In an Instagram campaign, all of your content is focused on one particular target. Here's how to make sure your next campaign is a winner.
Instagram’s 1.28 billion users spend roughly 11.2 hours per month on the platform. And 90% of users follow at least one business on the platform. But sometimes, your regular brand content isn’t enough to stand out. That’s where an Instagram campaign comes in.
Instagram marketing campaigns can help you achieve a specific objective over a fixed period. In a campaign, all your content is aligned and focused on one particular target.
If your Instagram strategy is a slow and steady marathon, campaigns are like sprints. They use more energy over a shorter time and yield results and insights fast.
If you want to launch a product, connect with new customers or build your brand’s reputation, an Instagram campaign can help you achieve your goal.
Read on for 22 ways to level up your Instagram campaigns: 9 different campaign types, 8 tips for making an impact, and 5 examples to inspire your next campaign.
9 types of Instagram campaigns
An Instagram campaign is when Instagram business profiles share content designed to achieve a marketing goal. That goal could be general, like increasing brand engagement. Or it could be more specific, like generating a certain number of purchases.
There are several broad types of Instagram marketing campaigns. Each one is best for achieving different goals. Here are nine of the most common Instagram marketing campaigns to get you started.
During an awareness campaign on Instagram, you aim to increase the visibility of your business, product, or service. For emerging brands, this could be a campaign to showcase what’s distinct, exciting, and exceptional about your brand.
The more users that remember your brand, the more likely they are to choose you when it’s time to buy.
Instagram is a place where users want to discover and follow brands too. In fact, 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business. And 23% of users say they use social media to see content from their favorite brands. That makes Instagram a natural social platform for building brand awareness.
Supplements brand bulletproof drives awareness of their product by sharing annotated images:
An Instagram teaser campaign gives users a sneak peek at what’s coming next. Use teaser campaigns to build intrigue and demand for new products.
The key to an engaging teaser campaign is to reveal just enough details to pique your audience’s curiosity. On Instagram, engaging content is always key, but that’s especially true for teaser campaigns. You want to stop those scrolling thumbs in their tracks!
Netflix does a great job of hyping up releases by sharing teaser videos a few days before they drop:
Younger consumers (like the ones who dominate Instagram) care more about than just what a company sells. Generation Z and Millennials are most likely to make decisions based on personal, social, or environmental values.
A cause campaign is a way to champion your brand values and connect with a conscientious audience. For instance, you could promote an awareness day or event or partner with a charitable organization.
Outerwear brand Patagonia often shares campaign posts directed at preserving large areas of land. This campaign post spreads awareness of the fight to preserve Vjosa as a national park in Albania. They use a carousel post to share several facts about the area and the support they’ve already received. There’s also a link in their bio to sign the petition:
Instagram contests usually involve a brand giving away a free product to followers at random. They’re hugely effective at driving engagement — who doesn’t want to win something?
You can set rules for entry that support your campaign goals. For example, asking users to tag a friend to enter is an opportunity to reach new followers.
Here’s how dairy-free ice cream brand Halo Top set up their contest. Notice how they clearly set out their giveaway entry requirements and explain what the prize is:
Instagram has much higher engagement rates than other social media platforms. In fact, the average Facebook post engagement rate is only 0.07% compared to Instagram’s higher average engagement rate of 1.94%.
Engagement campaigns motivate users to interact with your content. You’ll measure engagement by tracking these metrics:
- Profile visits
To better engage your audience, check your Instagram Insights and see which content inspires the most engagement.
Creating memorable engagement campaigns might look like this:
- Adding Instagram Stories Stickers to inspire replies and DMs
- Creating savable content
- Adding calls-to-action to the end of your captions
- Experimenting with different post types and formats
Pro tip: Publish carousel posts to get more audience engagement. The average engagement rate for carousel posts is 3.15% –– higher than the 1.94% average for all post types.
To create something worthy of saving, try teaching users something new. This could be a recipe, styling guidance, or a new exercise routine. Etsy often shares home styling tips in an easy to view carousel format:
Sales or promotion campaign
If you want to increase conversions, run a sales or promotion Instagram campaign.
The key to a successful campaign is to make sure your audience is ready to buy. It’s best to run sales and promotions campaigns after you’ve built a loyal and engaged following through other campaigns.
Usually, brands use this kind of campaign to:
- Promote a flash sale or discount codes
- Boost visibility for an existing product
Here’s an example of how fitness brand Onnit promotes its sales on Instagram:
26% of Instagram users say they use the platform for finding products to purchase. Plus, 44% of people use Instagram to shop weekly. Create an Instagram Shop so you can share shoppable posts that make it easier for users to purchase your products.
To boost product sales, consider using these Instagram features:
- Instagram Collections – Curate collections that show new arrivals, trends, gifts, and promotions.
- Instagram Shopfront – Let people buy your goods directly from the Instagram app with the platform’s ecommerce features.
- Product tags – Make posts shoppable with Product Tags that show product prices and details and let users add them to their cart easily.
The Poster Club creates shoppable posts so users can easily browse their current art collection:
Pro tip: Run a flash sale using a promo code that’s only applicable for a short time. Short-term discounts are a powerful way to drive pre-sales before a product launch or shift inventory to make way for new items.
User-generated content (UGC) campaign
In user-generated content (UGC) campaigns, you ask people to share posts featuring your products and use a specific hashtag.
A UGC campaign promotes awareness of your brand through the hashtag and (bonus) provides you with fresh content to publish. Users are often motivated to participate in the hope that brands will repost their photos.
Sportswear brand Lululemon encourages users to share images of them wearing Lululemon clothing with the #thesweatlife. The brand then shares some of these images with its four million followers: https://www.instagram.com/p/CbQCwfgNooc/
Dog toy brand Barkbox often shares images featuring their customers’ four-legged friends:
Once you’ve created eye-catching Instagram content, you’ll want as many people to see it as possible. A great way to reach more users is to work with influencers in your niche. 34% of users aged 16-24 (Gen Z) follow influencers on social media, so it’s definitely worth trying if younger generations are your target audience.
Usually, in Instagram influencer marketing, you find relevant bloggers, photographers, or other creators with a large follower count.
Pro tip: Make sure any influencer you collaborate with has high engagement rates. Sometimes influencers with fewer followers but higher engagement rates will be a better fit for your brand.
One way to promote your campaigns is to collaborate with a few influencers and have them post about your campaign on their channels. This gives your brand exposure to their audiences.
Eyewear brand Warby Parker partners with musician Toro y Moi to promote their latest collection of glasses:
Consider launching your campaign across Reels or Stories too. Right now, 55.4% of Influencers use Instagram Stories for sponsored campaigns.
Pro tip: Remember that posts created by influencers on behalf of your brand need to abide by FTC guidelines and be clearly labeled as ads.
Paid Instagram campaign
Paid Instagram campaigns are posts (or Stories) that businesses pay to serve to users. If you have the budget to run Instagram ads, you should work it into your marketing strategy.
Here’s a mouthwatering example of a paid Nespresso ad campaign created with influencer Matt Adlard:
Ad costs vary depending on a few factors like:
- Industry competitiveness
- Your targeting
- Time of year (ad costs go up during holiday shopping seasons)
Depending on your content and goal, you can choose from several different advertising formats:
- Image ads
- Stories ads
- Video ads
- Carousel ads
- Collection ads
- Explore ads
- IGTV ads
- Shopping ads
- Reels ads
The wide range of ad formats means you can choose the best type that matches your campaign goals. Your campaign goal could be increasing conversions, sign-ups, app installations, or overall engagement.
Instagram ad campaigns also allow you to use lookalike audiences to target users who look like your customers. Just upload a custom audience and set targeting parameters at the ad set level. Your ads will appear in front of users that the algorithm thinks could become potential customers. (Learn more about advertising on Facebook and Instagram in our complete guide)
8 tips for creating successful Instagram marketing campaigns
Now you know the major types of Instagram campaigns available. But, before you jump into creation mode, we’ve got eight tips for creating successful campaigns on Instagram.
Set SMART goals
Whenever you set goals for your next Instagram marketing campaign, follow the SMART goals framework.
“SMART” stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based goals.
For instance, let’s say you want to run a campaign to increase Instagram followers. Break that goal down into:
- Specific: Who do you want to reach? What do you want them to do? Be precise in your targets.
- Measurable: How will you know if you’re successful? Establish a baseline for your current followers and engagement so you can track growth.
- Attainable: Is your goal realistic? Can it be measured accurately? Goals should take hard work to achieve, but they shouldn’t be out of reach.
- Realistic: Base goals on your budget, the current rate of growth, and the duration of the campaign. Do your research, and don’t make a wild plan to go from 100 followers to 10,000 in two weeks.
- Time-based: The duration of your campaign should be based on your goal and the amount of time you think you’ll need to achieve it. Don’t set an arbitrary limit of one week if your goals are ambitious, but don’t make it so long that you lose steam.
Plan your campaign content
Next, plan out each of your campaign posts. Create a content calendar of all the posts and Stories you’ll share each day. If you’re reaching out to influencers, ask them to post on a particular day that makes sense according to your calendar.
Each post should make sense on its own while still reinforcing the campaign’s overall message.
Always build a solid plan before you launch. That way, it will be easier to maintain a high level of quality and creativity throughout.
Here’s how to create a content calendar in under eight minutes:
Use Reels and Stories
If you’re only posting images on the Instagram feed, you’re missing out! 58% of users say they’re more interested in a brand after seeing it in a Story. Plus, brand Stories have an 86% completion rate.
Stories can complement your posts, or they can be standalone campaigns. You can also curate a series of Instagram Stories as saved highlights that appear below your bio. Then, when a user visits your profile, they can see all of your saved highlights in one place.
DIY brand Brit + Co organizes their highlighted Stories into categories like Shop, Home, and podcasts:
Try experimenting with Instagram Reels, too — they’re a content format that lets you create and share short engaging videos. Unlike Instagram Stories, they don’t disappear after 24 hours.
Handbag brand Anima Iris shares engaging Reels created by the founder that shine a light on the creation process:
View this post on Instagram
Stick to your brand aesthetic
Your campaign should always align with your brand’s overall look and feel. Stick to the same color scheme and branding throughout your content. Then, when your campaign pops up in a crowded feed, people can tell that it’s from your brand.
Alo Yoga maintains a consistent look and feel across its feed which helps make the brand more recognizable:
Define your brand’s voice too. All your copy should tie in with your visuals and create a strong brand image overall.
Consider creating a style guide for everyone who works on your Instagram account so they know how things should look.
Track metrics that matter
Before you even launch your Instagram campaign, you should identify the key metrics that you’ll be using to evaluate your success (that’s the M in your SMART goals).
These will vary depending on the objectives of your campaign. For example, in an awareness campaign, you’ll want to pay attention to audience growth, reach, impressions, and engagement rate.
Depending on the type of campaign (like a sale or a product launch), you may want to track metrics outside the platform. Trackable links or promo codes can help here.
Always establish a baseline. That way, you can accurately measure the impact of your campaign.
Set realistic ad campaign budgets
In a perfect world, we’d all have unlimited campaign budgets, but sadly, that’s not usually the case. So it’s important to create an ad budget in advance and stick to it.
First, decide if you’re going to pay for cost per mille (CPM) — that’s the cost for every thousand impressions your ad generates. CPM campaigns can help drive awareness since they’re more about visibility and less about action.
You can also structure your campaign around cost per click (CPC) — a set price for every click your ad generates. CPC campaigns can help you ensure you’re paying for actions, not just views.
The exact cost will depend on several factors.
You’ll also need to consider your ad creation and production costs. For example, how much will it cost to shoot your product? How much does your chosen influencer charge per post?
Think about your call-to-action
As you build your campaign, think about what you want people to do after seeing your campaign. Do you want them to view a product page on your website or sign up for a free trial? Maybe you want them to save your post for later.
Insert a clear CTA at the end of your campaign to make sure people follow the path you’ve laid out for them. Then, if you want them to buy your product or learn more about your brand, it should be easy for them to do so.
For example, fashion brand Missguided asks users to comment on their favorite image:
If you’re running a paid ad campaign, use one of Instagram’s CTA buttons to help users take the next steps.
Schedule your Instagram posts in advance
Scheduling your Instagram posts saves you hours and ensures that no one forgets to post at the right time. You may want to schedule some or all of your posts weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
First, find out when is the right time to post content for your Instagram audience. If you’re using Hootsuite, the Best Time to Publish feature shows you your best time to post on Instagram based on your posts from the past 30 days. You can also use the platform to edit images to the right dimensions and write your caption.
Here’s how to schedule Instagram posts and Stories using Hootsuite:
5 Instagram campaign examples
Not sure how to get started? Here are five examples of the best Instagram social media campaigns.
Teach users how to do something like The Inkey List
Skincare brand The Inkey List shares educational step-by-step tutorial Reels. In this one, they show their audience how to take better care of their skin.
Each Reel is short, easy to follow, and features actionable steps.
The Reels also feature their own products, helping build awareness of their offering. After watching the Reel, users have not only learned how to care for their skin, but they might be tempted to buy the brand’s products.
Build trust by sharing social proof like Califia Farms
Plant-based milk brand Califia Farms shares glowing reviews to highlight its customers’ love for the product. They layer the review onto a funky background to make the post extra eye-catching.
Social proof is a powerful way of encouraging consumers to trust your brand.
After all, if other people love your product, why wouldn’t they? Encourage customers to leave reviews so you can turn them into compelling Instagram content.
Connect with your audience by sharing your story like Omsom
Food brand Omsom humanizes its brand by sharing its story. In this short Reel, the founder shares their brand values and what’s most important to them.
The brand seems more relatable and authentic by opening up to its audience. When people connect with your values, they’ll be more likely to trust your offering and make a purchase.
Tap into seasonal shopping like Teleport Watches
If you’re thinking of offering sales promos throughout the year, don’t miss out important holiday shopping dates. Instead, let all your followers know about the deals you’re running and for how long.
Teleport Watches shares a single image post to tell users what exactly they’re offering for Black Friday. Everything is clearly laid out, and customers are clear on the terms and conditions.
Share some valuable tips like The Broke Black Girl
Sometimes, the best way to engage your audience is to share some tips that add value to their lives. Financial activist The Broke Black Girl posts actionable tips to help users improve their financial habits.
While the image is a quick summary for time-pressed users, people interested in learning more can dig into the details in her caption.
Use Hootsuite to schedule Instagram posts at the best time, respond to comments, track competitors, and measure performance—all from the same dashboard you use to manage your other social networks. Start your free trial today.