Across the globe, there are over 500 million Instagrammers — more than 300 million of whom use Instagram every single day, sharing an average of 95 million photos and videos per day.
Those are huge numbers. And no matter who your audience is — age, gender, occupation, anything — you’ll be sure to reach them through Instagram. So the question becomes …
Where do you get started with Instagram?
How can you stand out among the other 95 million photos posted each day? How can non-designers and amateur photographers create beautiful content for Instagram?
These are all questions we’d love to help you answer in this guide.
We recently launched one of our biggest product enhancements, Buffer for Instagram, to help you plan, track and amplify your Instagram marketing.
The complete guide to Instagram for business
Everything you need to know to create a killer Instagram marketing strategy for your business.
Boasting over 300 million daily active users, Instagram has huge potential for marketers. But the potential in Instagram lies more in the user behavior than the numbers.
Instagrammers like to connect with brands.
Research shows that brands enjoy a number of distinct benefits and advantages on the network:
Instagram, brands enjoy regular engagement with 4 percent of their total followers. On networks like Facebook and Twitter, engagement is less than 0.1 percent. (source: Forrester)
70% of Instagram users report having looked up a brand on the platform. (source:Iconosquare)
62% of users follow a brand on Instagram. (source: Iconosquare)
Only 36 percent of marketers use Instagram, compared to 93% of marketers who use Facebook. (source: Selfstartr)
Social media has been proven to influence purchase decisions. And if you can find the right mix of content, your audience will soak it up — and even buy from you — without the need for a hard push or sales pitch. It’s the marketers dream.
Still need convincing? Let’s take a look at what marketers have to say about the platform.
What marketers are saying about Instagram
The numbers and research above all sound great, but what are marketers — the people who use Instagram to drive business results — actually saying about the platform? Here’s what marketers from brand like Birchbox and Ben & Jerry’s have to say about the platform:
Mike Hayes, Digital Marketing Manager of Ben & Jerry’s: “Since its launch, Instagram has provided us with an amazing platform to connect with our fans and tell our story visually.”
Jessica Lauria, Director of Brand Communications Chobani: “Instagram is a great platform for Chobani. It allows us to show how people actually use our product and inspires new ways to savor.”
Rachel Jo Silver, Director, Social Marketing & Content Strategy, Birchbox: “Instagram has been an incredibly effective engagement-driver among our current customers.”
The formula for Instagram success
Success for businesses on Instagram relies on more than simply publishing a few nice-looking images. You need to also have these elements:
Clear vision and strategy
Familiarity with your audience
Clear visual style
When you combine together these ingredients, Instagram can deliver huge results for your business.
Take Madewell, for example. The fashion brand has amassed a hugely engaged audience on Instagram (over 700,000 followers and 7,000 to 10,000 likes per post). The platform has become a key marketing channel for them, enabling them to connect with thousands of potential customers on a daily basis.
So, how do Madewell and other successful brands stand out on Instagram? We put together this guide to help you craft your own Instagram marketing strategy that’s based on a clear vision and results that you can measure.
Why are you on Instagram? Choose 1-to-2 main goals.
Whether you’re completely new to Instagram and preparing to share your first post or are already established and looking to boost your presence on the platform, it’s important to start with clear goals in mind.
Setting goals will help you to define your strategy on Instagram and create content that will help you to achieve your targets.
Here are some common ones that brands, teams and individuals tend to choose:
Showcase your products or services
Build your community
Increase awareness of your brand
Showcase your company culture and values
Advertise to potential customers
Increase brand loyalty
Share company news and updates
It’s best to choose one or two goals for your Instagram profile, either from the above list or a custom goal of your choosing. To help decide which goals make sense for you, it can be good to consider the following questions:
Why are you using Instagram?
How can Instagram assist you in achieving your overall marketing goals?
How much time or budget can you commit to Instagram?
How does Instagram offer you something different to other platforms?
Here at Buffer we have two main goals for our Instagram marketing strategy.
Our top goal is to build and nurture an engaged community of Buffer users and supporters.
To ensure we reach that goal we have a set target of reaching out to and featuring the work of four-to-six Buffer community members per week. If we do that 52 weeks per year that’s between 208-to-312 people that we’ve connected with one-on-one.
The second goal for our Instagram marketing strategy is to continually increase engagement on every one of our posts.
Currently, our engagement rate (avg. engagement per post/number of followers) is about 1.75% which is a bit higher than industry standard. We’re focusing on producing the highest quality Instagram content so that our engagement rate stays at or above this benchmark.
Which members of your audience are on Instagram? Search the demographics.
Marketing is all about delivering the right message, to the right people, at the right time.
And understanding the demographics of a platform is an important part of ensuring you’re hitting your target audience.
Pew Research released a breakdown of Instagram demographics and I’d love to share the key findings with you here.
Age and gender of internet users on Instagram:
Roughly half of internet-using young adults ages 18-29 (53%) use Instagram. Here the full breakdown of age groups:
53% of 18–29 year olds use Instagram.
25% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram.
11% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram.
6% of people 65+ use Instagram.
Also, slightly more of Instagram’s users are female:
29% of online females use Instagram.
22% of online males use Instagram.
Location of Instagram users:
28% of Instagram users live in urban areas.
26% of Instagram users live in suburban areas.
19% of Instagram users live in rural areas.
Instagram education demographics:
31% of Instagram users have some college experience.
24% of Instagram users are college graduates.
23% of Instagram users are high school grads or less.
Instagram income demographics:
28% of adults making less than $30,000
26% of adults making over $75,000
26% of adults making $50,000–$74,999
23% of adults making $30,000–$49,999
Now that you have your goals in mind and know which members of your audience are active on Instagram, you can get started on building out your presence on Instagram. First step: optimizing your profile.
How to optimize your Instagram profile
Keys to getting the most lift from your profile picture, bio and link
Your Instagram profile is essentially your homepage on the platform. It provides you with space to share a little information about your business and also gives you the chance to drive some traffic back to your website. In this section, we’ll guide you through how to maximize your Instagram profile and drive as much value as possible from it.
Your description is very personal to your brand, what you choose to share here should be representative of your business and show your followers what you do as a company. Most businesses tend to include either (or both) of the below:
Brand slogan or tagline (e.g. Nike’s “Just Do It”)
An outline of who you are and what you do
Some large brands also choose to include a brand hashtag within their bio (for example, Nike Basketball below).