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March 2, 2021

Promotion on Instagram: 12 free and paid ways to increase your visibility

Promoting your business account on Instagram is more and more complicated. The main reason is the increasing competition. 

You will need to employ a variety of strategies to achieve the desired results in terms of increased reach and conversion. 

Fortunately, there are several free and paid methods to promote your product and services effectively.

Marketing specialist Ihor Volkov shares his latest recommendations with you.

Outline of the article

  1. Turn your Instagram account into a business account
  2. Choose a suitable name and a quality profile picture
  3. Add hashtags to each publication
  4. Use geotags
  5. Create face filters
  6. Exchange visibility in Instagram stories
  7. Organize live videos in partnership
  8. Comment on popular profile’s posts
  9. Create high-quality content
  10. Display targeted advertising
  11. Promote your account through micro-influencers
  12. Run contests

Reading time: 7 minutes

Statistics on a cell phone

How to promote an Instagram account for free?

We have put together several effective methods that only require time and effort. Here is what you need to promote your account without significant investment.

1. Turn your Instagram account into a business account

This is the first step towards making more meaningful advanced actions. If you are going to attract potential customers, you will need to turn your personal account into a business account. 

You will thus obtain the functions unavailable on the basic accounts, such as:

  • Personalization of the buttons (e-mail, phone number, road routes);
  • Indication of the brand field;
  • Statistical data (views, additions to favourites, subscriber activity, etc.);
  • Advertising display and effectiveness monitoring.

The transition to a professional account is in the settings in the "Account".

Professional account setup

2. Choose a suitable name and a quality profile picture

The profile name may differ from the username. You can change it by modifying your account. 

The name is displayed next to the profile picture. Here are some recommendations:

  • It is better to indicate the first and the last name (or a pseudonym) for a professional account that represents an individual;
  • Choose the official name without abbreviation for a brand or company account;
  • You can specify your industry in the name and link it to the region (eg, “Portland Dog Grooming”).

This will make your account easy to find by potential customers.

Profile or business name

It is equally important to complete the profile with a quality image. Choose a portrait against a neutral background for an individual account, and a logo or other official symbol for a brand. 

Take into account that:

  1. Instagram will crop the image to make it rounder.
  2. The profile photo must be associated with the company or its services (or the brand philosophy).

Professional account profile picture

You can create a profile picture very cheaply with specialized online generators. For example, with the Logaster builder, you can get a ready-made profile picture in minutes, even without any design skills.

3. Add hashtags to each publication

Instagram hashtags can:

  • Find related posts in the research section;
  • Show post in the feed of users subscribed to the corresponding hashtags;
  • Create themed collections.

There are several types of hashtags: unique, branded, very frequent, moderately frequent, and infrequent. 

Here are some details:

  1. The hashtags high frequency define the general theme (#coffee #mode, etc.);
  2. Medium frequency hashtags focus on a specific topic (#triptonewyork, #buyingalaptop, etc.);
  3. Low-frequency hashtags allow you to put forward a specific time or moment (#lovemexico, #rainydays, etc.);
  4. Brand names contain the name of a registered trademark or company (#nike, #apple);
  5. Unique hashtags are created and used by a specific account (#nikesneakers, etc.).

To promote a business profile on Instagram, it's best to use the first three types of hashtags first so that potential and existing subscribers can find the posts. 

You shouldn't add more than 10 hashtags per post. The maximum number allowed is 30, but it is best not to overdo it. 

Hashtags can be placed in the description of the post (if they are related to the general sense) at the end of the publication or in the comments.

Hashtags use example

The rules for choosing hashtags :

  • Respect the theme of the post or image;
  • Put the medium and low-frequency hashtags first;
  • Do not copy the same set of hashtags from one post to another, so select them individually;
  • Ditch hashtags created to fool statistics (for example, #like4like);

You can use services like Hashtagify or RiteTag to choose hashtags.

4. Use geotags

This will improve the reach of each post. Posts with geotags are found in the corresponding post collections, with similar tags. 

A lot of user feedback will get you to the top.

If your business has a physical address, add it to your profile and tag it in each post.

Geolocalization identification on a post

5. Create face filters

This is a fun trend to help your brand stand out and attract new subscribers. There is only one condition: face filters must be unique and trendy. 

They can be used by your subscribers when they create new stories or posts, where your filter name will be indicated.

The complexity depends on the purpose and functionality: from a beautiful filter to a detailed volumetric effect. 

To develop a face filter yourself, you can use the Spark AR Studio service

Face filteres example

6. Exchange visibility in Instagram stories

It's very simple: find active bloggers in your field who have several subscribers more or less equal to yours. Then offer these content creators to make a mention on your profile in exchange for a mention on theirs.

The stories are the most suitable tool for this type of activity. 

Some posts would feel too pushy to be in the feed, but this format with short videos and images with comments can be interesting. 

Live sessions and interviews will add naturalness. 

In some cases, these visibility exchanges can be applied to posts if they come from other users via a mention or photo credit.

Photo credits on an influencer or partner postIt doesn't have to be a one-time activity: get in the habit of repeating it every week and find an interesting blogger or two. 

Don't be ashamed to contact them: a lot of content creators are interested in partnerships.

7. Organize live videos in partnership

Live broadcasts allow you to get closer to your audience and partnership broadcasts are also a way of exchanging subscribers. 

The organization is similar: find suitable bloggers and determine a topic around which you will discuss.

Note that:

  • The fields of interest of the accounts must be similar;
  • It is better to prepare a script or at least a plan to avoid pauses during the broadcast;
  • Advertise live posts in advance to bring together interested viewers. You can even start a countdown.

Live Instagram interview

8. Comment on popular profile’s posts

This is an effective and completely free way to promote yourself. 

Just follow the most active and popular accounts and leave comments on posts with high views. 

Ideally, your comments should be related to the topic of your account.
Comments with a lot of user feedback are displayed at the top.

Promotional comment example

9. Create high-quality content

This is the golden rule of promotion, whether free or paid. 

You can't promote something that your audience isn't interested in.

Even if you decide to invest a lot in advertising, boring posts will not attract audiences. So think about what you're going to post and how you plan to go about it.

High quality content example

How to promote an Instagram profile with a marketing budget?

Trade promotion is an important aspect because it allows you to attract the target audience to your account, increase the time signature and quickly get the desired result. 

We have identified three main ways to achieve such promotion.

10. Display targeted advertising

This is the official way to advertise on Instagram. You can attract the right audience with this. 

The advantage is that you can personalize the impressions: choose the geolocation of the audience, their age, gender, interests, etc. 

You can customize the ads on Instagram, and if you need more options, on your Facebook Ad account.

Instagram publicity management page

11. Promote your account through micro-influencers

If there are influencer content creators in your industry or a related area, you should advertise to them. 

Choose your influencer well: he or she must have positive statistical data concerning the traffic and interactions on his or her profile. Request the latest statistics for their account over 24 hours and 7 days, as well as statistics for the last 2-3 posts.

Here's a practical tip: when ordering advertising from a micro-influencer, close your account during this period and manually process subscription requests. 

Yes, it will take time, but the conversion rate will be higher. 

It's a matter of human curiosity: people will subscribe to view your posts. During this time, you can change your profile information by adding a few sentences for new subscribers.

12. Run contests

If you have active subscribers, you can run a contest. 

The important points are:

  • Offer a service or a product created by your company;
  • Tell your followers about your company and your product in the contest description;
  • Increase the quality of your content to the maximum over the contest period;
  • Offer simple terms of participation (in particular, don't require a share, as this eliminates part of your audience).

Instagram contest example


Promoting on Instagram is a set of actions that can be taken on an ongoing basis to stay “afloat” and constantly attract new users. 

We recommend combining the free and paid methods: they bring different results together giving you the required coverage indicators.

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Ihor Volkov

Ihor is a Marketing Specialist at, an online brand identity creator who has helped millions of small businesses build branding. Ihor is interested in SEO, design, SERM and is always ready for a new party with friends.