Instagram marketing strategies for e-commerce businesses

Instagram, the most popular photo-sharing social media platform, boasts 1 billion monthly users, with 500 million people interacting with Instagram Stories every day. With such a large base of potential customers, Instagram is a key social media platform that should be part of every brand’s marketing strategy.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Maryville University’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership program.

How marketers can optimize Instagram use go improve brand loyalty

How Instagram became the No. 1 photo-sharing app

Instagram’s success story is one for the history books. What started as an app inspired by a love for fine whiskey and bourbon quickly grew into a heavyweight among social media platforms.

The story of Instagram

Instagram’s roots go back to 2009, when Stanford grad Kevin Systrom developed Burbn, an app allowing users to check in, post their plans, and share photos. In March 2010, Systrom met a pair of venture capitalists at a party, and he’d raised $500,000 in funding within a couple of weeks of the meeting. What’s now known as Instagram launched October 6, 2010, and had 1 million users by mid-December. This number grew to around 27 million users by March 2012; one month later, Facebook offered to purchase the company for about $1 billion in cash and stock. Instagram would remain independently managed after the acquisition.

Today, Instagram remains a robust global app, boasting 70 million users in Brazil, 69 million users in India, 59 million users in Indonesia, and 40 million users in Russia. In fact, 89% of Instagram users don’t live in the U.S. In the U.S., 37% of American adults use the platform, with 67% of them falling in the 18 to 29 demographic.

Studies show 63% of Instagram users log in at least once per day, and users spend roughly 28 minutes on the platform. Studies also show 75.3% of U.S. businesses will use Instagram in 2020, and 200 million users will visit at least one business profile on Instagram daily.

Instagram is also an effective marketing tool. Studies indicate 73% of American teens say the platform is the best way for brands to reach them about new products or promotions. As such, American marketers spend 69% of their influencer budgets on Instagram, with brands paying influencers as much as $2,085 per post, as much as $3,138 per video, and as much as $721 per story. Overall, Instagram’s potential advertising reach is 849.3 million users.

What consumers expect from brands on social media

A 2018 Sprout Social survey asked more than 1,000 U.S. consumers what they would like to receive from brands in an increasingly divided society. The survey results offer helpful insights to brands looking to build their presence on social media.

The role of brands in society today

The study indicates that most people believe brands and social media can power connections. It also shows that social media is the main way for connections to form; when this happens, loyalty and bottom-line growth tend to follow. The connection is best formed by authenticity, such as seeing a brand CEO being active on social media. Finally, consumers want brands to connect them to other people with different backgrounds and beliefs.

11 tips for crafting an Instagram marketing strategy

Though Instagram features are constantly changing and evolving, marketers should always do 11 key things when crafting an Instagram strategy.

The first thing marketers should do is to optimize their profile by including their name, username, website, category, contact info, and CTA buttons. Once that’s established, they should create visually compelling content via tactics like behind-the-scenes looks, instructional posts, and videos. After working to establish a consistent brand image, markets should put thought into captions, giving them an opportunity to use their brand voice. It’s also important to use relevant hashtags judiciously and respond to comments, even if it’s just responding to user comments.

Additionally, it’s a good idea for marketers to create interactive stories by using features like polls and questions. After they’ve partnered with influencers, marketers can utilize Instagram shopping to give them the opportunity to send followers directly to product pages. Marketers should also determine what the optimal time to post material on Instagram for maximum engagement. Finally, marketers should use Stories highlights and covers to develop their brand’s bio.


Instagram is a social media platform that brands simply can’t afford to ignore. To actively engage customers on Instagram, brands need to be consistent and follow a clear vision.


eMarketer, “Consumers Are Influenced by Brands on Social”

eMarketer, “Instagram’s New Explore Ads Signal Potential Changes to Organic Reach”

eMarketer/Piper Jaffray, “Best Ways for a Retailer/Brand to Communicate About New Products/Promotions According to US Teens, Taking Stock with Teens, Spring 2019”

HootSuite, “17 Instagram Marketing Tips You Can’t Afford to Ignore”

HootSuite, “37 Instagram Stats That Matter to Marketers in 2020”

Instagram, About Us

Instagram, Getting Started

Investopedia, “The Story of Instagram: The Rise of the #1 Photo-Sharing Application”

Klear, Klear Influencer Marketing Rate Card

Mediakix, Influencer Marketing 2019: Key Statistics From Our Influencer Marketing Survey

Pew Research, Social Media Fact Sheet

Sprout Social, “#BrandsGetReal: What consumers want from brands in a divided society”

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