You might think of Instagram as a social media platform that is ideally suited for businesses that have beautiful products or eye-catching images to share. You could assume that Instagram marketing is a visual platform that is best left to creative companies to leverage. After all, the focus on images could give the perception among many business owners that Instagram is all about pretty pictures.
But 2022 Instagram is much more versatile when it comes to the marketing potential for many business, and possible yours. This past June, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, announced that his company is “no longer just a square photo-sharing app.” He has made it clear that the platform’s first and primary goal is to entertain. As a result, Instagram will be focusing on four essential areas: creators, video, shopping, and messaging.
This means Instagram offers enormous marketing potential for any business. Instagram is something that you should seriously consider in your marketing campaigns for 2022 and beyond.
There are at least 11 ways that you can reach your ideal customer on Instagram. We suggest you consider leveraging most or all of these Instagram features if you want to connect with a wider cross-section of users who prefer to take in content in various ways.
Instagram Features to Consider for your 2022 Instagram Strategy
1.) Instagram Feed Posts
From the beginning when Instagram launched more than a decade ago, their feed was comprised of chronological lists of square photos. These grid posts in the Instagram feed are a highly recognizable part of the Instagram platform, and should be considered vital to your Instagram marketing.
Your top nine posts need to offer a snapshot of what your business is all about, including what you do and who your ideal customers are.
We recommend posting at a minimum three times per week. Make sure your content is relevant and exceptional.
Ways to Optimize Instagram Feed
- Post regular carousel posts and optimize your content for engagement by adding a powerful call to action.
- Focus on generating content that inspires your audience, and don’t haggle over formats and patterns.
- Test Instagram hashtags as part of your Instagram marketing strategy. See what works for you.
2.) Instagram Stories
Instagram claims more than 500 million accounts regularly leverage stories, with at least one-third of the most viewed stories coming from businesses. 2022 Instagram offers stories that are 15 seconds long and disappear after 24 hours. They are mostly viewed by people who follow your company or organization. Because they display above the feed, Instagram stories are one of the initial things a follower sees when they open the app.
You should strive to have eight to 10 stories that are active at any given time.
Ideal Content for Instagram Stories: How-to videos, a series of products, before-and-after reveals. Also consider customer reviews, polls, and questions, etc.
Ways to Optimize Instagram Stories:
- Stories are a powerful way to draw the largest number of fans to your business. They are perfect for launching conversations and funneling people into your DMs.
- Leverage your stories to spur engagement and use the poll, question and quiz stickers. You have now made it possible to reach out to your new fans on a personal level.
- Post multiple stories during a typical day. But stagger your stories so they don’t all disappear at the same time.
3.) Instagram Highlights
When it comes to Instagram marketing, Instagram highlights are an ideal way to prolong the shelf life of your stories. Instagram highlights enable you to save your content to albums, which can remain visible on your profile indefinitely.
Instagram highlights are the perfect way to create a robust customer journey. We recommend that your business or organization create albums that cater to your main content pillars so you can be intentional about your story content.
Ideal Content for Instagram Highlights: FAQs and product catalogs, customer reviews, tips and advice, as all of this is customer-centric content.
Ways to Optimize Instagram Highlights:
- Whenever you title your Instagram highlights albums, be strategic. Consider the type of information that customers are seeking and then respond accordingly.
- You will want to prioritize your highlights on a regular basis, as they are displayed from oldest to newest. You never want new visitors being served up outdated content.
- Don’t create too many highlights albums. Keep in mind that just the first five albums are visible on the mobile app and seven on a desktop
4.) Instagram Guides
Similar to highlights, Instagram guides offer you the opportunity to group closely associated content. You leverage posts to do this.
Guides are the perfect way to repurpose rich, highly usable content. You always want to ensure you are creating guides that deliver value to your followers.
For this feature, we suggest you create guides using your content and content from other parties. The benefit of using other accounts’ posts is that they could reward you by sharing your guide with their followers.
Ideal Content for Instagram Guides: Gift guides and how-tos, recipe collections, top tips, and FAQs are ideally suited for Instagram guides. You might also include businesses you are associated with.
Ways to Optimize Instagram Guides:
- Instagram guides are ideally used as part of your customer service strategy. Create guides that directly address the needs and concerns of your customers.
- Create guides that draw from other creator’s posts and products. By doing this, your brand becomes known to their followers.
- Always ensure that your guides are regularly updated and extremely useful.
5.) Instagram Reels
Another way your business can step up your Instagram game is by using Instagram reels.
The objective of Instagram reels is to entertain.
You can feel free to post as often as you deem it effective for your business.
Ideal Content for Instagram Reels: Amusing and relatable situations. FAQs, myth busters, product launches, top tips, behind the scenes, etc.
Ways to Optimize Instagram Reels:
- Make sure you capture your viewer’s attention with an eye-catching hook as the initial few seconds of your reel are vital.
- You can use as many as 30 relevant hashtags to have your reels viewed by a greater share of your ideal audience.
- Be sure to incorporate calls-to-action and product tags in your reels to foster engagement. Encourage viewers to like or comment on your reel or tap on the description for more information.
6.) IGTV Video
Another great tool available from 2022 Instagram is IGTV video. This feature enables businesses and creators to publish pre-recorded content that can be as long as 60 minutes. Because Instagram has dedicated itself to videos, this is the perfect time to think about adding IGTV to your Instagram marketing.
Ideal Content for Instagram IGTV Video: Demonstrations, discussions, how-tos, behind the scenes, sketches, etc. Think of this as content that you would typically upload to YouTube.
Ways to Optimize Instagram IGTV:
- Take advantage of Instagram permitting you to include an external link in the caption. Use this capability to send traffic to your website.
- There is a limit to uploaded videos via a mobile device of 15 minutes. You can have longer videos uploaded via desktop.
- Always caption your content. You also have the option of turning on the auto-generated captions in settings. By captioning your content, you make your videos accessible to hearing-impaired followers.
7.) Instagram Live
You will definitely want to include Instagram Live in your Instagram marketing campaigns. Instagram Live video generates tons of engagement, and you even enjoy a platform prioritizing video aspect to it that will make this a very popular Instagram feature.
You might want to begin with a weekly live. After testing for a while, you can decide whether to increase or decrease frequency.
Ideal Content for Instagram Live: Demonstrations, ask me anything, 10 tips in 10 minutes, chats with experts in your field, etc.
Ways to Optimize Instagram Live:
- Figure out the best times to go live. You can do this by opening Live tab and viewing the number of active followers at the top of the screen.
- Switch on the auto-generated captions so captions are added to your video in IGTV.
- We recommend you make going live with other relevant accounts an integral part of your Instagram marketing strategy.
8.) Instagram Shops:
This feature was released by Instagram at the pinnacle of the Covid-19 pandemic as a way to support retailers. Instagram Shops has become very popular with consumers.
It should be an easy process to set up an Instagram shop. If you sell physical products, Instagram shops should absolutely be integrated into your social media marketing campaigns.
Ideal Content for Instagram Shops: This is the perfect venue for sharing real-life examples of consumers using and being highly satisfied with your products. You can also incorporate in Instagram shops product collections, close-ups, and seasonal trends.
Ways to Optimize Instagram Shops:
- Make sure your product tags correspond exactly with your images. You want to avoid consumers clicking a tag and then having them be taken to the wrong product.
- Be sure to allow adequate space between each of your tags. It makes it challenging for people to tap tags if the tags are located on top of each other.
- Prepare yourself for the engagement to be somewhat low on product posts. Remember that the objective here is to sell your products.
9.) Instagram Ads
Having a diversified approach to Instagram marketing, or social media marketing, in general, will yield superior results rather than relying exclusively on organic content to build your reach and followers.
It is worth it to invest in Instagram ads. You have two choices with Instagram ads – promote an existing ad or create new ads with Facebook Ads Manager.
We suggest you run Instagram ads year-round. At minimum, publish these ads during major sales campaigns for best results.
Ideal Content for Instagram Ads: For occasions when you promote posts, select content that is performing well organically to improve the odds for success.
Ways to Optimize Instagram Ads:
- If you want to increase the number of your Instagram followers, use promoted posts to funnel people to your business’s Instagram profile. Be aware that this option is not available in Ads Manager.
- Prepare your advertising budget for the upcoming year. When you do, dedicate monies to both promoting and proper ads.
- Prior to running ads, be sure everything else is highly functional. This translates into having sufficient stock, your website and landing page should load lightening fast, and your check-out process needs to be flawless. Otherwise, any one of these could negatively impact your ad’s success.
10.) Instagram Direct Messages
Instagram DMs should also be included in your Instagram marketing campaign. This is a valuable tool for any type of business. It is through DMs that you can cultivate relationships that lead to future customers. DMs offer a private venue where you can engage with customers and tend to their needs.
You could also consider using Voice notes instead of typed messages. This makes your messages more personal, which makes customers feel valued.
Ways to Optimize Instagram DMs:
- Make sure you reply to all messages so customers don’t feel ignored.
- Curate content that encourages DMs. You might consider story stickers for this specific purpose.
- Make available FAQs to make it easier for potential and existing customers to message you. Conserve time by occasionally using saved replies. This also allows for a faster turn-around time for exceptional customer service.
11.) Instagram Comments
When you have many comments, it indicates to Instagram that your content is popular and share-worthy with a larger audience.
In order to achieve ultimate effectiveness for increasing comments, be sure the content you generate is tailored to your ideal customer. You can pull this off by addressing your audience directly in your captions and graphics so they recognize immediately that your content is meant for them.
Ideal Content for Instagram Comments: For calls-to-action, we recommend you pose questions, ask for opinions on your products, provide people options to choose from, and solicit them for ideas, views and tips.
Ways to Optimize Instagram Comments:
- Incorporate a strong call-to-action that invites comments on your content.
- Leverage comments to prompt conversations with customers. Always offer follow-up inquiries to a customer’s comments that, for example, convey they liked your post. You might ask what made the post meaningful to them.
- Generate content that causes your customers to feel good about themselves. That way, there is a better chance they will favorably respond to your post.
Extend Your Business’s Reach to Your Ideal Customers with Instagram Marketing
Amid all the changes in social media over the past 18 months, what remains true is your business’s need to connect and engage with your ideal customers. It will greatly benefit your business to leverage these marketing opportunities that Instagram offers, so you can gain the attention of new audiences and cultivate them into loyal customers.
We recommend your business tries some or many of these Instagram features and gauge how your audience responds to them. You can use your Insights to evaluate which features are effective and determine if your Instagram marketing initiatives produce the results your business needs. These results could include link clicks, reach, comments, or likes.
If you own a business and would like help with social media management, we invite you to schedule a free marketing consultation meeting with us to discuss strategy and marketing ideas for your business.