Instagram - Starter Basics

Instagram is a growing medium and enables multiple major brands to humanize their companies, reach out to consumers, entice new potential employees and show off their products, services, and company culture. The capabilities of Instagram, when utilized properly, can be a great tool for outreach and general success.

For those of us outside the spotlight, barring those interested in a bot running their account (Fred Harrington has an interesting write-up about that) growing an Instagram profile will take much time and effort. Fortunately, there are guidelines and proven strategies that can assist you in starting your account off the right way. The idea is to, like anything else, invest your time and effort into the right things when customizing and curating your content.

The learning curve is real

The obvious first step is to create your profile. Craft an idea of a theme for it that aligns with the image you want to portray of your brand and stick to it. This can be anything from all photos being black and white to patterning the uploads to specific blocks. Creativity is definitely your friend.

Tell your potential followers who you are, what your brand is, and show them why they should give their your profile attention via a follow. Your bio should be interesting and informative, preferably with a call to action and style that matches your brand (remember that theme.)

When choosing your profile name simple is best. If your name or your businesses name is taken get creative without straying too far. This will make it easier for potential followers to find you via search. An example of this could be Los Angeles Denim Co still being recognizable as @ladenimco. Also, make sure to add your brand’s full name in the “name” field. This will make it appear under your profile picture and under your username when your brand is searched for.

Next, is choosing a profile picture

This should once again match the theme of your brand, but also your other social media or websites. A company logo is an easy pick. Use the bio link to make it easy for visitors and followers to check out your website. Take advantage of your bio link option because links aren’t available anywhere else on the platform. If you’re concerned about the look of your link, there are sites and apps that shorten urls.

If you’re planning to engage your followers (which you should) its best to enable app notifications so you’ll know when people interact with your content. Quick replies times, humanize your brand and make you more approachable. Over time, this builds trust and can lead to conversions.

With the foundation set, the rest is a matter of building correctly and remaining patient. Things to take into consideration are the quality of photos as that is all that comprises Instagram. In fact, that’s everything. If you’re not skilled behind a camera, consider hiring a photoagrapher and/or photo editor.

Captions matter

The photo may be everything, but the captions are like icing on the cake. The photo grabs their attention, the caption is often what inspires them to share so be sure to say something meaningful before you start with the hashtags.

Hashtags are the easiest way to increase the reach of your content and connect with others. Use them intelligent and with sparingly, being sure to create walls of text that scream “notice me.”

Remember, it’s supposed to be fun

After reading all this you should have a solid grasp and be ready to start your Instagram campaign. You’ve found your feet, now all that’s left is to have fun.