Help! How do I use Instagram?

There are over 200 million active Instagram users monthly, so you can see the appeal of setting up a business account! Instagram has been around for 4 years now, so it is not a new social platform – but it is growing to become one of the most powerful. We see lots of businesses on Instagram, some we like enough to engage with, some we just follow and some we simply skip over. We’ve pulled together 17 key tips that will take you from Instagram novice to trailblazer…


1. Take good photos! This may seem ridiculous, but we have lost count of the number of photos we see in our stream that are pixelated, blurry (and not the good kind) or cropped in the wrong place. The number one lesson is take good photos – we’re not saying head out and buy a £2,000 Nikon … just use your iPhone well!

2. Connect your Facebook. As you probably know, Facebook owns Instagram, therefore you can only benefit from linking both channels and pushing your Instagram content out to your Facebook followers.

3. Use the right mixture of fun and business. Yes your customers want to see your new products and a photo of your team at lunch, but they also want to see one of your employee’s cute puppies, or a pic of an ice cream on a sunny day. Take notes from Virgin, we think they have the perfect balance of fun/brand/business.

4. Use hashtags. In the Instagram world, you will rarely be seen unless you add relevant hashtags to your photos. Don’t be scared to use 5 different tags, as long as they are relevant it will usually bump up your of your employee’s cute puppies, or a pic of an ice cream on a sunny day.


5. Start your own hashtag. Why not? Push the brand you are so proud of, start your own hashtag and use it on all of your photos – people can then search for your brand by your tag, and even start using it themselves! Global brand, Adidas, often create their own hashtags and encourage followers to promote and share. This is a great way of developing brand advocates.

6. Engage with other Instagram users. Like, comment and follow other users to get your name out there. A great tip is to search by the hashtags you are using on your photos, if you like photos with the same tag you will quickly see likes back.


7. As a general rule, we don’t like to use frames.That may just be us, but we like our feed to be consistent at all times and frames just throw our profile off.

8. Post at the right time. After you’ve posted a few photos, you will be able to pick up stats from sites such as IconoSquare (formally Statigram). Check out which times your photos receive the highest engagement, and post only at those times from then on.

9. Mix filter with no filter. Everyone has their own style, and your Instagram feed should be an extension of your brand. No-one wants to see over-exposed photos, or photos that look all the same and lifeless, mix your filters up and use ‘no filter’ every now and then too. Oh, and if you do – hashtag it!

10. Ensure your photos tell a story. We look at Instagram like a timeline of your brand, you should be able to print them all off and look at them as a collection. Posting a bright red car may have seemed like a great idea at the time, but if all of your other photos are cool and vintage it will just look out of place on your profile page. Make sure your Instagram feed matches your brand. One of our favourites on Instagram is Poppy Boutique, their photos all fit in to one style and represent the brand beautifully. Check out @poppyboutique.

11. Geo-Tag your photos. People like to know where you are! It also makes you more searchable and makes your photo stand out. Pull in the local crowd … tag!

12. Use videos along with photo content. Having a runway show? Film it! We use the general rule of 1 video for every 15 photos.


13. Run competitions. Link your competitions with Facebook and encourage users to enter on Instagram. Competitions are a sure way of increasing followers and re-grams. Give something away for free; an item of clothing, experience or store vouchers.

14. Reward your followers. Anyone who follows you should be rewarded, not only with your content but with exclusive discounts, announcements and sneak peeks. This will increase loyalty and brand engagement.

15. Use font over images. Struggling to say what you want with a photo? Use an app such as Typic Pro to place some font over the top. This works very well with competitions, discounts and launches. This also ensures your message is shared if your photo is re-grammed. Hollister is a great example of this!

16. Let your hair down! Instagram is a way of showing your customers what your business is like on the inside and ‘after hours’. If someone goes on holiday, ask them to send you a snap! We’re all human…bringing personality to your feed will encourage followers to speak to you.

17. Follow other brands & learn from them.


May, 07, 2014