The Ultimate Instagram Checklist

Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for online marketing, especially for personal brands. Since so many people seem interested in this platform and the numbers continue to grow, entrepreneurs take notice and implement more marketing strategies here.

Due to the sheer number of active users, any business or influencer has massive opportunities, regardless of its target demographic or industry niche.

But, of course, the road of marketing on Instagram doesn’t come without twists and turns. The platform is complex (for some) to navigate and incredibly competitive.

What can you do? Start by reading our ultimate DOs and DON’Ts of Instagram marketing.

Table of Contents

The Ultimate Instagram Checklist

The DO Checklist

Create a Compelling Profile

People will first see your profile when they visit your page, so making a good impression is essential. Here are a few tips:

  • Choose a catchy username that’s easy to remember and relevant to your brand.
  • Write a compelling bio that describes what you do and why people should care.
  • Include a link to your website or another social media platform in your bio. 
  • Upload a professional photo or logo as your profile picture. 
  • Make sure the first 9 posts on your profile attract your ideal target audience.

Find Your Niche

It’s crucial to find a focus for your account and stick to it. Finding and sharing content related to a specific niche will make you more likely to attract engaged followers interested in what you have to say.

What focus would work best for your brand? Try brainstorming some content ideas based on these popular niches:

  • Behind-the-scenes looks
  • Industry news
  • User-generated content
  • Tips and advice
  • Product shots and features

Use Branded Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to reach new people and get more eyes on your content. When creating hashtags for your brand, try to be creative while still staying relevant to what you do. And remember to use branded hashtags!

These are hashtags that include your company name or product names/features. Using branded hashtags makes it easier for people to find and connect with you online.

Use Hashtags Effectively

Hashtags are essential for any marketing campaign you do on Instagram. They are the bridge between you and your potential audience. With your content quite often quickly buried by the Instagram feed, hashtags offer another route to find additional reach.

Using hashtags, you can find practical, targeted and effective ways to connect with your target audience, potentially leading them to follow you.

It’s important to use hashtags relevant to your post and to not use hashtags outside your league to avoid getting lost in the noise.

If your engagement is low, aim for hashtags with less than 250k posts. Add a few more popular ones and review the top posts to see if and where your post is placed. If you’re achieving the top posts easily, then slowly start to use more and more popular hashtags.

Curate Engaging Content

Now that you know what kind of content you should share, it’s time to start curating engaging posts for your feed! When creating content, keep these tips in mind:

  • Post-high-quality photos and videos that represent your brand well
  • Write captions that are interesting and informative
  • Use relevant hashtags
  • Tag other accounts when appropriate

Take Advantage of Stories

In addition to regular posts in your feed, Instagram also offers Stories – short videos or photos that disappear after 24 hours but can be viewed multiple times while they’re live. Stories are an excellent way to give followers a behind-the-scenes look at your company or product, announce new products or sales, run quick polls or contests, and more!

Repost User-Generated Content (UGC)

Celebrate your customers or followers who are promoting your brand! You can reward users by reposting UGC. This can be a great way to build engagement and encourage more to do so. You can simply do this in your Stories.

Remember to always give credit. You’ll win points for paying attention to your customers, which can result in more conversions.

Analyze Your Insights

After implementing these strategies, it’s time to use Insights to maintain and improve your presence on Instagram. Reviewing your insights regularly will help you understand which posts are performing well and which need improvement. You can also use insights to track your activity over time and see how many new followers you gain each week or month.

Instagram Growth Management

Stay Active

The most important thing to remember about Instagram is that it’s a community that requires regular interaction if you want to succeed. So don’t just post when you have something new to share; like and comment on other peoples’ posts, too!

The DON'T Checklist

On the other hand, as the world increasingly moves online, so too do our interactions and relationships. We are increasingly communicating with each other through social media platforms like Instagram. And while this can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, it can also be a minefield of potential etiquette faux pas.

With that in mind, we’ve put together the other ultimate checklist of things to avoid doing on Instagram, so you can ensure you’re always behaving like a digital gentleman or lady.

Don't be too salesy

Generally, people on Instagram don’t like to be sold to! As a business, it is common to post content about your latest product or service. But, if you do this too often by just posting the product itself without connecting with your audience, you run the risk of getting unfollowed. Why would a user follow a constant advertisement, especially existing customers who have already purchased? It’s simple, most wouldn’t.

You may be thinking, “huh, but should this be normal since I have a business?” Yes, you indeed have a business that you market on Instagram. BUT, do you think you’re adding value to your audience by posting JUST your product without connecting with them?

No. You should be offering additional value on top of what you offer related to your industry or product.

For example, you might sell dog toys. Instead of posting the dog toy and sales constantly, offer dog health tips or funny dog memes. Your customers will feel rewarded for following you and often become more loyal. New followers may even follow you for your valuable content, then later convert to a customer on their own terms without being turned off by sales.

Don't overdo the selfies

We’ve all been there – you see someone with a fantastic lifestyle, and you can’t help but want to take a photo of yourself in front of that beautiful sunset/on top of that mountain/in front of that famous landmark. But try to resist the urge to turn your feed into one big selfie gallery. A few well-placed snaps here and there are fine, but if every other photo is of your face, people will start getting sick of seeing you. No one wants to be THAT person.

Don't post photos that are out of focus or poorly lit

With phones now having such unique cameras, there’s no excuse for posting blurry or poorly lit photos. If you wouldn’t put it in a frame on your wall at home, then wait to post it on Instagram!

Avoid using filters (or use them sparingly)

We get it, the vintage filter makes your skin look great, and those bright colors make your food photos pop. But try not to go overboard with the filters – they can takeaway from an otherwise great photo.

Don't post photos of yourself that are heavily edited or Photoshopped

Like filters, avoid editing your photos to the point where they no longer look realistic. We’re not saying you have to show everyone every blemish and imperfection (we all have them!), but don’t go overboard with the airbrushing and smoothing – it just makes you look fake.

Think twice before posting photos of other people without their permission

This is a big one – especially if you’re posting photos of someone who isn’t particularly fond of having their image taken (like young children or animals). If in doubt, always ask for permission before hitting share; otherwise, you risk embarrassing or frustrating someone who didn’t want their photo shared in the first place. Not cool. 

Don't post photos that could embarrass or upset someone else

This ties in with the point above – think carefully before sharing any photos that could embarrass or upset someone else (even if they aren’t featured in the picture). If there’s any chance that someone could take offense at what you’re sharing, it’s probably best not to post it. Just err on the side of caution!

Avoid posting offensive comments on other people's photos

We’ve all seen those people spend their entire time on Instagram leaving vile, offensive comments on other people’s photos. Don’t be one of those people! It’s rude and unnecessary – no one wants to see that behavior clogging up their feed. So if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything! 

Don't forget your audience wants and needs

Your total followers isn’t just a number game! These are real people who require value in order to continue following you.

  1. Offer specific value, “I will provide XYZ to make your life better”
  2. Deliver promised value consistently in the content you post
  3. Remind your followers why they should continue to follow you

Consider doing a simple survey to determine what kind of content will best resonate with your followers, and adjust accordingly.

Instagram marketing is, no doubt, an excellent way to grow your business. But, be careful with approaching these strategies. If you do it right, your brand will see more engagements and possible conversions in the future!

Make sure you’re keeping your audience in mind at all times and offer them value every step of the way.