Instagram in 2022: The Ultimate Guide for Entrepreneurs

digital marketing hashtag hashtags instagram social media influencer social media marketing

Social platforms are constantly changing and it's hard to keep up. I consistently work to keep my clients updated on what they need to know (I'm a personal branding coach and own a digital marketing agency) so I thought I would share the deets here for everyone else to be able to use. 

Since Instagram is my current fav, I'm going to start with them. 

BTW if you've already determined this is overwhelming and you wish someone would just do it for you, I have an agency that would be happy to take your gram off your hands. Connect with us here and choose The PrettyAF Agency in the form.

Let's get into it.

Is Instagram right for me and my business?

Yes if...

  • Your ideal client/customer is between the ages of 18 and 34 (Hootsuite)
  • Your ideal client/customer is of any gender (Hootsuite)
  • You can create content that fits Instagram (photos/videos). Find more details on the content details below.

Is Instagram worth my time?

  • Instagram is the 7th most visited site in the world. With 2.9 billion visitors monthly. (Hootsuite)
  • Instagram is the 4th most used social platform. (Hootsuite)
  • Most US adults use Instagram daily for 30 minutes (Hootsuite)
  • 80% of people on Instagram, use it to make buying decisions (Oberlo)
  • 83% of people on Instagram, find new products directly on Instagram (Neal Schaffer)
  • 50% of people on Instagram follow at least 1 business account (Oberlo)
  • 58% of people on Instagram are more interested in a brand just for seeing them in an Instagram story (Neal Schaffer)
  • 44% use Instagram to shop...weekly (Hootsuite)

Am I too late to grow on Instagram? Isn't it saturated?

  • Only 5% of Instagram accounts post once a day or more (Neal Schaffer) so although there are a ton of people on the platform, the majority are just scrolling. 
  • If you're creating valuable content centered around your personal brand, it's not too late.
  • If you need more help with this, jump on a call with me. 

What type of content can I post to Instagram?

  • Videos 
  • Photos 
  • Graphics 

What are the different types of content I can post on Instagram?

  • Stories: Share your day with your current followers (Instagram)
  • Feed Post: Post a photo, video, or graphic on your main profile (Instagram)
  • Reels: Create a short video to reach more people (Instagram) (Creators Tips)
  • Live: Broadcast a video live to your followers (Creators Tips) (Instagram)
  • Guide: Categorize your own content or content from your favorite creators (Social Media Examiner)
  • Fundraiser: Use Instagram to raise money for your favorite cause (Later

What are the different features on my Instagram profile?

  • Profile photo: The photo on the top left corner of your photo (Insider). I recommend using a close-up of your face, where you're smiling, looking into the camera lens, and your brand color(s) are present.
  • Username: This is your @name (Instagram). I recommend using the full name you go by, using this same username on all social platforms, and using the same website URL. You can use Namecheckr to see if it's available before you start changing it on one platform and realize it's not available on another. 
  • Name: The name that appears on your profile, this is different than your username and should not be the same thing (Social Media Examiner). Use this space for keywords that your ideal client/customer is searching for like your title (Ex - Personal Branding Coach).
  • Bio: This is the 150 characters you have at the top of your profile to convince someone to follow you (Instagram). Check out this post for how I recommend you structure your bio. 
  • Link: The one link you get at the top of your profile (HubSpot). 
  • Location: In your posts (Instagram) and on your stories (Instagram), you can tag your location. 
  • Highlights: The circles on people's Instagram profiles. These are past stories they've categorized. (Instagram). You can add a cover so the highlights match your brand and please change the names so they don't all say "highlights". Social Media Examiner shows you how.
  • Number of Posts: At the top of your profile it shows the number of feed posts you currently have.
  • Number of Followers: At the top of your profile it shows the number of people that currently follow you.
  • Number of Following: At the top of your profile it shows the number of people that you currently follow.
  • Tagged Feed Posts: These are posts you've been tagged in. You can change your settings to choose if you need to approve these posts before they show here (I recommend this) (Instagram). You can also remove a tag if you've already been tagged (Social Media Examiner).
  • Action Buttons: Instagram can integrate with several other apps to add a button to the top of your profile (Ex - make a restaurant reservation, schedule an appointment, send an email) (Social Media Examiner).

How do I know what size video or photo to use on Instagram?

  • Instagram is constantly changing its requirements for sizing so I like to use a tool that takes the guesswork out of it. I use Canva* to automatically resize my graphics to the correct size. You can also see the current sizes for Instagram here.

How often should I post on Instagram? 

  • I see advice all over the place on this so it can absolutely be confusing. 
  • Creators recommend a couple of posts a week and a couple of stories a day. 
  • Statistically, the more you post, the more quickly your account will grow, however, your engagement may decrease (Later). 
  • So if you're new to creating content or struggle with being consistent, post at least twice a week on your feed and twice a day on your story. If you're focused on growth, up to daily may be your answer. Just make sure you're always creating valuable content related to your niche. 

Can I use links on Instagram?

  • Yes, but not everywhere. 
  • You can use one link in your bio. You can get around this by using LinkTree. (Sue B Zimmerman) Another option is to create your own LinkTree on your website. (Michelle Rose Marketing) Kajabi* now has templates to do this on your website, you can see mine here.
  • You can also now use a link in your stories without needing 10k followers. (TechCrunch)
  • If you connect your online store to Instagram, people are able to directly shop through Instagram. (Shopify) (Instagram)

How many hashtags should I use on Instagram?

  • Although you can use 30 hashtags on a feed post and 11 on a story, Instagram now suggests only using 3-5 hashtags per post. (Creators)

Should I put my hashtags in the caption or in the comment?

Which hashtags should I use on Instagram?

  • Use hashtags your ideal customer uses or looks at. If you need help with this, jump on a call with me.
  • Use hashtags that you can dominate. Again, if you need help with this, jump on a call with me.
  • Don't use banned hashtags. There are supposedly hashtags which, if you use, Instagram will hide your post. Here's a list of them by Kicksta. On the list: adulting, beautyblogger, desk
  • Use branded hashtags and encourage others to do the same. But don't only use branded hashtags. 

Can I just pull my TikTok and post it as a Reel? Does Instagram actually care?

  •  Instagram is less likely to promote reels that have watermarks on them. If you pull your TikTok from TikTok, it will have the watermark on it. So if you want the best reach on Instagram, don't do this. 

Should I tag my location on Instagram?

  • Tagging your location on Instagram can help your reach so I recommend it. You can mix up your locations on posts and stories to increase your reach as well.
  • However, I recommend waiting until you've left a location to tag yourself there.

Am I shadowbanned on Instagram?

  • Instagram still hasn't officially confirmed that shadowbanning is real, however, many have reported experiencing it. 
  • What is it? Shadowbanned is when Instagram suddenly drops your reach. 
  • For a deep dive on this check out this article by Influencer MarketingHub. 

How do I increase my engagement on Instagram?

  • Share your feed post to your story. (Instagram
  • Engage with those that you want to engage with you. (Creators)
  • Have people engage with your post quickly after it's posted. (Creators) How? You can engage with people right before and after you post. You can also tag relevant people in your post. 
  • Encourage your followers to add you to their "close friends" and to engage with your content. (Creators)
  • Keep people on Instagram longer. Do this with carousel posts (Neal Schaffer)
  • If you need more help with this, jump on a call with me.

Why do I get great engagement on my reels but terrible on my feed posts (or another combo)?

  • Each part of Instagram has its own algorithm. So if your followers engaged with your reels, but not your photo posts, that's why. (Creators)

What type of account should I have on Instagram? (Business, Creator, Personal)

  • It depends, you can't do everything with every account. If you've read this far, you probably need either a Business or Creator account. Let's look at the differences.
  • Business Account: You get the most analytics, you can run ads, you can auto-post from third-party apps, you might get less reach for being a business account
  • Creator Account: You get some analytics, you have additional features, you can auto-post from the creator studio, you might have the best reach
  • Personal: You get barely any analytics, the least features, can't schedule posts, really I don't think anyone reading this should choose this option 

Can I hide how many likes I have or stop people from commenting on Instagram?

Can I prevent people from messaging me on Instagram?

How can I protect my Instagram account?

  • Use two-factor authentication and know what a scam message looks like. (Creators)
  • Use a password manager for yourself and when sharing your password. 
  • Use a different password than you use for other platforms. 
  • Avoid using bots, buying likes, and buying followers. 
  • Don't be spammy with your actions or content. (Ex - Only posting your product ads, following a ton of people just so they'll follow you, using engagement groups)
  • Only use trusted third-party apps and keep it at a minimum. 

How do I get verified on Instagram? I want the blue checkmark.

  • There's now a way to directly apply for verification within the app. (Instagram)
  • To be approved you need to be a notable figure, with press coverage, and be at risk of people trying to impersonate you (Creators).

What's new on Instagram in the past year?

  • You can now "like" stories (Pocket-lint) - February 2022
  • When you share your Instagram post to another platform, the preview now looks better (Instagram) - Dec 2021 
  • Links in stories isn't just for those with 10K+ followers anymore (Instagram) - October 2021
  • New ways to make money on Instagram are added (Instagram) - June 2021
  • You have more ways to control who can contact you (Instagram) - April 2021
  • Instagram launches live rooms (Instagram) - March 2021
  • You can now restore recently deleted posts (Instagram) - February 2021

What about...?

Do you have any questions about Instagram I didn't include? Send me a DM on Instagram @AzaleeMaslow and I'll add it!

Want to work with me or my team?

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