Learn How to Market Your Product or Service on Instagram in 2016

Instagram is a social media network that has grown tremendously since it’s inception in October of 2010. People began using the mobile app to share their photos with a splash of creativity using the available photo filters within the app itself. Over time, brands began jumping on the platform to reach their target audiences, and now with Instagram Ads being open to the public, Instagram is now at full speed. This has left many small to medium size businesses looking to figure out how to market their product or service on Instagram.

Instagram has become a must-have social media platform for any brand or business out there. What used to be an option, is not an option anymore. If you have read some of my other articles on this blog, you’ll know this is not the first time I say this!

According to Instagram’s Business Resources, the network currently has:

  • 400 million active users
  • 75% outside of the USA
  • 40 billion photos shared
  • 3.5 billion daily likes
  • 80 million photos per day

From a consumer’s standpoint, it’s a bit more obvious on what to do with the platform. Post your #TBT’s or a picture from a concert or a family dinner.

But for businesses and brands, there is a bit more thought and strategy that goes into producing an Instagram post that you are about to send out on your company’s Instagram profile.

To help guide you to the right Instagram marketing strategy for your business, here are a few tips on how to market your product or service on Instagram in 2016.


High Quality Photos

Starting with a high quality photo sets the foundation of your post. And honestly, I don’t even mean that “high quality” means “no grain” in it or “fuzziness” exactly, although it plays a part.

In my opinion, the quality of the photo has a few factors:

  1. Message
  2. Composition
  3. Picture quality

If you use the right photo, you should be able to communicate your message visually, or it should be interesting enough to capture the user's attention, stop scrolling, and read the caption to understand the message.

Either way, spending time to use the right photo is key to starting your Instagram post out on the right foot.

You can use either a dslr or your camera on your phone to shoot the right photo - this depends entirely on your budget, business, resources, etc. Of course if you want better photos, then using a dslr is your better option, but don’t let that stop you from creating content for Instagram if you don’t have that resource available to you. Cameras on today's phones are insanely good.

Example: Fired Pie

Instagram Photo Quality Example


Write Your Bio

Spend time customizing your bio to describe your business, brand & purpose in a nutshell. Include a link to your website or even other profiles, such as a YouTube channel if you are producing videos.

Example: Slack


Create Content Designed for Instagram

This is one tip that I cannot stress enough and it is one that applies to EVERY social media network out there.

When you create content for Instagram, you are creating it with Instagram user’s behavior in mind. There are even limits, such as a 15 sec cap on organic video posts, the “more” link showing after 3 lines of text in the caption of a post, forcing the user to click “more” to expand the post to read the full set of text in the caption.

These are things you need to think about when creating a post for Instagram so that you can deliver your piece of content in the best way possible for the end user.

Example: Uber

Content for Instagram Example

User’s communicate differently on Instagram compared to other networks naturally, so as businesses and brands, we need to communicate to users on how they communicate on the platform.

This social media marketing fundamental applies not only to Instagram, but to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and the list goes on.


Focus on the Purpose of the Post

When creating a post for Instagram, ask yourself, what is the end goal for this post? I am not necessarily speaking about a CTA (call to action) or making sales from EVERY post.

But the reason why it is important to ask this question is because then the post naturally comes together with a purpose, whether it’s just for branding, to announce a sale, or simply to say Thank You to your audience.

Social media is about the marathon, not the sprint, so not every post has to end with a bunch of sales or leads coming in your way.

If you focus on establishing the purpose of a post at the beginning, you develop a sense of clarity, and that is then translated into the post with a clear message.


Use Shortlinks

If you are sending out an organic post (not a paid one), and say for example you are promoting a new blog post that you just released on your website or a new video you just uploaded to your YouTube channel, naturally we would like to include the link on our caption.

These links do not work on Instagram (unless you are running a paid Instagram ad, then this is not a problem), so the hack around this is by including the link in your profile description.

Instead of having a long url, use a link shortening service such as or Google Shortener.

Example: Target

Short Link Examply From Target

Not only does the link look cleaner, but you can track how many clicks it has received by either of these services as long as you use the link only on Instagram. If you use the same link on different social networks, then you will be tracking hits from all of the social networks the link was shared on.


Engage with the Community

Like every social media network out there, their purpose is not to distribute content, but to get a conversation going. Interacting with your audience is key to creating depth and a bond with your audience.

This is how you help create brand loyalty, awareness, and top of mind.

How cool is it to know that as a consumer, a company or brand actually responded to your direct message and acknowledged you. That simple touch builds the momentum and foundation for long lasting customers and referrals.


Use Hashtags

If you are not familiar with hashtags, hashtags are almost like public folders or labels in which anyone can look inside a specific hashtag and see every post that has that hashtag attached to it.

Posts can have several hashtags, however you do not want to put an endless amount of hashtags on a post because it will make it look completely spammy.

Hashtags should be used for a couple reasons.

  1. To have new users who are exploring specific hashtags discover your post, and then of course your profile, business, brand, etc.
  2. For branding. If you search through a brand’s Instagram posts, you will most likely notice some hashtags that are brand specific or have a tagline. Notice how Starbucks has used the hashtag #MyStarbucksRewards as a branding hashtag to promote paying with their Starbucks app.

Example: Starbucks

How To Use Hastags for Instagram


Switching Between Multiple Instagram Accounts

In November of 2015, Instagram added support for multiple accounts for some users on the Instagram Android beta app, but now, this feature has rolled out to all users on the official Instagram app for both Android and iOS.

This makes managing multiple accounts much easier!

For the longest time, if you were managing several Instagram accounts or had a personal and a business account, you would have to go through the pain of logging out of one and logging into the other.

To switch between Instagram accounts, follow these steps below:

  1. Access your settings within the app and scroll down to the bottom - select "Add Account".
  2. Enter your credentials for the Instagram account you are adding on.
  3. Repeat these steps to add additional accounts.
  4. To switch between accounts, simply navigate to your profile and you will see a downward arrow next to your username, click on it and a menu with your accounts will expand in which you can select one to log into.

Note: You can also switch between accounts by holding your finger over your profile icon on the bottom right hand corner in which a menu will pop up and you can then select the account you wish to log into.

Signa Marketing Instagram Profile


Signa Marketing Instagram Account


Signa Marketing Instagram Profile


That’s a Wrap

Instagram has enormous potential to have a positive impact on your business and brand, and with how much attention the mobile app receives, it has become a social media network that cannot be ignored anymore by any business or brand, large or small.

If done right through strategy, execution, and optimization, Instagram can begin to generate leads, sales, sign ups, awareness and top-of-mind branding for your business.

The neat thing about Instagram, is that you can have fun with it! Test, tweak and monitor your Instagram marketing strategy to learn what works best for your business while making sure you take care of the basics with these tips on how to market your product or service on Instagram.

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