How to make an Instagram strategy that wins

Do you want to create an Instagram strategy that is picture perfect? These tips will show you how to get the most out of this popular social media platform.

Instagram is now the most popular social media platform with more than 1 billion+ active users per month and 200 million user profiles. What tools are available for marketers on Instagram and how can they be used effectively?

In this article I will show you how to make an Instagram strategy that meets your KPIs.

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In this article I will show you how to make an Instagram strategy that wins in 2021.

1. Recap of Your KPIs

Let’s review your key performance indicators (KPIs) before we dive into Instagram strategy. Marketing departments often set generic KPIs, without knowing how each social media channel can assist them.

What do you want your Instagram marketing campaign to accomplish?

Engage an online community

If your KPI is to build an engaged community, which channels should you focus on?

It is possible to grow a engaged Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube community, but it will take a lot of resources.

You can track likes and comments to your Instagram Stories and posts to build an engaged Instagram community.

How high is your engagement rate? (likes + comments/no. number of followers x 100

It is important to observe growth, duplicate successful posts, and refine your approach.

You don’t have the time or desire to do it all? You can rely on the Agorapulse to do it all for you.

How to Create Power Reports that Shine

It gives you information about your followers, engagement, impressions, and brand awareness score. You can also benchmark year-on-year and month-on month changes.

Here’s a photo from Charli Says’ personal IG account.

agorapulse report

Brand awareness is key

This KPI can be monitored by monitoring shares and listening to mentions of your brand. This can be done easily within your Agorapulse panel by using the “listening” tab. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to increase brand awareness.

Agorapulse’s Power Reports are easy to use and can be used to compile impressive data for your boss or client each quarter. This eliminates all the stress and guesswork associated with reporting social media KPIs.

keyword/listening search list for instagram strategy research


You can use Google Analytics to track traffic and landing page views on Instagram. Instagram Checkout allows users to buy products directly from brands on Instagram.

Paid advertising requires that you are aware of your KPIs (key performance indicators) and ROI (return-on-investment), as this is a costly endeavor. Small businesses are often subject to high Instagram Checkout fees. For orders less than $8.00, the selling fee is 5%. Flat fees of $0.40 are also applicable. The rest of your earnings are yours to keep.

These fees have been temporarily waived by Instagram, but you can bookmark this date to see when they resume.

instagram strategy screenshot for article

The Instagram Checkout feature has been a huge success for brands. These incredible statistics were presented by MAC cosmetics in an effort to increase sales.

instagram strategy

Great sales were also achieved by Kiehl’s, a personal-care brand that specializes in body, skin and hair care products. This was done via Instagram, Messenger and Instagram Direct.

instagram strategy screenshot

“Insta is a popular online destination for beauty inspiration and products, so we were able to connect with our customers virtually through the platform.” We were able to encourage people, despite the restrictions on travel, to browse Kiehl’s curated products and to buy directly through our Instagram Shop. This reduces friction and eases the path to purchase,” Jesslyn Foo Marketing Manager, Kiehl’s Malaysia

The KPIs you have for each platform can be translated to help you decide what content you want to post, how much advertising budget you will use and the results you want.

2. Make sure your target client fits the IG Demographic

Is your ideal client in the IG population? Knowing your target audience is crucial. Although Instagram is a top social media platform, that doesn’t mean you must be there.

According to U.S. Instagram data, 31.4% of users were between 25-34 years old as of July 2021. With a 25.7% share, 18-to-24-year-olds were the second largest user group. Overall, 58% percent of Instagram users in the United States were women.

Research by Facebook on Instagram takes it one step further and highlights the top interests on the platform.

instagram highlights example for instagram strategy

It’s like a meeting between minds.

Instagram users are eager to explore their interests more deeply and discover new ones. They want to connect with others, learn and share their passions. As a content creator and business, you can also use your copy and messaging to engage people.

It is possible to excite your audience and create a community that will drive sales.

There are many other popular Instagram categories, including design, parenting, and pets.

If your brand doesn’t fit any of these demographic criteria, you may need to reconsider. Also, take a look at your competition. Are they on Instagram? Which hashtags are they using and how many engagement are they getting?

Once you’ve established that your target client is within the IG demographic, it’s time to do some research about their behavior. You need to find out what your followers love seeing in their feeds so you can create great captions, hashtags and campaigns.

You can easily check your Instagram followers by running an Agorapulse Report if you already have one. You can view the top times to post, most popular hashtags and top posts as well as the most engaged fans. As an example, #amwriting is my most-popular hashtag.

It doesn’t take long to conduct audience research and you can find some really interesting insights that will assist in building your strategy.

conquer social media inbox with agorapulse social media management solution header image

3. Evaluate Your Resources

This is where you have to be realistic about the resources available for your brand. This strategy will require time, money, and the right people.

It is a great idea to research other brands and their strategies. It’s great to dream about their success. It’s great to dream of being like Starbucks’ Instagram strategy, but it’s not worth trying to replicate their success if you don’t have the resources.

Let’s talk about what you want.


Instagram is all about visuals so it’s important to have a plan. Will you post brand JPEGs, or actual photos? It will depend on whether or not you have physical products, events, large teams, physical locations, clients, or other factors.

Example: Contentworks Agency IG consists primarily of photos of our clients, partners and employees. It’s easy to feel carefree and fun without much styling or filtering.

We post lots of events, lunches and parties and don’t include any infographics.

contentworks' instagram strategy

Paperchase, for example, focuses on the product. This IG is all about symmetry, beautiful visuals, appealing colors, and attractive arrangements. It’s all about the layout, and visually pleasing designs. Stationery is huge on Instagram.

Equipment and resources

Instagram doesn’t require a large design team. You only need a high-quality smartphone and someone who is committed to managing the channel. However, you will need to have a writer or social media manager capable of writing great captions. This is crucial.

A videographer and designer can make engaging videos stories, reels and gifs. For more tips, see my article on winning social media with a budget.

4. Meet the Suite

You now know what your KPIs are and how many resources you have. Which of Instagram’s amazing tools should you be focusing on? And what do you need to get them? Instagram posts: These are permanent posts that make up our profile grid. Each post can contain multiple images or videos. Your audience can swipe to view them all. This is a great way to tell a story, or explain a product more in depth.

This is a great example of AirBNB, which I love on Instagram.

airbnb instagram strategy

The summary and pic “Get You Involved” are first.

You can then take a deeper dive into the property’s amazing features, or you can simply snap a photo from another angle such as this one.

instagram strategy

Selling products or experiences is more successful if you give more details.


Use Instagram Carousels to show off your product range, like Ted Baker. This Carousel was able to see a 22% increase in ad recall, and a 22% increase in sales for 18-24-year old buyers. It’s not surprising.

instagram strategy example

Carousels can be a great way of showing how things fit together. A dress that matches a coat, bag, and shoes can be a carousel. A beauty range that can be used on different skin types.

Instagram Stories

Brand Stories are completed at 86%. This is a huge difference from other communication methods like blogs or long-form videos. Brands have many options with IG Stories. These stories are focused on styling and effects, and allow you to really personalize your brand.

For example, you can:

You can change the text to match your brand colors.

National Geographic (NatGeo) is a great place to look for engaging and innovative Stories. They cover real events all over the globe and educate and explain everything about wildlife and nature. Although we all don’t have the same budget for filming and travel, the basic principles are the same. Excellent photos/videos, great use of stickers, informative text, and a skilled presenter are all key elements.

IGTV/ Instagram TV

Instagram acknowledged that IGTV was not working and removed the orange IGTV button (from its home page) in early 2020 due to low traction. It rebranded IGTV to “Instagram TV” and removed the exclusive IGTV video format. Videos can now be up to 60 minutes in length when posted to the main Instagram account. To view them, you don’t even need to quit the main Instagram app.

According to an Instagram spokesperson, the IGTV app is now known as the Instagram TV app. It will continue to be a destination for people who want to watch video.

Instagram TV is not for professional videographers. Many of Instagram TV’s biggest hits have been created by social media managers. Instagram TV is a vertical platform for video. This means that you cannot reuse horizontal videos. Although the platform is optimized to display 9:16 vertical videos, it can also support 16:9 horizontal videos. Instagram TV is a great place for showcasing your seminars, parties, and launches. The IGTV app won’t disappear. It will now be called “Instagram video” and host “Instagram Video”-formatted content as well as Instagram Live videos. It won’t be able to host Reels.

The official Instagram account publishes takeover videos of famous people, including Dolly Parton and Pontus Jansson (a well-known rock balancer). Invite your friends, partners, clients, or micro-influencers to create a takeover video. This will increase your reach and awaken your followers.


Make fun, 15-second videos. Instagram’s answer for TikTok. Reels is Instagram’s answer to TikTok.

What Instagram Reels (and don’t mean) for social media managers

Reels allows you to record and edit 15 second videos, add sound effects and effects, then share them. Instagram Reels offers a wider selection of video editing tools, effects and speed controls than Stories.

Reels can be used to enhance your Instagram Story with more than a simple sticker. Reels are highly visible. Reels content is the top-ranked video on many “explore” feeds. It is displayed in a much larger size than other posts.

10 Instagram Reels Hacks to Create Engaging and Click-worthy Reels

Share original content. You can remove watermarks.

Reels has one problem though. Reels doesn’t provide a consistent method for creators to be paid. YouTube and TikTok offer similar opportunities, but not Facebook. Facebook will pay $1 billion to creators before the end 2022.

Instagram offers many tools for marketers. You might also consider microinfluencers, user-generated content, and brand collaborations in your strategy. Remember your audience, stay consistent and have fun.

5. Follow these guidelines to help your brand on Instagram

Your brand guidelines are color choices, fonts, logo presentation and other elements that make up your visuals. You may have brand guidelines if your brand is already established.

A set of brand guidelines can help any member of your staff or an agency manage your online presence and keep it consistent. You might have to add a few things to your Instagram account.

These are just a few of the many additions you can make.


Your Instagram brand can be created by the filters you use in your posts. It is a good idea to note them along with any edits made on brightness, color and saturation. The type of filters that you use can make a difference in brand recognition and brand awareness.

Color palettes matter. When posting content, it is important to stick with your brand colors. You should plan and design your content ahead of time so that images appear visually pleasing on a grid like Halo Top.

Top hashtags

Although campaign and product hashtags can vary, there might be a set of common hashtags that are representative of your sector and brand. These hashtags can be easily added to posts by keeping a list in your brand guidelines. You can add hashtags that you don’t like to use in the “banned” section.

Relevant trends will also be important to keep an eye on. You could be missing out if your bakery doesn’t use #CupcakeDay.


It doesn’t need to look the same on Instagram as it does on your Web or email fonts. It’s Instagram. Have fun! It’s good to make a list of the fonts that you use in your posts. These fonts can be saved in Canva teams. Canva Teams allows you to keep your brand consistent with logos and sharable colour palettes. Your Instagram page will look neater if you use the same font for all images. This helps cement your brand.

Sainsbury’s is a good example. They use the same font and brand colour to remain consistent.

Your tone

Your TOV (tone-of-voice) should match your brand’s overall tone. It can be modified for Instagram. If your brand voice is professional and formal on your blog, you might consider using emojis on Instagram to convey a more friendly tone.

Your reply policy

Your branding includes how you respond to comments, Stories mentions, and tags. Are you acknowledging tags? Are you sharing Stories that feature your brand? How do you deal with complaints?

This is a terrible idea!

These 5 mistakes can make it difficult for you to succeed in your Instagram strategy.

Not using hashtags correctlyPosting random images or low quality images. Use boring content or repetitive material.

Marketers need to know Instagram stats

More than 200 million Instagram business accounts are active. 90% of Instagram users follow at most one brand. 2.54 billion people use Facebook’s Family of Apps (Messenger Instagram and WhatsApp). This allows for a greater paid cross-platform reach. The highest engagement rate for image posts is 1.03%. Next, are carousel posts which are 0.86%. With 0.75%, videos receive the third highest engagements on Instagram. For reference, organic engagement on Facebook was just 0.277% in 2021. Another 50% have visited a website to purchase a product after seeing it in Stories.

In conclusion

As with all your platform strategies, an Instagram strategy should be reviewed annually.

Keep track of what worked and what didn’t. Then, continue to run those reports.

Start saving time and energy with your social media management. Get a free trial of Agorapulse, which will help you plan, track, measure, and measure your social media efforts.

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