Marketing on Instagram

Instagram first appeared on the social media scene in 2010. It would then go on to explode with popularity, gaining one million users within just two months of its release (Source). Instagram quickly established itself as a social media giant and continues to be one today. Unlike some social platforms, Instagram’s user demographics skew heavily toward the 18-29 year old crowd, with those in the 30-49 year old range coming in second. Below we will discuss some ways you can use Instagram for marketing your business.

Photos

Instagram’s main claim to fame is it’s photo-sharing. In the early days, it was almost exclusively a place to share photos, and while it has added several more features of the years, it continues to be an image-heavy platform.

You can post a single photo or something known as a carousel. Carousels are anywhere from 2-10 photos. They can be handy for before-and-after shots, pictures that show the progress of projects, or pictures that are related to one event or topic that you want to post about. Generally speaking, carousel posts will get more engagement (user interaction) because people like to scroll through and see every picture.

a screenshot of Bold River's Instagram feed to show the square crop of photos

By default, Instagram photos are set to a 1:1 aspect ratio (that’s photo-speak for a square). You can also post photos with aspect ratios of 4.5 or 1.91:1. Because the default is 1:1, the feed on your Instagram page will be set to show up in smaller squares (see the example screenshot). It’s important to keep this in mind when you’re posting taller or wider images. The images may crop in odd ways when they show up on your business’s page. It’s also important to note that carousels will use the same aspect ratio for all the photos in the post.

An example of 1:1 aspect ratio; a perfect square
an example of 4:5 aspect ratio; a rectangle that is taller than it is wide
an example of 1.91:1 aspect ratio; a rectangle that is wider than it is tall

Pre-recorded Videos

Like the photos, you can post videos to your Instagram page as well. These have the same aspect ratios available as the photos. You can post the video by itself, or you can add it to a carousel post with other photos or videos. Instagram videos can be anywhere from 3 seconds to 10 minutes long. Users will see a 60 second preview of your video on their feed, and they can choose to continue watching it from your page after that.

Live Videos

Instagram, like many other video-sharing platforms, has a feature where you can make livestream videos. You can stream for up to 4 hours and you can save that stream to your page for viewers to go back and watch later. Live videos can be a fun way to engage your audience in real time conversations. You can use live videos for Q&A sessions, interviews, company updates, or even to share a brief bit of wisdom from your area of expertise.

Reels

Instagram added the Reels feature after TikTok gained popularity. These can be anywhere from 15-60 seconds. Reels function similarly to pre-recorded videos, but you generally record them right from the app and do any edits shortly before posting.

Stories

Stories on Instagram are very similar to those on Snapchat. You can post pictures or videos of 15 seconds or less. They will stay on your story for up to 24 hours. You can then add them as a highlight to your profile page so that people can view them later. Because Facebook and Instagram are both connected through Meta, you can share the same story to both platforms. This is another good place for those bits of wisdom. You can also use it to announce time-sensitive information, like special sales or holiday deals.

Paid Advertising

Instagram also offers paid advertising. If you have a business page, you can use the Professional Dashboard to choose a post to boost. This will allow Instagram to show your post to people with similar demographics as those that already follow you. You can choose how much you want to pay and how long you want the post to stay boosted. This can be a good way to reach people who might not otherwise come across your content.

Wrapping up

Instagram has lots of great features that can be utilized for marketing your business. If you’d like to use Instagram, but you’re not sure you have the time or resources to properly promote yourself, contact Bold River Marketing. We can help you manage your social media and make suggestions on the types of content that will help to get your business noticed. Don’t be shy—give us a call today!