Instagram marketing agency hiring guide

Hiring an Instagram Marketing Agency: 7 Keys to Finding the Best Match for Your Business

You know the deal. With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is the app for brands looking to grow in 2021. Do you need an Instagram marketing agency to stand out?

Instagram marketing agencies help businesses run and manage Instagram marketing campaigns. That means taking charge of content creation, posting, managing engagement, and running their clients’ social accounts. 

If you’re not sure how to start Instagram marketing, you’re not alone. Instagram marketing covers a lot of territory, as it includes:

  1. Visual branding
  2. Videography, photography, graphic design, and copywriting
  3. Marketing and sales automation
  4. Pre-sales customer support
  5. Influencer partnerships
  6. And Instagram-specific advertising campaigns

So how do you pick the best agency to help your business? And for marketing teams and entrepreneurs, how do you balance effective service with an affordable budget?

In this hiring guide to marketing agencies, we’ll talk about: 


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Do you really need an Instagram marketing agency? 

You have three options when it comes to strategy and execution of Instagram marketing:

  1. Do it yourself or with a marketer in-house
  2. Bring in one or more independent contractors
  3. Hire an agency

While you can certainly try to grow on your own, money isn’t the only thing at stake here. Learning the ins and outs of Instagram marketing takes time, and making beginner mistakes can cost you in the long run.

If you just need someone to take care of the day-to-day tasks, you could consider hiring an independent contractor. 

These solo experts can turn out pro-level copywriting, photography, graphic design, and more. For best results, hire one contractor for each task, as niche experts usually return better results than generalists.

Also look for tools that can streamline your Instagram marketing strategy through automation, like InstaChamp — a full suite of Instagram tools that helps with everything from boosting engagement to driving conversions.

And, if you’re looking for a start-to-finish Instagram marketing solution, it’s time to look for an Instagram marketing agency.

InstaChamp can help here too, as its powerful tools make it easy for Instagram marketing agencies to jumpstart your growth.

P.S., if you try out InstaChamp on your own and love it…why not join our affiliate program and suggest it to the agencies you’re vetting? You’ll earn 25% for every referral, and 5% for every sub referral — forever. 😉

7 things to look for in an Instagram marketing agency

You need a quick way to separate the great agencies from the mediocre. Here’s are 7 things that you should look for in an Instagram marketing agency:

  1. Account manager who DOESN’T handle everything.
  2. Client experience and expertise with businesses in your niche or industry.
  3. A robust Instagram account of their own.
  4. A portfolio that matches your goals.
  5. Excellent communication skills.
  6. Up-to-date tactics and strategies.
  7. Testimonials and reviews.

Instagram marketing agency key #1. An account manager who DOESN’T handle everything

Professional agencies have a full team to handle all aspects of your Instagram marketing. 

If the agency you’re looking at only has one person who handles everything, think again. An account manager should be part of a great team — not the whole thing.

Instagram marketing agency key #2. Expertise in your niche

Remember, niche experts return better results than generalists. By looking for an agency that works exclusively in your field, you won’t have to waste time catching them up to speed on industry trends and specific terminology.

Instagram marketing agency key #3. A robust Instagram account of their own

A professional agency should use their own account as a portfolio to showcase what they can do. If they have little to know Instagram presence, that’s not a good sign.

Instagram marketing agency key #4. A portfolio that matches your goals

Speaking of portfolios, check out the past clients of agencies you’re vetting. If the results they’ve achieved in the past match up to your goals, that’s a green light.

Instagram marketing agency key #5. Excellent communication skills

No one’s online 24/7 (except auto-reply bots — just another reason to add them to your arsenal). But, a professional agency should communicate quickly and clearly. 

Instagram marketing agency key #6. Up-to-date tactics and strategies

Instagram is an ever-changing beast. Your Instagram marketing agency should always know the latest trends, and they should be using the most up-to-date tools.

For example, many agencies use’s Instagram automation tools because of how easy it is to integrate with client CRMs. 

Instagram marketing agency key #7. Testimonials and reviews

Last but not least, don’t forget to look at agencies’ testimonials and reviews. To do this, check out Influencer Marketing Hub and G2.

Influencer Marketing Hub is the leading social media resource for brands, and it conducts in-depth reviews on influencer marketing platforms, Instagram marketing agencies, and more. review on Influencer Marketing Hub

To see what we mean, check out their review of AI chatbot platforms.

While Influencer Marketing Hub provides professional reviews, G2 takes you right to the customers. It hosts a 5-star rating system for software providers and agencies. Use it to see what other brand owners have to say about the agencies you’re considering. review on G2

For example, here’s what it looks like if you look up on G2. You can read customer reviews, see an overview of the product, and analyze a breakdown by industry, among other features. 

5 common Instagram marketing agency red flags

So now that you know what a good agency should look like, what are some signs that you should stay away?

Here are 5 Instagram marketing agency red flags to avoid during the agency hiring process:

  1. Avoid promises of overnight success.
  2.  Avoid a focus on followers and likes.
  3. Avoid poor communication.
  4. Avoid agencies that don’t have demonstrated clients and experience in your business industry or niche.
  5. Avoid any engagements or contracts lacking clarity about what’s expected and what will be delivered.

Instagram marketing agency red flag #1. Promising overnight success 

Success never happens overnight. Anyone who says otherwise is either very inexperienced, or they’re scamming you.

Instagram marketing agency red flag #2. Focusing on followers and likes (instead of engagement and conversions)

Followers and likes are called “vanity metrics” for a reason. While they might make you feel good, they mean nothing if they’re not converting to sales.

If an agency promises extreme follower count growth without providing a clear way to convert those followers to sales, step back. Professional agencies have their priorities in order.

Instagram marketing agency red flag #3. Communicating poorly

Good communication is one of the most important qualities to look for in an agency. Conversely, poor communication is a huge red flag.

Instagram moves fast. If an agency can’t get back to you within a day or so while you’re talking shop, how can you expect them to stay on top of your actual Instagram account?

Remember, agencies do have multiple clients, so don’t panic if your emails aren’t returned within a few minutes. If days go by, though, that’s cause for concern. 

Instagram marketing agency red flag #4. No experience in your niche

An agency with no experience in your field will struggle to understand your customer base. That’s a death sentence for your conversions.

You might be tempted to hire an extremely successful agency that’s done great work in a different field than yours, but don’t. Likely, their success rate is directly related to their experience in that field — experience they don’t have in yours.

Instagram marketing agency red flag #5. Unclear yet restrictive contracts

There’s a reason that most people who talk about contracts emphasize that they aren’t legal professionals. (And no, we’re not lawyers either!)

Read through agency contracts in full, and if you don’t understand something, clarify it. If the contract makes you uncomfortable, that’s a big red flag. Trust your gut — and your lawyers.

5 questions to ask your team before hiring an Instagram marketing agency 

Still not sure where to start? Here’s a list of questions you can ask of yourself and your team to determine if an Instagram marketing agency is right for you — and if so, what agency you should sign with:

  1. Is my audience on Instagram?
  2. What about Instagram marketing is uncertain or confusing?
  3. What are my goals for Instagram marketing?
  4. Are competitors or organizations in my niche using Instagram? How so?
  5. What is my budget for Instagram marketing?

Hiring an Instagram marketing agency question #1. Is our audience on Instagram?

There’s not much point in Instagram marketing if your customers don’t use that app.

Luckily, there’s a lot of people on Instagram (1 billion, in fact). In 2021, 71% of U.S. adults between 18 and 29 use Instagram, as do 72% of teens.

Since 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business, that means that for anyone with a younger customer base, it is the social media platform to promote your brand on.  

For more info on Instagram’s demographics, check out Hubspot’s 2021 report.

If you’ve already got a business Instagram account up and running, you can look at your own Instagram insights to get an in-depth look at your audience.

Instagram insights

This way, you can get a head start on targeting your customers through Instagram. 

Hiring an Instagram marketing agency question #2. Does Instagram confuse you?

This is the easiest way to tell whether or not you need an agency.

As we mentioned earlier, you have three choices when it comes to Instagram marketing: Do it yourself, hire independent contractors, or onboard an agency.

If you have no idea how to do it yourself, hiring independent contractors may not work either. That’s because independent contractors are the best at doing one specific thing (like copywriting or content creation), but they aren’t in charge of your strategy. 

While you could hire an independent Instagram marketing consultant, that still leaves you with the task of writing captions, creating content, uploading posts, and managing your account. 

If you’re completely in the dark, hiring an Instagram marketing agency is your best bet. 

Hiring an Instagram marketing agency question #3. What are your goals for Instagram marketing?

As always, the more specific your goals, the better. “We want to see a 10x increase in sales by 2022” is much better than “We want to get more followers.”

Then, look for agencies who have achieved similar results in the past. Mention your goals during consultations with the agencies you’re vetting, and see if they can help you achieve them.

Hiring an Instagram marketing agency question #4. Are competitors or organizations in your niche using Instagram? How so?

If your competitors are using Instagram to great success, that’s a strong signal that you should be using Instagram as well.

Once you’ve verified that your competitors are using Instagram, check out exactly what they’re doing. How often are they posting? What do they post? What sort of ads do they run?

If you can say, “We really like what X, Y, and Z brands are doing,” that’ll give your agency a specific example of what you want from them. This makes communication easier, and ultimately, leads to better results. 

Hiring an Instagram marketing agency question #5. What is your budget for Instagram marketing?

Finally, make sure you’ve defined your budget before you begin your search. Do research in your field to find out how much Instagram marketing agencies are likely to cost you — and how much ROI you should expect.

Remember that you get what you pay for, so you usually shouldn’t choose the cheapest option available. 

Instead, look for an Instagram marketing agency with expertise in your field, great customer reviews, and a portfolio that matches what you want for your brand. Get your goals straight, and ensure that this agency can deliver a solid ROI. 

If you just don’t have the budget for an Instagram marketing agency, identify your weak points and hire help where you can.

For example, InstaChamp takes management tasks off your plate by automatically responding to DMs, promoting your products and services 24/7, and driving engagement by rewarding Instagram Story mentions. 

With InstaChamp, you can drive followers to your direct messages (DMs) — one of the most effective conversion strategies. Then, instead of following up by hand, InstaChamp can answer every message for you. Auto Reply to DMs

To see it in action, hop over to our Instagram page and send us a message! (Mobile devices only.)

Whether you decide to hire an Instagram marketing agency or bring it in-house, InstaChamp by will help you grow on Instagram and engage with your following. Plus, you can get it for free.

Wanna learn more? To read about SMS Marketing, Instagram Marketing, Growth Marketing, and more, consider subscribing. You can sign up using the form on the right-hand sidebar.


Grow Instagram followers and engagement with new tools for influencers, artists, brands and D2C businesses. Sign up to be the first to use tools that generate elite engagement via Instagram DMs.

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