Guest Post - Instagram 101 for Building Your Brand

Rachel is back ... this time with some great tips on using InstaGram to build your brand.

About five years ago, if you were to ask different businesses and organizations what social media platforms they actively used for marketing purposes, most would answer with either Facebook or none at all. Today, the same question would be answered completely different; the majority would continue to list 3+ social media sites that they’re actively using.

In just five short years, those answers have changed due to the evolution of social media and how fast information continues to be spread on the Internet. According to Business 2 Community, about 90% of young adults aged 18-29 are active on social media. Some even admit that they would prefer using social media over any other ways of communicating with businesses. Yes, even I’m one of those who would sometimes prefer to reach out through social media, because… well, it’s convenient.

Although Facebook is still in the lead for social media platforms, every day other social networks—-those that aren’t as large as Facebook—-also enable businesses to reach active and engaging audiences (or followers). Among these other platforms is Instagram.

Launching in 2010, Instagram has just reached the 400 million mark for worldwide users. According to Mediakix, just last December, Instagram was rated #1 of all time for brand social engagement. Personally, I wasn’t surprised to find out about this because, as an everyday Instagrammer, I come across new brand ambassadors who consistently use their profiles for celebrity or self-branding social engagement to their thousands of followers.

These are a few of my favorite celebrity and personal branders that I follow:

Here’s how you can get started today with building your brand on Instagram.

Post quality & eye-catching content

The key to success on Instagram is being able to post an eye-catching photo that people will want to know who and where it came from.

It’s important, that as a business, you are able to visually connect with your target audience and show them that your content is worth reading, following, and wanting to know more about. For example, instead of only posting photos of your product, try posting photos of your customers enjoying the product. Incorporate attractive and vibrant colors into your photos that make viewers stop scrolling to see what they were about to pass by. When you are posting creative, fun, and interesting content, it shows viewers that you care about their interests and what stands out to them. This makes them want to stick around for more, learn more, and share more with their friends.

A mistake that many businesses tend to do is post ad after ad on their latest sales or promotions. Who wants to be spammed by content that isn’t very fun to look at or follow?

Become familiar with hashtags

On Instagram, you want to become familiar with consistently using hashtags to expand your followers and join in on the conversation. Hashtags are valuable and worth keeping up with the daily, weekly, and monthly trends. They are usually used as one word or short phrases beginning the “#” symbol, using all lowercase letters, and having no spaces in between the words (for example, #supportlocal or #nationalsiblingday).

Using hashtags help to group certain conversations and topics in one place on Instagram so that it’s easy for users to follow and join in on the conversation (as seen in the screenshots below). By doing so, you can now extend your own brand by distributing your content into popular hashtag trends or something unique so that whenever it is used, it will always be recognized as a part of your specific brand. So the next time you post a picture, throw in a few (relevant) hashtags in the caption and watch how your content will start to become easier to see and follow by users who are new to your profile!


Shout outs from other popular users in your niche, or even just from people who have a lot of followers, can really help spread your content to viewers who haven’t yet come across your profile. The cool thing about Instagram is that the majority of popular accounts are owned by normal people, just like you and me, who have gone through a lot of hard work to get where they are to build their own audience.

By reaching out to them and creating a partnership can ideally help you both in the long run: you will gain more viewers when they share your content with their followers. From this, you’ll also  have the chance to exchange your ideas to help each other on different projects or upcoming posts. When these people give you a shout out on their account, their followers will instantly want to check out the account and even give you a follow.

As technology updates continue and ideas are shared, this list can go on and on! These strategies are among some of the most basic ways to help grow your brand through Instagram. It is important that as a business in today’s society, you are ready to take on new challenges and updates to grow and find success in your industry. By following the trends of everyday society on Instagram, people will be asking you to sponsor their content in no time! ;)


For more tips on Instagram for small businesses and nonprofits, see @ConstantContact.