Getting Targeted on Instagram

TM0516_WYWA_InstalogoCompetent brands recognize that social media is an invaluable channel for marketing that can help convey the brand’s image and directly increase conversions and sales. Most businesses now have active profiles on Facebook and Twitter, but an Instagram account is also a must. It’s actually now the second-most active of the big three, with over 300 million daily users.

In fact, according to research done by, Instagram users engage more per post than any other social network. Furthermore, 50 percent of users follow at least one business. This business could be yours!

A range of paid advertising options are also available on Instagram for those that want to supplement or bypass organic posting. According to the company’s pitch, 70 percent of performance campaigns have generated statistically significant lifts for advertisers for online conversion or mobile app installs.

Of course, whether you go organic, use paid advertising or both — just like any other marketing campaign — success on Instagram hinges on targeting the right audience and gaining their interest. Getting followers is one thing, but if they don’t care about your brand that coveted follower count is worthless. So, how do you get targeted?

Connect With Your Niche

A lot of businesses rely solely on their posts and leveraging their existing web presence to build followers on new platforms, but the key to social networking is in the name — networking.

If you want to find your audience on Instagram, you will need to connect with the competition and their followers, influencers and thought leaders, and other profiles related to your industry. This includes following them (in hope they will return the favor) but also commenting, liking and sharing their posts when it’s suitable and you have something of value to add.

Utilize Hashtags

On Instagram, using hashtags is one of the primary ways you can attract new targeted followers.

The concept is fairly simple. When you make a post you can begin or end the caption with a series of relevant keywords. Typing the hash symbol before each word will turn it into a link, which when opened takes the user to a chronological feed of other posts that have included the same hashtag.

The benefit is that when a user searches on Instagram, the results are drawn from these hashtag feeds, i.e. if you used the hashtag #soccer in a recent post and somebody searches “soccer,” they will see your post in the feed even if they don’t follow you. Perhaps now they will? Users might also follow a specific hashtag to get aggregated content on their favorite subjects.

Marketers need to strike a balance between broad and popular terms, highly relevant terms, and not including too many per posts — which can appear spammy.

Promoted Posts

Instagram’s paid advertising options include “promoted posts,” which take your regular posts and put them directly in front of the audience you choose. Options include age, gender, location and interests, so you can really laser target your campaign.

There are currently around 500,000 advertisers on the platform, so pricing is still competitive.


Another way to get targeted is to form a partnership with influencers in your niche. This is especially effective when organically interacting with the community is not paying off. This might involve giving review copies of products or free access to services, with the agreement that the user promotes them and gives their honest opinion. You can even directly pay users to promote your brand.

One of the most liked photos of all time on Instagram, and an example of influencer marketing, is actress and singer Selena Gomez promoting Coca-Cola.