How to Run Better Instagram Marketing

How to Run Better Instagram Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Is your business on Instagram?

More than 25 million businesses currently on Instagram and this number is on the rise.*

Instagram is terrific for business because it’s one of the “fun” social media platforms—unlike LinkedIn, and these days, Twitter–but without the limitations of the Facebook algorithms, which require you to pay to boost posts to get traction. Also, Instagram doesn’t present the extreme challenges like those you’ll find on Snapchat that make it hard for brands to reach new audiences.

Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than on Facebook, 54 times higher than on Pinterest, and 84 times higher than on Twitter. *

Some statistics*

  • Total Number of Monthly Active Instagram Users: 800 million
  • Total Number of Daily Active Instagram Users: 500 million
  • Number of Businesses on Instagram: 25 million
  • 68% of Instagram users are Females.
  • Instagram is used by 31% of North American women and 24% of men.
  • 32% of all Internet users are on Instagram
  • 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram and 33% of internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 use Instagram
  • 38% of female internet users use Instagram and 26% of male internet users use Instagram
  • 17% of teens say Instagram is the most important social media site (up from 12% in 2012)

Instagram seems to have it all.

Or does it?

Instagram is all visual, right? So how is a brand supposed to get its core messaging and sales pitches out to its customers?

Well, first of all, your social media shouldn’t be all about sales. Your goal should be to indirectly stimulate sales over the long term by building relationships, familiarity, and a comfort level between you and your existing and potential customers. The key to good social media marketing is to keep it fun, engaging, and human. Instagram is perfect for that.

The Visual Bond

This is your chance to show the real people behind your business. Who are you? What does your team look like? Who might we expect to meet if we visit your brick and mortar shop, call, or email? What’s your business culture like? Who are the people that drive your business and that my customer dollars will help to support when I spend money at your establishment?

Instagram builds connection and trust in a very natural way. The visual relationship can create a substantial bond that existing and potential customers remember when it comes time for them to make buying decisions.

Sales without Being “Salesy”

Sure, you can sprinkle a few sales images and messages into your Instagram feed, but most of the time you can accomplish your marketing agenda in a more roundabout way.

Not all businesses are naturally visual. Certainly if you have a retail store, it’s easy and effective to share pictures of all the cool merchandise that you have—especially when you can share your excitement about the products along with each post. If you’re a bakery with delicious croissants, people will love to see your delicacies coming fresh out of the oven. These are all natural avenues for visual businesses.

But what about service-based businesses that don’t have visually interesting products to share?

Instagram for Professional Services

Our own social media agency is a good example of a business that is not naturally visual. We don’t produce a product that you can hold in your hand; there are no sexy high-heeled shoes or mouth-watering tacos to share in our feed. We’re a virtual business and our team members each work from independent offices. That means that we have to be creative.

Perfect! Creativity is exactly what businesses should be striving for!

In our case, we’ve established a fun precedent for our brand mascot, Ben Barker. We create unique, entertaining, and tongue-in-cheek visuals of Ben Barker in different situations. These are very well received and are helping us to build our still relatively new brand every day.

We also share visual quotes, questions, and facts to pique people’s interest. These are always a big hit in the social media world and are effective for most of our clients.

Just like everybody always says: content is king! One of the best ways for us to share content on Instagram is with branded images that promote our blog posts. The titles and topics are presented in text with a visual design to remind people of the valuable content they’ll find back on our website. These blog posts aren’t directly trying to sell anything. They’re helpful and informative.

As for directly promotional content? We never share more than a maximum of one specifically promotional image a week so our Instagram content is less than 14% promotional.

Instagram Stories for Business

One of the best opportunities for businesses on Instagram is the relatively new Instagram Stories feature. Yes, this idea was definitely inspired by Snapchat, but Instagram is using it in a way that’s much more successful for businesses. Now it’s so easy to share little visuals throughout the day that can be strung into a quick slideshow of you and your team.

Don’t take your “stories” too seriously! Take some selfies, write some comments, and be spontaneous. These stories aren’t designed be tagged, so that’s one less thing to worry about. Remember, Instagram Stories are only available for your existing followers and they only last 24 hours so there’s no pressure. Have some fun!

What About Instagram Advertising?

As you probably know, Instagram and their advertising system is run via Facebook. They use the same dashboard. You can purchase and manage your ads using Facebook’s Ads Manager and Power Editor.

When you run an ad on Instagram, it’s a good idea to make it look as organic as possible. If it looks too much like an advertisement, it will clash with the natural flow of people’s’ newsfeeds and could be irritating to them. People are more likely to interact with your ad when it looks like it might have been shared by one of the people they’ve consciously decided to follow.

Don’t Forget the Video

Short videos (they max out at 60 seconds on Instagram) can add some life to your Instagram account. While photos are still more popular than videos, Instagram will show you the number of views per video rather than likes which can be a useful barometer for your reach.

Are you active on Instagram? What’s your handle? We’d love to check out your profile! You can visit our Instagram page or search for our handle, barker_social in Instagram’s search bar. If you ever need any help with your Instagram marketing, give us a shout and we’d be happy to discuss it with you during a free marketing consultation.


*37 Instagram Statistics for 2016
Instagram by the Numbers: Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts
The 2017 Digital Marketing Analytics Performance Report
Number of Companies Using Instagram To Nearly Double Next Year

Mandi Gould

Mandi is a social media marketer, copywriter, and project manager for Barker Social™. She's a results-driven planner with an unstoppable ability to churn out quality marketing content. Her creative spirit, project management skills, and copywriting ability make her a marketing dynamo. She is also a bird lover, health foodie, jazz enthusiast, and swing dancer.


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