Instagram Marketing: Waste of Time or Essential Business Strategy?

Instagram has over 1 billion users, with 2 million active advertisers, making the competition fierce when promoting your business. Instagram is a unique way of capturing your audience’s attention and has the potential to be a pivotal part of your marketing strategy. Here are some tips to help you get the maximum potential out of your Instagram account, and ensure you create lifelong customers and build an impressive reputation.

How to promote your business on Instagram effectively:

Depending on what your company is trying to achieve, there are different techniques for advertising on Instagram. Nonetheless, there are a few fundamental components to running a successful Instagram account. Here are the basics:

1.) Username – ensure you choose a relevant username for your account, ideally something simple so you can be easily searched.

2.) Profile picture – ideally your company logo at 110 x 110 pixels so it is clear and correctly placed.

3.) Biography – your biography one of the most useful assets for making your account reachable for the consumer. By using keywords associated with your brand, users are able to find you in their search.

4.) Tag your posts – using hashtags on every post is essential, as it increases your engagement by 12.6%. Studies show using 5-10 relevant ones is most effective, and hiding them at the bottom of your caption makes your posts look more professional.


Now you have created a sleek and tidy Instagram, promoting it is the next step. There are many ways this can be done, including:

1.) IGTV

Instagram has recently launched ‘IGTV’, which allows users to upload longer videos up to an hour. Instagram’s decision to pursue this venture is a reaction to the increase in digital video usage and mobile phone users. An invaluable tool, it enables you to engage with your customers by creating original content and exhibiting your products or services.  Although you don’t directly make money from these videos (like you would on YouTube), it’s still useful to spread your brand’s name and services, and Instagram has stated in the future there will be rewards to users with more popular videos.

2.) Newsfeed advertisements

Similar to Facebook and Twitter, Instagram run in newsfeed ads, in the form of videos, photos, carousel and lead ads. Many users of Instagram scroll quickly through their newsfeed, so it’s important to have an eye-catching ad. Surveys show that users are more likely to click on percentage savings rather than money savings, so being inventive and savvy with your ads may be the difference between potential customers ignoring your ad and making a customer for life.

Timing is also important for getting more for your money. Instagram advertising is relatively inexpensive, but you may still make a loss if you’re not targeting your audience correctly or not promoting your posts at the correct time. Adroll is a useful tool for this, as it runs millions of predictions and bid request evaluations in seconds, to create the best ads and bid requests for your company.

3.) Instagram stories

Stories are a beneficial way to promote your business as 1 in 3 daily Instagrammers surveyed said they are more interested in a business after seeing it on a story. You can also save your stories to appear at the top of your page as a highlight, so viewers can continuously view the products or services you have previously showcased.

4.) Be active

Replying to queries either through direct messages or on the comments is essential in maintaining a good reputation for your business, as you are not only being helpful towards customers and maintaining that relationship, you are also more accessible to potential customers.

5.) Explore page

Over 200 million people view the explore page every day, so appearing on your target audiences explore pages is extremely useful. By consistently posting innovative and original content on your page (and using the appropriate tags), it increases the chances of your posts being boosted onto the explore page and being viewed by more users.

6.) In-store presentation

If you’re running an Instagram account to market a store, it’s worth designing your store to be ‘Instagrammable’. For example, if you sell minimalistic products, use that aesthetic on your Instagram and in store. If the presentation of your store is aesthetically pleasing, it makes customers want to ‘Instagram it’ and tag your company, giving you free marketing.

Doing it right: GymShark

There are many examples of compelling marketing campaigns on Instagram, but one of the most successful examples is GymShark’s 2018 BlackOut campaign. Created in 2012, the business has built their community organically on social media – predominantly through Instagram.  By developing a recognisable aesthetic on their Instagram feed, they made their brand more distinctive from competitors. The usual aesthetic being bright, overexposed pictures with people wearing their colourful gym wear, but to stand out during the Black Friday sales, they released a new line of black coloured clothes.

By only having two sales a year, it’s important to gain as much exposure as they can. For 2018 Black Friday sales, they ran the BlackOut campaign which directly targeted their younger demographic, many of which use Instagram, causing a large number of sales obtained through the site. The ads reached over 16 million users and garnered a 6.6:1 returns on their ad spend, which they did by promoting their posts which even featured user-generated content from fans who had brought into their campaign. By using real satisfied customers to promote their brand, it gives authenticity to the hype around their brand.

We take from this that during special promotions, it is eye-catching to divert from your usual aesthetic to highlight your ads to the consumers. Directly marketing towards your audience and constantly keep track of the analytics so you are able to edit your posts or ad choices to reach its maximum potential.

Doing it wrong: Dolce & Gabbana

Even the biggest international fashion brands can get it wrong. Dolce and Gabbana are no strangers to controversy on social media, having missed the mark many times in the past. One of the most notable occasions being their promotion of new shoes, which were graffitied with various symbols and words, including ‘this and gorgeous’.

Immediately, their followers complained to the brand in the comments, arguing that they were upholding dangerous ideals. Many studies show the correlation between brands consistently advertising thin body ideals and the rise of eating disorders in young women (mental disorders with the highest fatality rate). Many critics called the move irresponsible and alarming. To make matters worse, the owner then responded to the controversy by replying to the outraged users in a sarcastic and rude tone.

We take from this that being analytical on your products or ads before its release is crucial to avoiding failed marketing strategies. Paying attention to recent news and popular culture in the media will keep you aware of problematic issues or events, and steer your company away from being offensive to consumers accidentally. Not to mention, being rude to your customers is a big no-no!

In summary

Instagram is clearly a niche market, not all brands work at their most efficient on this site. However, it can be invaluable to businesses looking to sell towards a younger demographic as 68% of their users are aged between 13-34. Maintaining your account is potentially harder than maintaining other social media accounts, as you have to sustain the aesthetic and consistently produce content at a higher rate than other social media accounts to stay relevant. The amount of Instagram users is only increasing, along with the innovative features the app continues to roll out, so having a well devised marketing strategy for your business on Instagram is key for success.

If you want to grow and scale your business feel free to get in touch.


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