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How to Use Instagram: Step by Step Guide Beginners Guide

An Ultimate Guide on How to Use Instagram:

Instagram- another robust channel of social media is changing the lives of entrepreneurs, influencers, brands, and even big enterprises. Instagrammers are making huge money and deciding their own destiny. Many of them are now celebrities of social media. Here, we have created an entire blog post on how to use Instagram, be an influencer on Instagram, gain huge followers, and make money on Instagram. No matter if you are a beginner or a pro on Instagram, anyone can grab some exciting insights on how to use Instagram effectively.

Instagram Highlights 2021:

  • More than 400m people share photos, videos, stories on Instagram daily. 
  • Instagram is generating more than  2.5 billion in revenue from ads annually. 
  • 53% of users are 18-30 years old, and just 25% of users are 30-49 years old.
  • Out of 7.7B population, 4.7billion are using the internet, and even 2+ billion are using Instagram. 
  • Every year a unique user of the internet is 7-8% annually
  • Instagram ranks 5th in the global mobile app by March 2020. 
  •  2.5 billion are monthly users of social media.
  • Over 4.7 billion people are using the internet. Out of which 92% of them are using mobile internet.
  • On average, every Instagram user spends 7 minutes and crawls 11 pages in a day.

1. Types of Instagram Accounts:

Types of Instagram accounts
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2. Benefits of Personal account and business account

Benefits of Personal account and business account
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3. How to create a successful Instagram account?

>Download the app from Google Play store or App store

>Open app>install

>Sign-up with E-mail/Mobile number

>Enter username and password

>Verify email address and confirm account 

>Switch personal account to business account

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***Things need to know while creating successful username***

***Create a business profile and exclusive bio***

Exclusive Bio:

Adidas Instagram Profile, bio and link in description
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How to create a perfect Instagram Account:

Do's and Don'ts while creating an perfect Instagram Account and profile
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One of the most appropriate travel page that I like is- Your Travelling Story With clear they have added a link to their website where the audience can quickly contact them. It has an articulate logo, brand name and description in less than 150 characters.

How to Post on Instagram:

3. Set mission with competitor analysis:

Setting up a purpose is one of the most challenging tasks in any business. You need to analyse a well-defined niche in your interest and find the top leading page who are dominating in that industry.

Select competitor and follow them

> Select at least ten competitors 

> Analyze their daily activity 

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> Frequency of the post and stories 

Things to remember while choosing competitors  

> Divide your competitor list into three stages

  • Stage-1 small one whom you can defeat in next 3-4 months
  • Stage-2 moderate one whom you will defeat in next 12-15 months
  • Stage-3 focus on the ruler of your niche and let’s beat the king

 > Find out the USP of your competitor in which they’ve mastery.

 > Follow their strategy from day one and analyse what mistakes they’ve made in initial posts.

 > Focus and analyse how frequently they have used Ads in their initial days.

Ultimate Instagram Content Game Plan

Theme and Purpose of Content

Instagram themes solely depend on the purpose of the content. Every single theme serves its own purpose from travel to fashion and quotes. Creating Instagram themes is art. 

Here are some of the popular themes used by influencers.

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Type of theme 

No filter and filter themes used in feed.

Black and white and shaded theme to get vintage look.

Single and multi-colour theme to enhance a particular brand.

Puzzle and cart board theme used in quotes and thoughts.

Repetitive and pattern theme generally fashion brands use it.

HDR theme adds contrast and sharpens look. Most travel pages use it.

Why do we need a theme?

Standard format required to represent individual brands.

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It helps to create a brand value.

It looks unique like finding a horse in between zebras.

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Helps to engage with more people and brands.

Users experience increase and more chances of getting followers.

Types of Content:

Over the years, Instagram has become an integral part of everyone’s life, who is active on social media. 

In the result of it, more than 400 million posts published on Instagram by its users daily. 

There are various types of content posted on Instagram. It’s all about how to use Instagram Stories and engage with your followers.

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> Instagram Content Types

Behind the Scene content – helps to build trust with the audience 

Featuring influencers- helps to build a follower base

Educational content- helps to take action and inspire people 

Single colour content with individual texture- helps to differentiate the brand

Image with multiple backgrounds- create excitements among followers ex- travel photos

A Model that Works to Find the IG Content.

Instagram is all about creativity and experiments. There is no specific model that works. The more you experiment with content, the more you will engage with your audience. 

Social Pilot tool helps to enhance and manage multiple social media accounts. Thanks to Instagram for allowing third-party apps to schedule your posts. It saves time and resources with zero hustle. 

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Creating Content for Instagram:

Instagram is a highly visual platform, such as images, GIFs, and videos. The success of the content heavily depends on eye-catching and engaging visuals. 

Many influencers use a strategy of creating hype for new posts or excitement to enhance the engagement and gather more audience. Hence stories work as a rocket launcher. Multiple stories in different time zones help to be in the race of first place into the feed of users landing pages.

> Sourcing from others- You can source images or templates from Shutterstock, Fotolia, 500px  and many other tools where you can buy photos.

> Upload new content- It will be your own original content for a lifetime. It requires effort, time, money and creativity. Many tools like Canva can help you to add some creativity in your content, such as creating Instagram posters, thumbnails, banners, flyers, stories and podcasts.

Best times to post on Instagram:

Posting on Instagram is debatable, depending on the geographical location and audience. You should analyse your audience type, age and location. The basics that you should consider before posting is- office hours, lunchtime, evening time and weekdays depending on your territory. 

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SproutSocial found the best times are 10 A.M. to 11 A.M. on Wednesday and Friday. The best is Wednesday and the worst day is Sunday.

Best times to post on Instagram
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Photo Licensing and Image Ownership:

Instagram does not claim any content that you post. But, surprisingly, Instagram can sell your content to anyone without paying you. To protect your content, you should do licensing to claim your ownership.

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Instagram terms of use may help you to get better ideas about policies. Moreover, using copyright content can not just block your account, but it can sue you. 

You can not post content that includes sensitive information, nude photos, sexually suggestive and abusive content. 

You are solely responsible for your conduct; and any data, text, information, graphics, videos, photos, audio, or link that you submit, post and display on Instagram. 

Instagram Booster Strategy 1 (Hacking IG Algorithm):

The Instagram Algorithm:

Dramatically, with the core updates, getting the vast follower base without making efforts is not possible. And now, it has become one of the most irritating things for many people on Instagram. 

Now, Instagram closely monitors user experiences. Instagram engineers continuously working on algorithms to enhance user likes and interest. 

Your search feed will show only similar kinds of content you previously liked so that your interest should not break. 

The more you engage with your followers by commenting and liking, the more your feed will show into their feed. Even Instagram monitors your daily activity of using Instagram.

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How does Instagram algorithm work? 

> Repetitive Content will not push by Instagram effectively

> New posts with maximum likes and comments within an hour of the post will be more likely to feature in the search tab. 

> Create curiosity by using stickers, gif, puzzles, quiz and countdown timeline.

> Instagram will give you the greater reach and reward you if you are getting comment and likes on the post by your followers.

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> If you share your knowledge/ideas and ask questions to build trust, then it sends the positive signal to the Instagram followers.

>Text/chat with people for innovative ideas

>Set time for the post. Be regular in stories. Instagram will help your content to rank and get more engagement.

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> Multiple stories in different time zone will increase conversions.

> Switch your personal account to business/creators account as soon as possible. You can monitor your daily activity, audience, impressions, profile visits, audience growth and more. You can create a game plan to build a strong profile. 

Don’t do this; otherwise, Instagram will block you:

Instagram Shadowban Radar- Wrong Practices
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What would happen if Instagram blocked you?

Firstly, You will get a pop-up as you’re violating Instagram policies; but if the same things happen again and again they will block you temporarily, or they may hide some features. 

The suspension time is somewhere between 24-48 hours. 

Apart from it, if Instagram is not blocking your account for some particular time, and you keep making the same mistakes, engagement rate will dropdown. And, Instagram will keep your account in spam for a specific time. 

Instagram Caption (Another IG Marketing Strategy):

A caption is another super important factor that widens the reach of photo/video/stories. It is like showing the human side in your post. Good captions add stars in your post, but the best captions mark milestones. Create the best caption related to your post and let the audience decide- how do they react. 

How to write an exclusive caption?

> keep important information first and write in small stories

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>structure of the content must be well-framed

>Add call to action in the captions

>Use Emojis to get better engagement and visual look

> Alway use @ and tag people to increase reach. Tagging to the respective person will reach to a better audience. 

Instagram Hashtags(#):

Hashtag (#) is an essential aspect of increasing the reach of the audience. The hashtag helps to segregate vast images/videos content and organise user content based on time/experiences and reach. 

In many cases, it has proven that more than 60% of content reach comes from using the most appropriate hashtags. 

Many popular hashtags used by brands now have higher competition. Ultra-high hashtags will definitely bring extra likes but at the same time engagement won’t go up. You have to be genuine with your content and niche. 

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Add a less used hashtag so that your reach and engagement can be more practical. 

For travel page  

How to use hashtags effectively (Instagram Marketing Tips)?

> Everyone talks about using most popular hashtags or trending hashtags. No one tells you that a lower popular hashtag works perfectly to boost engagement and helps to rank on top in the explore page.

>Use relevant and different hashtags in every post to get better engagement. Do not use the same set of hashtags again and again to avoid spam. 

>Use hashtag in comments

> Track your Instagram hashtags’ success in insights and work accordingly.

>Follow your favourite hashtags and ask people to follow your hashtags so that you can monitor industry trends.

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> Making separate drafts of your hashtags not only saves time but also helps you to set up the higher ranking. 

> Only use those hashtags that make sense. It should be related to your industry, content and trend. 

Content Stacking: 

One of the best ways to engage more audiences is the effective use of content in small pieces. It creates curiosity and suspense. 

Many influencers use this technique in their new content. You can understand very merely that if you are publishing an e-book or report, you use that piece in your Instagram. Effectively it’s not just getting traffic on your site but building trust. 

When you post these content in multiple mediums like audio, video, gif, podcast and flyers format, you touch the entire set of audience.

All short mediums with prompt call-to-action create immense value. 

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Power Engagers: 

Engagement with your audience decides the conversion rate for your brand. It doesn’t matter how big your brand is, replying to every comment and story always brings more credibility. 

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Instagram users are sensitive, and they notice everything. The insights feature of Instagram provides all data related to content reach, activity on posts and audience geography. Analyse all the data carefully and then form your strategy.

Things to remember on Instagram:

> Good influencers reply to everyone’s comment and establish his/her credibility in the eyes of the audience. They feel delighted. 

> Predefine your objective- whether you want to be in social-media for the presence or you want to add value to it.

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> Share your stories daily. Use GIFs, emoji, stickers, video and podcasts to make as call-to-action posts.

> Create innovative content like adding subtitles in IG videos. Use tools to predefine or plan calendars.

> One of the best ways to promote yourself and build trust is by taking live sessions and webinars.

Instagram Booster Strategy 2-Shoutouts & Influencers Marketing:

Influencer Marketing:

Influencers always decide Instagram trends. And to become an influencer is tough. But it is one of the most effective ways to create relationships with millions of people in a single platform with a minimum timeline. 

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An effective influencer can make thousands of dollars within a second. More than 91% of brands use influencer marketing to promote their product and services over Instagram. 

As an influencer, you should be loyal. Because for your audience, you are a public figure. Hence, you need to set the goals and KPIs consistently.  

Essential points that you must know:

> Don’t try to sell in the very beginning.

> Build trust by engaging with the audience

> Always try something new and experiment with your content and reach out to your audience via posts/stories.

> Give away is one of the most effective tools to engage with people and build trust.

> Don’t produce over content, let your audience decide frequency and time slot. Generally, people post almost 12 content in a week or 1-2 posts daily on Instagram.

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> Create a weekly report of your reach and engagement by third party tool and try to analyse it.

Instagram Shoutout:

Instagram shoutout is a technique of promoting your content/post via others’ profile and vice-versa.  

I like it the most.

Why? 

It increases brand presence overnight. Since my presence is broad and posted on multiple accounts, my audience thinks that this account is very credible. 

Instagram shoutout can be paid or unpaid. Shoutouts have become useful ways for influencers as well where they make money from per post. 

Ways to do a shoutout?

  1. Paid shoutout- That is a trending way to get instant reach by spending a few extra bucks.
  2. Shoutout for a shoutout- One of the popular among influencers to drive more followers.
  3. Voluntary shoutout- Super excitement with your content, and he/she is just posting in his account. It is not that easy. Only truthful influencers achieve it. 

How to get a shoutout? 

  1. Find interesting or informative content which your audience will like
  2. Your post must have a direct relation with your post.
  3. Call to action on shoutout must be thoughtful.
  4. Your content should have a competitive edge to attract maximum audience.
  5. Decide and choose your budget whether you’re buying or selling shoutouts.
  6. Pre Decide the duration for the shoutout and ready for new audiences. Show your audience that they are everything for you.

Connecting and Reaching Out to Influencers: 

A common way to connect with influencers and reach out is to follow them and analyse their daily activity along with other channels too. Create a list of influencers in your niche. Once you get an idea of it, appreciate it with a friendly gesture. Do not sell/buy at the very beginning of the conversation. Be calm and wait for the right time. 

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After some time with healthy conversation, offer them an outstanding deal and show them he/she is worth it. 

Document everything in a sheet that consists of email id, social media id, name, age, category, post timing and site if any. 

How to effectively connect with Influencers in less time?

> Research on your targeting niche.

> Set-up standard terminology.

> Engage with influencers frequently and show familiarity. 

> Share their Content on your stories. 

> Plan meet-up, conferences and gathering to build long term relationships.

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Shoutout Content:

To publish shoutout content on leading social media is worth it. Massive user base, popularity and high frequency of users are one of the most effective ways to earn money. 

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You will be shocked that 78% of influencers are posting content without being paid. Instagram is all about great content and intense engagement with the audience. 

On Instagram, visual and appealing content with CTA is the king that creates milestones. Try to boost those stories which are already performing well. Use effective hashtags as an extra jet engine to promote your content. The reach will automatically increase if you have the quality of the audience.

Instagram Shoutout Strategy:

Nowadays, many good content creators are not getting better reach. Your consistency matters a lot on social media. 

Many influencers have reached 0-10K within a month, and many of them are not even getting 5k from years. 

A shoutout is one of the most prominent ways to get instant followers and content reach of yours. 

Like/comment and share before asking influences for shoutout is a healthy way for a good start. 

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Always play smartly when you pay for shoutouts. 

For example- you found an influencer who has a follower base of 500k, and he is charging $50 for a single post shoutout. Let’s try something else. Find out people who have less follower base and can plan multiple shoutouts for you at that price.

Instagram Marketing Booster Strategy 3- (5 Rs Ads for followers):

The Power of Instagram Ads: 

As per the reports, Instagram users spend at least 28-minutes daily. Hence your reach is significant. 

Ads are the only tip where you can target the vast audience for better reach. 

Without running Ads, Instagram’s AI and algorithm give the maximum reach of 6-10% of your total followers. Facebook is even worse than that, as the post reached less than 4% in your connection. Same with other social media platforms. 

Therefore, running ads are the only way to get maximum reach and interaction with your audience and user base.

Types of Instagram Ads

1. Video Ads:

When it comes to visual ads, the first 15-seconds speaks everything. Most of the brands prefer almost 15-20 seconds of commercials. 

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Video Ad is all about creativity, graphics, music and caption. Many third-party tools take less time to create a compelling short video Ad. Direct pushing for the sales is sometimes that can not attract your audience at all. 

Knowledge and inspiring video clips fascinate everyone’s mind. Rest of the things will be done by itself.

2. Photo Ads:

Photo ads run for individual post engagement. Many Instagram users use this technique to boost posts to get greater reach. There are many pictures in everyone’s feed which have not got enough reach. The only way to get high engagement is to run Ad so that people can contact you. Sometimes many brands promote their campaigns in photos.

3. Stories Ads:

Stories ads are one of the most reachable and high engagement Ad types among all. It pops up in the very beginning of the landing page. Being in the first of news feed placement gets maximum attention and engagement. 

As of now, IG stories provide a 9X16 image ratio with a maximum time of 15-seconds. Create fantastic content in 15-second to grab the attention of the customer/audience. Many travellers make a collage of their travel videos and create inspiring stories. Same is for fashion brands. They use multiple colour modes with various dress codes, and it works perfectly during seasons. 

4. IG TV Ads:

No one can deny that the future of content marketing is going to be in the form of video content. 

YouTube is the king of video content marketing. Along with Netflix, Amazon Prime and more, IGTV is gaining maximum watch time and emerging day by day. 

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Instagram does not provide content for more than 60 seconds. Hence they attach a new separate feature “IGTV” to increase their user interface. 

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Over some time, IGTV has been cost-effective among all other ADs on Instagram, and IG videos get more natural each too. 

5. Carousel Ads:

Instagram Carousel Ads are slideshows in Ad format that allow users to slide multiple images or videos (not more than 10) in one time. 

Provide linkable clicks CTA boost your content and CTR percentage. Every individual carousel has a feature to add unique calls to action to expand dynamic audience range.

How to run a Perfect Ad on Instagram:

  1. Select goals before creating Ad- Identify the objective from an Ad campaign that what do you want- a reach, brand awareness, traffic, engagement, leads, or conversion.
  2. Creating active Ad with useful tools- Ad must be simple, creative, with high-quality videos/images. It should not have more than one or two call-to-actions. 
  3. Target audience- Individual geographic location, budget and time.
  4. Optimise page- Before posting Ads, make sure the landing page should be well defined, and look like a Pro.
  5. Exciting caption-  Simple text and call to action work perfect for all kinds of Ads. Well framed and without mistakes bring high conversions.
  6. Instagram tools- For effective campaigns and third-party survey tools work appropriately. Even many tools help to find post-wise analysis and continent enhance technique as well. Inbuilt features show overall growth. 

The Perfect Instagram Ad Structure: 

There is no set of standards to achieve perfection. Practise and experiment matter a lot. 

It’s my personal recommendation to try new every day and in every Ad. If some money gets wasted, think of it as an investment. Learn from you every mistake. 

The Instagram algorithm is genius. You will get notification about your best-performing Ads. 

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The short 15-second ad works exceptionally well when it comes to conversion rate. For reach and engagement, an informative post will work correctly. 

Key points to remember while creating Instagram (IG) Ad:

  • Do not use more than two colours in your creatives. Do not be overwhelmed by adding too many colours.
  • Use symbols and emoji in your design. Visuals should help to boost energy as well as the excitement in the audience.
  • The focus should be in the centre; the background should be practical.
  • Always mentions or tag brands, profiles which have similar content. It will work as an extra booster jet in your post.
  • The more you spread knowledge or information with the audience, the more you get reach, leads, engagement and finally sales.
  • Keep eyes on insights and track the performance to get better results.

Additional Instagram Growth Tools: 

How to Get Blue Tick on Instagram: 

There was a time when Instagram had reserved the Blue Tick only for top-level celebrities and brands. But in the emerging influencer marketing age, the opportunity is accessible for all. Instagram’s self philosophy for Blue Tick is simple- “ verified accounts must represent a well-known, highly searched for person, brand, or entity”.

Now YouTube personalities and Bloggers are also verified too. Meme accounts are unlikely to receive the blue tick, however, if you’re a well-known personality that shares great memes – you’re in with a chance.

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Before applying for Blue Tick verified account, you must have the following documents;

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • National identification card
  • Official business documents (i.e. tax filing, recent utility bill or articles of incorporation)

If you are featured on influencing sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, then it increases your chance of getting verified on Instagram.  

How to Apply for Blue Tick on Instagram- Step by Step

  1. Access the Instagram app on your mobile or tablet
  2. Click on your profile at the bottom right.
  3. Click on the 3 bars (≡) at the top right of your profile.
  4. A menu should slide out, click on Settings.
  5. Then click on Account.
  6. And finally, click on Request Verification.

Benefits of getting a verified account: 

a) Trust- Blue ticks have their own presence and look quite visible from the millions of daily users. Users easily trust you and start following you.  

It shows exclusivity to your accounts, and people can easily differentiate. Your comments are worthy. Many brands pay for your likes and comments if you have a blue tick.

b. Additional features- You will always prioritize and get notified if Instagram does any updates with additional features. 

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c. Recognition- Another perk of getting Blue Tick is- they get high engagement from brands and other notable users. The verified profile appears on top of the search and suggestions accounts. Instagram algorithms favour content by verified accounts, resulting in higher engagement posts. 

Instagram Live:

Instagram Live is a feature on Instagram that allows you to live-stream with your followers, who can then engage in real-time. Your live streaming will prioritise on stories and can help to answer in real-time to your audience. Users can see you face-to-face in real-time, which increases engagement, trust and loyalty.  

How to go live on Instagram: 

  • Pre-decided plans and purpose helps to create unique sessions.
  • Practise well before you go live to give the smoother experience to your followers.
  • Go behind the scene ideas.
  • Get the company of well-known people.
  • Live question-answer sessions.
  • Have fun as it’s all about entertaining the audience.

Instagram tips for building a strong relationship with followers and Influencers:

  • To engage with the posts, do comment and like.
  • Share stories to your competitors and ask to do the same.
  • Reply to every text message and comment.
  • Organise live Q&A sessions to gain popularity, among others.  
  • Giveaway of the product you’re reviewing. It is popular among goods, automobiles and tech-channels. The giveaway is something that helps to boost your handle by more than 50% as brands also share in their social media channels. You can set T&C according to your marketing campaigns.  

Earnings On Instagram: 

Building Trustworthy Relationship:

In this tech-world, it’s challenging to build trust. Users are smarter and more aware than ever. Verifying facts is quite simple in today’s world. Loyalty and interest towards your followers is the first thing you need to establish. 

Earnings Methods on Instagram: 

Ultimately, selling your services or conversion, drives revenue, whether it is a brand or an influencer. 

I’ve seen many influencers from the fashion industry to fitness coaches earn somewhere between $1000-8000/month withholding 130K following base only. 

It’s all about what kind of product/services you’re offering. Even many influencers who have the following base of 15K are earning more. It’s up to you how strong your network base is. 

How to earn money on Instagram

  • Affiliate marketing.
  • Posting sponsored content.
  • Paid brand promoter or became a brand ambassador.
  • Selling your own designs and products.
  • Selling your own books and reports.

Key highlighted points to earn more:

  • Honesty with yourself and your follower base is a must.
  • Transparency is crucial for the long-run.
  • Always create content related to your niche only. 
  • The user-friendly content is significant. No matter if you like it or not.

Keynotes about How to Use Instagram (IG):

  • Switch personal profile to business profile.
  • Start posting photos/videos in the feed as well as stories.
  • Use Instagram shopping with the price and name of the products.
  • Start running ads on specific geographic locations. 
  • Add product links in stories and bio wherever needed.
  • Resolve queries of potential customers.
  • Finally, convert into a sale.
  • After-sale services and customer care helpline. 
  • Ask for review and feedback of the product either is it useful or not.
  • Keep doing engagements and campaigns.

Instagram Shadowban: 

What is Instagram Shadowban?

If your Instagram account is on the shadowban radar, then you will notice the drop in the engagement rate, decline in followers and photos not showing up in hashtags. 

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If you are a victim of Instagram shadowban, then it will kill your engagement rate and the credibility of your account day by day. 

Instagram shadowban hides your Instagram posts from users who don’t follow you. That is why it is detrimental to get more followers and grow more. Whatever the hashtags you will use in your post, only you and your current followers can see your post when they search for the hashtags you used. That’s why Instagram shadowban defeats the whole strategic purpose of using hashtags.

Reasons for Shadowban:

  • Using Instagram banned hashtags. Even if you use 1 broken hashtag, all the remaining hashtags will become redundant.  
  • Using hashtags from over spammy post
  • Buying Followers
  • Instagram does not like third-party applications to post a comment, post hashtags, or even posting photos. So, stop using bots or AI-based software for automatic posting. 
  • Do not show big surges in your daily activity on Instagram. You must know there is a limit to doing likes, comments, follow, and unfollow in any circumstances. You must not do 150-200 likes, 60 comments, and 60 follows/unfollows per hour.

How to fix Instagram Shadowban: 

Avoid all the blunders, as mentioned above. Apart from it, take a break of 3-4 days from Instagram and switch your business account to personal account for a few days. These strategies can help you to fix the Instagram shadowban issue. 

Conclusion on How to use Instagram in 2021:

I hope you enjoyed reading the “how to use Instagram” from creating an account to posting content, generating a huge follower base, and ways of making money. The comprehensive guide of Instagram was for the beginners and the pro as well.

Now, it is your turn.

Tell us in the comment box what is the best Instagram strategy you found from this blog post?

How are you using your Instagram account effectively?

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Do you want to suggest anything else, if I missed out something?

Also read: Instagram Reels guide and ways of making money

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