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Part 2: How to Market Your Business on Instagram

October 25, 2017

Part 1: Where Should I Advertise for Books on Social Media?
Part 2: How to Market Your Business on Instagram
Part 3: How to Market Your Business on Twitter
Part 4: How to Market Your Business on Facebook

Have you been looking for a new, creative way to reach potential customers? Instagram gives you the opportunity to have some fun and show your brand’s personality to the world, all while driving traffic to your store. Do you like photography? Start taking photos! Like making videos? Start recording! Don’t have any experience with either? No problem—you can pick it up! The one thing I can’t reiterate enough is that if you are unwilling to put in the time to get creative and take some nice photos to share, Instagram is not for you. Your audience is expecting visually appealing content that keeps them coming back to your Instagram feed, and subsequently, into your store because you caught their attention. Instagram may not be the most popular social media network used today, but it is a very important one. With 90% of users under the age of 35, it’s a great way to reach a younger audience. Since the Instagram basics were already mentioned in our past blog post “Part 1: Instagram, Twitter or Facebook? Where Should I Advertise for Books on Social Media?” let’s jump right into how you can market your bookstore on Instagram.


Before you do anything else, set your Instagram up as a business account. Seriously. Do it now. You are only able to utilize the new analytics tool from the point you switch to the business account (you will not have access to any analytics for your past photos), and we do not want you to miss out on important insights! Don’t know how to switch to a business profile? Find out here.


Creating your Feed

Before you start posting, you should come up with a content plan. What photos are you going to take? What look do you want for your feed? How are you going to make your feed look consistent? With so much activity going on at bookstores, it’s a perfect opportunity to add variety to your Instagram. Consider taking pictures of your new arrivals, books with eye-catching covers, behind-the-scenes photos, store events, sales, sneak peeks, or customers (if they give you permission, of course). Do you occasionally get good book reviews from customers who come to the store? Consider sharing their review with a photo of them and the book. You can be as creative as you would like! Instagram allows more than just photos, so you can really push your creativity limits with stop-motion animations, GIFs, video clips, and maybe even a Boomerang video.


If you want a consistent look to your feed but don’t know how to edit photos or do not feel comfortable posting the photos as they are, don’t worry! Instagram offers multiple filters that can spice up your photos (consider some popular filters: Valencia, Juno, or Mayfair). Test out different filters to figure out what look you are seeking. If it’s still not right, you can also tone the filter down by adjusting elements like brightness, contrast, shadows, etc. When you like what you see, post away!


Promoting Your Instagram Page to Customers

Now that you have a great feed, you need your customers and target audience to see what you’ve created in order for your Instagram to actually make an impact. One of the easiest ways to start driving traffic to your Instagram is to promote it on your other existing social media pages where you already have an established base.


Next, you want to add your Instagram to your website. This could be as minimal as placing the Instagram social icon next to the rest of your social icons. This may attract people to your Instagram who have never purchased from you but are interested in your store and are seeking more information.


Now comes the fun part—host a giveaway or contest to draw customers to your page! Decide on a prize that you think would appeal to the majority of your customer base, and consider having individuals tag a friend in your giveaway post in order to enter. You could even make a rule that for every additional person they tag, they earn one more entry. Yes, some people may tag ten friends, but just think, that’s ten more people who are being introduced to your page, creating a chain reaction. Also, on an ongoing basis, post exclusive Instagram promotions. This will encourage customers to follow you so they stay in the loop.


Using Hashtags Effectively

Although reaching current customers is important, you also want to draw in new customers with your Instagram feed. Even though Instagram fairly recently rolled out the Facebook algorithm of filtering the photos that people see on their feeds, organic reach is still possible! Using the right hashtags will be essential in order to reach new people and increase engagement. However, you do not want to just use the most popular hashtags and hope that people pay attention to your company. Using the top hashtags may get you a lot of likes, but it will not drive traffic to your store. Instead, use a few hashtags that are very relevant to your store or your book to gain exposure to a better-suited audience. Can’t figure out which hashtags to use? Take a look at the accounts of some of your followers and your competitors to give you an idea of what they’re using when they post about books or bookstores. Geographic-specific hashtags are always a great addition to any of your book hashtags to target people specifically searching the city. If you find a few hashtags that really increase your reach, use them for each of your posts going forward. This way when people click on that tag, many of your photos will show up!


Advertising on Instagram

If organic reach is not meeting your goals, Instagram also has advertising options you can try. This allows you to create an ad or boost one of your posts to display in the feeds of those you are targeting, instead of solely your followers. The only difference in the way it’s displayed is the word “sponsored” at the top right corner of the photo. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, you must have a business Facebook account to link your Instagram to in order to create an ad. If you already use Ads Manager for Facebook, creating Instagram ads will be a piece of cake.

There are options to customize the ad to optimize effectiveness. Depending on what you are hoping to accomplish with yours ads, some examples of objectives you can choose from are:

  1. Awareness: Boosting your post, promoting your page, reaching people located near your store, etc.
  2. Consideration: Sending people to your website, raising attendance at your event, increasing video views, etc.
  3. Conversion: Increasing conversions on your website, getting people to claim your offer, etc.


You may want to begin with one of the awareness objectives to drive traffic to your Instagram when you are starting out. Once you have a solid follower base, that’s when you can consider pushing website conversions in order to get an increase in monetary results. In general, every time you create an ad, you have to determine what you want to get out of it and then choose the corresponding objective to best meet that goal. After this decision has been made, you must select who you want to target with the ad, the placement on the feed, budget, and schedule.


For a simple step-by-step tutorial for how to create an Instagram ad, please click here.



Once your ad has been created and rolled out to the public, Ads Manager provides analytics to show you how the ad is doing. The data you see will correspond with what you selected as your ad objective.


advertising on social media instagram


Even when you are not running an ad, Instagram now provides insights for your posted photos and feed. These insights may be more basic than the analytics provided in many other social platforms, but nevertheless still give you information that you would not have access to with a personal account. These insights are:

  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Follower Info (# of new followers, age range, top locations, etc.)
  • Profile views
  • Top posts
  • Clicks to website
  • Impressions, reach, and engagement per photo


advertising on social media instagramadvertising on social media instagram



Tracking Effectiveness

Whether you are paying for your ads or not, it is important to track results so you can see if your efforts are worthwhile. Unfortunately, Instagram only allows URLs in paid posts, which can make tracking sales from Instagram much more difficult as many viewers go directly to the page instead of following a link. However, it is not a lost cause. Below is a template that you can use to track the effectiveness of your Instagram activity on an ongoing basis. Although basic, this template will help you optimize your efforts and guide your goals by revealing any fluctuations in your numbers. If you have a Google Analytics account, there are many more advanced analytics that you can access. In the below chart, please note the highlighted columns can only be filled out if you have a Google Analytics account.

advertising on social media instagram





advertising on social media instagram





NOTE: To ensure accuracy, be sure to record results after a set number of days after posting (for individual photo tracking) or on the same day every week (for weekly tracking). Also, create sortable columns so you can routinely sort items to determine which photos or weeks are the most successful. This will help in fine tuning your content strategy and making your posts more effective for the future.


3rd Party Platform Management Tools

After reading all the above information you might be wondering, “I have to do all of that on my phone?!” Well, no. You don’t have to. Although Instagram is primarily a mobile app, it can be accessed on a desktop. There are also free 3rd party platform management tools you can sign up with in order to make your life even easier. You can use these tools to schedule photo posts in advance so it no longer has to be done in real time. Yes, Instagram Insights is only on your phone for your feed photos and yes, you do have push your photo through your phone to make it live, but the rest can be done easily from a computer, if you so choose. Having the ability to schedule your photos in advance is a definite time saver and is highly recommended. What is even better is you can actually manage all of your social pages in one place through a management tool! Check out some of the free platforms that offer this service:


Why Should I?

Now that you know how to market your business on Instagram, you may be curious about why you should do so. Instagram offers many benefits to your business that can bring your bookstore’s reach to the next level. Even if you are active on other social media platforms, Instagram gives you access to a new set of content that you could not see before. Not only can you view the photos, reviews, and questions customers are only posting on Instagram about your store, but now you can interact with them as well. This shows that your business is paying attention and cares about customers, developing a deeper loyalty to your brand. Along with your engagement through comments, your photo feed can contribute by giving your store a personality. Posting behind-the-scenes photos or bookworm jokes shows customers that your business is about more than just selling product. Even with book photos, you will not be forcing product down your customers’ throats; with the nice visuals on Instagram, the products can sell themselves. Also, by consistently posting new photos, you are keeping your business at the top of the consumers’ minds, which is another way to drive site and store traffic. It can even increase the frequency of store visits because customers will not want to miss out on exciting, new, or popular products that you are posting.


After reading this, you can’t deny that Instagram is a fundamental tool in the social media realm. By not expanding your business’ presence to Instagram, your brand is at risk of being overlooked and forgotten. If you still aren’t convinced that you should start an Instagram account for your bookstore, feel free to ask questions. We will continue this series with our next part, “How to Market your Business on Twitter.”


Valerie Stark

Marketing Coordinator

Book Depot


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