Power Tip: Instagram Marketing Basics for Filipino SMEs and Start-ups

If used correctly Instagram can be one of your most powerful marketing and sales channel in digital. However a lot of companies make fundamental mistakes in how they use the platform. Today we’re going to focus on mapping out a basic Instagram marketing framework for SMEs and start-ups.

By the way, I’m on Instagram! If you guys haven’t followed yet, please do.

Switch to a Business Profile

The first thing companies should do is to switch their Instagram account from personal into a business profile. To do this just click the settings icon on the upper right of the screen (while in your IG account) and click Switch to Business Profile. This will then ask you to connect it to a Facebook Business Page. After that you are asked to fill out contact details such as e-mail, mobile, and address for directions.

What are the benefits of switching to an Instagram Business Profile? It unlocks several features which will allow for you to reach your customers better and for them to get in touch with you in a more organized manner. How does this happen?

The layout of your profile page changes. There are now buttons where your customers can tap to call, text, e-mail, or check directions on how to get to your store. This is great UX for interfacing with customers who already want to buy from you.

Apart from those changes, you also unlock advertising and analytics. I’ll talk about advertising later and allow me to focus on the value of analytics. With the intelligence/analytics dashboard you can measure which content works the best, what hashtag delivers more reach, and what time of day is the ideal for posting. If you’re able to figure these three out your engagement will dramatically go up.

Use Hashtags to be Discovered

Hashtags aren’t brand tag lines or slogans. You use them so more people can discover your content and your brand. Here’s what you need to do to take advantage of this great free marketing feature:

  • Research about which hashtags are being used by influencers in IG related to your brand or category
  • Among all the hashtags, check the volume of posts and see which ones are the top
  • Do trial-and-error in your post and see which hashtag delivers the most engagement and views for your content

Again let me repeat that: hashtags are for discovery and not meant to be tag lines!

See Also: Why Branded Hashtags on Instagram Don’t Work

Reach Out to Instagram Influencers

A great way to expand your reach is to work with Instagram Influencers. These are micro-celebrities or actual celebrities who have massive following on the platform. You can reach out to them and have them post about your brand in exchange for products or cash (depending on negotiations).

Power tip — don’t go for the obvious celebrity. Get 100 people with 2,000 followers to post about your product versus 1 celebrity with millions of followers. It works better because it’s more authentic versus celebrities who are just endlessly selling whatever they can everyday on their IG accounts.

We’ve written about this more extensively here: 5 Influencer Marketing Strategies for PH Brands.

Tell Stories and don’t just post products


Don’t just post products. Try to tell stories and give context to the products that you’re posting about. This makes it more relatable, engaging, and likeable. Stories can connect to the heart of customers, boring product ads cannot.

Pay to Play

Last, but definitely not the least, is paying advertising to reach scale in Instagram. We recommend you do this LAST. You need to learn the fundamental strategies which we laid out for you in the previous 4 points. Once you’ve mastered them you can move on to this step and start putting in cash to be able to target more people to see your content. This gives you the scale and can drastically bump up your revenues once you have the right content, authority, and trust.

And that’s it for now. We’ll write more about Instagram advertising later this week so make sure you always come back to this blog!

See Also: What Filipino SMEs and Start-ups Need to Know About Digital Marketing

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Carlo Ople

Author Carlo Ople

Founder and writer of Unlocked.ph and for full disclosure I'm also the Vice-President for Digital Marketing Strategy of PLDT/Smart, the largest telco in the Philippines. Prior to this I co-founded a digital advertising agency (DM9 Digit) which we sold to Dentsu, the largest single branded agency in the world. I also co-founded one of the biggest tech websites in the country, Unbox (unbox.ph). Views do not represent PLDT/Smart and are purely my own.

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