7 Steps to Getting Your Brand’s Instagram Channel Off the Ground

Instagram is a phenomenal platform for brand storytelling and customer engagement.

  • 300M monthly active users
  • 30 billion+ photos shared
  • 2.5 billion likes daily
  • 70M photos per day
  • 67% of the world’s biggest brands now use Instagram

While there’s no doubt Facebook is a great platform for engaging with fans, a typical brand will see an organic page reach that’s below 3%. In other words, out of 100 followers, only 3 of them will actually see your posts.

With Instagram you can still reach 100% of your followers organically – opening up the possibility of great fan engagement, brand awareness, lead generation and ultimately, bottom-line profit!

So how do you get your channel off the ground?

Step 1: Set up and optimize your profile

  • Setup your account.
  • Set a profile picture – it could be anything from your company logo to a product offering, or new image that informs customers who you are.
  • Use a strong, memorable username – ideally, it should be the same as your Twitter handle. This makes it easy for people to find you, improves brand consistency – and you’ll find it easier to remember, too!
  • Write a compelling biography that sums up who you are and what you do. You only have 150 characters here to sell yourself, so keep it short and sweet!

Step 2: Spread the Word

  • Use your existing social channels – many of your followers will use more than one, and a simple “Hey, did you know we’re now on Instagram?” can be a great head-start.
  • Consider running an email campaign to spread the word to your email list.
  • Add social icons to your website and marketing materials so people are aware of which channels you have a presence on.

Step 3: Start Sharing Photos

  • Instagram is, ostensibly, a storytelling platform. It’s important to remember this. If you aren’t telling a story with every photo, you’re doing it wrong! Constantly posting commercial content won’t cut the mustard.
  • Make sure to share photos that stimulate customer emotions. There’s a nugget of emotional resonance behind every brand: identify yours, and pull at their heart strings! Whether it’s cute, funny or thought-inspiring, post stuff that makes ’em feel!
  • You can link accounts if you want to share photos between channels automatically – including Twitter, Facebook and other third-party sharing sites. Decide on what works best for you!
  • Consider using filters and apps to give your photos that little bit extra.

Step 4: Hashtags

  • Hashtags are, essentially, conversation topics to bring people together – and they’re your passport to meaningful conversations and engagement!
  • Perhaps more than on any other social network, people use hashtags on Instagram to share and discover interesting content. According to L2, 80% of brand posts contain at least one hashtag, and the average brand post has 3.
  • The most used hashtags is ‘Love’ which has been used more than 372 million times!
  • By adding hashtags to your posts you can hugely boost the reach of your posts, strike up conversations, expose your brand to a new audience and generate potential customers for business.

Step 5: Networking

  • Hashtags are a great way to get started here, but there’s more to networking than that.
  • Follow brands – including your competitors – so you can analyse their output, see what’s working and what’s not.
  • Strike up relationships and engage with others. Remember, you can comment on other people’s photos rather than waiting for them to comment on yours!
  • The key is to act like a person rather than a brand.

Step 6: Videos

  • Images are great – but with videos, you can express even more.
  • As well as photos, Instagram lets you share 15 second videos (on Vine and Twitter you’re allowed 6.5 seconds)
  • Since the launch of Instagram video, there has been a 37% increase in Instagram shares on Twitter.
  • You can use the same filters as you would on your images and even edit them.
  • Of the brands on Instagram, 62% have shared at least one Instagram video.

Step 7: Run Contests and Giveaways to Reward your Followers

  • Engaged followers are valuable, so make sure to reward them!
  • It’s important! 66% of people follow a brand on Instagram because they want to be rewarded (as opposed to 43% who do so simply because they love the brand!)
  • Ideas include photo contests, promo codes, incentivised follows/comments and others.