When Instagram first popped onto the scene back in 2010, it was just like any other social platform: filled with selfies, pets, and pictures of food.

Fast-forward to 2019 and Instagram’s transformation from a simple photo-sharing app to a full-on marketing channel is nearly complete.
Just look at some of the platform’s newest features! In the last year alone, Instagram has released dozens of new tools for businesses, including advanced analytics, shoppable Instagram posts, and new ways to drive traffic from Instagram Stories, and the new standalone video platform, IGTV.
Whether you work in e-commerce, education, or media and publishing, it pays to build a presence on Instagram. But if you really want to get ahead, you need to know the platform (and your audience) inside and out, including what kind of content resonates most, how to build an Instagram Stories strategy, and how to track your metrics and KPIs.
That’s where this guide comes in. In the next 16 chapters, we’ll walk you through:
  • The fundamentals of a well-rounded Instagram marketing strategy
  • Tips on how to create an effective Instagram profile
  • Running your first Instagram influencer marketing campaign
  • The ins and outs of your Instagram analytics
  • Tips on how to use Instagram Stories for business
  • And so much more!
As far as social media marketing channels go, Instagram has been a major power player for a while. And that's particularly true for e-commerce businesses that get access to a visual-focused platform with enthusiastic followers and high engagement.
In the past few years, Instagram has grown and evolved at a rate similar to Facebook, adopting new features at a lightning-fast rate and becoming even more valuable to merchants and users alike.
In this starter guide, we’ll outline all of the fundamentals for Instagram marketing, including how to optimize your profile, how to create high-engaging posts, how to get more results with both feed and Stories content, and how to evaluate your progress on the platform.

Why use Instagram for marketing?

Instagram is a staple of many small businesses’ marketing campaigns. And for good reason. It has a large and diverse audience that is happy to engage with brands, resulting in high engagement overall.
Research and case studies have demonstrated these benefits clearly, finding that they can translate directly into sales and leads.
People are happy to follow brands on Instagram, and they’re actively discovering and purchasing products on the platform. That’s a big win.
Also worth noting is Instagram’s continued efforts to embrace commerce.
Instagram ads see excellent results and offer high engagement. Shopping on Instagram streamlines the Instagram sales process. And business profiles with over 10,000 Instagram followers gain “Swipe Up” links they can add to Instagram Stories to drive traffic directly to the site, something that was otherwise difficult to do on the platform.

Optimizing your Instagram profile

Most merchants know the basics about setting up an online profile; you need to fill out your contact information, have a keyword-optimized description, and choose a profile picture that’s easily identifiable, like a logo. This is a great start.

What images and videos work best on Instagram?

If you want to get results on Instagram, you need to know what types of posts perform best. While every audience is different, there’s fortunately been a lot of data compiled that can give us some insight on where to start.
In terms of the types of posts users want to see, they’re pretty open. They’re happy to see promotional posts, motivational quotes, product photos, DIY or tutorial content, and images shared from other users (i.e. user-generated content). That being said, they want to see diversity; they’ll get bored or annoyed if you just use one type of post for too long.