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How To Build a Successful Instagram Marketing Strategy

Jamie Landry
January 16, 2024
Last Updated On
instagram marketing strategy blog header

Building a successful Instagram marketing strategy is essential to thrive on social media. Social teams are tasked with identifying a target audience, crafting engaging content and leveraging Instagram's diverse features to reach a number of goals — and a great Instagram marketing strategy is the only way to achieve success. The right strategy includes effective tactics to boost engagement and measure success while ensuring your Instagram presence grows and resonates with your audience. 

This blog discusses: 

  • Why an Instagram marketing strategy is important. 
  • Benefits of an Instagram marketing strategy. 
  • How to create an Instagram marketing strategy. 
  • Instagram content types and posting strategies for each.
  • How to measure success with Instagram analytics.
  • Tips to grow your Instagram presence.

Why an Instagram Marketing Strategy Is Important

Brands need an Instagram strategy to organize their tactics and define how they’ll use them to achieve their goals. While most brands recognize a presence on Instagram is important, it’s a losing battle to simply post random images and videos that don’t align with your goals, campaigns or big marketing initiatives throughout the year. 

Creating a strategy helps your team develop a streamlined plan with a clear understanding of what success looks like for your account. Is your brand new, or just new to Instagram? Your team’s main focus might be generating brand awareness and building followers. In contrast, you might focus on sales conversions via a link-in-bio solution like LikeShop if generating revenue is your primary focus. Whatever your goal, an Instagram social media strategy will include the KPIs you want to hit to reach your goal and how you’ll achieve them. Let’s say you don’t hit your goals — a clearly defined strategy still helps your team pinpoint areas to improve and where to pivot, rather than scrambling at review time to remember all your actions on Instagram and how they impacted your budgets and bottom line. 

Benefits of Marketing on Instagram

Instagram marketing is a go-to platform for brands looking to enhance their digital marketing strategy. Instagram’s visually rich nature lets brands tell impactful and creative stories using static and dynamic visuals that help social teams reach their goals and thrive among competition — and if that’s not enough, here are some additional benefits of Instagram marketing.

Large and Diverse User Base

In 2024, Instagram boasts over 1.4 billion active users and is projected to reach 1.5 billion in 2026 — offering a vast and varied audience for businesses. This diversity lets brands reach different demographics, from local communities to global markets. Brands incorporating paid tactics into their Instagram strategy also benefit from narrow-targeting, enabling brands to drill down the targeted segments via their promoted and boosted posts

High Engagement Rate

Building a high engagement rate and setting ambitious — but realistic — engagement goals is essential to an Instagram strategy. Increasing these metrics can help the Instagram algorithm notice you and share your content with users who engage with similar content, boosting your follower list and reach.

How To Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy

As social media managers, crafting an effective Instagram marketing strategy is crucial to stand out on the platform and reach your goals. Social managers must create an effective Instagram marketing strategy that resonates with their audience, amplifies your brand’s presence and ultimately helps your team achieve objectives.

1. Define Your Goals

Defining clear goals is the cornerstone of a successful Instagram marketing strategy. It sets the direction and focus of your efforts, ensuring that each piece of content you create and every interaction you have aligns with your goals. Whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving sales or building a community, having well-defined goals lets you tailor your content, choose the platform's features and measure your success effectively. Without specific goals, your Instagram presence can become aimless, making it difficult to gauge the impact of your marketing efforts.

2. Determine Your Target Audience

Determining your target audience is vital for your Instagram content strategy — it guides your content creation process. It ensures it resonates with your focus demographic's specific needs, preferences and behaviors. Understanding who your audience is — their age, interests, location and other online habits — helps teams create tailored content that engages and profoundly connects with users. This approach increases the relevance and impact of your content.

3. Optimize Your Profile — And Posts 

Optimizing your profile and posts on Instagram helps improve your brand’s visibility and discoverability. A well-optimized Instagram profile with a clear bio, relevant username and keywords allows your brand to be easily searchable, recognizable and easily discovered. Similarly, optimizing posts with relevant hashtags, engaging captions and geo-tags for relevant local content increases their reach and likelihood of appearing in search results and the Explore page. This focus on social media SEO is essential as it can help boost your content within the Instagram algorithm, allowing your content to reach your followers and a broader audience.

4. Conduct a Competitive Analysis

Conducting an Instagram competitive analysis lets brands stay ahead in a hyper-competitive market. By analyzing competitors' content, engagement strategies and follower demographics, brands can gain valuable insights into market trends, audience preferences and effective posting tactics. Competitive analysis helps identify gaps in competitors' strategies and show your team opportunities to differentiate and innovate your existing strategy. It also provides a benchmark to measure your own performance and progress.

5. Create A Content Calendar 

Creating a social media content calendar is fundamental for streamlining your Instagram marketing strategy. It serves as a roadmap for consistent and organized content creation, ensuring a balanced mix of post types and themes. A well-planned content calendar helps maintain regular posting schedules, vital to keeping your audience engaged and your brand top-of-mind. It also allows for strategic planning around important dates and events, ensuring timely and relevant content. By planning ahead, brands can avoid last-minute rushes, maintain a high quality of content and ensure a cohesive and compelling online presence.

6. Grow Your Followers 

Growing your followers on Instagram is crucial to expand your brand's reach and influence. A more extensive follower base means more potential customers and brand advocates, which leads to increased visibility and engagement opportunities. It also enhances the credibility and authority of your brand, making your content more likely to be shared and seen by a broad audience. 

7. Analyze Data and Monitor Performance

Analyzing data and monitoring performance on Instagram is critical to making informed decisions and understanding the impact of your marketing efforts. By regularly reviewing metrics such as engagement rates, follower growth and reach, you can gauge what resonates with your audience and what doesn't. This analysis lets your team continually refine your strategy and help your content remain relevant and engaging. It also helps your team identify trends and patterns so you can capitalize on what works best for your brand.

8. Conduct Regular Social Media Audit

Regular social media audits on Instagram help maintain an effective and relevant online presence. These audits involve thoroughly reviewing your account and assessing things like follower demographics, content quality, engagement rates and overall strategy alignment with your brand goals. By regularly evaluating these elements and your social presence, you can identify areas of success and those needing improvement. This process helps your Instagram strategy align with the latest trends and algorithm changes. Regular audits also provide insights into the evolving preferences of your followers, enabling you to adapt and refine your approach for sustained growth and engagement.

Content Types and Posting Strategies

Understanding the range of Instagram content types and developing effective posting strategies will your brand achieve success and find the best content for your unique brand. Developing a posting strategy around these content types and choosing the right content mix and how frequently to share will help refine your Instagram strategy.

Static Posts

Static posts on Instagram are single, non-moving images that appear on a user's feed. To create engaging content with static posts, focus on high-quality, visually appealing photos that reflect your brand's aesthetic and message. Using a consistent color scheme and style is important to maintain brand identity. Captivating captions are also crucial — they should be concise yet compelling and will often include a call-to-action or a question to encourage follower interaction. Additionally, incorporating relevant trending hashtags can significantly increase the visibility of your posts. Best practices involve posting at times when your audience is most active and regularly analyzing engagement data to understand what types of images resonate most with your followers. By combining these elements, static posts can effectively capture attention and foster engagement on Instagram.

woman in brown sweater organizing dishes in pine cupboard
Image credit: @jennikayne

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are temporary posts that disappear after 24 hours, offering a more casual and immediate way to engage with followers. To create captivating Stories, focus on authenticity and spontaneity. Use behind-the-scenes content, quick polls or Q&A sessions to foster a sense of connection and interaction. Incorporating interactive elements like stickers, location tags, ‘Add Yours’ stickers and hashtags can also boost engagement and visibility. Best practices for static posts within Stories include maintaining a consistent visual style that aligns with your brand and using text overlays for added context or calls to action. Balancing well-curated static posts with the dynamic and interactive nature of Stories can keep your audience engaged and interested in your brand's narrative.

rhode glazing milk in bowl of cheerios
Image credit: @rhode

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels are short, engaging videos that allow users to create and share dynamic content, often set to music, effects and various creative tools. To make your Reels stand out, focus on trending topics, music and challenges, as these trends can help your content be more discoverable on the Explore page. Authenticity and creativity are key — use Reels to showcase a different, more relatable side of your brand or to tell a story in an entertaining way. For static posts within Reels, ensure they are visually captivating and align with the theme of your video. Regularly experimenting with different formats and styles within Reels can help identify what resonates best with your audience, keeping your content fresh and appealing.

woman with black bob and beige cardigan ig reels screenshot
Image credit: @mejuri

Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads are paid advertisements that allow brands to reach a broader and more targeted audience on the platform. Your Instagram advertising strategy should have compelling visuals and a clear call-to-action that supports an overarching marketing goal. To create organic-feeling content for viewers, the content should be visually consistent with your brand's aesthetic and message. For static ad posts, use captivating images with clear, concise messaging and a strong call-to-action to drive user engagement and conversions. It's also important to tailor your ads based on audience insights and optimize for interests, behavior and demographics. Regular testing and analyzing the performance of different ad formats, visuals, and copy can help refine your strategy, help your Instagram Ads, and boost posts to reach and resonate effectively with your target demographic. 

shay mitchell unzipping grey convertible mini weekender bag
Image credit: @beis

Measuring Success with Instagram Analytics

Tracking performance using Instagram Insights is important for any brand to optimize its presence on Instagram. Instagram data and insights provide a wealth of data on how your content performs, your audience, and how they interact with your posts. This information is invaluable for refining your strategy. For example, by analyzing which posts receive the most engagement or reach, you can tailor your content to suit your audience's preferences better and improve engagement. 

Instagram Insights also offers demographic information about your followers, including age, gender and location. This data can be used to fine-tune your content and posting schedule to better align with when your audience is most active, increasing the likelihood of higher engagement and reach.

Tracking metrics like website clicks and follower growth helps you gauge the effectiveness of your call-to-action and overall growth strategy. If certain posts drive more website traffic or lead to a spike in followers, it's a sign to produce more of that content type.

Instagram Growth Strategy Tips

Creating rich visuals true to your brand identity will help attract the right users and boost engagement. Still, beyond this, Instagram growth enables you to take up more space among your competitors and direct more users to your website. Here are some tips for building your Instagram growth and follower count. 

Post At The Right Times

Posting at the right time on Instagram is crucial for brands, as it significantly impacts the visibility and engagement of your content. The best time to post on Instagram varies depending on the brand's specific audience demographics and behaviors. By analyzing when their followers are most active, brands can strategically schedule posts to ensure maximum reach and interaction. Timing isn't just about posting; it's also about strategically connecting with your audience.

Leverage Stories For Greater Reach

Leveraging Instagram Stories is a game-changer for brands aiming to build their brand identity and entertain audiences with interactive content. Stories offer a dynamic and immersive way to connect with audiences, featuring real-time content that fosters a sense of immediacy. Brands can develop their Instagram Stories strategy to showcase behind-the-scenes glimpses, limited-time offers or interactive polls and Q&As that encourage your audience's active participation — aka engagement. Another benefit of Instagram Stories for brands is their position on the platform — Stories appear prominently at the top of the user's feed, making them a great visibility tool. 

Create an Instagram Hashtag Strategy

Using hashtags sporadically with little thought can lead to a happy accident, but creating a defined rule for hashtag use — both branded and trending hashtags — will help your brand better understand which hashtags are most effective and why. Depending on the size of your brand, you might have guidelines around the amount of content posted under a single hashtag, which will help your team define which hashtags are appropriate to use. If you’re a large brand with a significant following and reach, you might aim for hashtags with higher usage, while a smaller brand looking to build its following might opt for a popular hashtag with less associated content to stand out from competitors. 

Build a Strong Community

Transforming followers into a strong community on Instagram is the sweet spot for brands, often indicating a  group of loyal advocates and customers. Creating a community fosters a greater sense of loyalty among followers but also helps brands receive direct feedback and insights from their audience. By creating a space where followers feel heard and valued, brands can cultivate lasting relationships, enhance customer loyalty and create a network of supporters who are more likely to promote the brand organically.

Focus on Trends

In their 2024 Trend Talk Report, Instagram identified trends as a major reason why Gen Z will spend time on the platform. Brands seeking to attract Gen Z and add value should incorporate relevant trend forecasting into their content to attract new users and educate existing followers on emerging industry trends or upcoming campaigns that aim to start trends. Trend forecasting will be especially relevant for fashion, media & publishing and consumer electronics and technology.

According to Instagram's report, Gen Z also plans to use social media to spread awareness about causes that are close to them — so don’t be shy to get vocal about issues that matter to your organization. If attracting Gen Z and building your following is a primary goal, highlight corporate social responsibility and other measures within your Instagram content and overall strategy.

Leverage Instagram Insights With Dash Hudson

Dash Hudson offers advanced social media analytics to understand audience engagement and content performance on a deeper level. With predictive AI technology, social teams can select the most impactful visuals and enhance the effectiveness of each Instagram post with built-in visual enhancements like image search so that you can source similar visuals and creators based on a single photo. 

Dash Hudson also streamlines content scheduling and management, which lets teams maintain a more efficient and consistent online presence. Additionally, User Generated Content tools allow you to identify the UGC content that most closely resonates with your audience so you automatically know which images from your content library will stand out on Instagram's Explore page.  


How to market on Instagram?

To market effectively on Instagram, focus on creating visually appealing and brand-aligned content, utilizing a mix of posts, Stories, Reels and boosted posts for variety. Engage with your audience through interactive features and use targeted hashtags to increase visibility. Additionally, leverage Instagram Ads for broader reach and regularly analyze your account's insights to refine your strategy and understand your audience's preferences and behaviors.

How do you grow your business on Instagram?

To grow your business on Instagram, focus on understanding your audience and which visuals and trends they want to see. Use Instagram's various features like Stories, Reels, and targeted, boosted posts to share diverse content that can resonate with different followers among your target demographic. Actively engage with your followers, leverage targeted hashtags and utilize Instagram Ads to expand your reach and attract new customers.

Is Instagram worth it?

Yes, Instagram is worth it for businesses and individuals seeking to enhance their online presence and engagement. Its vast user base, high engagement rates, and visual-centric platform make it an ideal tool for brand building, marketing and connecting with a diverse audience.

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