How to Market on Instagram: 40 Ideas, Tips & Examples


If you’re one of Instagram’s 1.386 billion active users, you’ll know how powerful the social network is as a marketing platform.

It’s a prime place to promote your products, connect with your customers, and reach new people within your target market. Everyone else is doing it, but the question is: can your business find success? And how?

In this article, I’ll answer those questions and more.

We’ll take a look at 40 amazing Instagram marketing ideas and tips you can use. We’ll start with the one strategy that I can guarantee will help you get more followers, engage your fanbase, and drive sales through Instagram.

Want to accelerate your Instagram account? Read on.

Instagram Contests

I’ll get straight to the point.

There’s no other way about it: one of the best ways to market your business on Instagram is by running an Instagram contest.

Whether you’re looking to get more followers, capture leads, or sell more products, running a contest is the best way to do all three when it comes to Instagram marketing.

If you’re an avid user of the platform, you’ll know just how many brands run giveaways, photo contests, and sweepstakes to build up their fanbases, boost engagement and simply sell more.

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can use Instagram contests to take your business’ Instagram marketing to the next level.

1. Run a branded Instagram hashtag contest

Use an Instagram contest tool like Wishpond to build an amazing hashtag contest for your brand.

Wishpond is awesome because it makes it easy to create and manage an Instagram contest that delivers results.

Build your page starting with one of Wishpond’s templates and put together an awesome prize package and a few attention-grabbing posts – and some ads, if you have the budget – to spread the word about your contest.

Instagram contest

Entrants upload photos to Instagram with a branded hashtag of your choice, and these photos automatically appear in a gallery on your contest page. This is where people can vote on photos and see photos from other entrants.

how to market on instagram

Enabling voting on your contest page allows you to collect email addresses, which is key when it comes to building your email list and generating sales through email marketing.

This is my number one Instagram marketing tip – it’s something you need to try if you haven’t already.

Here’s an awesome example of a Movember-themed Instagram hashtag contest from watch manufacturer Oris. The contest was seen by over 3,000 people and generated 116 entries – not too shabby!

Instagram marketing ideas

2. Run an Instagram sweepstakes

Though hashtag contests are awesome, requiring entrants to upload a photo with a branded hashtag to their profile can sometimes be too big of an ask.

If that’s the case for your brand and your target market, consider running an Instagram sweepstake instead!

The entry process is a bit different. Using your contest app of choice, build a sweepstakes page featuring information about your contest, your prize, and a form with information that you want to collect from entrants (the less the better – I’d recommend just email, and maybe name).

Sweepstakes thumbnail 1

Then, schedule a set of Instagram posts or Instagram Stories that inform followers about the sweepstakes with a call-to-action directing them to your newly-created contest page. An Instagram marketing best practice is to put this link in your bio so people can easily click and enter.

how to market on instagram

Instagram sweepstakes work particularly well when you have an ad budget. This is because Instagram ads are the only way to send people to an external link from a post, and sending people to your sweepstakes page is crucial to collecting emails and getting entrants.

Did you know?

Running an Instagram contest is one of the best ways to generate engagement and drive sales through Instagram marketing. Wishpond’s Instagram contest builder features dozens of templates that make creating an Instagram contest simple.

Book a demo today!

3. Get more followers with a bonus entry contest

Instagram marketing is great, but it’s no use if you have nobody to market to. Whether you have a new business trying to get started on Instagram or are just looking to expand your business’ existing follower count, a bonus entry contest is right up your alley.

Bonus entry contests are the best way to rapidly grow your following and drive engagement on multiple social platforms, which is a necessity for any growing business. They work brilliantly for increasing your social following because they directly reward entrants who engage with your business on social media

For example, someone who enters your bonus entry contest might earn 5 extra entries for following you on Instagram, 3 entries for Tweeting the contest link, or 10 entries for getting a friend to enter the contest, too.

Check out this awesome bonus entry contest example from Bhu Foods, which had over 5,000 entrants and generated a ton of social media followers in the process.

Instagram marketing ideas

4. Run Instagram Ads to your contest

Most businesses can run a successful Instagram contest, but if you want to give your contest the best possible chance at succeeding, there’s one activity worth investing time and money into Instagram Ads. It’s one way to guarantee your contest reaches a ton of new potential customers who are highly likely to be interested in your product.

Let me explain. Because it’s owned by Facebook, Instagram Ads shares the Facebook Ads platform, which is an incredibly powerful tool that allows you to target people based on the things Facebook knows about them – including demographics, interests, and more. It’s an immensely useful way to reach people you can turn into customers, instead of simply marketing to your existing followers (who are likely already customers).

In your contest ad, highlight your prize, as that’s ultimately what will get people to click through to your contest and enter. Consider adding light copy to your ad (“Enter for a chance to win [prize]!”) to grab your audience’s attention.

Instagram marketing ideas

Driving Sales through Instagram

5. Run Instagram Ads to a landing page or product page

One of the most straightforward ways you can drive sales for your business through Instagram is by creating ads for your products that link to your eCommerce store or website.

Post a photo (or a couple of photos) of your products with descriptions or a call-to-action in the caption. Then, urge your customers to buy!

If you want to maximize your chances at a sale, consider adding a limited-time offer or discount to your ads. Giving people a reason they should act or buy now rather than later is an effective way to increase the conversion rate of your ads. If you’re a service, consider creating an offer (like a consultation or assessment) that you can give out in exchange for a potential customer’s lead information.

One of the most important parts of a successful ad is the page you send them to – if it’s not optimized for conversion, you won’t see any return on the money you’re spending on advertising. As a result, I’d recommend you send them to either an optimized product page or a landing page highlighting an offer (if lead generation is the goal).

You can also run an Instagram ad that sends users to your Instagram shopping storefront. This way, you can attract customers and sell them a product without them having to leave the app. This Instagram marketing strategy can help you boost sales in a big way.

Check out this guide to making money on Instagram for more information.

Instagram marketing ideas

6. Post discounts & coupons

Instagram can be a relatively passive platform. What I mean by this is that people browse their feeds without much intent – they usually do it to keep up on the latest with their connections or idly do it to pass the time.

If you want to drive sales through Instagram, it’s important that you engage followers with content that turns them into active viewers, rather than passive scrollers.

Generally, people react well to promotions when combined with appealing product posts. Showcase your offerings with a product photo and add text (either on the photo or in the caption) that highlights an offer or coupon code.

A good Instagram marketing strategy is to connect sales and discounts with an occasion like Black Friday or even the Super Bowl – this serves to make your promotion feel more topical, and can help you avoid cheapening your product in your customers’ eyes (as this can happen if you’re constantly giving out discounts for no reason).

Instagram marketing ideas

7. Get customers to follow you on Instagram for a discount

If you’re looking to grow your Instagram account, a great place to start is your existing customers. This tip works particularly well for retail customers because it’s so easy to set up – just have them show you that they follow your Instagram account at your point-of-sale, and then give them 10% off (or whatever you decide to offer). This is a great Instagram marketing strategy for local businesses.

If you’re an online business, this is still doable using Wishpond!

Create a popup or landing page for your website that gets people to enter their email address and add a bonus entry action that gives them points for following you on Instagram. Once they’ve done this, set up a triggered email that sends them a discount code automatically.

Instagram Content

8. Post high-quality product photos

Instagram marketing at its simplest consists of product photos, but it’s not a strategy that should be taken lightly!

A combination of great photography and an action-oriented caption can definitely help you find success with Instagram marketing. A solid, consistent brand strategy for Instagram is to periodically post photos of your products with some additional information in the caption. In each caption, try highlighting the product’s selling points, mention its price and direct people to where they can get it.

Instagram marketing ideas

9. Show your product in action

Though product photos are great, one way to make them feel more relatable to your followers is by showing them in action. Showing someone using your product makes it easier for your followers to relate to the photo, putting them in the mindset of “I could be this person”.

This is an essential form of social proof, and your Instagram marketing strategy is one of the best places to utilize this.

Showing your product in action also serves the purpose of showing people the various situations in which your product can be used – which might even swing a follower’s purchase decision for the better.

Instagram marketing ideas

10. Explore different content types

Though this isn’t inherently a marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to keep up with the different types of content Instagram lets businesses post. Consider using reels for the times when a photo just won’t do, or using Instagram’s Carousel feature to tell a story or highlight a product in multiple photos.

Utilizing different content forms allows you to maximize your reach on the platform. Video is the most engaging form of content out there, so don’t limit your Instagram marketing to photos only.

how to market on instagram

11. Share customer testimonials, stories, and reviews

It’s one thing for you to tell your followers that your products are awesome and that they should buy them… it’s a completely different thing when somebody they can relate to sings your products’ praises. If you collect testimonials, reviews, or have been sent stories about your product, share them on Instagram!

Again, social proof will make a huge impact on your Instagram marketing.

how to market on instagram

12. Schedule posts

We don’t have to tiptoe around it – social media marketing can be needlessly time-consuming, and Instagram is a prime culprit. It takes a lot of time to take great photos, edit them, and craft clever captions. Save the time you do have leftover by using a scheduling app like Later or Buffer to plan out your Instagram posts days (or weeks, or months) in advance.

You can also use the Facebook Business suite to schedule posts without using third-party apps. Follow this guide for the step-by-step process of how to do this.

Instagram marketing ideas

Instagram Stories and Instagram Live

13. Update your Story – And update it often

Instagram Stories are amazing for sharing your content – it’s like a first-class ticket to the top of your followers’ feeds.

Updating your Story periodically (but at least once a day) is a great way to keep followers engaged. Stories are located at the top of your followers’ News Feeds, so it’s an easy way to get them to view the things you post. If you’ve just recently posted a new photo or video, use your Story to direct people to it. The possibilities are endless!

*Top Tip: *Posting Instagram Stories regularly is a great way to beat the Instagram algorithm because Instagram Stories help you to stay at the top of Instagram users’ feeds and they keep your content timely.

14. Run giveaways on your Instagram Stories

If there’s one thing in this article I’m 150% sure of, it’s that people love free stuff. Take advantage of this by hosting giveaways on your Instagram Stories, giving away products or coupons to winners. My personal favorite strategy for Instagram Stories giveaways is to get people to post photos using a specific hashtag (so you can find them), and then reposting their photos on your Instagram Stories. This is a great way to engage followers, collect some user-generated content, and spread brand awareness to your followers’ connections.

Easily create a giveaway for your Instagram Stories

Wishpond’s contest tool makes it easy to create a hashtag contest for your Instagram Stories. Collect user-generated content, boost engagement and get more followers. Book a demo today!

15. Put coupons on your Instagram Stories

I’m telling ya – coupons and discounts are the way to your followers’ hearts. Occasionally post Instagram Stories with a discount code (or promotional pricing on a specific product). Make it a limited-time offer to increase urgency, and then link to the product page or your website through your Instagram Stories. To do this, you’ll need an Instagram business profile – so make sure you get that set up!

16. Highlight new or featured products on your Instagram Stories

As I mentioned, one of the biggest benefits of having an Instagram Business profile is that you’re able to link to external URLs from your Instagram Stories (which is a feature that’s notably absent for non-business accounts).

Take advantage of this by highlighting products from your business on your story, with a swipe-up link that people can use to purchase.

If you’re running an Instagram contest, this works well too. Link followers to your contest entry page on your Instagram Stories to make it as easy as possible for them to enter.

Instagram marketing ideas

17. Create shoppable Instagram Stories

If you’ve got an Instagram Shop set up, you can create shoppable Instagram Stories. To do this, all you need to do is add your product tags to your Instagram Stories.

Now, when Instagram users see your Stories, they can tap on the product and be directed straight to your store. From here they can purchase the product without even leaving the app.

This is a great way to leverage your stories to directly boost your sales.

18. Engage with your followers on Instagram Live

Continuing on with what I said earlier about leveraging different forms of content, Instagram Live is an awesome avenue to explore if you have the fanbase to do it. It’s a great way to interact with your followers on a more personal level.

Your Live broadcast can take a few different formats – a few that work well are Q&As, product launches, and influencer takeovers. Whatever the case may be, make sure to announce your broadcast well in advance (on your Story, on other social platforms, and in a post) to give your broadcast the best possible shot at performing well.

Finally, have a goal of some sort for your broadcast – whether it’s to get people to visit your website, enter your contest, or buy a product, having a specific objective in mind will help you focus your broadcast and push people to convert.

Hashtags and Comments

19. Use local/product-related hashtags

Hashtags play a major role in Instagram marketing. Though they aren’t amazing for directly reaching your target market – I’d venture that users rarely browse through specific hashtags unless they themselves are a business or influencer. Using the right hashtags can help by boosting engagement on your posts, making them more likely to show up higher on your followers’ feeds or on potential customers’ Explore feeds.

The two best-performing types of hashtags for businesses are local hashtags (#vancouver, #yvr, #the6ix, etc.) and brand or product-related hashtags (#brunch, #fitfam, etc.). Find local hashtags by checking out posts from other local businesses or local business publications (e.g. @viawesome), and product-related hashtags from competitors or influencers within your industry.

Instagram marketing ideas

20. Comment on local/relevant photos

Similarly, you can drive some traffic to your Instagram page by commenting on other posts from local or product/brand-related accounts.

Find posts using the hashtags you’ve curated in the previous tip and leave a few comments here and there. This can help connect you with potential local customers and customers within your industry and drive a bit of brand awareness.

Try to leave meaningful comments instead of things like “Great photo!” – this will help you build relationships with other brands.

21. Create a branded hashtag

If your account is starting to pick up steam, consider creating a branded hashtag that people can use when they post content related to your brand.

This hashtag can be as simple as something like “#californiadonuts“, or something clever (like “#b33rs” from 33 Acres).

This allows you to easily find user-generated content for your business to use or find content from fans that you can like or comment on. It’s also a great way to drive brand awareness because your fans’ followers will see your branded hashtag too.

Instagram marketing ideas

22. Respond to comments

You might think is a no-brainer for Instagram marketing, but you’d be surprised! If your posts get hundreds or thousands of comments, this strategy is less feasible – but for a small business looking to grow its following and get more customers, responding to every (real) comment you get is an awesome way to build personal relationships with both potential and existing customers.

Whether it’s a simple “glad you like it!” or “hope to see you around sometime soon”, comments make your brand feel more personal and connect you more strongly with your target audience – which can mean all the difference when it comes to making a sale.

Never forget about the social element when it comes to Instagram marketing. This will make a big difference.

23. Repost user-generated content

Running an Instagram hashtag contest or creating a branded hashtag gives you access to a plethora of amazing content – the photos and videos that your fans post.

User-generated content is uniquely engaging because it’s real and genuine – it’s not as perfect and polished as the photos you post yourself, and that’s what makes them so exciting.

Though I wouldn’t recommend posting only user-generated content, posting it occasionally (or featuring it on your Story) is a way to recognize your fans, and strike a balance between polished and personal on your feed. Make sure to give credit to the user who originally posted it, too.

Instagram marketing ideas

Partnerships and Influencer Marketing

24. Partner with other brands

As a marketer, one of the greatest trends of social media is the way it drastically increases the number of collaborations between brands. This makes for some of the most compelling Instagram marketing creative I’ve ever seen.

Though you might not necessarily be out to change the marketing game, consider partnering with other brands whose products complement your own to run joint marketing campaigns.

For example, if you’re a taco restaurant you might create a set of partnered posts with a local brewery, promoting their beer (and vice versa for them). Choose a brand whose target market closely resembles your own, and you’ll find you can drive a ton of business with this mutual relationship.

I also recommend creating some sort of promotional offer (continuing on with the earlier example, 3 tacos and a beer for $8) to drive sales from your partnership.

Instagram marketing ideas

25. Run a joint contest or giveaway with another brand

An even better way to capitalize on a partnership is to run a contest or giveaway together.

Put together an awesome prize package featuring both of your products (and maybe a couple of other goodies), and get your contest running! This helps you engage both of your fanbases and helps cross-pollinate – meaning you’ll both get more fans while generating interest in each others’ products.

For more on running a contest on Instagram, just scroll to the top of this article!

Create your partnered contest now

Ready to run your partnered Instagram contest? Wishpond’s Instagram contest apps make it easy to build giveaways, contests, and promotions for you and the businesses you choose to partner with.

Book a demo today!

26. Partner with an influencer

Instagram influencer marketing is one of the best ways to reach a big audience. If you want easy access to your target market, consider reaching out to an influential Instagram figure within your industry and ask them to create a sponsored post. The influencer will highlight your business or product and direct their followers to your website or store. Or, consider running a giveaway with them!

Don’t look for the influencer with the biggest following – instead, look for one that has a genuine connection with their followers and a heavy social influence. Remember that this person will inevitably be an extension of the way your brand represents itself on social media, so choose wisely! Reach out only to the influencers whose values align with yours.

A major trend we’ve seen recently is the rise of micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are influencers with a smaller following and a very well-defined niche. By working with a micro-influencer, brands typically gain better engagement and a more authentic promotion to the right Instagram users.

Instagram marketing ideas

27. Reach out to local Instagram accounts

Local accounts are an awesome way for local businesses like restaurants or spas to reach their target markets on Instagram. There are a ton of Instagram accounts that focus specifically on a single city or state; in addition to photos of popular local spots, they tend to feature experiences or businesses.

Identify the accounts in your area that have large followings, and reach out to them to review your product or visit your business – then ask for a post on social! If you’re lucky, these accounts will also have online publications, meaning you might be able to have your business be featured on a local blog post as well.

Follow our guide if you want to learn more about local marketing tactics.

Instagram marketing ideas

Instagram Reels

28. Post Reels often

TikTok made short-form video content a big deal on social media, and now it’s one of the most important forms of content any business can post.

Why are Reels so important? First of all, they give your business a much better chance of going viral. Posting Instagram Reels is the best way to beat the Instagram algorithm and get your content trending. If you get good at creating Reels, you’ll be able to reach a much bigger audience.

The other reason to post Reels is that they’re just fun. Your Instagram audience loves video, and these short videos are incredibly engaging. This is why they’ve become such a staple part of Instagram content.

So, post Reels and post them often. Making Reels a regular feature in your Instagram presence will help you grow your audience in a big way.

29. Follow trends and jump on them early

If you want your Reels to go viral, try to hop onto trends early. Instagram users love following trends, and if you post about them early, you can gain a lot of attention.

Follow trending music and themes and try to use these for your own Instagram post. If your reels start trending, you’ll get a lot more reach and a lot more Instagram engagement.

30. Use Reels to show off your personality

Reels aren’t meant to be perfectly polished videos. Instead, they’re fun and fast homemade clips. This means they’re ideal for showing off some of the personality behind your Instagram profile.

You can create behind-the-scenes Reels, meet the team Reels, or use these videos to add a bit more human personality into your Instagram content strategy. Your audience and potential customers will love it.

If you’re looking for some inspiration then check out these Reels ideas for small businesses.

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A post shared by Celebrimo (@celebrimo)

Instagram Shopping

31. Make your feed shoppable

It can be tough to get people from your Instagram page to your website without the help of ads or through your story.

Instagram shopping allows eCommerce store owners to connect their stores to Instagram and sell directly through the platform. This makes it way easier for users to find your products and buy them, without you having to worry about how you’re going to redirect them to your store.

You can use this feature to create shopping posts. To do this, you will need to create product tags by integrating Instagram with your online store. Then use these tags in your posts, just like you would tag a person. When users tap on the product tag, they will be directed to the relevant product page.

Instagram marketing ideas

32. Set up a storefront

If you have a business or creator account and an online store, you can set up Instagram Shopping. This allows you to sell products directly through your Instagram account, just like your usual online storefront.

You can customize your Instagram shop with different themes, collections, and curated products. You can include product pages on your Instagram shop, just like you would have on your online store. These pages include all of the information about your products.

Each time a shopper makes a purchase through your Instagram shop, a small fee is charged. Otherwise, setting up and operating a shop is completely free.

Instagram marketing ideas

33. Use live shopping

You can also use Instagram shopping in real-time. If you’ve got a product launch or want to promote sales of a specific product, then this feature is great.

Simply use Instagram live and incorporate your product tags into your broadcast. Viewers can then learn about your products and go straight from your broadcast to checkout.

34. Create shoppable ads

If you’ve got a product you want to promote but are struggling to get enough people to find it, you can also run shoppable ads. Just like regular ads, these allow you to reach a much wider audience and target specific users.

Include your shoppable product tag in the ad, and people can buy directly from the ad. As long as your ad spend is efficient, this can be a great way to ramp up your sales and reach new customers.

Instagram marketing ideas

Other Miscellaneous Tips

35. Set up your Instagram Business account

If you haven’t already, you need to turn your Instagram account into an Instagram Business account. Having a Business account allows you to get unique metrics on your posts and Stories, insights into your followers, and add information about your company like your business hours, location, and phone number.

It’s a no-brainer, and there are no downsides to it. Interested? You can get started right here.

Instagram marketing ideas

36. Add a CTA to your bio

One underappreciated part of Instagram is the bio in your profile. It’s the one place (besides posts, of course) that people can get information about your business.

Doing something as simple as adding a CTA to it can increase the amount of traffic you drive from your account to your website or store. For example, you might add “Click the link below to shop [your business]!” if you’re an eCommerce store or “Click to read our newest post” if you have a blog.

Your bio will help Instagram users

how to market on instagram

37. Make your Instagram feed look amazing

Instagram is a visual platform, so your Instagram feed has got to look good. Always think about your aesthetic, and try to maintain this with all of your Instagram posts.

And no, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to make your Instagram posts look great. Just spend a little bit more time focusing on lighting and photography basics. Your Instagram feed should be consistent, clear, easy to read, and eye-catching.

Sure, your Instagram feed doesn’t have to be PERFECT but try to maintain a consistent aesthetic across your Instagram business profile. This will help improve brand recognition, and it will help to promote your Instagram posts more effectively.

This is because your followers should be able to instantly recognize your brand’s look with each Instagram post. To do this, use the same presets, font, and color palette each time you post. When you create your Instagram content strategy, line up posts in an order that will look good. This aesthetic should also be consistent across all of your social media platforms.

Instagram marketing ideas

38. Use Instagram Story highlights

Instagram Story highlight covers can make a big difference to your Instagram bio. Instead of just writing an Instagram bio and going straight to your feed, you can use highlight covers to reveal more about your brand and preserve your best Stories. This is one of those small Instagram marketing tips that can go a long way.

If you use this properly, your Instagram bio will be able to offer a lot more information to potential customers. This is because each Instagram Story will reveal a little bit more about your business and what you do.

You could use highlight covers to showcase your different products and services. You could highlight your team, your premises, events you’ve run, or anything else that will add more value to your Instagram page.

Instagram marketing ideas

39. Use the Gift Card Sticker

You can sell digital gift cards through your Instagram page with this sticker feature. You can sell these gift cards through your stories or regular Instagram posts to make it easier for your audience to support you.

All you need to do is:

  • Tap Edit Profile
  • Under Public Business Information, tap Action Buttons
  • Then choose Gift Cards when you select a button

You can now add the gift card sticker just like you would add any sticker to a Story. You will have to have a business account in the right country, and you will need to use a partner provider to sell the gift card.

This can be a great way to get your supporters engaging with your Instagram profile and to boost your sales.

Instagram marketing ideas

Source: Instagram

40. Post at the right time

You could have an amazing Instagram content strategy, but if you’re posting when nobody’s online, you won’t get much engagement.

The best time to post should depend on your audience and your industry. A good strategy would be to use Instagram analytics tools to identify trends when your followers are most active. Instagram Insights can show you when you’re getting the most likes and engagement.

If you service a specific local audience, make sure to post at a time that makes sense for them to be online.

By focusing on the right times to post, you will be able to improve your position with the Instagram algorithm and get more traction on this social media platform. When you post on Instagram while your audience is most active, you’ll get more visibility and attract more engagement. This is because you’ll be at the top of their Instagram feed. It’s is a simple Instagram marketing tip that can make a huge difference.

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There you have it – 40 awesome Instagram marketing tips that will help you find success on Instagram. It can be a tricky platform to master, but I’m certain these strategies will help you kickstart your Instagram marketing and achieve your Instagram marketing goals.

Not sure where to begin? Putting together your first Instagram campaign with Wishpond isn’t a bad place to start. Try building your contest totally free by signing up right here.

Questions or comments? Let me know below!

Get started with Instagram marketing

Wishpond makes it easy to get the most out of your Instagram marketing. Create hashtag contests, sweepstakes, and bonus entry contests to engage your fans and get more followers on Instagram.

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