Instagram isn’t just a playground for sharing your personal photos with your friends. It has become so much more than that. And one of it’s greatest aspects is its ability to be used as a powerful marketing outlet for your business. There is no shortage of data available to showcase the power and popularity of social media marketing, particularly Instagram marketing. But despite its current popularity, businesses have still yet to fully maximize its potential to engage current customers and attract new ones.

Many times, brands with an allocated marketing budget are employing the services of a digital marketing agency to help them achieve their goals of amplifying their voice on social media. But that is just the start of the journey. Social media is content driven, so when it’s all said and done, your success or failures in your marketing efforts are often directly tied to the quality and execution of your content. With competition being stiffer than ever, it can seem overwhelming to conceptualize visual media that stands tall above your competitors. And no one envisions achieving their goals by attempting to simply copy and paste the esthetic or direction of another company. Everyone wants to create their own unique brand, and justifiably so.

But what if the well of creative ideas has now run dry? Or frankly, has yet to exist in the first place? What if your attempts to stand out have fallen flat? Every organization has it’s win’s and losses when it comes to marketing. Don’t let this momentary obstacle deter you from creating and executing Instagram marketing campaigns. There is simply too much to gain from its utilization. And we are here to help jumpstart your efforts, and get the creative juices flowing. We compiled some creative ideas to use as a potential starting point for your Instagram marketing efforts. Some of them are even from notable members of the marketing community and heavy hitters in the multimedia industry. These 15 tips should help catalyze some creative tips and ideas to weave into the fabric of your Instagram marketing campaigns.

instagram logo with 'light bulb' idea bubble

First and foremost, try showing what your brand does in a creative way

Establishing a personal connection on social media is paramount in building trust and brand loyalty. And giving your customers an intimate glimpse into exactly what it is your brand does is a great way to create that narrative. Focus on the solution your brand provides, not as much on the products or services you sell. On Instagram, it’s essential to add value to your customers and have it be visually appealing in the process. Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that your most important asset (or potential downfall) on Instagram is your visual content. Plain and simple.

So if your business is service-oriented, for example, try focusing on showcasing the process behind providing the service itself. Put your company culture on visual display, share your mission with the world, or keep it simple and even just share some tips and best practices that pertain to your industry.


Try partnering with another brand and running a joint contest or giveaway

Partnerships in their entirety can be a vastly beneficial tactic to employ for your brand on many levels, even beyond marketing. But particularly, when it comes to partnerships on social media, it can be cross-promotion at it’s finest when executed with tact. And an even better way to capitalize on a partnership is to run a contest or giveaway together. Discuss and compile an attractive prize package featuring both of your brand’s products (and maybe even a couple of other goodies or pieces of “swag”), and get your contest going! The primary benefit of this type of arrangement is that it helps you engage both of your fanbases, and helps cross-pollinate – aka cross promote – which means you’ll both get more fans and customers while generating interest in each others’ products. It’s a win-win.


Try a Chain Campaign

This idea comes courtesy of Yael Tamar, CEO, Digimark

A particular campaign that works is a chain campaign. Create a partnership with 5-6 large accounts and have each one share an image of the campaign and the next channel with text introducing the campaign, which usually involves a winner of some sort of a contest. Channel one links to channel two, channel three links to channel four and so on. Everyone will gain new followers in the process and the last channel will introduce the account behind the contest and the winner. Another Instagram strategy that I found to work is to create a very specific theme for the account and stick to it. This includes colors, filters, style, subjects, etc. The more homogeneous they are, the better.

Try and Experiment with Text-based content

One of the most overlooked elements of compelling content on Instagram is the captions associated with the photos or videos they are attached to. Captions are essential for some Instagram videos because people very often scroll through their Instagram feeds without sound.

For caption text, the standard feed upload limits you to the default font and formatting, which has its limitations, to say the least. However, Instagram Stories has several fonts to choose from to be more expressive, and you can also post photos of text, or use a template in a 3rd party program with text fields included. Then you can create your own unique text images.


Cleverly incentivize your followers to turn on post notifications

With all of the changes Instagram has made to its algorithm and the way it orders users’ feeds, getting your content viewed by the followers who might not interact with your posts on a regular basis can feel like attempting to swim upstream. This is where occasionally adding a CTA to your posts (and even your profile) instructing your followers turn on post notifications can help boost your engagement. This function allows your followers to receive a notification every time you post something on Instagram, which greatly increases the chance they’ll see your content and interact with your brand, which ends up boosting your organic reach. It’s somewhat the equivalent of an email newsletter for your Instagram feed.

The creative angle of this lies in the incentive for your followers. What value does fulfilled request provide to your audience? Perhaps creating a program that rewards your followers with exclusive deals or content is a method in which you can motivate them to want to enable your post notifications. This method may be particularly appealing to brands in the consumer goods industry.


Leverage User Generated Content (UGC)

This idea comes courtesy of Mordecai Holtz, Chief Strategist and Co-Founder, Blue Thread Marketing

Sharing other people’s content is one of the best ways to start building a real Instagram presence. When a small business is just building up its initial audience, then sharing user-generated content should be a priority. Start by “regramming”. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t have a simple, native way to share other people’s content. There are third party apps that give you the ability to regram.

Put coupons on your Story….hear us out on this one

Social media in no way resembles the kitchen table your mother may have cut out grocery coupons on during your childhood. But some things never change. While it may sound a little funny, coupons and discounts are the way to your followers’ hearts. Fact is people like saving money and getting free stuff. Simple as that. So when an opportunity to sweeten the pot comes along and you can include additional goods in a purchase, or simply discount the sale price of an item, it’s going to present instant tangible value to your customers.

Occasionally posting Instagram stories with a discount code – or promotional pricing on a specific product – is one example of this idea in practice. Perhaps make it a limited-time offer, in order to increase urgency, and then link to your brand’s product page or your website through your Story. Wallah. Keep in mind that in order to do this, you’ll need an Instagram for Business account – so if you haven’t made that designation on your profile already, make sure you get that setup. This way, you can attach links in your Stories for various forms of content as well.


Think About Story Arcs

It can not be overstated: the visual element of Instagram is not only the core element of its appeal, but it’s also the core asset to any and all of your Instagram marketing efforts. Your content absolutely must be high quality, aesthetically pleasing, and indicative of your brand. The pictures you share on Instagram shouldn’t be built around one-off photos that aren’t directly associated with one another. Expand your vision of how you plan to communicate on social and think in terms of story arcs when creating a flow for your social feed. And for your content cadence as well.

Being a storyteller on social media is a great way to make your brand more attractive and engaging to your followers. Try sharing a series of pictures that show certain actions being taken, brand items that are associated with one another, or even progressions and advancements through time. Let your brand voice dictate the dialogue and story arc, and effectively construct your execution around those practices.


Don’t Be Afraid to Shout Out Other Businesses

This idea comes courtesy of Nicky Barua, Co-Founder,

In your caption, try to tag as many businesses in your industry that can be related to your post. If they like it, you may earn a repost and increase your exposure to their audiences. This will also help you build relationships and potential collaborations with other brands. Collaborations on Instagram is right now key to an increase in followers and the easiest way to hit your target audience. P.S. You probably don’t want to tag your competitors though as they wouldn’t want to share the market with you.

Show New Uses for Your Products

A simple and direct approach to your content marketing on Instagram is to simply use your uploads to show off innovative new ways to use your products or services.  Followers tend to be quite forgiving – or at least tolerant – of brand marketing efforts when they receive value in exchange for their attention. And in today’s world, attention is a currency all it’s own.


Create a Special Instagram Link

This idea comes courtesy of Nick Leffler, Owner, Exprance

Using Instagram for marketing can be tough because you only have one link. That just means you have to use that one link creatively for marketing your business. Don’t use the homepage of your website for your one link; use something specifically created for Instagram. To maximize the use of the one link you get on Instagram, make sure the page you link to is optimized for relevant content to your Instagram feed and description. Don’t simply put in your website home page but rather a relevant page that ties into the content you share on Instagram. If you share pictures of your product in different situations, make sure you’re linking to a page where people can immediately find that product. The more closely the content of the page of your one link is related to the content of your Instagram profile the more effective it will be.

Cross promote Instagram posts

An often underutilized way to easily add new Instagram followers that already love your brand is to post content across all your other social media profiles. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. The even more overlooked part of the process is quite simple: Invite them to follow your Instagram profile. Seems like a no-brainer, but many businesses lack focus on driving the traffic of their followers across all platforms.

You can’t assume that your posts will reach everyone that’s connected to your brand on social media. In fact, it’s safe to assume otherwise given all the changes to the feed algorithms and how they prioritize organic content these days. Or should we say, how they prioritize paid content? So getting your followers to engage with you on all platforms will help to not only grow your collective social presence but also help bolster your ability to ride the wave of social platform changes, as some networks grow in popularity and others begin to slowly fade into the sunset. Additionally, many people move away from particular social media platforms, and some aren’t as active on some than they are on other networks. And at the macro level, you want your followers to be connected to as many of your social profiles as possible to increase your overall reach per post.


Create a captivating profile

As a brand and as a company, you probably do a whole lot of different things and potentially offer even more solutions. It’s all but impossible fitting descriptions of that magnitude into a 150 character limit. So don’t attempt to. Instead, focus on your next big thing – be it a large event, promotion or product launch. Since the only clickable link on your Instagram page is in your Bio section (right under your name), make a habit of updating it, and do it often. Many brands miss the mark and only use it only to link to their company website, but it’s potential is far greater. It can also be used to driving event registrations, app downloads or even purchases through clickable links.


Create Landing Pages Integrated With Instagram Ads

This idea comes courtesy of Marc Prosser, Co-founder, Fit Small Business

If you’re not sure what kind of Instagram ads to create, start with a landing page. Leadpages lets you create beautiful landing pages on your website (or Leadpages site) and automatically creates Instagram ads based on your page. Create as many pages as you like, capture leads from your ads, and test which one performs the best. You can choose from 150+ landing pages or use the drag-and-drop builder to design your own.

Last but not least, Partner with Targeted Influencers

If you want to reach out to your potential customers on Instagram, you should consider leveraging influencers who have already built a large and engaged audience. More and more people buying products and services based on what they consume in their Instagram feed, so it’s a smart investment to partner with the right influencers to get your brand in front of them.

In order to maximize the success of your influencer marketing campaign on Instagram, it is important to partner exclusively with influencers whose audience is highly relevant to your product. Don’t focus on making short term gains and direct sales from your campaign. Instead, work towards building a long term marketing strategy with the help of influencers in your niche or by hiring an influencer marketing agency to assist you throughout the process.

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