How to Utilize Inbound Marketing on Instagram

When creating a marketing strategy for your business and deciding how your social media channels will contribute, utilizing inbound marketing will transform your platforms. Especially when you focus on inbound marketing on Instagram.

Instagram is meant for sharing valuable and attractive content that your audience wants to engage with, that is why inbound marketing strategies are much more successful than outbound marketing strategies. However, there is always a time and place for outbound marketing, but I highly recommend that when it comes to social media, especially Instagram, you will see more results from utilizing and implementing inbound marketing strategies and techniques.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is encouraging, or drawing, customers to your products and services through techniques such as content marketing (creating desirable content to attract an ideal audience and drive them to take a specific action), search engine optimization (using the right keywords, writing longer content, improving user experience on website, etc), and branding.

On the other hand, you have outbound marketing which is directly advertising or promoting your products or services.

Not only will I be explaining more in depth on why you need to focus on inbound marketing on Instagram, but I will also share some inbound marketing content ideas and tips for successful inbound marketing strategies.

Here are 3 reasons why you should utilize inbound marketing on Instagram.

REASON #1: Advertising Can Be Annoying

People don’t want to open Instagram up, only to be blasted with ads about products they don’t care about. Instead, they use Instagram to keep up with their friends and family, as well as their favourite celebrities and influencers. That is where inbound marketing slips in. If someone is following you and you are for example, a beauty guru with their main following on YouTube, they are following you to see more of your makeup looks, more of the behind-the-scenes of your life, and updates on new content to come. If you happen to be launching your very own makeup line, you will use inbound marketing to get your followers to buy it rather than only asking them to buy your new eyeshadow palette. This content will look different, but here are a few ways to successful market this new makeup line to your audience:

  • Create a makeup look with your own makeup line and remind your audience in the caption that your new line has released!
  • Write up a caption about the story of your makeup line and what inspired you to finally launch your own.
  • Go on Instagram Live and answer questions from your audience about your makeup line.

This is a much more engaging and interesting way to get the word out about your new product and encourage your audience to buy it without only asking them to buy it. Instead, you are offering value and entertainment as well.

Click HERE to check out this example of how I promoted Focal’s new photography business consulting program (Business Accelerator Program) by offering 5 helpful tips for growing your photographer business INSTEAD of just advertising it.

REASON #2: Inbound Marketing Will Help Grow Your Instagram

Inbound marketing, like I have said many times, is all about creating valuable content for your audience to engage with. This is the type of content you should always be posting. Sometimes you might not need/want to drive your audience to take a certain action like with inbound marketing, however, always including a call-to-action in every Instagram post is a very helpful technique! Even if it isn’t getting them to buy something, but maybe encouraging them to check out your recent blog post. Nonetheless, the act of posting often and posting good content often will inevitably draw in new followers.

The photos below show how many posts, in the last 24, that I have posted to Focal’s Instagram that blatantly promote one of their services…it’s only one! The rest have captions that offer value and include a call-to-action for the audience to engage with. Posting actual images rather than ads has helped grow this platform from 300 followers to almost 1,000 in just a few months.

REASON #3: It Creates Trust

The more valuable and education content you offer for free, the more your audience will trust you because they know you understand your stuff. If you are a beauty guru and do honest reviews for different types of makeup, and then you suddenly come out with your own line, your audience is more likely to buy it because you know what good makeup is! If you don’t post about makeup and offer reviews on different products or share tips for finding the perfect concealer, it will seem inauthentic.

Do you see how beneficial inbound marketing is on social media? Specifically Instagram? It is a vital part of your marketing strategy and those reasons are exactly why you should focus on inbound marketing on Instagram.

Here are 3 tips for successful inbound marketing.

1. Create a Content Calendar & Schedule Content Ahead of Time

Inbound marketing is all about creating and posting content that your audience can engage with and enjoy that will ultimately lead them to take a specific action. That means, it is important to consistently post to your social media (in this case, Instagram), and consistently post good content. This is where a content calendar and social media scheduling tool comes in. However, that does not mean you need to post every day and multiple times each day. For Instagram, it is recommended to post 5-6x per week, once a day, and then to Instagram Stories at least once every day. Of course, we deserve off days so I personally aim to post once to Instagram stories every single work day, but the weekends I am much more lenient.

The purpose of a content calendar is to allow you to plan out content ahead of time. This allows you to put the time and effort into producing valuable content that your audience can really engage with, rather than slapping together a quick caption. Creating a content calendar also ensures you always have content going out because everything is planned out ahead of time. By consistently posting to Instagram, you are increasing your chances for engagement and traffic. It just makes it easier for people to find you and see your content. I rely so heavily on having a content calendar because organically posting is incredibly draining after a while. Instead, I recommend setting aside one or two days at the beginning of the month or the beginning of the week to focus on planning, creating, and scheduling your content for the next week, two weeks, or month.

FREE Content Calendar Tools:

  • Asana (I use their free plan!)
  • Trello
  • Google Calendar

FREE Social Media Scheduling Tools:

  • Hootsuite (This is what I use!)
  • Later (This is what I use for my full-time job)
  • Buffer

2. Post Long Blog Posts, Captions, Etc.

Remember, with inbound marketing, you want to create valuable and shareable content that engages your reader. What better way to do that with a long blog post or caption jammed pack with useful tidbits of knowledge? You want to give your reader as much information as you can; you want them to only come to your blog post on inbound marketing on Instagram. To do that, you need to give them everything they need. Also, when you post longer content, it is easier to slip in more authentic call-to-actions without seeming too salesy.

I like to treat my Instagram captions like mini blog posts and I always find that those photos do the best. They always lead to more profile clicks, or website clicks if I am promoting something, which is the goal with inbound marketing!

Here are some engaging Instagram caption ideas:

  • Tell the story behind your company
  • Share a few podcast or book recommendations related to your industry
  • Talk about your daily or weekly goals and how you prep for the week ahead
  • Answer the most common and largest question asked in your industry

3. Engage with Others

One key tip for successfully inbound marketing on Instagram is to engage and connect with likeminded people on the platform. However, it is important to be genuine and not DM someone or comment on a post with the intention of getting a sale. Instead, just engage with their content! Answer a question they asked in the caption, respond to their story, send them a DM introducing yourself, etc. But don’t offer your course or book or services. Engage with them how you would with anyone on the street (if you can remember what that was like pre-COVID times).

People are much more likely to follow you back if you left a meaningful comment on their website, rather than just following them and liking a photo. However, I do agree that engaging on social media is draining! That’s why I recommend spending 15-20 minutes per day to focus on connecting with people on Instagram. This 15-20 minutes should occur right before you are about to post your own content because it will drive more organic traffic to your post.

Inbound Marketing Ideas for Instagram:

  • “Behind-the-Scenes of Your Work Day” on IGTV
  • Educational blog post on a topic you’re knowledgable in
  • Instagram Live
  • Meet the Team
  • How-to’s

My Inbound Content Marketing Examples:

Blog Post: 5 Tips for Creating Buzzworthy Social Media Content

In this blog post, I offer value content about creating shareable and likeable social media content. I also make sure to talk about my social media services that I offer.

Blog Post: Marketing 101: How to grow your photography business online

In this blog post, I share tips for growing your photography business online to promote Focal’s Business Accelerator Program

Inbound marketing on Instagram is all about consistently posting valuable content for your audience to engage with. It should include a call-to-action, but naturally incorporate it into your content rather than blatantly asking your audience to buy your ebook. Inbound marketing should create and strengthen trust between you and your audience, and establish yourself in your industry and online.

Successful inbound marketing leads to downloads, saves, shares, sales, etc., and it begins with good content.


Are you in need of some social media help? My name is Zoe Mathers; I’m a freelance social media manager and content creator. Whether you need someone to do the heavy lifting and manage multiple social media accounts, or someone to create some content every now and then, I’d love to help you out! Click the button below to browse my services 🙂

About the Author:

Zoe Mathers is a freelance copywriter who specializes in beauty, lifestyle, and digital marketing-related topics, as well as a freelance social media manager, content creator, and author assistant. Check out her services below!

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