It’s obvious Instagram is here to stay and coming up with an Instagram marketing strategy is key for your business. Using Instagram can not only help you grow your audience, it can also increase your brand awareness, website traffic and leads, all for free. So you would be crazy to not give it a go.

To harness the power of using Instagram for companies, here are a seven steps to follow on how to use Instagram:

1) Set a Goal

When your company is using Instagram for business you need to clearly decide on the goal you wish to achieve with your Instagram marketing efforts.  Goals could include growing your audience, capturing an email list, increasing traffic to your website, nurturing relationships with customers, attracting business partners or just increasing brand awareness.

Strategy Post2) Put Together a Strategic Plan

When you are using Instagram for your business, putting together a strategic plan aligned with your goals is essential. No need to stress it doesn’t need to be complicated, it can actually be quite easy. A strategic plan should include:

The frequency of posts: How many posts you plan to publish daily or weekly depending on what you can commit to, so you can plan your content creation process accordingly.

What hashtags are to be used: Selecting the hashtags you will be adding to your captions, which should be a combination of generic popular Instagram hashtags, your own hashtag and popular hashtags relevant to your specific industry.

The voice and tone you want to adopt on Instagram: Come up with adjectives that best describe the personality of your brand you wish to use when publishing content. For example: friendly, bubbly, humorous etc…

The different types of content you plan to publish: Decide on the different themes you will be covering when publishing content to make sure your posts are not one-dimensional. For example, should you be in a brand in the fitness industry, your content could cover the following themes: weight loss tips, recipes, motivational quotes, body transformation and exercise routines.

The key when putting together an Instagram marketing strategy plan is to make sure everything you decide on doing, leads towards reaching your goal. Having a strategic plan will keep you accountable and make sure you are consistent with your Instagram marketing efforts.

 Engage with your target audience

I can not stress how important this is, when using Instagram for business you need to be engaging daily with your target audience, by commenting on their posts, tagging them in yours, liking and sharing their content when relevant and appropriate. This will not only increase engagement with your content, but also build your followers even further. Sometimes just a thanks for a comment, can keep a follower happy to of be acknowledged and continue to engage with your brand.

4) Post quality, engaging content regularly

Post VideoPosting quality, unique content relevant to your business is really important you also need to make sure that you include links redirecting to your website.

If your writing a blog post, then make sure that your posts about the blog include the link, whether your posts are images or videos.

Images and videos should be fun, interesting, unique, engaging and should humanise your brand. Avoid at all costs treating Instagram as an online catalogue to display your products and services. Connect with your customers in an engaging way.

5) Reward your Instagram followers

It is always great to reward your followers and make them feel special. Have a unique offer just for Instagram followers, once a month. You can look at rewarding your Instagram followers with discount codes or giveaways. This will not only incentivise existing followers to remain a loyal follower, but also attract new ones and will likely create a lot of buzz around your brand if your offer is enticing. Brands that perform the best on Instagram and social networks in general, are the ones that display generosity and the ones that nurture their relationships with their followers.

6) Track your Efforts

Their is no point in having a business Instagram account if you are not going to track your efforts, with so many programs available, I personally like using tools such as iconosquare you can sign up to Plus account for a really cheap rate. This will allow you to understand your audience better, see what they respond to the most, so you can eliminate whatever actions you take that don’t get you closer to your goals.

7) Scale using Instagram ads

Once you’ve tracked your efforts and know what your audience likes and wants, you can put all your efforts on steroids with a small advertising budget. There are a few Instagram advertising formats to choose from, such as carousel ads, picture ads and video ads and you will need to use Facebook’s “power editor” tool to set up these ads. You can find Power Editor by going to