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Weekly Wisdom with Andrea D'Ottavio: Instagram Marketing Practical Tips

Weekly Wisdom with Andrea D'Ottavio: Instagram Marketing Practical Tips

Andrea D‘Ottavio

Welcome to Weekly Wisdom by SEMrush. In this episode, we will see how to optimize your Instagram profile and also how to create a nice feed, even if you don't have a lot of resources.

About Andrea

Before we start, I would like to give you a little bit of background about myself. My name is Andrea, and I am the founder of Webing and Webing Academy —a growth marketing agency. It is a location independent agency. We launched this way more than 10 years ago, and we were one of the first agencies in the world to be based on a 100% location independent model. Today, we also do a lot of online courses and also offline workshops in select working spaces in many different countries. And in my career in the past 20 years, I have been managing more than 700 campaigns on digital channels for many well-known brands and also for a lot of exciting and really great small firms.

Optimizing Your Instagram Bio

Now, let's see how to optimize your Instagram bio. The Instagram bio is essential, because it is the first thing that people see when they come to your profile, and it is imperative it is prepared in a way that engages with your potential follower immediately. There isn't much space, so we need to really plan and carefully prepare a nice and effective bio. Let's see how to do this.

First thing to keep in mind is that you only have 150 characters available, so in these 150 characters, including spaces, you need to condense all your business information, all your brand positioning, and all the benefits you offer with your products. So it is essential that you plan well and you add some symbols or emojis, so you make the bio look nice and less boring than just adding text.

Also, you should have your own branded hashtag; this is very important because having a hashtag allows your followers and customers to tag you in their posts. It is really important that you try to promote it as best as you can. For example, you can add something like, "Use this hashtag to be featured." If you sell products and your customers take photos with these products, they can be encouraged to post photos that could be re-posted by your Instagram profile. This is something that a lot of customers love when brands re-post their photos.

Creating the Right Kind of Link

The profile is the only place where you can have clickable links, apart from the stories, which we won't be talking about today very much. It is very important that you add the right link, and your link could be the link to your website, or better, to a landing page or your online shop if you have an e-commerce site. Make sure you prepare a link which is shortened and also includes a UTM. We will see this in a bit, what I mean by adding the UTM in the link. 

Weekly Wisdom with Andrea D'Ottavio: Instagram Marketing Practical Tips. Image 0

Creating Logos That Will Work

Make sure that your logo looks nice, even when it is small. If you have a horizontal logo or a large logo which doesn't look nice when it is small, maybe it is time to prepare an alternative version of the logo so you can use it on your Instagram bio or anywhere you need to. You have the option to add a logo in a small format.

UTM Link

It is essential that you add a UTM link so you can track all the direct traffic coming from Instagram in your Google Analytics. You can see in this example that I added a campaign named Instagram:

Weekly Wisdom with Andrea D'Ottavio: Instagram Marketing Practical Tips. Image 1

I also added as source "link bio," which helps me to understand that all the clicks coming from this link are from Instagram, so it is really important. You can use several tools to add the UTM and then shorten that link to make it look nicer, so you don't have a very long set of characters on the nice profile that you prepared.

What happens is that when you go on Google Analytics, and you go under acquisitions, campaigns, all campaigns, you will see all the exact clicks and visits that you got through your Instagram bio, so it is really important that you use UTM links.

Weekly Wisdom with Andrea D'Ottavio: Instagram Marketing Practical Tips. Image 2

Optimizing Your Instagram Feed 

Now let's discuss how to optimize your feed, which is the second most important thing that you have on your Instagram profile. Once people go to your profile, they are deciding whether to follow you or not. So if they visit your profile, they need to see immediately below the bio the photos and all the videos that you have posted.

It is critical that you plan your profile carefully, you use only high-quality media, and you try to inspire people. Tell brand stories. Tell the benefits of your products. It is vital that you post nice and high-quality content. I would always advise create great content because otherwise, you have to work much harder to convince people to follow you. 

Let's see a few examples, and this is one of my favorite profiles on Instagram.

Weekly Wisdom with Andrea D'Ottavio: Instagram Marketing Practical Tips. Image 3

As you can see, it is very unique, and all the posts are really creative. She is an art director, so she is showing you her capabilities. Once you visit this profile, the first thing you think is, "Wow, it really looks nice."

These are a few other examples of Instagram profiles. Some of them use the grid method to display photos, so they use six or nine or even 12 different images to create one single large image. Or, like the one in the center, you can see that they use individual, beautiful photos, which look even nicer when you see all the puzzle together.

Weekly Wisdom with Andrea D'Ottavio: Instagram Marketing Practical Tips. Image 4

These are just a few ideas; you can see what is necessary for you to create a nice feed that will make you stand out.

What if you have no photos?

You can also create feed even if you don't have any photos. There are a lot of free resources, free photos that you can use to create your compositions and maybe even videos. One idea is to re-post images of your customers. Keep looking for photos posted by your customers, maybe who used the branded hashtags we were talking about earlier.

Also, allow people to take beautiful photos in your shop or even in your office if you have people visiting you often. Try to prepare natural settings, using patterned wallpaper, for example, or create areas in your shops or your office where people think, "Oh, that would be a nice place to take a photo." You can encourage people to take photos and post photos, and that will really help you.

Also, make your products photogenic. Whether you post, you ship your products to your customers, or you have a restaurant or any other shop or point of sale where you have people, clients, customers visiting you and getting the products in the premises. Just try to make it look beautiful and photogenic so people will actually take photos of the products and post them on Instagram.

Examples

This image is just a photo of ice cream, but it looks great. It is an ice cream that people can buy in the box. Customers can buy the cup of ice cream and create this kind of composition with the ice cream. It is very different if you see an ice cream like this.

Weekly Wisdom with Andrea D'Ottavio: Instagram Marketing Practical Tips. Image 5

Below is an example of a customer taking a photo in a bar. As you can see, sometimes if you have the right customers, let's say, you can just the take photos and re-post them, or post them, or monitor Instagram and see if your clients took any photos.

Weekly Wisdom with Andrea D'Ottavio: Instagram Marketing Practical Tips. Image 6

You can also search for locations. Just find photos that you can re-post on your profile. You can also get free images online, on websites like Unsplash and many others. If you are starting from zero and you don't know what to post, or you don't have anything, make a list of your main topics and main subjects and then look for related pictures. And when you find some pictures, you can add some easy customization, like in this example. Contact me on Twitter for the link.

Weekly Wisdom with Andrea D'Ottavio: Instagram Marketing Practical Tips. Image 7

And you can also create quote posts. Just add the photo and add another layer over the photo with another color, and then write a caption or a quote, something creative and meaningful for your audience.

And also, pay attention to your caption. Whenever you have to write a caption, make sure that this caption includes a call to action, because if you want people to do something, you need to ask them. You cannot just expect that they will do something on their own. 

Weekly Wisdom with Andrea D'Ottavio: Instagram Marketing Practical Tips. Image 8

So that is it for this episode. In my next video, we are going to see how to grow your engagement. It is going to be a little more technical and hands-on and practical. Make sure you don't miss it. If you have any questions, post them in the comments, and I will be happy to reply. Enjoy the rest of your day. 

Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Award-winning digital entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience, Andrea worked for many leading brands including Ferrari, Discovery, Hyundai, Bulgari, Alitalia, Microsoft and many more. As CEO of Webing and Webing Academy he focuses on creating digital projects that help companies grow using digital media.
Andrea regularly speaks at international conferences, meetups, panels across the Globe and host workshops on digital marketing.
When he's not working, you will find him surfing, researching, training and hosting dinner parties.

Andrea è un digital entrepreneur. Ha collaborato a centinaia di progetti digital per brand come Ferrari, Discovery, Hyundai, Meridiana, Euronics, Bulgari, Alitalia, Microsoft e molti altri. È CEO di Webing e Webing Academy, la pop-up academy specializzata in corsi sulle hot topics digitali.
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2000
Saboor Ahmad
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Great stuff never had before on Instagram. I have one question how can make a relevant audience on Instagram for a niche site?
Sadia Muneer
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Instagram is continuously declining the organic reach of the post. How can a startup or small business owner survive on Instagram without the pay-to-play model?
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Sadia Muneer
Hire me 😀
Sujit Das
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

It was a nice guide Andrea!!
Can you please share the function that fetches the followers of an Instagram Account?
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Sujit Das
Hey Sujit, you can find it in the comments in my newest post here:
https://www.semrushchina.cn/blog/weekly-wisdom-andrea-d-ottavio-strategies-find-customers-instagram/
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Awesome post. Love to read your blog. We are trying to promote our coffee shop on Instagram but we couldn't reach our first thousand followers, So we planned to work with a leading marketing agency in Sunshine Coast to increase our followers. Here I got great advice and understanding about Instagram. Thanks for sharing. Keep posting.
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Stephany Rob
Hey Stephany, thanks a lot for your feedback ❤️
We worked with Zebra Dream Ice Cream in Australia, let me know if you need any help!
Hugh Beaulac
Pro

Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

Hi Andrea,

I really love your ideas. One question: what is your favorite world-known brand on Instagram? The one that can represent all these ideas visually. Thanks!
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Hugh Beaulac
There isn't one that condense everything into one profile - I love different profiles for different reasons, e.g. @patekphilippe for how they use puzzled posts, or @humansofny for the stories they tell, or @netflix for their ability to grow engagement.
Himasnh Fashion
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Thanks for posting this blog on semrush
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Himasnh Fashion
Thank you!
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

What is the IG profile you posted above? With the feet images?
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Tracy
it's https://instagram.com/made_by_helga/
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Andrea , you bring up valid points on Instagram marketing. Using the grid tool to incorporate several pictures to tell a story is great. Having a call to action on every post is important for consumers to take action. Thanks for sharing.
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Frank Medina
thanks!
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Hi Andrea,
Thanks for this great post!
I wanted to know when you mentioned that the CTR for Instagram, is that via Influencer Marketing, or just an average % for Instagram Ads?
Thanks again.
[link removed by moderator]
Moss Clement
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Hi Andrea,

Instagram has become one of the best social media marketing platforms for faster business growth. Thus, to make the site work for you, you need to start from the basics-profile optimization, which includes adding a link to direct users to your website or landing page. However, to amplify your conversion, a call-to-action is needed, and I love that you highlighted it here. Your call-to-action will move users to take your desired action with the ultimate goal of conversion.
Thanks for sharing.
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Moss Clement
Thanks a lot Moss!
Paul Lovell
Master

A veteran community member.

This is Great Andrea
I have been needing to launch into instagram for a while, the tips and tricks you give here are exactly what i need to set up my instagram and help with growth, thank you very much
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Paul Lovell
Thank you Paul and let me know if you need any help!
Pro

Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

Andrea, don't you think that using 6, 9, or 12 grids to show a picture can harm the user experience? I agree that this looks good and attractive on the brand's Instagram page, but as they begin to publish one at a time, the feed of their followers will be filled with images that are not related to each other. Plus, in between this, if a brand wants to publish a single post, then it will disrupt their complete Instagram feed, and, eventually, they need to post more images to make the other 'grid' images (in your feed) fall in sequence.
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Sahil Kakkar
Hi Sahil, yes, that's what happens when you post grid images.
Sometimes you can just use a few grids and then just archive them after a while, or you can decide to have a creative grid-based profile, like @patekphilippe for instance.

Basically, you use the grid concept to deliver amazing content while also telling the story of your product.
Pro

Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

Andrea D‘Ottavio
Thanks for clearing that up and @patekphilippe is an apt example. They have a standard way of posting grid images. Plus, they publish albums or carousel posts instead of single images. That's really good.
Igor Kholkin
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Sahil Kakkar
Great point. I'm not a fan of the grids but it can definitely work for unique branding. If you can do it well to reinforce your overall brand image then do it.
Caleb Sylvest
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Thanks for the lesson!

Can you touch on the use of hashtags and where to add them? I've noticed some people add all hashtags as a comment, not directly in the Instagram post.

My guess, and recent experience, makes me think this is the way to go because of cross-posting to Facebook and running ads. Research I've seen shows using up to 11 hashtags on Instagram is okay and preferred, but users on Facebook dislike and respond poorly to more than 1 or 2 hashtags.

Can you clarify and provide a recommendation? Thanks!
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Caleb Sylvest
Hey Caleb, sure! I prefer to add a branded hashtag in the caption and all other hashtags as first comment. This way you can share and sponsor the posts while keeping them 'clean'.
Tristam Jarman
Expert

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

Great weekly wisdom Andrea! Solid information for people/companies wanting to take their Instagram accounts to the next level. I also didn’t know about Unsplash, will definitely check that site out. Will you be doing anymore Weekly Wisdom’s on Instagram?
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Tristam Jarman
Thanks a lot Tristam, much appreciated! Yep, I am preparing more episodes (more advanced than this one).

I will cover how to grow a profile and both in terms of followers and engagement using automation tools, and I will also share a nice hack to get reposted by... Instagram ;)
Tristam Jarman
Expert

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

Andrea D‘Ottavio
Awesome, looking forward to the next episodes! and the last hack you noted :)
Ai Addyson-Zhang
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Hello Andrea,
Thank you so much for a great mini-lesson. Enjoyed watching it.

I have a quick question regarding the URL link that we share in our bio. Right now, I am using linktree to list a bunch of my links. Do you not recommend that? Does one single link of a current campaign/event work better?

What are some of your favorite graphic design tools?

Thank you!

Ai
Ai Addyson-Zhang
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Ai Addyson-Zhang
I mean to say besides Unsplash. Thank you!
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Ai Addyson-Zhang
Flickr is a good option often forgotten: you can search for copyright-free images in their advanced search ;)

Or Pexels and Visualhunt
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Ai Addyson-Zhang
Hey Ai thanks a lot for your comment 🌻
Linktree is a good option if you want to add more links quickly.
However, I always suggest to create a proper landing page - it takes a bit longer but you have full control on the content and aesthetics.

Favorite design tools are:
Lightroom (photo optimization)
Lumen5 (create beautiful videos in minutes)
Adobe Creative Suite
Ai Addyson-Zhang
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Andrea D‘Ottavio
Wow. This is GREAT, Andrea! Thank you so much for answering my question. Much appreciated!

And i will make sure to check out these apps. I am a fan of Adobe too!
Craig Campbell
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Love this Andrea, a great explanation for anyone who is looking to better their Instagram profile, like how you went in depth and answered things like " what if I have no photograph " and I never heard of Unsplash, so will try that out at some point.
Andrea D‘Ottavio
Master

A veteran community member.

Craig Campbell
Thanks a lot Craig, I appreciate a nice comment from a veteran! 🍻

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