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Instagram Promotion: How to Boost Instagram Posts and Reels

What is Instagram promotion? It’s when you pay to promote (or boost) a post to users beyond your own following.

Hannah Macready April 14, 2022
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Do you have a great Instagram post or Reel you want more people to see? Are you looking to boost engagement on your existing posts? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then it might be time to promote your posts and Reels. Instagram promotion (a.k.a. Instagram boosting) is a great way to get your content in front of more people and rake in those precious likes, comments, and shares.

In this post, we’ll give you some tips on how to promote Instagram posts for maximum reach and impact. Plus, some top-secret industry tips you won’t get anywhere else.

Let’s get started!

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a fitness influencer used to grow from 0 to 600,000+ followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

What is Instagram promotion (a.k.a. Instagram boost)?

Instagram promotion is the act of paying to have your post seen by more people. When you promote or “boost” a post on Instagram, it will appear in the feeds of users who don’t follow you. Promoted posts can also appear in the Stories or the Explore tab.

Instagram promoted ad for couch on Stories

Instagram boosts and promoted posts are a type of Instagram advertising. You’ll have the ability to target your audience by interest, location, and more.

The benefit of promoting your post is that you can reach a larger audience and get more engagement on your posts, which can lead to more followers.

Promoted Instagram posts also give you insights into how well your content is performing and who is seeing it, beyond just your regular audience.

How to promote an Instagram post

To promote or boost an Instagram post, you’ll need to have an active Instagram Professional account. Once you have that setup, follow these steps. (And also watch our video, below!)

1. Go to your Instagram Feed and click the post you want to boost. Then, click Boost. Keep in mind, Instagram recommends only boosting posts with images smaller than 8 MB to ensure the best quality.

Not sure which posts to boost? We recommend boosting posts that are already performing well. You might also want to check out our guide to Instagram ad design to find out which types of visuals perform best as ads.

boost post option on Instagram

2. Next, fill in details about your ad like the Goal, Audience, Budget, and Duration. The goal is the results you hope to see from this ad while the audience is who you want to reach with your message. The budget is how much you’re willing to spend on this ad per day. The duration is how long you want your ad to run.

goal, audience targeting, and budget options for instagram boost

3. Once you finish these steps, click Next. If you haven’t already connected your Instagram account to a Facebook Page, you’ll be prompted to do that now. Choose an existing account or click Skip to move on.

4. Complete your boosted post by clicking Boost post under Review.

review your ad prompt when promoting instagram post

From there, your ad will be submitted to Instagram for review and begin running once it’s approved!

Want to see the exact process for boosting an Instagram post? Just watch the video below:

Did you know you can also create Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns directly through Hootsuite? Follow this guide to learn more.

How to promote an Instagram post or Reel in Hootsuite

If you already use Hootsuite to manage your Instagram ads, you’re in luck! You can boost Instagram feed posts and Reels directly from your Hootsuite dashboard.

To boost an Instagram feed post, follow this step-by-step process:

  1. Go to Advertise, and then select Instagram Boost.
  2. Select Find a post to Boost to see a list of your organic Instagram posts.
  3. Choose the post you want to promote, and select Boost next to it.
  4. In the Boost settings window, select the ad account you want Meta to charge for the boosted post, and select Save.
  5. Enter the rest of your Boost settings.
  6. Choose an objective (engagement, video views, or reach). Meta uses this information to show your post to people who are likely to take the action you want.
  7. Choose your audience. If you want to customize the audience, select Edit and specify which attributes to target, like location, gender, age, and interests.
  8. Choose whether you want Meta to promote your Instagram post on Facebook, or just Instagram.
  9. Set your budget and the length of your promotion.
  10. Select Boost on Instagram.

You can review the performance of your boosted Instagram posts in Hootsuite at any time by going to Advertise, and then selecting Instagram Boost.

  • Select an ad account from the list to see all Instagram Boost campaigns associated with it. From here you can see reach, amount spent, and engagement for each campaign.

Instagram Boost settings in Hootsuite

You can also boost Instagram posts and Reels from Streams:

  1. In an Instagram Stream, find the post or Reel you want to boost
  2. Click the Boost post button below the preview of your post or Reel
  3. Enter your boost settings

And that’s it!

Instagram boost post in Hootsuite

Pro tip: You can also boost Instagram posts from Composer and Planner. See the detailed instructions in our Helpdesk article.

Start your free trial. You can cancel anytime.

What types of Instagram posts can you boost?

You can boost any type of Instagram post, including:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Carousels
  • Stories
  • Posts with product tags

Boosted posts will appear in the Stories or the Explore tab. If you have an Instagram Professional account and Promote is available, you’ll see Boost Post as an option when you upload a post to your Feed.

Bonus: You can also boost Instagram Reels with a few clicks using Hootsuite. Watch our video below where we go over how you can promote your Instagram Reels:

Instagram post promotion cost

One of the biggest benefits of IG promotion is that the cost is completely up to you. Promoted posts can cost as little as $0.50 per click, and you can set a daily budget so you never spend more than you’re comfortable with.

If you’re unsure what kind of budget to use for your promoted post, try setting up a draft campaign in your Instagram Ads Manager. Here, you’ll be able to see Audience Definition and Estimated Daily Results metrics which will give you an idea of whether your budget settings will be sufficient to reach your target audience.

audience definition and estimated daily results metrics for instagram promoted post

Benefits of promoting an Instagram post

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms with over 1 billion monthly active users. Of those users, 90% follow business accounts, which gives you an opportunity to reach a highly motivated audience.

On top of that, Instagram has high engagement rates with posts averaging around 1.94%. By contrast, Facebook and Twitter have engagement rates of 0.07% and 0.18%.

Promoting your content on Instagram can help you reach a larger audience, get more engagement, and encourage people to take action on your posts.

There are a few reasons you might want to promote an Instagram post:

  • To increase brand awareness: If you’re trying to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your products or services, promoting a post is a great way to do that.
  • To get more engagement: Promoted posts can help you get more likes, comments, and shares, which can lead to organic reach and new followers.
  • To drive traffic to your website: If you’re promoting a post with a link to your website, you can track how many people are clicking through to your site. Promoted posts can also lead to more sales or sign-ups.
  • To reach your target audience effectively: Instagram’s targeting lets you choose who sees your promoted post. You can target by location, age, gender, interests, and more to better reach more interested customers.
  • To collect data on marketing strategies: Every boosted post will come with data on how well it performed. You can use these metrics to see what’s working and adjust your strategies accordingly.


5 tips for Instagram post promotion

It’s easy to promote Instagram posts to get your content in front of more people. But as with any paid promotion, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment.

Here are a few tips for promoting Instagram posts.

1. Use Instagram-specific features

While Instagram made its name as a photo-sharing app, today it’s so much more. Promote Instagram posts using all of the platform’s features, from Stories to Reels to Live.

The more you make use of Instagram’s features, the more chances you have of ranking in its algorithm. Not only will this help you reach more people, but it will also help you build a more engaged following.

2. Think about your target audience

One of the benefits of boosting Instagram posts is that you already have a built-in audience. But that doesn’t mean you should take them for granted.

Before you promote your Instagram post, take a step back and think about who you’re trying to reach.

  • Who are you speaking to?
  • What are their interests?
  • What kind of content do they respond to?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions off the bat, try digging into your Instagram analytics to see how your previous posts were received. If you notice your Reels get the highest engagement or that carousel posts have the most shares, promote those first.

Your Hootsuite dashboard contains all the information you need to tailor your promoted Instagram posts to your audience. Use Hootsuite Analytics to figure out what time of day to promote your post and measure the impact after its live.

3. Promote carousel posts

Research has shown that carousel posts increase engagement rates on Instagram. Static carousel posts can boost engagement by as much as 5%! Add a video to that carousel, and you’re looking at an almost 17% increase.

bar chart showing carousel posts on instagram with highest engagement

To make the most of this format, try creating a carousel post of 8-10 images or video clips. On the first slide, ask your audience a question or include a powerful call to action. This will entice users to swipe left to see the rest of your content.

Don’t forget, you can create Instagram carousel ads quickly and easily with Hootsuite! Plus, track, optimize, and grow your Instagram presence directly from your dashboard.

create carousel instagram post in Hootsuite dashboard

4. Make use of product tags

If you’re set up for Instagram Shopping, you can promote Instagram posts that feature product tags. Doing this will drive people directly to a product details page on Instagram, where they can learn more about the product and make a purchase.

This is an especially effective way to promote your products if you’re running a promotion. Promote Instagram posts with product tags to let your audience know that there’s a special deal going on, and make it easy for them to take advantage of it.

Learn how to set up Instagram shopping here.

Hollister Instagram Shopping jean shorts

Source: Instagram

5. Promote your best posts

Image and video quality is an important part of the Instagram user experience—and it’s also a major ranking factor in the Instagram algorithm.

That means, if you want your content to be seen by more people, you need to make sure that the images and videos you’re promoting are high quality. Promoting your best posts will ensure that, not only is your audience seeing your best content, but that it’s well-received. (We learned this the hard way after spending $100 to promote a post that didn’t really have anything to do with our usual content)

When you’re looking for posts to promote, consider the following:

  • The quality of the image or video
  • The engagement (likes, comments, shares)
  • The overall reach (how many people saw it)

Pick your best posts and share them with the world!

Manage Instagram alongside your other social channels and save time using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can schedule, publish, and boost posts, engage your audience, and measure performance. Try it free today.

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By Hannah Macready

Hannah Macready is a freelance writer with 12 years of experience in social media and digital marketing. Her work has appeared in publications such as Fast Company and The Globe & Mail, and has been used in global social media campaigns for brands like Grosvenor Americas and Intuit Mailchimp. In her spare time, Hannah likes exploring the outdoors with her two dogs, Soup and Salad.

Read more by Hannah Macready

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