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Instagram is growing and changing all of the time. So what should make up your Instagram marketing strategy in 2017? There are four main areas, or pillars, that should work in sync for an effective Instagram strategy.

Your Instagram Bio

With over 700 million users on Instagram, it’s more important than ever to make your bio stand out. You may have heard that you only have seven seconds to make a first impression, however online, I believe it’s even less. Let’s assume it is simply a blink of an eye.

So, what should people notice about you?

People will judge your #Instagram in the blink of an eye. What should they notice about you? Click To Tweet

Your Profile Picture

Your profile pic should be eye-catching. It should be a close-up of your face. You may have heard other people say, over and over, that people really show up to do business with other people. This is so true, and it is why I feel it is so important to make yourself, literally, the face of your brand.

If you are Instagramming for a large company, you’ll probably need to use your logo, and that’s okay. However, if you are a solopreneur or a super small business that has a clear owner or leader, use your face!

Incorporate your brand colors in your profile pic and bio copy (with emoji) if at all possible.

Your Username and Name

You may notice that if you are searching for a person on the Instagram explore tab, the only information that is indexed in the results is a users username and name field. If someone is searching for an account that covers “Instagram tips,” I’m going to appear in those search results because I have that keyword in my NAME field. Nothing from my bio description shows up here.

Be sure that your main keywords are either a part of your username OR your name field.

Your Bio Description

Be sure to make who you are and what you do crystal clear. I can’t tell you how many profiles I click on to where the account owner has left this blank, or intentionally sparse as an “artistic statement.” If you are a business owner and want to grow your business with Instagram, you need a little more here.

Spell out what you do and where (location if you are a local business). For local businesses, including your operating hours might be a stretch, and will take up valuable characters. If that’s the case, make sure it’s easy to access on your website that people might click off to.

Be creative, but never at the expense of being clear. Some people get so caught up in playing with their words, they make it actually confusing for people.

Top Grid Images

When someone clicks over to your profile, your “grid” is the collection of images they see, in grid format. You may often hear people talk about “grid planning.” You want to pay attention to how this looks. We’ll talk more about content in a minute, but overall, does your grid look pulled together, or messy?

Deeper Reading: Create Your Best Instagram Profile


When creating your content for Instagram, think of it like a magazine where each image is a page. Magazines contain carefully curated images that stay true to the look and feel of that particular publication. Think of National Geographic. You never see some lame, poorly lit (I didn’t say dim, because dim lighting can be beautiful and intentional) image. Everything you see has incredible detail, color and perspective.

When creating your content for #Instagram, think of it like a magazine where each image is a page. Click To Tweet

Now think of a country cooking magazine. What words might describe the images and content you see? Rustic, light, warm, inviting. Your Instagram feed should be the same way.

When talking about social media content, you often hear you should “add value.” Value can take on so many meanings that I don’t think this advice is truly genuine. Consider reading my post about how to create great (and valuable) social media content for more meaningful instruction.


Without hashtags, your content is nearly impossible to discover. At this time, in the Instagram Explore tab (where users conduct searches), there are only three ways to search:

You can use a keyword to search for people, which brings up names and usernames (as discussed above).

You can search hashtags. If you used that particular hashtag on your content, then your image will appear in the results.

You can search for places. These are the Geo-tags, or places, you “check-in” to when you post your content.

Because you can use up to 30 hashtags on each Instagram post, it is one of the best ways to get discovered. You have so many opportunities!

Think of hashtags like you would keywords for SEO. People are searching hashtags on Instagram, so what words would they use to find you? Use these terms as your hashtags on your posts.

For detailed training and how-tos on how to find the best hashtags for your account, you may want to consider my Hashtag Camp mini-course, which will tell you anything and everything you need to know about using hashtags on Instagram.


Finally, engagement (the likes, comments and interactions you have) with your followers doesn’t just happen. You need to put engagement strategies in place to make it happen! I’ve written about increasing engagement on Instagram many times before.

Ideally, you will spend some time in the app each day simply interacting with people in your target audience. Like their photos and, comment when you genuinely feel moved to. This will attract the right followers to your account.

Answer every comment on your own account, which shows your followers that you care.

Repurpose your Instagram content where you can by embedding your Instagram images in your website, telling your email subscribers about your account, and pushing your Instagram posts to Twitter and Facebook periodically.

Ask questions in your post captions to encourage people to respond to you, and always include a call to action. What do you want people to do? Visit your website? Sign up for your newsletter?

Instagram Marketing Strategy in 2017

We’ve covered the 4 crucial pillars of an Instagram marketing strategy: bio, content, hashtags, and engagement. Which of these do you need to work on the most?

What should be included in your Instagram Marketing Strategy 2017?



Molly Marshall teaches small business owners and online entrepreneurs how to systematically and simply grow a profitable online presence through social media. Get your FREE Instagram Strategy Guide now!

Get your FREE Instagram Strategy Guide

Learn what's working now to build your brand, authority, and credibility on Instagram in 2022.

Get your FREE Instagram Guide

Learn what's working now to build your brand, authority, and credibility on Instagram now.

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