A Beginner’s Guide on How to Use Instagram Effectively

How to use Instagram to grow your business when you have no idea where to start

Instagram is an online mobile social media app that allows its users to share images and videos either publicly or privately. For business owners, this means you can carefully curate your customer base and choose with who you share your content.

It’s not just where people are spending time, but also how they’re spending that time that has companies wanting a presence on Instagram. Almost 80% of consumers use their phones to research and shop for products and services.

More than one in three consumers follow a brand on Instagram. Besides the obvious benefits of having more potential customers see your brand, there’s the added bonus of getting instant feedback about your product or service.

When you post a photo or video about your company, its products or services, it reaches your followers and has the potential to reach additional subscribers to the service.  The more engagement you get on your posts  the easier it is for Instagram to make your posts more visible to its other users.

This article provides steps that will help you learn how to use Instagram marketing if you’re looking for an easy way into this social media platform without having much knowledge about how it works beforehand.

illustration showing social media instagram

Instagram for beginners

Step 1: Create an account

The first step is creating an account. You should already have a business name and have an idea of what type of followers you are hoping to attract so you can create relevant hashtags a username, and content.

If you are starting an accounting firm for examples, using hashtags like #accountants, #bookkeeping etc. will help you reach a relevant audience. While choosing your username, you should always use your company name so people can easily find you when they search for your business name on Instagram.

Step 2: Generate quality content

It’s important to balance quantity and quality with the type of images and videos you post on Instagram. The more users like what they see, the more they are likely they are to follow and engage with you.

Post regular updates about your business by sharing photos or videos that highlight what makes your brand unique. This helps potential customers learn more about who you are. Post content that is relevant and useful. Do not only focus on selling yourself.

Step 3: Interact with other users

Interacting with other Instagram users will help you generate interest in your brand. Look for people who are talking about companies related to yours, and follow them. You can also find influencers whose audience matches the type of customers you are hoping to attract, and follow them as well.

Step 4: Use Instagram stories

Instagram stories are a popular features on this social media platform and according to statistics, users watch time spent on Instagram stories has doubled since June 2017. Storytelling with Instagram stories can share who you are as a person or company and forms a key part of your brand marketing.

Step 5:  Use Instagram reels

Reels are similar to Tik Tok videos in that they’re short, entertaining films. They have a maximum duration of one minute. You can add sound, music, filters, and other elements to them. Instagram may include reel clips in their explore section, which is great for exposure for business. They can also be used on your stories and be posted to your feed. Instagram reels can increase your brand engagement and help you develop a loyal following of your account.

Step 6: Take advantage of Instagram ads

Instagram ads is a powerful way to grow your audience and it’s easy to set up. Instagram gives advertisers an incredible amount of targeting options,  you should be able to find the right people for your business within minutes. When creating an Instagram ad campaign, keep your images and headlines relevant and compelling so they appeal to your target market. If someone likes what they see on their feed, they might share it with their friends or engage with you which will in turn enhance your  exposure.

Step 7: Track your progress

The best way to understand how well all the strategies outlined above are working for you is to track your follower growth and engagement. You can do this by creating a free business profile on Instagram, then use third party sites that measure the number of people following you each day, or use the Instagram statics it provides in the stats section of the app. This will give you insight into how many new followers are coming to your account every week and also give you an idea of how effective your marketing strategies are. You can also pinpoint why some users have stopped following you so you can improve your content and interactions accordingly. Once all these steps are done. You’ll soon start noticing more people following you daily which increases your chances of getting noticed by potential buyers who might want to invest in what you have.

illustration of social media instagram hashtags

Understanding and Using hashtags

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag (#) is a word or phrase with no spaces, prefixed by the # symbol. It creates a tag that people can use to search for related posts across millions of accounts.

What are hashtags used for?

Hashtags are most commonly used to connect content and ideas together, which makes them very effective tools for marketing on Instagram.

Why should I use hashtags? 

Hashtags allow other users to find your content, which means you can use them to grow your following by getting more eyes on the posts that matter most.

What hashtags should I use?

There are no set rules or guidelines for selecting hashtags, but there are two primary ways to approach it

Use a combination of popular hashtags that are relevant to your content and less-popular hashtags but more specific to your marketing strategy.

When you add a hashtag to your post, it gives you the option to add a list of related hashtags. The aim is for other users searching for those keywords to stumble upon your content and follow you.

How many hashtags should I use?

Instagram recommends no more than 3-5 hashtags per post. There has been significant debate on how many to use. However, Instagram has recently stated the ideal number is 3-5.

My suggestion is always to make amazing content and then experiment with the number of hashtags and see which ones perform better. As the algorithm is proprietary there are several things that can impact your views. Keep a close eye on your stats and monitor what works best for you.

How do I select different types of hashtags?

 – Use the “Explore” section on Instagram.

 – Search for top trending tags related to your industry/business.

 – Use hashtags from competitors.

 – Add a hashtag to your post and check the list of related tags. Experiment with them and try different ones for different posts.

Once you have your chosen hashtags go ahead and post your amazing content. Remember to engage other followers and users.  Keep an eye out for comments and make sure you comment back. Instagram is a platform that requires constant attention so be sure to check in as often as you can and set up your notifications for important information like comments, messages and shares.


Remember: the more engaged your followers are with what they see from your brand, the higher the chance is there will be a conversion for your efforts. A conversion could be anything from a follow, a visit to your website to a purchase.

If connecting with customers online seems intimidating at first don’t worry- we’re here to help! Our team of experts would be happy to partner with you in creating a stellar SEO plan or marketing strategy which drives sales while considering how to engage and convert more potential customers.


As we turn to the digital age, marketers need to stay up-to-date with best marketing practices. Hardcraft Digital provides cutting edge advice and tips for success in an ever-changing world of digital marketing.

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