Instagram marketing basics

Having an Instagram channel is one thing – growing your following with a successful marketing strategy is another. These Instagram marketing basics are a useful guide.

Instagram is now an essential component of the marketing mix – and this also holds for the paper, office supply and stationery industry. But you should avoid taking half measures when showcasing your brand, as a neglected Instagram feed leaves a poor impression.

Use the Instagram algorithm to your advantage

Like most social media platforms, Instagram also has an algorithm that selects the content presented to users. Every time a user opens the app, the algorithm scans all available content and decides the order in which it appears in their feed.

In this way, the algorithm can help to expand organic reach. However, the opposite effect may be observed if it is misapplied.

Therefore, it is always worth giving consideration to the algorithm – and keeping an eye on it. After all, the photo platform is known for its regular tweaks and adjustments to its algorithm.

The Instagram algorithm therefore determines the organic reach of all content, based on analysis of users’ past behaviour and assessment of which posts might interest them the most.

The Instagram algorithm uses three key criteria to determine which content is given preference:

  1. Relationship: The algorithm assumes that users that have already interacted with an account will also be interested in other content from the same account.
  2. Interest: The Instagram algorithm selects content that users are most expected to like. Therefore, posts and stories should always be tailored to the target group.
  3. Timeliness: The Instagram algorithm assumes that users will be more interested in new content. Therefore, it can be useful to analyse when your own community is most frequently online.

Know your target group

You should always start by analysing your target group – as with any other marketing activity. This knowledge will help you to decide on the look and tone of your content and indicate when might be the best time to publish your posts.

In order to pinpoint your Instagram target group, there is no harm is seeing what your competitors are up to. Their profiles offer a good insight into what content is popular with the potential target group. Followers of individual profiles are publicly viewable. This can help to inform your decisions. Although time-consuming, this approach will help you better understand what your target group is looking for.

Strike the right tone – in imagery and text

A picture is worth a thousand words – obviously, that’s especially true on Instagram. However, don’t underestimate the power of captions on the popular photo platform. Strong visuals and videos are crucial to getting noticed by users scrolling through their feed. But captions can do far more for marketing.

By describing posts, captions offer the target group more context. A carefully worded caption therefore completes a post. They can also be used to drive follower engagement. Questions or calls to action such as “tag a friend” can help generate likes and comments.

This goes down well with the Instagram algorithm and can even result in you making the leap on to Instagram’s Explore page.

Tips for retailers: Instagram marketing basics

If you want to be successful with your brand on Instagram, you should: 

  • Keep an eye on the algorithm – Instagram is always tweaking its algorithm. It is worth monitoring this at all times in order to increase or maintain organic reach.
  • Know your target group – Instagram shows its users what they like. If you precisely analyse what your target group is looking for, then you’ll know what has an impact.
  • Ensure a consistent approach – visuals play an exceptionally big role on Instagram. If the tone of your copy also matches the content, this will ideally encourage users to interact.

About the author:

BASIC thinking is an online magazine and is one of the widest reaching tech platforms in German-speaking countries. The magazine reports about social media, marketing, and business topics daily. This article was written by Christina Widner from BASIC thinking GmbH.

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