Instagram Marketing in 2023: A Complete Guide + 18 Strategies

Instagram Marketing Tips Article

Instagram is the first and most pioneering social media marketing platform, with over 2 billion monthly active users as of Q4 2021 (up 200% from 2018). For more than a decade, Instagram has changed the landscape of social commerce, the creator economy, and how marketers use social media.

So, in 2023, how can you use Instagram marketing to grow your business?

Are Instagram ads (or, worse, dancing reels) needed for success? How do you use Instagram’s shopping tools?

Learn how to use Instagram to grow your business online, whatever your industry or goals.

Table of Contents

– What is Instagram marketing?

Instagram marketing is the use of Instagram to increase brand awareness, audience, leads, and sales. Instagram is a highly effective marketing platform for brands, entrepreneurs, and creators since it is the most popular social media platform among people aged 16 to 34.

Instagram marketing strategies include:

  • Organic content: Photo, video, or carousel posts, Reels, Stories
  • Paid content: Instagram ads, including Stories ads, Shopping ads, and more
  • Influencer marketing
  • Shopping Tools: Shop tab, Product tags and catalog, Live shopping, Instagram Checkout, Shopping ads

– How to set up Instagram for marketing

If you’re just getting started, here’s what you need to do to get your company’s Instagram account off to a great start.

Set up an Instagram Business profile

Most of the marketing tips provided here require an Instagram business account. It’s completely free, and you can simply create a new one or convert an existing personal account.

If you have an existing Personal account, skip to Step 3.

Step 1: Download Instagram

You can only create an account using a mobile device.

Step 2: Create a Personal account

Choose to Create a new account. Enter your email address and phone number, as well as a username and password, as required. You are not required to finish the rest of your profile right now (more on how to optimize it later).

Step 3: Switch your new account to a Business one

Open the menu in your profile. Go to Settings and, at the bottom, choose Switch to a professional account. Select Business as the account type and follow the steps to convert your account.

Switch Professional Account

Get verified

Most companies are not verified. According to research, 73.4% of creators or brands with over a million followers are verified, but only 0.87% of those with 1,000–5,000 are.

You don’t need to have the little blue checkmark to be successful on Instagram, but it could help you gain trust and stand out.

To apply for Instagram verification:

1. In the app, open the menu. Click Settings, then Account, then Request Verification.

Get Verfied Instagram

2. Fill out the form.

After submitting the form, you will receive the answer as an Instagram notification in about a week. Instagram will never send you an email, request payment, or contact you in any other way.

If your verification is denied, you can reapply in 30 days. If it’s approved, congrats and welcome to the super-exclusive Instagram club. The tricky part of getting verified is having enough third-party content to prove that you are well-known enough to warrant verification.

Try Instagram ads

Ads can help you expand your marketing plan greatly. Even simple ads may have results, as seen by Country Bean’s three-week campaign, which resulted in a 16% increase in sales.

There are two ways to get started with Instagram ads:

The easy way: Boost a post

By clicking the “Boost Post” button, you may turn any existing Instagram post into an ad. But you must have either a business or a creator account.

As you may guess, this is similar to Facebook’s “boost” feature. You’ll also need to connect your Instagram account to Meta Business Suite now that Meta owns both companies.

Boost Post Instagram

After clicking Boost Post, simply follow the instructions to choose your budget, narrow your target audience, and set a duration, and you will have an Instagram ad in no time.

You can either customize the targeting options or have Instagram target your ads for you. If this is all new to you, stick to auto mode. Boosted posts are a good way to dip your toe in the advertising pool.

Go big: Launch a full Instagram ad campaign

Step 1: Log in to Meta Business Suite

Click on Ads in the left menu, then Create ad at the top right.

Instagram Create Ads

Step 2: Choose a goal

Remember Choose Your Own Adventure books? It’s like that, but for marketing.

Instagram Choose Goal

Automated ads are a good choice for your first campaign. Instagram will strive to give you the most results for the least amount of money, and it will automatically adjust your targeting and bidding strategy as it learns more from your audience’s reactions. It’s like having a 24/7 robot assistant.

If you want to experiment with ad targeting or have a specific goal in mind, try one of the other options, like focusing on leads or traffic.

Step 3: Create your ads

The prompts to complete your ad vary depending on the goal you choose, but the next step is generally to create the ad’s creative. For example, the next step for the “Build your business” goal is this.

Instagram Build Business

For a well-rounded campaign, you should have at least 2-3 ad groups, each containing 3 or more ads.

Most ad options allow Instagram to automatically change out your creative assets to optimize ad performance. It’s like having an A/B testing process built in real time. To make use of this, add multiple creative assets to each ad.

If you sell products online, use a combination of photos, videos, stories, reels, catalog ads, and shopping ads. Test with different ad copy and calls to action.

Also, make sure you have ads for each and every stage of your buyer’s journey, from consideration to conversion.

Step 4: Define your audience

Take a shot every time you read “define your audience” in a marketing blog.

Targeting is critical to your ad’s success. Meta Business Suite gives you five options:

Instagram Define Audience

You can target:

  • An Advantage Audience (Recommended for newbies!): This is Meta’s AI-optimized audience based on your existing account audience, and updates itself automatically as your audience grows or changes. It analyzes what interests and demographics your followers share.
  • People you choose: Create your own audience from scratch, including location, demographics, interests, and more.
  • People who’ve previously engaged with posts or ads: Create a retargeting campaign to remind people who already know you about your offer.
  • Page Likes: Targets your existing Facebook Page and Instagram followers.
  • Page Likes and Similarities: In addition to your existing audience, this will also expand to target people the algorithm thinks are similar to them to bring in new leads.

Use the Advantage Audience option if you’re new to ads. Do you want to learn more about perfecting your ad targeting? The data in our Facebook ad targeting guide also relates to Instagram ads.

Step 5: Set your budget

Whichever targeting option you select, you’ll need to set a budget and a time frame. On the right side, you’ll see the predicted results of your choices in terms of estimated reach and clicks.

Instagram Set Budget

Step 6: Launch

Lastly, you may choose whether you want your ad to display only on Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger, or on all three platforms. We recommend that you run it across all

To save and launch your Instagram ad campaign, click Promote Now. Woo! Running a successful advertising campaign is a huge undertaking.

Add an Instagram Shop to your account

Instagram Shopping tools are an essential requirement for eCommerce businesses. 44% of Instagram users shop weekly, and 1 in 2 use the platform to find new brands.

Tips for using Instagram Shopping follow, but first you need to add the Shop tab to your Instagram profile.

This gives you the chance to create a fully shoppable product catalog directly on Instagram, as well as tag and link to products in your posts and Stories, and more.

Instagram Shop

Step 1: Ensure you meet Instagram Shopping requirements

Brands that use Shopping features must follow Meta’s merchant policies. You’re probably doing it all correctly, but it’s a good idea to read Meta’s commerce policies before applying.

Step 2: Sign up for Commerce Manager

You need a Meta Commerce Manager account to start your Instagram Shop. You must have a Business or Creator Instagram account in order to sign up in one of two ways:

Through your eCommerce platform

If your website is built on Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, or another major platform, you may only have to click a button to have your Instagram Shop set up.

The process differs based on the platform, so see Meta’s list of supported platforms to find instructions for yours.

Manually through Commerce Manager

Don’t use one of those. It’s easy to sign up from scratch.

Log in to Meta Business Suite and click on Commerce in the left navigation.

Instagram Meta Step 1

Click Add Account. Click Next on the following page to start the manual setup process.

First, choose a checkout method:

  1. Check out your website.
  2. Checkout directly inside Facebook and/or Instagram. (Recommended, but currently only available for U.S.-based companies.)
  3. Checkout via direct message on WhatsApp or Messenger.
Instagram Meta Step 2

Select the Facebook and Instagram profiles you want to create your Shop on, then click Next. Create a new product catalog, and click Next again.

Instagram Meta Step 3

It will prompt you to enter your website URL and the countries you ship to. The final page is a summary of all your information. Ensure it’s accurate, then click Finish Setup.

Step 3: Wait for approval

Instagram reviews new Commerce Manager applications manually, though you should hear back within a few business days.

– 18 tips for a winning Instagram marketing strategy

1. Set S.M.A.R.T. social media goals

You know, the specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound Yada Yada Yada type goals. What do you want your Instagram account to do for your business?

A few common examples are:

  • Lead generation
  • Brand awareness
  • Recruitment

2. Optimize your profile

At a minimum, ensure yours has:

  • An intriguing Instagram bio that sums up your brand.
  • A call to action to click your bio link.
  • A high-quality profile photo (a headshot or logo).
  • Stories highlights and well-designed covers.

The magic of digital marketing is that nothing is set in stone. Don’t worry about creating the perfect Instagram profile. You can always make changes later.

Remember: what’s on the inside is what counts (most). As in the actual content of your Instagram posts.

3. Up your graphics game

Instagram is a visual social media platform. While no one wants a small business to have the same resources as a megacorp, you must still create eye-catching posts that attract your target audience.

In addition to hiring a professional photographer to take your product shots, which you should do, try:

4. Champion user-generated content

What is the best free method to boost your Instagram? Content created by users.

Encourage your followers to share photos or videos of your products on social media. Not every shot will be worthy of Ansel Adams, but nothing matches the authenticity of real customer photos and stories.

Instagram makes this simple with the “Tagged” tab, which shows all of the posts in which other users have tagged you. There’s a way to make only the cream of the crop visible: Enabling manual approval for tagged photos.

Instead of a jumbled mess, you may curate user-generated content that fits your aesthetic.

Instagram User Generated Content

5. Develop a brand aesthetic

Speaking of style, have one. While your audience isn’t going to hand over their wallets solely due to good looks, make an effort to create a cohesive-looking profile.

Why? because people will recognize one of your Instagram posts before they see the account name. They’ll know your style. That is branding at work.

6. …But don’t be too concerned with aesthetic

Yes, having a unique look can help you attract the right audience, but style without substance isn’t a strategy. 58% of Instagram users like it when brands share real, unpolished content.

Don’t be driven by the fear that your content will not be “pretty” enough. Anyway, post it.

7. Have a distinctive brand voice

One thing that always needs to be on point, raw or not, is your brand voice.

Your voice comes through everything you communicate, such as:

  • Post captions
  • How you come across on video
  • Key terms you use
  • How people speak on camera when representing your company
  • Your bio copy
  • Text in videos or Reels

It’s not only what you say, but also how you say it. Are you light and engaging, or serious and scientific? Do you light things up with jokes or stick to the facts? There is no wrong way, but you must be consistent.

Your brand voice and tone are key parts of your social media brand guidelines.

8. Use Reels

When you open Instagram, it seems like all you see are Reels, and there’s a reason for that: they get engagement. We ran an experiment and found a significant correlation between posting a Reel and an increase in overall engagement rate.

Some may not get many views, which is really okay because when one of yours goes a little viral, It’s all important.

9. Use Stories

While reels are newer, Instagram Stories are here to stay. Stories, which are popular for more informal content, allow you to create relationships with your audience in a unique way.

It also doesn’t take much more work to see a massive effect. A year of research found that companies with one story per day achieved a 100% retention rate.

In fact, 500 million people use Stories every day. I’m not excellent at math, but with a potential reach of 500 million people, will 100% of your audience remember your content? That is an easy pick.

10. Create useful Stories highlights

Stories only last 24 hours, but your Story highlights live on forever.

Highlights are great for communicating a large amount of data quickly in the format that most people prefer these days: A brief video. 61% of Gen Zers and Millennials prefer videos under 1 minute long.

In fact, adding Story highlights enables you to modify your Story content and keep it working for you.

Try coming up with a brief highlight for a new product launch or event. Keep ones that are always relevant, such as FAQs or ordering information, up.

Ensure you have the following things for effective Story highlights:

  • Short, clear titles
  • Cover designs that fit your brand
  • Only your best content featured in them
Instagram Usefull Stories Highlights

11. Use Stories tools

Instagram makes it simple to link to your products or services (whether you use Commerce Manager or not) and engage with your audience.

Tap the smiley sticker thing to open the ever-expanding Stories toolbox:

Instagram Stories Tools

Be sure to try out:

  • Product tags: If you have an Instagram Shop, you can easily tag your products in Stories. Users can tap the product name and checkout in-app.
  • Links: Useful for directing people to any URL, but especially so if you don’t have an Instagram Shop. You can still link out to your products on external sites.
  • Questions: Get quick and valuable feedback.
  • Gift cards and more: Depending on your account type, users can purchase gift cards or order food delivery directly from a Story.

12. Stay up to date on hashtags

Can you hashtag or not? Is it nobler to suffer the algorithm’s highs and lows or to take arms against a sea of content?

Every Instagram post can have up to 30 hashtags. But a 2021 experiment showed that using more doesn’t lead to more views. Instagram’s official @creators account recommended no more than 3-5 per post last year.

What about in 2023?

A casual experiment I ran on my account this week showed the opposite effect. I loaded up on hashtags, using between 15-20 per post, and most of my (albeit small) reach came from those hashtags.

Instagram Hashtags Insights

So what does this tell us?

TL;DR: Science is hard, no one knows how many Instagram hashtags are “the perfect amount,” and you should regularly experiment with this.

13. Reply to comments and DMs

Interact with your audience! Reply to their comments, messages, carrier pigeons, and so on.

Because a higher engagement rate seems to be good for your analytics reports, right? No! Reply to your followers because it’s the right thing to do.

Yes, it also boosts your engagement rate. But more importantly, it encourages your potential customers to start conversations with you. Over time, those conversations become the foundation of their perception of your brand and greatly influence purchase decisions.

14. Try the Instagram Live video

Live video does not have to be scary. It’s an effective tool for growing your Instagram followers and building connections with your followers.


  • Hosting a workshop or class.
  • A Q&A session.
  • Product demos.
Instagram Strategies Live Video

15. Partner with influencers

Influencer marketing is still going strong in 2023 and is expected to grow even more so. Influencer marketing will be worth $13.8 billion USD in 2021 alone.

Don’t forget the most potent influencers: your employees. Starting an employee advocacy program may boost your profits by 23% while also improving internal team morale. Win-win.

16. Run contests and giveaways

What do people like? Free stuff!

When do they want it? All the time!

Sometimes the best strategies for Instagram are the oldest. Contests can boost your organic reach and give you tons of user-generated content.

Contests do not have to be expensive. By having users like and comment on your post, you may give away free products in a simple raffle, or you can partner with someone else in your industry to split the cost of a larger prize package.

17. Measure your ROI

You see positive feedback from your clients, more sales, and an increase in your follower count. But how can you place a valuation on it? What are the actual results of your efforts?

Measuring your ROI, or return on investment, is essential for reporting to your boss, but it may also help you justify the establishment or increase of your paid advertising budget.

It’s also the only way to figure out whether your marketing strategy needs to be tweaked or if you should double down on your efforts.

Rather than sifting through each platform’s analytics dashboard and attempting to put together the full picture on your own, depend on ARF Services Impact. Impact compiles data for all of your organic and paid content across all channels in one place, giving you powerful insights whenever you need them.

18. Experiment!

Last but not least, don’t wildly follow every Instagram marketing tip you read on marketing blogs. 🙃

Seriously, you should try new things. Every audience is different. Maybe your friends hate live videos. Maybe they’re only online on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. Maybe they’ll give you their firstborn child in exchange for a free sweatshirt.

Evaluate your performance on a regular basis, and set aside time to run experiments to see which methods work best for you. Don’t worry, we’ve got a free social media audit template to help out.

– Why use Instagram for marketing?

Need a bit more convincing? Here’s how Instagram marketing can help you grow your business.

Instagram Shopping tools can boost sales by 300%

44% of Instagram users shop on the site on a weekly basis. Instagram has grown into a full social commerce solution since introducing basic shopping tools in 2018, such as linking to products from Stories.

With a combination of Shopping tools and ads, brands may boost sales by up to 300%.

People spend 30 minutes per day on Instagram

Instagram users spend 30 minutes per day on the app, which is fairly typical among big social platforms, but it is the session length that stands out.

People spend about 18 minutes per session, which is longer than the average Amazon shopping trip (13 minutes), Twitter scroll (14 minutes), and YouTube session (7 minutes).

Instagram ads reach almost 1/3rd of all internet users

Instagram ads have the ability to reach 1.48 billion people. That amounts to 29.9% of all internet users and 23.9% of people over the age of 13.

Instagram ads also have a major impact on brand sentiment. 50% of people say they are more interested in businesses after seeing their ads on the site.

With ARF Services' time-saving tools, you can manage all of your Instagram marketing alongside your other social platforms. You can schedule Posts, Stories, and Reels from a single dashboard, engage with your audience, and measure your social ROI. Try it free today.

About the Author

Michael David

Michael writes and optimizes engaging, high-ranking blog posts for SaaS brands that both readers and Google love.
Read more by Michael David

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