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As we know social media is becoming more and more a pay-to-play kind of environment. You have to pay to get your content in front of more people. That’s how the social networks now make their money.
Instagram is no different. The photo sharing network now lets you promote post directly from within the app. Of course you can also promote them from your Facebook page but we won’t focus on that technique today. Being able to post from within the app it’s quite convenient.
So here’s how you do it from inside the app:
Post a photo organically that you will then use for your promoted post. A promoted post, of course, is a post that you pay money for to get in front of more people. It’s basically a form of advertising on social media.
I recently took a photo, posted it to Instagram and then later decided to promote it. Here is an example of an organically posted photo.
All I have to do from here is click the PROMOTE button to get started. If you don’t have that button below your photos, you may have to set up a business account first. Click here to find out how to do that.
After clicking PROMOTE the next screen looks like this:
I have used the visit your website function. The call your business function might work well too if that is the logical next step for people. Not sure how well the visit your business function would work unless your audience is highly local to where your location is. And of course that assumes that you have a physical location.
Once I clicked my overarching goal I get this screen:
You can pick your destination website address – wherever you want people to end up going. Make sure that landing page is optimized for whatever you want people to do.
Related: More on landing pages
You can also pick your audience by interest and geography. I like both of those functions and often run ads to event planners in geographic regions where I would like to speak at events.
From there you can pick a number of call to action buttons:
Finally, click out of the call to action button screen and scroll down to set your budget and campaign timeframe.
Are Instagram ads worth it?
Let’s take a look at an actual example. I ran this ad below that sent people to my book landing page. So people could buy one or more of my books.
While there is some value to let people know that I have written books, the bottom line of any promotion is that it should lead to book sales.
I set my Instagram campaign at $20 to run over a couple days. As far as I could tell a number of people – 23 – clicked over to the page but I did not sell any books from that particular campaign – at least the first half of it:
But the promoted post also was shown to over 10,000 people. That’s actually a good number from a branding perspective but 23 clicks and no sales is obviously not a great result.
A lot of people also liked the promoted post:
But it appears that those likes do not show up on the organic version of the same post:
That’s definitely an improvement I would recommend to Instagram in the future. Show the combined likes on all versions of the same post. Kind of like Facebook does.
I might try a few more Instagram ad campaigns to see if I can get better results in the future. Who knows: it may have been the wording of the post or the targeting or who knows what else. I’ll give it a couple more shots but ultimately to spend money on a campaign there needs to be some kind of business results that come from it.
In a post about books, the goal is to sell more books. If it was more of an educational post I might be OK with just a brand awareness campaign goal.