Instagram marketing

Instagram Organic Marketing – Everything you wanted to know

  • 16 Minutes
Pay-to-play Instagram marketing is easy. But can you compete in the organic feed? Here's how to sharpen your organic edge for phenomenal marketing results.

Instagram is a powerful platform for organic marketing and engagement. In fact, Instagram generates 4x as many interactions when compared with brand’s organic content on Facebook.

With users spending an average of 53 minutes on the Instagram platform each day, brands (like yours) have incredible opportunities to reach and engage with these users on a daily basis.

The good news is that turning your followers into paying customers doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, using organic marketing tactics you can transform your Instagram profile into a powerful sales tool for your business (without spending a cent on ads).

But in order to succeed with organic Instagram marketing, you need to understand what platform features you have up your sleeve as well as ways to optimise your Instagram content to drive reach, foster engagement and inspire conversion.

Luckily, that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this blog. Keep reading to discover what organic Instagram marketing is as well as the practical tactics you can use to generate strong results for your business on Instagram.

What is organic Instagram marketing?

In case you need a refresher, organic Instagram marketing means tapping into the platform’s free tools to share content, build a community and drive business results.

In contrast to paid Instagram campaigns, organic activity is all about brand building and boosting awareness of your products and services (without making a dent in your marketing budget).

In its simplest form, organic Instagram marketing involves:

  • Posting images, video and graphics to the platform with captions
  • Responding to customer enquiries via comments and direct messages
  • Liking, commenting, sharing and following other accounts on Instagram

So, why should your brand give organic Instagram marketing a try? Here are three ways organic activity can help your business grow and succeed on Instagram:

  • Organic marketing builds credibility: when done right, organic Instagram marketing can help to build positive digital word-of-mouth. And here’s why that matters: 81% of people say they’re influenced by what their friends share on social media. By engaging with followers through organic content, you can use these pieces of social proof and digital word of mouth to boost your brand’s reputation in the eyes of potential customers.
  • Organic marketing builds long-term connections with potential customers: while paid campaigns can help to drive conversions, organic Instagram marketing is what will move users down the sales funnels (and turn them into brand advocates). That’s because your organic marketing should humanise your brand and allow users to have two-way conversations with you to build trust. Not only will that complement your paid Instagram activity, but organic marketing will help you stay top-of-mind with past customers to encourage repeat purchases, too.
  • Organic marketing is a cost-effective solution: without the need to pay-to-play, organic Instagram marketing is a long-term tool your brand can continually leverage for years to come. With the right organic marketing strategy in place, you can continue to grow your following, boost your brand awareness and reach new audiences on Instagram (without spending a cent).

Ultimately, organic Instagram marketing doesn’t replace your paid campaigns. In fact, organic and paid Instagram activity should go hand-in-hand to move users from awareness to conversation and ultimately loyalty, too.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself: but how do I execute great organic Instagram marketing?

In this blog, we’ll be revealing the top organic Instagram marketing tactics you need to harness, including:

  • Optimising your Instagram profile and content for maximum search visibility
  • Crafting ongoing brand-building content to be shared across the platform
  • Leveraging Instagram’s wide pool of features and tools to boost your organic results (including the Feed, Stories, IGTV, IG Live, Reels)
  • Designing a hashtag strategic tailored to your brand’s products and services
  • Running Instagram growth campaigns to boost your audience organically

Ready to take your brand to the next level using organic Instagram marketing? Let’s get started.

Step 1. Optimise your Instagram profile for search visibility

Did you know the principles of search engine optimisation (SEO) still apply to organic Instagram marketing? While the Instagram platform isn’t set up in the same way as search engines (like Google), there are other ways to optimise your Instagram profile for maximum search visibility.

Instagram SEO allows you to drive high-quality users directly to your profile and organic content. With 200 million Instagram users visiting business profiles on a daily basis, it’s your job to tap into the users who are looking for your brand and offering.

So, let’s show you the practical steps your business can take to boost your search visibility through organic Instagram marketing.

Clarify and leverage your SEO keywords on Instagram

The first step to getting your Instagram profile seen by the right users is to identify which SEO keywords you want to rank for on the platform.

This means using a keyword research tool (such as SEMRush or WordStream’s free keyword tool) to identify which phrases are generating the most traffic on search engines.

However, these popular search terms won’t necessarily generate the same results on Instagram. Instead, hashtags are what will generate the strongest results for your brand on Instagram. That’s where using hashtag tools such as Keyword.io’s hashtag tool comes in handy to pinpoint the most relevant hashtags for your business on Instagram.

When selecting your Instagram hashtags, make sure to include a mix of broad terms (short-tail keywords) and specific, targeted phrases (long-tail keywords). And here’s why:

  • Short-tail keywords (usually one or two words) allow you to expand the reach of your Instagram profile and content to a wider audience.
  • Long-tail keywords (using three or more words) allow you to reach more specific, high-intent audiences with a greater chance of conversion.

Ultimately, it’s worth including a mix of both long-tail and short-tail hashtags to ensure your organic Instagram marketing reaches new audiences and engages high-intent audiences that are primed for conversion.

Inject these keywords into your Instagram profile

Now, it’s time to put these hashtags and keywords to work on your Instagram profile. First up, it’s essential that your brand is using an Instagram Business profile to ensure you can access powerful analytics and insights to inform your organic marketing efforts.

Ready to get working? Here’s where to add these keywords and hashtags to your Instagram profile:

  • Your username: your username is how Instagram users will discover and search for your account. Make sure your username clearly identifies your business name and is easy to spell and search for on the platform. Avoid cluttering this username with unnecessary numbers, characters or symbols that will be difficult for audiences to remember.
  • Your account name: this is the name that appears above your Instagram bio and should contain one or two strategic keywords related to your business. Avoid replicating your username copy here and instead make this account name SEO-friendly and searchable.
    • For example, if you’re a gardening business in Sydney you could opt for an account name such as “Sydney Garden Centre” or “Gardening Specialists Sydney”.
  • Your Instagram bio: with 150 characters to play with, you need to make every character count in your Instagram bio. The best way to maximise your Instagram bio for SEO is to include:
    • A short one-sentence description of your business, including at least one SEO keyword.
    • List out your key products or services using hashtags or SEO keywords.
    • Your category or industry that best relates to your business (such as Shopping & Retail, Business Service, Restaurant etc).

The best way to boost your businesses’ search visibility on Instagram is to harness every opportunity to inject SEO keywords and hashtags into your Instagram profile. The easier it is for users to discover your account, the more likely they are to engage with your content and begin to trust your business.

Step 2. Craft a brand-building content strategy on Instagram

With your Instagram profile optimised for search visibility, it’s time to strategise about how you’re going to reach, engage and interact with your followers through organic Instagram content.

The best way to drive organic reach, growth and engagement on Instagram is to design an organic Instagram content strategy. This framework will allow you to develop consistent and compelling Instagram content that sparks interest, drives engagement and builds trust with your ideal customers.

So, what should a great organic Instagram strategy look like? Let’s walk you through the key areas you need to include to maximise your efforts on Instagram.

Identify your organic Instagram goals and objectives

The first place to start with any marketing strategy is to set KPIs and benchmarks to measure the success of your efforts.

When it comes to organic Instagram marketing, these goals typically include:

  • Growing your Instagram following
  • Boosting the reach of your Instagram content
  • Driving a stronger engagement rate from your Instagram content

The key is to be specific about what metrics you’re trying to hit and set time frames to achieve these goals, too. For example, a well-defined Instagram goal might be to boost your organic engagement rate from 2% to 4% within the next 3 months.

With these clear objectives in mind, you’ll be able to craft organic Instagram content that helps your business achieve meaningful results on the platform.

Design tailored content pillars

Now, it’s time to spell out the broad content themes (a.k.a. content pillars) you’ll be using when crafting your organic Instagram marketing.

The best content pillars are linked directly to your businesses’ goals and objectives, and help to give your Instagram content structure, purpose and direction.

To help get you started, here are a range of content formats you can use to design your businesses’ bespoke organic Instagram content pillars:

  • Content that educates and informs: this includes informative pieces of content that teaches your audiences something new, educates them about your products or services or positions your brand as a leader in your industry.
  • Content that inspires and entertains: this includes light-hearted content such as inspiring quotes, witty memes and on-brand jokes that humanise your brand, build rapport with your audience and increase the shareability of your Instagram content.
  • Content that engages and converts: this includes action-driving content that motivates users to convert, such as sales posts, promotions or posts that drive traffic to your website.

A great organic Instagram strategy leverages a mix of content pillars to ensure your brand’s Instagram content is varied, engaged and dynamic.

Map out your content schedule using a content calendar

With your objectives and content pillars ready to go, it’s time to start crafting your content. But without a structure in place, it can be difficult to post organic Instagram content consistently.

But, that’s where an Instagram content calendar comes in.

This calendar allows you to proactively plan out your content in advance and ensure every post is working towards one of your Instagram goals or objectives.

So, what should your Instagram content calendar include:

  • Your posting frequency: this means identifying how many posts you’ll be sharing to the Instagram platform each week (including Feed posts, Instagram Stories, Reels etc).
  • Your content pillars: each post should fall under one of your brand’s content pillars and be linked to a clear goal or objective.
  • Your assets: each post should be accompanied by an on-brand graphic, video, or image. So, make sure this is saved and outlined in your content calendar to ensure your posts have a consistent visual identity.
  • Your caption: every post will need to include a strategic caption that captures your brand’s tone of voice, includes a handful of tailored SEO keywords and inspires action from your audience (whether that’s leaving a comment, sharing the post or visiting the link in your bio).
  • Your hashtags: each post should also have a handful of hashtags included at the end of the caption (we’ll dive into how to select these hashtags in a minute).

By planning out your posts in advance, you’ll be able to batch your content creation and ensure your brand shares regular, purposeful content to your Instagram channel.

Step 3. Leveraging Instagram’s features, tools and content placements

Instagram is a platform that offers endless content formats and post opportunities. When designing your organic Instagram marketing strategy, it’s essential you use these post formats to your advantage to drive the strongest results for your brand.

Not sure where to start? Let’s reveal the top five Instagram post formats and how to make these content types work for your brand:

Instagram Feed Posts

When scrolling through the Instagram Feed, these are the posts you’ll encounter. As the primary form of organic content on the platform, Instagram Feed posts are a powerful way to build brand awareness and drive engagement.

But, there’s stacks of different content types you can share on the Instagram Feed, including:

  • Single Images: for the best results, these should be resized to square (1:1 ratio) and be 1080 x 1080 pixels in size.
  • Video Feed Posts: these videos can be anywhere from three to 60 seconds long and should be resized to square (1:1 ratio) for the best results.
  • Carousel Posts: this post format allows you to share up to 10 images and videos in a single post to tell an engaging visual story.

Instagram Stories

As a key piece of ephemeral content, Instagram Stories allow you to show the raw, candid side of your business on the platform.

These stories have their own feed that lives at the top of a user’s Instagram’s app and can allow you to connect with your audience in a more interactive, engaging way.

For the best results on Instagram Stories, be sure to:

  • Resize your images, graphic templates and videos to vertical sizing (1080 x 1920 pixels) to maximise screen space and immerse users in your content.
  • Leverage Instagram Stories’ interactive stickers to start two-way conversations with your audience (including Polls, Questions, Quizzes and more).
  • Use the Instagram Stories’ closed caption feature to automatically add text captions to any piece-to-camera videos.

Instagram Live

Want to connect with your followers in real-time? That’s where this next content format comes in: Instagram Live videos.

These live broadcasts are designed to take over users’ entire screen space, which means they’ll display in 9:16 sizing.

Plus, when you start a live broadcast, your Instagram followers will receive an in-app notification to boost attendance at your next live stream.

IGTV

As another video content format on Instagram, IGTV offers a set of unique opportunities for brands on Instagram.

These vertical videos (optimised to an aspect ratio of 9:16) allow you to share longer-form video content with your followers.

In fact, each IGTV upload can be up to 15 minutes long, giving you incredible scope to share more detailed video content with your audience on Instagram.

Reels

As one of the newest content formats on Instagrams, Reels are a powerful organic content opportunity for brands.

Again, these videos need to be resized to vertical sizing (with an aspect ratio of 9:16). However, unlike other content formats on Instagram, Reels are perfect for punchy, highly edited videos that are up to 15 seconds long.

Taking inspiration from TikTok, Reels are fantastic for boosting the organic reach of your Instagram content and boosting your chances of going viral on the Instagram ‘Discover’ page.

Step 4. Design a tailored Instagram hashtag strategy

Not sure if hashtags actually work on Instagram? Think again.

Recent research reveals that posts with over 11 hashtags in the caption drive higher engagement than posts without hashtags.

While you can add up to 30 hashtags per post, it’s wiser to use a smaller number of tailored, relevant hashtags in your post captions. Why? Because hashtag stuffing will only drive low value users to your content.

Instead, you want to design a hashtag strategy that will help your brand reach your goals and objectives on Instagram. That means selecting hashtags that are relevant, specific to your niche and tailored to the topic of your post.

A great way to check the potential reach of each hashtags is to use Instagram’s search bar to check potential hashtags. Once you search for a term, you’ll be able to track the number of posts already using this hashtag. That will allow you to pick and choose only the most relevant and powerful hashtags to use in your post captions.

Step 5. Running organic growth campaigns on Instagram

Think you have to pay for paid campaigns to grow your following on Instagram? Think again.

There are stacks of practical ways to organically grow your Instagram following, all without making a dent in your marketing budget.

The key is to incentivise new users to engage with and follow your brand on Instagram. Need some inspiration?

Here are a two powerful ways to boost your follower base organically on Instagram:

  • Run a competition: one of the best ways to inspire new users to follow your brand is to run a competition on Instagram. Offer up a lucrative prize to incentivise entrants (such as a discount code or gift card to your store) and ensure that a condition of entry is to follow your brand on Instagram.
  • Host a giveaway: who doesn’t love winning a prize? This organic growth campaign uses a prize to incentivise users to follow your brand on Instagram. To supercharge your results, encourage users to share your giveaway post with their followers and tag their friends in the comments to expand the reach of your post and account further.

By encouraging your followers to refer their friends to your brand, you’ll organically grow your Instagram following and reach new high-value audiences who are likely to convert into paying customers, too.

So, there you have it. When it comes to organic Instagram marketing, the key is to harness Instagram’s post formats and platform features to help you hit your business goals. By tapping into a range of post types and placements, you’ll be able to grow your following, engage your audience and build meaningful relationships with your followers.

And when it comes time to run paid Instagram campaigns, you’ll have an engaged follower base primed and ready to convert, too.

Photo of Kyra GoodmanKyra Goodman

Kyra is a Junior Marketing Manager and "Spicy Meme Master" at Sked Social who loves to create content. Born and raised in Hawaii, her favorite things are traveling, yoga, beaching, coffee and baseball. Connect with her on twitter at @kyra_n_goodman.

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