;
  • Tag a friend.

Timing of Your Posts

The timing and schedule of your posts are one of the most important things when it comes to Instagram marketing. For this, you need to know what are the relevant events for your niche and plan around them. Most of these are recurring events so you never stop to schedule your posts. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Know the relevant dates for your niche;
  • Check what your competition did before;
  • Start working on project campaigns;
  • Schedule communications.

Alternatively, you can download a Holiday Marketing Toolkit to make it easier for you to identify important dates on your calendar.

At the Right Time

Despite the quality of your content, knowing when to post it is essential to create the right engagement. There are tools that allow you to know which are the best days for you to post. However, your industry might be slightly different so you need to understand your audience properly.

Posting Regularly

You should, on average, post 1.5 times a day, if you are a famous influencer on Instagram. However, not everyone can create this amount of content, or doesn’t have the team for it. If that is the case, you have to do your best and try to post every other day, or at least 3 to 4 times a week.

People need to see your account popping up once in a while, or you will be forgotten rather quickly in this fast-paced world we live in.

Hashtags Are Important

Hashtags are a great invention on Instagram and allow your followers to find your content faster. Therefore, you should use them wisely. More hashtags don’t mean more engagement. In fact, according to a study, more than five hashtags is unnecessary and dilutes the power your post might have in gathering followers.

Another important thing about hashtags is their relevance to your brand. Don’t use generic hashtags so you can say you used hashtags, these have to be linked to your brand in order to gather the right type of engagement.

Branded Hashtags

Branded Hashtags are extremely useful when you are promoting a new product or service. This is great if you want to place all the conversation topics around the platform in one place. However, hashtags can become irrelevant if you already found your target audience. For example, the brand of alternative oat milk Oatly, completely eradicated hashtags from their posts, and they still generate engaging posts.

Work With Other Influencers

Influencers became very powerful people in the social media world (and this is where you want to be). They can make people engage with a certain product, or service a lot faster and more efficiently than any post you might add to your Instagram account.

You will need to find the right influencer to collaborate with if you want to expand your audience and have a larger base for your product or service. However, finding one is something that usually takes a lot of time, so choosing wisely and more hardly means better on this occasion. Try to approach the influencer that has more input in your market and talk to them to plan a marketing strategy.


Instagram is a powerful tool to promote brands and their products. There are also many different approaches that you can use depending on the type of product or service you want your audience to be in contact with. If you follow some of the strategies in this marketing guide for Instagram, you can be sure that you will gather more followers. All you need to do is be creative and cater the advice here to your own audience.


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