Instafamous: Tips and Tricks for Marketing on Instagram

There’s that old quip about it taking something like “ten years” to be an “overnight sensation,” and anyone who has ever either had fame or pondered fame quickly realizes it’s very true. It takes knowledge, skill, perseverance and of course timing and “luck” to be an “overnight sensation” on anything, including Instagram. Here are some tips, tricks, and ideas about using Instagram to be “Instafamous.”

Updated: 11/12/2019

Technical Stuff

  • Instagram is available on the desktop at and as App for Windows 10 (on the desktop). Of course it’s an app as well on iOS and Android.
  • You can have more than one account (e.g., a business account and a personal account) and can toggle between them. Learn how to set up and toggle between Instagram accounts, here.
  • Sharing. Unlike on Twitter, Facebook, or other share networks, Instagram does not allow “one to many” sharing. It only allows followers to “send” a post (one to one), which is more like emailing than traditional sharing. Go figure.Instagram Marketing Tips
  • Instagram Stories. Like the Snapchat stories from which they were stolen, these are “daily videos” and useful for brands or influencers to talk to their Superfans.  You can learn about Stories on Instagram, here and here. One of the pluses of Instagram stories is that you can add additional links to them, explained here.
  • Instagram Live. Like Facebook live, you can go “live” with a video on Instagram. Learn more, here.
  • Selling. Because Instagram limits you to one and only one URL in your bio, you can either tell folks “link in bio” or use a service like Like2.Buy for that.  Another solution is a custom hashtag for your brand and people can post to that hashtag, then you can message them one-on-one about a purchase. New! Instagram is enabling Instagram shopping for selected accounts.

Promotional Tips

  • While you can’t share a URL on Instagram, you can embed or share an Instagram post to another network. In this way, you can find a URL and share it to Facebook, Twitter, or even your blog. To find the URL of a post on the desktop, go to your account, find a post, and click the three dots. This then gets you to the “embed” code. You can look at that code and find the URL in this format – On the app, it’s simpler – just find a post to your account and then click the three dots, and then share.
  • You can follow anyone you like on Instagram (including folks more famous than you) and then start commenting on their posts to “attract their attention”
    • Search Instagram for people / brands to follow. (Research what they like, interact with, comment on, hashtags they use, etc.).
    • Comment on what they’re posting to “attract their attention” (please have something useful to say!) – use their hashtags, for example. When you comment you can use Emojis to draw attention to your comments (or not, if you – like me – think Emojis are kind of silly).
    • Hopefully they will a) follow you back, and/or b) engage in an Insta-conversation.
  • Mentions. Like on Twitter, you can “mention” someone in a post by typing the @sign before their name (just type the @ and the first few laters of their handle). This “mention” should generate an alert.   You can also use the @someonefamous strategy here – start mentioning persons / brands “more famous than you are” to start a conversation or relationship.
  • Follow for follow. Ok this has gone INSANE on Instagram, especially due to “bot abuse.” But in general people still “follow back” on Instagram – so find a competitor and then follow the people that follow them. For example, if you want to know who follows Kim Kardashian just visit her Instagram account and click “followers” or go to Like Twitter, it’s very open who follows whom on Instagram.  (The dark side of all this mentions, follow for follow, comments, etc., is what is called an Instagram Pod. Only for the brave at heart. Or desperate. Or both.)
  • Tagging People. You can “tag” people you know in a photo, and this alerts them that they’ve been tagged. To do it, either do it during the upload process or click the “three dots” in a photo, edit and then tag. Help file is here.
  • Hashtags are big on Instagram, possibly bigger than on Twitter. You can just start typing on Instagram AND you can also search for them on Google. Either use keyword as in “organic food” or “organic food”. Or you can search by hashtag on Google (once you know it) as in #organicfood. You can also use, but note that Twitter search is free and Instagram search for hashtags is paid. Go figure.
    • Don’t confuse hashtags with geotags.  Both exist on Instagram, while hashtags only are on Twitter. Geotags are helpful for local discovery; Tulsa geotag vs. Tulsa hashtag. If you are a “geo” business, you should probably use both as a promotion strategy.
    • Branded hashtags. You can create a special hashtag for your business, such as #optoutside created by REI or #southwestheart by SouthWest airlines. (Notice how those are featured in their bios!).
  • Contests. You can have an Instagram contest – here are the rules, as a technique to promote your account.  To brainstorm good ideas, search for contests on Instagram as a hashtag or search.
  • Advertise. You can advertise directly on Instagram, though for all intents and purposes it is controlled via the Facebook Ads Manager platform. As on Facebook you have many options for demographic targeting.  Tip – you can link the ad as a URL to your Instagram account to grow followers and use Facebook Audience Insights to create a custom audience.


Selling on Instagram

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Jason McDonald

About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.