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How to use Instagram for marketing

You'll learn how to use Instagram as a free marketing tool

xx Video Lessons (xxx mins of lessons) Plus an Action Plan


1. Download & Print this Action Plan

If you download & print this action plan, for each action you can then

a) Assign an Action Owner (Eg you, a colleague or your web designer)

b) Assign a deadline for each action point

c) Choose to mark action points as completed.




2. Then watch Video Lessons for key Action Points

You can also read the action plan on this page and each of the main actions has a video lesson to help you implement it.

Scroll down to read The Action Plan with Video Lessons...




Step 1 – Be clear about what you want to achieve from Instagram

  1. What are you hoping to achieve from instagram – increased awareness of your business, footfall to your shops or online sales on your website?
  2. Be clear on what this goal is and figure out how you will achieve this through your posts / stories eg Eg If it is to increase online sales your posts will need to link back to your website, ideally through shoppable posts.  If it is to increase awareness you will want to focus on hashtags, competitions


Step 2 – Setting up your profile correctly

  1. Use your logo as your profile picture – this will push your branding into your followers newsfeeds
  2. Ensure your username is the name of your business. Your username is VERY visible – it’s what people see when your post goes into their newsfeeds and when you write a caption or comment. Usernames are unique so if the one you want isn’t available try using an underscore between words or perhaps your web address eg
  3. If you want to be found when people search for accounts to do with a topic eg. Yoga Ireland, realise that only accounts that have those 2 words in the name or username will appear in search results.  Therefore, consider putting 1-2 important words in the name field. The name field is far less visible than the username
  4. Add your web address to the website field.
  5. Write a bio that immediately conveys what you do and why people should follow you. Look at the bios of similar businesses to you by searching for them


Step 3– Configuring your settings before you get started

  1. In settings go to linked accounts and link your Instagram account to your Facebook business page. This will allow you to have some of your Instagram posts also go out on Facebook.
  2. Setup 2  factor authentication to protect your account from being hacked
  3. Convert your account to a business account. This will give you the ability to view analytics on your posts / account, the ability to run ads and also the ability to schedule your posts using 3rd party apps.


Step 4 – Be clear about who you are targeting on Instagram and what you will post

  1. Who are your target customers in terms of
  • Location – are the local, national or international?
  • Gender – are they predominantly men or women?
  • Age – is there one age group that is more relevant for your business?
  • Interests – what is your audience interested in? What type of content do you think they are engaging with on Facebook?
  1. Do competitor research – find similar businesses to you and look at what they are posting and which posts are getting the best engagement.
  2. Develop a content plan – a list of 5-6 different types of posts you will send out on Instagram and think about the images / videos that you will create for each topic. Ensure your posts will be visually interesting and also interesting content.
  3. Write at least 20 posts before you start on Instagram so you have a bank of posts on hand for the first few weeks. Are these posts geared towards achieving your objective eg sales? But are they also going to be interesting and will engage your audience?


Step 5 – Ensure your posts are visually eye catching


  1. Always ensure that you use an eyecatching image. If you are taking your own images try using the Befunky app and select “beautify” to really make the colours pop.
  2. If you don’t have your own images source high quality images using Pixabay, Pexels, Librestock for free
  3. Consider adding some text (headlines) to your images so that it immediately conveys your message. Use apps like spark post, canva, wordswag to add this text in an eye catching way.
  4. Consider adding animated text to your images so that it is eye catching in the newsfeed. Use apps like Spark post, Legend or Typivideo
  5. If you are posting a video ensure you select a cover (thumbnail) that is eyecatching because this is the image that represents your post on your profile.
  6. Post a variety of post types to ensure your account is interesting and fresh eg. Single image, Multiple images, Video, Panorama,, collage


Step 6 – How to grow your followers

  1. Post at least 9 posts within a day or 2 period when you are starting off. Then when people land on your profile they will see posts in your grid and will decide whether they want your future posts to come into their newsfeeds (they decide whether to follow you or not. )
  2. Try and get as many of your Facebook followers to also follow you on Instagram. To achieve this you should ...
  1. Have some of your Instagram posts also go out to your Facebook page followers – that will prompt some of them to check out your Instagram account.
  2. Send out a post on Facebook prompting your followers to follow you on Instagram and explain why they should
  3. Ensure you turn that post into an ad to reach all / most of your followers
  4. At the bottom of some of your Facebook posts ask “Are you following us on Instagram? Check out our account here”
  1. Run an Instagram competition and require people to follow your account to enter
  2. If you have a mailing list include in your next email that you are now on Instagram and prompt them to check you out and follow you.
  3. Add up to 30 very relevant hashtags to your posts. This will help you get discovered when people search for posts that contain a specific hashtag or if they click on a hashtag. Also, people follow hashtags  so this can get you discovered by potential customers and followers.
  4. Look at the accounts that are using very relevant hashtags for your business. If they look like potential customers start engaging with these account eg like a post, comment on a post and that will bring your account to their attention.
  5. When you send out your post always include a geotag that you would want to be found for eg your town if you are a local business or your county. Geotags can increase the reach of your posts by up to 20% and can get you discovered by potential customers.
  6. If you want to get noticed / discovered by people who have liked a competitors account consider following some of the people who have followed your competitor. A % will check you out and will follow you back. An excellent android app is Follower analyzer and it tells you which followers comment or like posts the most and you can analyse your competitors account.
  7. Run an ad campaign from within the Instagram app targeting relevant people by location, age, gender and interest and the ad will drive them to your profile where they will hopefully then follow your account.


Step 7 – Increase your reach on Instagram

  1. Look at your account analytics to see when (Time of day) your followers are most active on Instagram. Use a 3rd party app like follower analyzer (android) to check which times you posted resulted in the most engagement. Try to post at those times. Use a 3rd party app like Later or Buffer to schedule posts to go out at those times.
  2. Add up to 30 very relevant hashtags to your posts. This will help your posts get discovered when people search for posts that contain a specific hashtag or if they click on a hashtag. Also, people follow hashtags  so this can get your post discovered by potential customers and followers. Check the analytics of your posts to see how much reach is coming from Hashtags.
  3. Start creating Instagram stories – these will appear as a circle at the top of the newsfeeds of your followers. This will increase your reach amongst your followers.




Step 8 – How to drive people to your website

If you add a web address to the caption or comment of your post it doesn’t work. You cannot add links to your Instagram posts.

  1. If you only have a few products or services, change the link in the web address field of your profile to point to the relevant page on your website for that product. Then in the post say “See link in bio”.
  2. If you have lots of products a better solution is to use a free service called Link tree. Setup an account and add multiple links in your linktree page. Then use that link in your profile. See Brown Thomas as an example
  3. Consider running an ad campaign on Instagram where people can click on the ad and land on your website. You can target relevant people by location, age, gender and interest from within the app or if you run the ad from within Facebook you can use far more powerful targeting options eg. People who recently visited your website, people very similar to your followers etc.
  4. If you are selling products on your website the perfect solution is to setup shoppable posts so you can easily display the name and product on your post image and people can click through to your webpage


Step 9: Ensure the pages you are driving people to are geared up to convert visitors into enquiries and sales

  1. Before you post about a product or service on Instagram, ensure you have a dedicated page on your website that you will drive people to.. Never drive people to the homepage. They will simply lose patience and bounce off.
  2. Ensure The page loads quickly. Facebook tells us that 40% of people abandon a link click if the page pakes longer than 4 seconds to load. Use GTMetrix to measure your page speed
  3. Think about the top 2-3 things people will want in your product or service and list these as bullet points. Don’t bury them in the middle of a paragraph
  4. Add a testimonial about that product to give added credibility.
  5. ideally have a 60 second  a video that explains and sells the product
  6. Have a clear call to action the page eg. Request a free consultation, Buy Now etc
  7. Embed Facebook messenger on the page and prompt people to message if they have any questions.  Not everyone will purchase straight away as they have questions. Include Facebook Messenger as an easy way for people to get in touch from your web page.
  8. Ensure you add the Facebook pixel to the website before the campaign. This means you can remarket to people who landed on your page(s)



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