Close button for feature banner

See Where Your Brand Stands Against Your Industry

Download Dash Hudson's Cross-Channel Industry Benchmarks

Instagram Promotion: How To Boost Instagram Posts and Reels Like a Pro

Haley Durkee
September 12, 2023
Last Updated On
how to boost instagram post blog header

Instagram is a social channel ripe for community-building — boosted posts can help extend your reach, impressions and overall discoverability. 

While organic social media efforts are great for engaging with your audience naturally, boosted posts and Reels allow you to target your audience, increase reach and drive conversions. 

This blog covers:

  • What boosting a post on Instagram means.
  • Benefits of boosting Instagram content.
  • What types of content you can boost on Instagram.
  • How to boost an Instagram post.
  • The difference between a boosted and sponsored post.

What Does Boost Post Mean on Instagram?

Essentially, boosting a post on Instagram is when you pay to turn your post into an ad. Boosting is done to reach more users within a target demographic, typically with a specific purpose. Boosted posts can appear in Stories or the Explore page. 

On Instagram, users can choose from three objectives for boosted posts: 

  • Profile visits  
  • Website visits 
  • Messages 

Crafting a traditional ad from scratch can be costly, with no guaranteed ROI. That’s where boosted posts come into play. Instead of creating new paid content, you can pay to promote the photos and videos that resonate with your organic audience the most, with a more reasonable cost that fits your budget. This lets you create more paid and targeted content and boost your best posts to reach new audiences.

The Benefits of Boosting Instagram Content

Beyond being a cost-effective way to promote your brand and reach specific audiences for a social campaign, there are many benefits to boosting Instagram content. It’s a helpful way to build brand awareness with new users — but the benefits don’t stop there. Some perks of boosting Instagram content include: 

  • Increase brand awareness: Boosting a post helps increase brand awareness since you can target a specific number of users (depending on your budget).  
  • Boost sales and traffic: The more you spend, the more users there are in your ‘estimated reach.’ You can also select whether to target existing or new users based on a couple of different factors, which lets you reach a broader — but still targeted — user base. 
  • Budget flexibility: With boosted posts, you can customize how much you want to spend and for how long. Meta recommends starting with a $5 budget for a single post with a six-day duration. You can also set up recurring automatic payments to reset within a billing threshold you specify. 
  • Drive reach: The more your budget, the more reach your boosted posts have. However, even if you’re working with a lower budget, it’s a massive benefit to ‘control’ your reach and measure its impact more strategically than you can with traditional advertising.
  • Deeper insights: Each boosted post offers performance data — this is helpful to determine whether to allocate more budget to boosting posts in the future and get a more significant idea of your boosted efforts. 
dash hudson boost instagram post

What Types of Posts Can You Boost on Instagram? 

Luckily, boosted posts aren’t limited to traditional, in-feed posts. Brands can boost nearly any type of content found on Instagram so that you can put money behind your best-performing content. 

There are five main types of posts you can boost on Instagram: 

  • Photo: Singular image from your feed.  
  • Carousel: A swipeable gallery of images. 
  • Video: Video shared on your feed.
  • Reels: Video Reels content.
  • Stories: Stories shared to your profile or past highlights.
Boosted carousel post via: @taschen

Post selection is at the heart of Instagram promotion. Clicks won’t translate into conversions if the content itself is lacking. The right image or video should feel like a natural fit in your target audience’s feed, albeit with a specific call-to-action — although this doesn’t necessarily have to mean purchasing a product. The boosted post could aim to educate others about your brand or reach a new range of users. 

How To Boost an Instagram Post

Before boosting an Instagram post, you must set up an Instagram business account. It’s important to note you can only boost posts that are already published — however, you can upload a new image with a Sponsored post (more on these later). 

bies weekender tote boosted ig post
Boosted post via: @beis

Here are eight steps to boost an Instagram post: 

  • Ensure you have a business account — here’s how to set up your business account.
  • Select the post (photo or video) you wish to boost — and click ‘boost’ directly under the post. 
  • From there, select your goal — choose from more profile visits, more website visits or more messages.
  • Next, define your audience — choose from special requirements, automatic or create your own. 
  • From there, choose your budget and duration. Your budget will be spread out over the duration you select — essentially, you can reach your audience in just a couple of days or over a week or longer. 
  • Click ‘Next’.
  • From there, decide whether or not to connect your professional Facebook account or select ‘skip’ to move on to the next step.
  • Click ‘Boost post’. 

Once your post is approved and meets Meta’s ad policies, your ad will begin to run. 

How To Boost an Instagram Reel

Reels generate the most Instagram engagement, making them an uber-effective way to capture your audience with exciting and compelling visuals. Boosted Reels will appear in the Explore page, Reels tab, general feed and Stories, so there are multiple ways to be discovered. 

Boosted Reel via: @newyorkermag

Here’s how to boost an Instagram Reel: 

  • Select a Reel — make sure it’s less than 90 seconds, has a 9:16 full-screen vertical aspect ratio and does not contain copyrighted music, GIFs, interactive stickers or filters from third parties that users can’t boost. 
  • Once you’ve found a Reel that meets the requirements, click ‘Boost’ below the Reel. 
  • Like boosting a post, choose your Audience, Budget and Duration after this. Your budget will be distributed during the period you selected. 
  • After Instagram reviews your ad to ensure it adheres to its ad policies, your boosted Reel will start to run.   

How To Boost an Instagram Story

To boost a Story, it must already feature in your archive or Highlights to boost an Instagram Story.

Boosted Story via: @semrush

To boost an Instagram Story: 

  • Navigate to your profile and select a current Reel from your profile’s avatar, archive or a past Reel from your Highlights. 
  • Click ‘Boost’ on the bottom of the Reel. 
  • Select ‘Boost’ from the options. 
  • Next, customize your boosted Story targets and define your Audience, Budget and Duration. 
  • From there, select either ‘Next’ (iOS) or the arrow icon (Android) 
  • You’ll receive a notification if your boosted Story is approved. 

While fresh stories expire after 24 hours, your boosted Story will remain live and discoverable for the length specified during the ‘duration’ step. 

What’s the Difference Between a Boosted and Sponsored Post?

While a boosted post and a sponsored post have paid efforts behind them, they are slightly different. 

A boosted post is when you take existing photos, videos, Reels and Stories and spend money to share them with a broader, more targeted audience. Sponsored posts or ads, such as an Instagram Story ad,  are created from the Meta Ads Manager and don’t require an existing published post. 

Sponsored post via: @listen2lena and @sleepcountrycan

Some of the most significant differences of sponsored posts in Meta’s Ad Manager include:

  • Share a single ad across Facebook, Instagram, Messages or Audience Network. 
  • Create new ad visuals and campaigns, a great option if you don’t want to promote an existing post. 
  • Bulk ad uploads: Ad Manager lets you upload more than one ad, duplicate ads and provides advanced ad creation tools that allow you to customize your ad format with text, links and more. 
  • Dynamic, personalized ads use text, videos and images to create different ads based on user preferences, goals and more.
  • A/B testing lets you play around with creative, target audience and overall optimization to help you understand which settings perform best. 

Boost Posts on Instagram With Dash Hudson

Boosted posts rely on your best-performing content. Brands can quickly determine their top content to share utilizing Dash Hudson's Instagram Insights, Dashboards and Vision. Vision uses AI technology to decide which visuals from your content library have the highest chance to perform well based on current trends and past performance. 

Moreover, you can measure the performance of your organic boosted posts in Dash Hudson’s platform. To see how boosted content performs, navigate to Instagram Overview and hover over any content from your Top Performing Video to get a snapshot of promoted metrics. Insights don’t end there — to dig deeper into your promoted Instagram performance, select ‘Insights’ then ‘Your Posts.’ Now, you can ‘Sort By’ organic, promoted or total to see how well your boosted content did in terms of comments, engagement, Entertainment Score, impressions, likes, reach, saves, shares and views. To monitor your promoted performance at-a-glance, you can add these metrics to a Dashboard for convenient access. 

Instagram Promotion FAQs

Why can't I boost my Reels on Instagram? 

As of 2022, you can boost Instagram Reels. Instagram Reels garner more likes and saves than static posts, making this format perfect for engaging new users and boosting your follower count. 

Does boosting posts on Instagram work?

Yes, boosting Instagram posts works — depending on your goals. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, grow your audience and build your brand identity, boosting an Instagram account is a great way to capitalize on content that already earns high engagement and reach more users with content that feels more organic than typical ads on social. 

However, it’s essential to set goals and objectives for boosted posts and measure their impact when determining whether boosting is the best tactic to reach your goals in a specific campaign.

How much does it cost to boost an Instagram post?

Boosting an Instagram post gives you lots of freedom in your budget — while brands can boost content with as little as $1 with no cap, Meta recommends starting with a USD $5 budget spread out over six days. This lets them get your content in front of your optimal target audience. From there, your team can budget more or less depending on the results from your initial boosted posts. 

What is the difference between boost and promote on Instagram?

Promoted content is created in Meta Ads Manager, while boosted posts are from existing Reels, Stories and posts already shared to your account.

Related Articles

The Only Social Platform Marketers Need To Succeed and Scale