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To create the best Instagram marketing plan, use the platform’s latest innovations to craft innovations of your own.

Our Top Tips for Strategic Instagram Marketing in 2020

David Bosley

Instagram has always been a preferred “home” platform for digital marketers—serving as the foundation upon which powerful, multichannel strategies are built upon. But what’s Instagram’s potential in 2020? Will it accumulate more steam, becoming the Internet’s uncontested top-dog social media platform? Or will it lose clout as new, emergent social media sites gain recognition of their own?

Crafting a marketing campaign centered around Instagram can be tough—very tough. As a platform boasting an advertising reach of 849.3 million users, it remains a reliable marketing utility for established brands and small businesses alike.

If you want to stick out on Instagram, you’ll need a plan. To make a plan, you need details.

We have you covered. Instagram is incredibly popular among adults and teens alike, making it one of the most accessible social media platforms a digital marketer can rely on.

Instagram’s Booming Business: A 2020 Reference Snapshot

Instagram’s popularity among businesses is no secret: Roughly one-third of Instagram’s viewed Stories come from them. In 2020, brands will post about 2.5 of these stories per week—and approximately 75.3 percent of America’s businesses will use Instagram for marketing in general.

A snapshot of Instagram’s booming growth, no pun intended, identifies several qualities that makes the platform stand out among other social media platforms. Excluding Facebook—which bought Instagram—most social media outlets simply fail to mimic, or outperform, Instagram’s always-on-the-move DNA which begets the adaptability and innovation users love.

Features for Thought: Instagram’s Current State

Instagram caters to the daily online goer’s expectations of seamlessness, safety, and content quality. It’s a central hub for all things fresh, entertaining as much as 37 percent of adults. It’s also the most popular social media network among American teens.

Instagram’s latest features should be known by any digital marketer putting a stake in the platform. Once more: It’ll be tough to craft an effective, cost-efficient Instagram strategy in 2020 without knowing what you’re up against.

Our Top Tips

Fortunately, what you’re up against isn’t necessarily a series of hurdles. It’s a collective springboard capable of launching your digital marketing strategies with grace. To take advantage of this springboard, however, you’ll need to play a card hand that utilizes the platform’s current environment. Here are our top tips.

Tip One: Prep for Like Count Removal

Talk about a surprise. Indeed, Instagram has begun testing the impacts of Like count removals. As of July 2019, it’s put this feature—or feature removal—to the test in seven countries. Just before New Year’s, CEO Adam Mosseri announced that American users will start experiencing hidden Like counts, too.

A few big changes are sweeping across Instagram, and the digital marketers of 2020 will need to adopt new strategies to stay competitive.What’s the Deal?

More or less, Instagram has been tinkering on ideas to explore the user’s perception of it. Researchers suggest that a lot of users tailor their posted content to whatever gets high Like counts.

The line between positive engagement and outrage, online, has always been thin when it comes to browse-worthy content—and it’s only getting thinner. To shift their own radicalized environments, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have also experimented with eliminating the engagement metrics framing their respective platforms.

What This Means for Your Business

The removal of Like counts isn’t necessarily another entry barrier for businesses, however. In fact, the opposite may soon prove to be true. Mosseri has emphasized the importance of Instagram’s user-first experience a lot, recently—an experience ultimately driven by creativity.

Herein lies the approach which can help your business, especially if it’s still growing. Instagram will start balancing the needs of artists, organizations and corporations alike. We can’t forget, either, that Instagram’s main revenue source is derived from the sales of its hosted businesses.

You’ll probably benefit from a foot-in-the-door effect, where brand recognition strategies are considered, in the upcoming year. Moreover, this effect might grow stronger as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook shift direction, too.

Just remember that your brand won’t be the only one on the center stage.

Tip Two: Use Instagram Threads

As mentioned above, a social media platform dominated by a handful of high-roller brands isn’t conducive to creative energy. This same energy is a vital ingredient of the Instagram user experience’s wellbeing—both for individual users and online professionals alike. Instagram Threads might be an exclusive environment, but it isn’t a closed channel for tech-savvy marketers.

While Instagram’s removal of Likes can protect your brand’s creative representation, its new Threads app can help you nurture it. Introduced in October, Threads is a camera-first messaging app designed to help users stay connected with their friends on a day-to-day basis.

What’s the Deal?

Threads is a feature intended for a user’s close friends only. Now, an Instagram-goer can share Stories exclusively with those they’ve added to their group. This feature stems from several factors, but a major one is Instagram’s intent to counterbalance the platform’s incredibly high visibility. Rather than post content to hundreds of followers, users can simply share fun, funny or intriguing videos with a select audience.

Understandably, the “Close Friends” button may seem like a lock upon the door to brand outreach. Because Threads is structured upon the fundamentals of privacy, a lot of marketers just assume it isn’t meant to be approached for business purposes.

This isn’t true, however. While Instagram users can now share exclusive content between their Androids and iPhones, they aren’t necessarily opposed to useful insights about businesses—especially if they’re close by.

While Threads is still a closed-off venue for posting content, it still retains a feature that most digital marketers place chief value upon: geocentric location posting.

What This Means for Your Business

For now, Instagram isn’t monetizing Threads—and Facebook won’t utilize the location data pulled from it, either. Digital marketers looking for an ad targeting entryway are out of luck, but local business owners will find the app to be an extraordinarily valuable resource.

Threads features an Auto Status. The Auto Status is toggled off when Threads is first used, but it’s often activated by users as they travel. The feature uses data signals to select emojis for display, matching the user’s exact location—such as their workplace, home or travel destination.

The Auto Status also posts about stores, cafes, bars and the like, too. As such, it’s an instant-access window to your brick-and-mortar location if you have one. So, if you want to make the most out of Threads, consider using it as a closed-off, low-population marketing channel for consumer analysis. Or, you can simply use it as another opportunity to put your shop on center stage.

Tip Three: Adopt an IGTV Video Content Strategy IGTV has been updated, making it an upcoming main feature your brand can capitalize on.

Slow to gain traction, the once up-and-coming Instagram feature called Instagram TVs finally coming of age—having hit its stride over the spring and summer months of 2019. Often called “that small TV notification in the corner of Instagram,” the IGTV feature is something of a “corner” in and of itself.

What’s the Deal?

It’s a place that seems separate from Instagram entirely, shuttling users into a venue-like app-space containing high quality, long-form videos. IGTV lets users upload video content spanning from 15 seconds to 10 minutes, and large accounts can post videos lasting as long as an hour.

It’s also a place designed to bring users into a standalone environment for brand interaction.

What This Means for Your Business

IGTV is certainly worth investigating, especially if you’re into YouTube content marketing. Instagram intends to re-envision mobile video entirely—and this is how it’s doing it.

Discover-centric, IGTV is often touted for its incredible content diversity. Instagram has evolved, filling a void left by the falling popularity of television. By 2021, mobile video is expected to account for approximately 78 percent of all mobile traffic data.

What’s more: IGTV was upgraded to include landscape videos back in May of 2019. By including a more “classic” lounge-and-view experience—and by making it optional, of course—the platform has only compounded in popularity.

Approaching Instagram in a Year of Change

Instagram has always maintained a sort of elusive feature—constantly shifting to meet user demands while sidestepping the emergent faults of social media platforms as they expand.

To be successful with your Instagram content marketing, you need only heed the will of Instagram’s environment. If you’re already planning a strategy around Instagram’s recent rollout features, you’re two steps ahead of other digital marketers.

Let’s put that head start to good use.