5 Steps to Creating a Killer Instagram Marketing Campaign

5 Steps to Creating a Killer Instagram Marketing Campaign

You’re posting regularly to Instagram and hashtagging your heart out, but how do you take your business to the next level with Instagram? Creating an Instagram marketing campaign isn’t easy, but it is effective. In fact, Instagram has the highest engagement among all social media platforms!

Here’s everything you need to know about running an Instagram marketing campaign for your business: from setting goals to choosing a hashtag, we’ve covered all of the basics below, and added some inspirational examples along the way. So what are you waiting for? Find out how to run a killer Instagram marketing campaign:

how to run an instagram marketing campaign

What is an Instagram Marketing Campaign?

An Instagram marketing campaign is a marketing campaign that takes place on… you guessed it, Instagram! Basically, it involves businesses sharing content on their Instagram feeds with the intention of achieving a marketing objective. That objective can be broad, like increasing brand awareness, or it can be specific, like generating sales leads for a new product.

instagram campaign
In either case, the goal is to generate a ton of interest in a concentrated amount of time — and oftentimes, the best way to do this is by sharing interesting, creative, and totally awesome content! One of the most common indicators of an Instagram marketing campaign is a branded hashtag, which helps tie everything together in the app. Here are 5 steps to help you run a killer Instagram marketing campaign:

1. Set Goals for Your Instagram Marketing Campaign

Before you dive into an Instagram marketing campaign, it’s important to plan it out first. In order to have a successful Instagram campaign, you want to be super clear about your goal: do you want to just raise brand awareness, or are you trying to sell your product, drive sign-ups, or build your email list?

Free People's goal of #FPwhosthatgirl is to sell their September collection

Free People’s goal of #FPwhosthatgirl is to sell their new September collection

Your Instagram marketing campaign should eventually tie back to numbers, so set your purpose and then set some goals! If you’re wanting to promote a new product, then set a goal for how many units you want to sell during the campaign. Setting goals that connect your Instagram campaign with your overall marketing objectives will help you see results that are not only relevant to your business, but also help your bottom line!

2. Research Your Instagram Audience

Knowing who you’re trying to reach with your Instagram marketing campaign is just as important as how you reach them. If you’re looking to drum up a lot of engagement, it makes sense to create a strategy around content that your audience actually wants to engage with. The more you know, the more you can tailor your campaigns to your audience’s needs!

target market research on instagram
The best way to get to know your audience is to follow them on Instagram and, well…creep them!  What kinds of posts do they like seeing on your account? What kinds of posts do they enjoy posting on their own feeds? How do they use Instagram? A quick way to find out more about your Instagram audience is to use Instagram’s “suggested” feature to research your target customer. When you find a customer that embodies your target market, click on their suggested tab to find other users like them.

3. Create a Plan For Your Instagram Marketing Campaign

As you can see, a lot of ingredients go into planning a successful Instagram marketing campaign. You have to have a well-defined purpose, measurable objectives and a clear understanding of exactly who you’re trying to reach. But how do you actually implement any of this?

Start by organizing a roadmap: how long is your Instagram campaign going to run for? How many posts are you going to publish? Are you posting original content or user-generated content (UGC)? If it’s original content, are you hiring a photographer or taking the photos yourself? Asking these questions will help you plan your resources in advance.

coke's instagram marketing campaign
You should also invest some time into coming up with a fun and shareable hashtag, like Coca-Cola’s #ShareaCoke. We recommend doing a little research to find trends popular trends and hashtags that are specific to your community. A great hashtag can go a long way!

Once you’ve built your roadmap, it’s time to start thinking about how exactly you want to implement your strategy — and there are a few common ones, such as UGC contests and influencer marketing. Whatever method you choose, remember that at the centre of any campaign, there must be high quality, interactive content that inspires users to like, share, or comment.

How to Run a UGC Instagram Campaign

Contests structured around user-generated content (UGC) are all the rage, and with good reason: they’re fun, popular, and great for both driving engagement and reaching a new audience. So what is a UGC campaign? Generally, you create an ongoing contest built around participants who contribute something in return for rewards. Usually it involves an individual posting their own picture on Instagram, then tagging it with a specific hashtag that your business has chosen.

example of instagram marketing campaign post

Example of a UGC post in an Instagram campaign

A great example of a UGC Instagram marketing campaign is from Benefit Cosmetics, which turned to Instagram to find images of real people using Benefit’s “They’re Real!” mascara. Fans submitted more than 11,900 selfies on Instagram using the #realsies hashtag, introducing the Benefit brand to their own followers and showing how they used the product in their everyday lives. Because Benefit reposts Instagram content from their community, fans of their brand jumped at the chance to include the #realsies hashtag for a chance at being featured. If your brand doesn’t have millions of followers, you can employ the same strategy with a different incentive, like the chance to win product or prizes for using the campaign’s hashtag.

Benefit also integrated their Instagram campaign into their website; when you go to view or purchase the mascara on their website, you’re able to see what it looks like through customer selfies in their Instagram gallery.


4. Tap into Instagram Influencers to Promote Your Campaign

Once you’ve created content for your Instagram marketing campaign, you’ll want to get the most eyes on it as possible! A great way to promote your Instagram marketing campaign is to work with influencers. Typically with influencer marketing,  you would identify relevant influencers, bloggers, or photographers who have a large social following and reach out to them to see if they’re interested in working with your business. You will usually have to negotiate a rate for sponsored posts with influencers who have tens of thousands of followers, but if you don’t have a huge budget, there’s plenty of influencers who would still be happy to trade your product for promotion. It’s all about finding the right fit for both the influencer and your business!

Example of using Instagram influencer marketing in your campaign

Example of using Instagram influencer marketing in your campaign

A simple way to promote your Instagram campaign is to work with a handful of influencers and have them post about your campaign on their channels. This gives you exposure to their audience, and is an easy way to get more people involved in your campaign. For example, Naked Juice ran a #DrinkGoodDoGood Instagram campaign to raise awareness about food deserts. For every selfie posted with the hashtag, they would donate 10lbs of produce to a community in need. In order to spread their message and increase the number of selfies posted (and produce donated!), they turned to Instagram influencers. The result? Over 10,000 selfies have been posted with the hashtag, and a whole lot of brand awareness earned.

example of instagram marketing campaign

Selfie submissions to Naked Juice’s Instagram marketing campaign

5. Organize Your Campaign and Schedule Instagram Posts

Running a successful Instagram marketing campaign can feel like an uphill battle, especially when you’re strapped for time. But don’t stress! There are a ton of ways to boost your productivity on Instagram, and as long as you take the time to plan and organize, your campaign should run smoothly.

If you plan and schedule Instagram posts for your campaign ahead of time, you’ll be able to focus more on engaging your audience, replying to comments, and promoting your campaign once it’s launched. It’s way easier to plan the order of your posts, write all your captions, and use Later to schedule your Instagram posts in one chunk of time, instead of scrambling to do it everyday throughout your campaign.


If you’re working with influencers or user-generated content, be sure to leave room in your content calendar to regram posts – these will come after you’ve launched the campaign, of course! Later’s “Search & Repost” feature is great for businesses that are looking to source and publish user-generated content for their campaign. You can easily search your branded hashtag and then quickly schedule any of the submitted photos you love! Plus, Search & Repost automatically saves the highest quality image, so you don’t have any pixelated posts from screenshots.

To sum it up, Instagram is an incredible channel for businesses to achieve their marketing goals. All it takes to take your business to the next level with an Instagram marketing campaign is just a little planning, and a lot of passion and creativity. We can’t wait to see what Instagram campaigns you make!

Later helps you plan, manage, and schedule Instagram marketing campaigns. 

Sign Up for Free!