With over a billion active users every month, Instagram is one of the biggest platforms for a brand to build a relationship with its customers. In fact, we at InVideo also leverage our Instagram channel to make video creation easier for our audience.
If you want to:
- Increase brand awareness and recognition
- Grow your Instagram followers
- Find new customers
- Boost sales
- Create a community
Then this guide to Instagram promotions is for you.
In this blog, you’ll learn exactly how the Instagram promotion feature works and we will also show you how to create thumb-stopping videos to promote your brand using InVideo’s online editor. Make sure to check out our Instagram channel to get an understanding of how these videos can help elevate your brand’s online presence.
Here’s what we will be covering:
(1) What are Instagram Promotions?
(2) How do Instagram Promotions work?
(3) Best practices to promote Instagram posts
(4) Types of posts to promote on Instagram
(5) Bonus - How to create thumb-stopping IG videos to promote your brand
Let’s get started!
Instagram Promotions is a feature that allows you to convert regular Instagram posts, stories or highlights into sponsored ones for a fee. Such posts typically look similar to organic feed posts or stories, but can be identified by the “Sponsored” tag that appears below the Instagram handle.
You can also add a call to action that’s clickable for feed posts or has a swipe-up option for stories. You can set a budget and the duration of the promotion, and choose your target audience for your boosted post based on factors such as location, demographic, interests. Many businesses use Instagram Promotions to make their content more visible and reach a wider audience than what their current following is.
Instagram Promotions vs Instagram Ads
While both features are used to increase brand visibility and engagement, here are the key differences between Instagram Promotions and Instagram Ads.
#1 - Post creative
Instagram Promotions can only be used to boost the visibility of an existing post or story on your feed via the Instagram app. This is similar to the “Boost Post” feature on Facebook.
Instagram Ads must be created and posted from Facebook Ad Manager.
#2 - Audience targeting
Instagram Promotions allows you to select your target audience based on age, location and broad interests.
Instagram Ads offer more detailed options to refine your target audience, with multiple sub-categories under behaviours, interests and other demographics.
In this section, we’ll cover exactly how to promote an Instagram post and an Instagram story. Before we begin, keep in mind the Instagram promotions feature is only available to business accounts. So, if you don’t already have a business account, create one before proceeding.
You can also convert your existing Instagram account into a business account with the following steps:
Step 1: Log onto the Instagram app and go to your profile by tapping on the profile icon on the bottom right.
Step 2: Click on the three bars on the top right. Next, click on “Settings”.
Step 3: Click on “Account” and scroll to the bottom of the page. Then click “Switch to professional account” and follow the prompts to finish setting up your business account.
A. How to promote an Instagram post
You can select any post from your feed to promote, but the best strategy is to choose from among your top performing posts. Then, follow the steps below:
Log onto the Instagram app and go to your Instagram profile by tapping on the profile icon on the bottom right. Then tap on “Promotions”.
The app will automatically suggest one of your top performing posts to promote. You can go with this suggestion, or tap “Choose a post” to select a post of your choice from your feed. Once you’ve chosen the post you wish to promote, click the ➔ icon (Android) or “Next” (iOS) at the top right corner to proceed.
Select your goal from the options listed.
If you want people to see more of your content and follow you, select “More Profile Visits”.
If you wish to direct people to your website, select “More Website Visits”. You will then be given the option to add your website URL and an appropriate call to action to your post.
If your business provides a service and you wish to generate more enquiries from potential customers through direct messages, select “More Messages”.
Then, click the ➔ icon (Android) or “Next” (iOS) at the top right corner to proceed to the next step.
Next, select your target audience for your promoted post. If you choose “Automatic”, your post will be targeted at people who match the profiles of your current followers.
Alternatively, you can customise your target audience based on location, age, gender and interests by selecting the “Create Your Own” option. When you’re done, click the ➔ icon (Android) or “Next” (iOS) at the top right corner to proceed.
Toggle the sliders to choose the amount of money you wish to spend to promote your post (Budget) and the length of time the promotion will run (Duration). Click the ➔ icon (Android) or “Next” (iOS) at the top right corner to proceed.
In this final step, you will be able to review your post. If your business account has not been linked to a Facebook business page, you will have to add a payment method in the “Payment” section before you’re able to proceed. Next, select “Create Promotion” and you’re done!
Once you’ve created a promotion, your post will be labelled as “Under review”. You will receive a notification in your Activity Feed once your promotion has been approved by Instagram. Once the promotion begins running, you can use the Promotions button on your post to view insights into how it is performing.
B. How to promote an Instagram Story
You can promote active stories and stories that have been featured in your highlights or archived. However, keep in mind that you can use only certain tappable elements such as hashtags, mentions, polls and location tags. Stories with GIFs, emojis, music and other such elements are not eligible for Instagram promotions.
Follow the steps below:
Log onto the Instagram app. Tap on your profile picture to access your story. Then tap on the three dots on the bottom right and select “Promote”.
If you wish to promote an older or archived Instagram story, go to your profile and tap on the three bars on the top right. Select “Archive” from the drop down menu to access your archived stories.
Select your goal from the options listed. You can choose whether you’d like to generate more profile visits, direct people to your website or encourage more enquiries from potential customers through direct messages. Click the ➔ icon (Android) or “Next” (iOS) at the top right corner to proceed to the next step.
Next, select your target audience for your promoted story. If you choose “Automatic”, your post will be targeted at people who match the profiles of your current followers. You can also customise your target audience based on location, age, gender and interests by selecting “Create Your Own”. When you’re done, click the ➔ icon (Android) or “Next” (iOS) in the top right corner to proceed.
Toggle the sliders to select the amount of money you wish to spend to promote your Instagram story(Budget) and the length of time the promotion will run (Duration). Next, click the ➔ icon (Android) or “Next” (iOS) in the top right corner.
In this final step, you will be able to review your Instagram Story promotion. If your business account has not been linked to a Facebook business page, you will have to add a payment method in the “Payment” section before you’re able to proceed. Next, select “Create Promotion” to complete the process.
Your Instagram Story promotion will run once it has been reviewed and approved by Instagram. The active story on your profile will disappear after 24 hours. However, it will still run as a promoted story for the duration that you have set.
Now that you know how to promote a post or story on Instagram, here’s a look at some actionable strategies to make the most out of your Instagram promotions.
1. Share relatable content
On social media, you’re competing against a barrage of content for a user’s attention. You have only a few seconds to grab a customer’s attention—if they cannot relate to your content, they will just scroll past your post without a second thought. This is why it’s vital for your Instagram feed to be relevant to both your brand and your target customers. Etsy is a great example of how to tailor your content to your buyer’s persona. The brand appeals to crafters, those interested in home decor, and DIY-ers by showcasing a mix of art, craft and home improvement tutorials, eye-catching items purchasable from its website, and interviews with Etsy sellers that create a personal connection with the audience.
2. Use Instagram Insights to know which posts to promote
When selecting an Instagram post from your feed to promote, choose one that is already doing well with your audience. Such posts have a greater chance of benefiting from a wider reach and grabbing the attention of more users. The Instagram Insights feature, which is accessible from your business profile, can help you identify past posts that have got the most engagement, and give you an understanding of what kind of content works for your audience demographics. Sponsored posts similar to content that has performed well in the past are more likely to do well.
3. Include a CTA
When promoting a post, include a CTA directing users to take a particular action such as purchasing your products, visiting your website, or sending in queries via direct message. This can increase conversions from the post.
4. Set up targeting manually
Instagram offers an automatic audience targeting function that promotes a post to users who fit the demographics of your current followers. However, customising each metric manually allows greater control over who will see your post. You can determine your target audience based on location, age, gender and interests by selecting the “Create Your Own” option. This is also useful when you wish to reach a new audience whose demographics may differ from that of your followers.
5. Post consistently
Instagram’s algorithm favours accounts that post consistently—at least once each day. The more consistently you update your feed, the more likely you are to gain organic reach, which will also help your sponsored posts perform well. As you post more content, it’s also important to analyse their performance to determine what kind of content works best with your followers. You can also experiment with publishing posts at different times to figure out the ideal time to post for maximum engagement.
6. Test different types of sponsored posts to see which work best
When you’re starting out, promote a few different types of posts and analyse their engagement. This will help you identify the type of promoted posts that are most likely to give you the best response. For example, you might experiment with different aesthetics, such as a standalone image post, a video post or a text-based post to see what gets your audience’s attention.
If you’re looking for inspiration to get started, we’ve got you! Read on for some ideas on the best kind of Instagram posts to promote to grow your business.
1. Product posts
If your goal is to boost sales, consider promoting an Instagram post that showcases your best selling products or one that introduces a new product launch. Remember to use clear, eye-catching images to make your products the focus of your post. You could also use some of InVideo’s product templates to create a scroll-stopping video in minutes. Finally, include a CTA with a clickable link directing users to make a purchase or visit your website to view more.
Check out this example of a completely customisable product post template for a beverage brand that can be an ideal fit for promotions signup here.
2. Brand introductions
According to statistics from Instagram, 50% of users are more interested in a brand after seeing an ad for it on Instagram. Promoting posts that introduce your business and its services can help familiarise potential new customers with your company and build brand recognition. If you’re looking to create an eye-catching promo video for your brand, InVideo has tons of templates plus a super intuitive video editor to help you get started. This template advertising a beauty product delivery service is a great example of how you can create a snappy, engaging video to let customers know more about your brand.
3. Events or sale announcements
Posts announcing an event or a sale are a no brainer when it comes to Instagram promotions. This will help get the word out and could increase your chances of having people sign up for your event or purchase items that are on sale. It’s important to add a clear CTA indicating where users can sign up, buy tickets or view the products that are on sale. Don’t forget to add important details such as the time, date and venue in your post. For example, this Fall clothing sale template informs viewers about the event and includes a CTA at the end.
4. Contest or giveaway
People tend to trust brands recommended by others, and who doesn’t love a freebie? Leverage this by running a contest or giveaway on your Instagram feed and asking your existing follower base to tag a friend in order to be eligible for the prize. This can be a good way to grow your following for free. You can also increase engagement by asking your followers to like, save or share your post.
The freelancing platform Upwork, for instance, held a contest asking followers to share their freelancing success stories using the hashtag #UpworkSuccess, with a $1000 visa gift card as the prize. The entries not only helped create audience engagement but also served as positive testimonials to the company's services.
5. Instagram Stories
The Instagram Stories feature allows you to post vertical images and videos (of up to 15 seconds). You can also add links that users can view by swiping up on a story, a useful tool since feed posts do not support clickable links. Unlike Instagram posts, which can get buried in your feed, they appear at the top of every user’s Instagram home page. While feed posts are shown based on an algorithm, Stories are shown chronologically, which means they can be leveraged for top of the mind recall.
Since each Story only stays on your profile for 24 hours, you have the freedom to experiment with different kinds of content and don’t have to worry about sticking to a particular aesthetic. You can use Instagram Stories to promote posts from your feed, share behind-the-scenes action with customers, interact with users through polls and question stickers, and much more. If you want to save your Stories for longer, you can add them to your profile as Highlights.
Did you know one-third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses? With Instagram Story templates from InVideo, you can create some unique, eye-catching Stories for your brand even if you’re a complete beginner. If you need further inspiration, we’ve put together 51 Instagram Story ideas to get started with.
6. Influencer collaborations
Tying up with influencers to promote your brand can give you access to a wider reach, open up your business to new followers, boost brand recognition, and generate sales. Promoting Instagram posts featuring influencer collaborations could help you reach an even wider audience and get more engagement from users who might be familiar with the influencer and therefore be prompted to click on your post.
However, when choosing an influencer to collaborate with, remember, it’s not just about the follower count. It’s also important to work with somebody whose values are in sync with those of your brand and whose followers match the demographics of your target customers.
For example, H&M recently collaborated with models and body positivity advocates Nouri Hassan and Paloma Elsesser to promote their new range of swimwear under their #ComeBackStronger campaign.
Now that you know how to promote an Instagram post or story, we’re also going to show you how to create awesome, scroll-stopping videos to share. With the super intuitive, and easy to use video editor from InVideo, you can add text, choose from a media library of 8M+ royalty-free video clips, royalty-free music and sound-effects, and edit your video in minutes, even if you’re a complete beginner!
Just follow the steps below.
Log onto Invideo.io. Select “Premade Templates” to choose from our library of 5000+ handcrafted templates and customise them for your brand. If you wish to start from scratch, select “Blank Canvas”.
Next, scroll down to choose your video’s aspect ratio. Wide (16:9) and Square (1:1) are ideal for feed posts while Vertical (9:16) is a good option for Instagram stories.
If you selected “Premade Templates”, scroll down and click on a template of your choice. Then click “Use this template” to start editing.
If you selected “Blank Canvas”, click “Make a video” to begin editing your video.
You can edit the existing text in the template and customise the images and colour palette by selecting the corresponding options on the “Layers” panel on the right.
Click on the “Video” or “Image” icons on the left to add more stock photos and footage to your video if you wish. If you want to upload your own photos or videos, click “Uploads”.
Add music from the InVideo audio library by selecting the “Music” icon on the left. You can also choose to retain the music that comes built-in with the template as indicated in the bottom scene panel.
When you are happy with the results, click on the “Download & Share” button on the top right to save your video.
That’s it! You’re all set with the best strategies to promote your Instagram account.
If you’re serious about growing on Instagram and creating engaging videos, sign up for a free account on InVideo and access over 5000+ templates that allow you to make thumb-stopping videos in minutes!