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Toolkit Tuesday: 9 Steps to Instagram Success

Instagram for business can be tricky. On the plus side, your content appears directly in your followers’ feeds without getting filtered out, and Instagram users are highly engaged compared to other networks. On the other hand, if you don’t use it well, you could end up pouring a lot of time and energy into Instagram with little return. The key to success on Instagram is to understand what makes this platform unique and tailor your approach accordingly. Ready to build an engaging, brand-consistent Instagram account that your audience loves? Good! Let’s get started. 9 Instagram Tips for Business 1. Start with Strategy  Just like with

instagram tips for business

Instagram for business can be tricky. On the plus side, your content appears directly in your followers’ feeds without getting filtered out, and Instagram users are highly engaged compared to other networks. On the other hand, if you don’t use it well, you could end up pouring a lot of time and energy into Instagram with little return.

The key to success on Instagram is to understand what makes this platform unique and tailor your approach accordingly. Ready to build an engaging, brand-consistent Instagram account that your audience loves? Good! Let’s get started.

9 Instagram Tips for Business

1. Start with Strategy 

Just like with any marketing initiative, you need to think about your objectives and create a plan for success. This means defining your brand voice and mapping out a content rotation that is tailored to your target audience.

Look at which posts have worked well in the past and why (if you’re just starting your Instagram account, look to your other social platforms for insight – but keep in mind that your audience will vary across platforms). Plan out 6-9 content themes to ensure that your photos stay varied and interesting.

2. Be Smart with Your Profile 

We’ve seen so many brands put something like “The official Instagram account of XYZ brand” as their profile. How uninteresting! Your profile should tell people who you are and compel them to want to follow you. Use this space for a call to action or even a special offer that is exclusive to Instagram.

Important note: your profile is the only place where you can include a clickable link (unless you pay to advertise on Instagram). It’s fine to change this link regularly to point to specific landing pages coinciding with whatever campaign or promotion you have going on. Be sure to tell your followers what you want them to do with specific calls to action in your posts (e.g., *Link in Profile*).

instagram tips for business

Seventh Generation’s bio gets to the core of what their brand is all about (“safe and effective products”), tells users what sort of content to expect and invites them to participate using #generationgood.

3. Define Your “Visual Voice”

Your photos should have a consistent look and feel to them, so that when users scroll through your feed, it looks cohesive and fits with your overall brand image. For some brands, that might mean that your photos all have a light, airy quality to them – or maybe you want your feed to be full of bright, bold pops of color.

Notice how brand Alchemy Juice keeps their visual voice on point with clean, crisp images featuring bright colors and plenty of white space.

instagram tips for business

Spend time looking at your favorite brands on IG for inspiration and ideas, then create specific brand standards and image guidelines – and stick to them.

4. Let Your (Brand’s) Personality Shine 

Your images will show up directly in your followers’ feeds, just like their friends’ pics. Don’t waste this precious opportunity to connect with your fans! Nobody will stick around if your posts are dull or too sales-y.

What is your brand voice – Witty? Quirky? Lively and fun? This, combined with your visual voice, will prompt people to follow and engage. Dominos is a brand that has done a great job at crafting a distinctive brand voice – funny, clever and a little sassy.

instagram tips for business

5. Tailor Your Content 

Don’t start an Instagram account and then just share all of the same posts to Facebook, Twitter, etc. Remember that with Instagram, you are using images to tell your brand’s story. It’s a great platform for giving your fans a behind-the-scenes look into your business, showing a different side of your brand and featuring your products in creative, visually stunning ways.

6. Hash Out Your Hashtags 

Hashtags increase the discoverability of your posts, and using them effectively can help you target people who are interested in the type of content you share. Studies have shown that more hashtags correlate with higher engagement (you can include up to 30 tags per post), but don’t get too caught up in exact numbers – focus on using hashtags that are highly relevant to your image and targeted to your audience.

7. Follow Proactively 

If you are a small brand or new to Instagram, it is worthwhile to invest some time growing your initial following. First, make sure you have great photos in your feed to entice follow-backs. Then, start following and engaging with other users who match your target audience profile. How to find them? Search hashtags that are relevant to your audience’s interests.

Increase the likelihood of a follow-back by not just following, but also liking and commenting on users’ photos users who match your target audience profile. For extra credit, read this: How to Build a Massive Following on Instagram.

8. Photo Quality Matters 

Duh, right? Instagram is all about the images. Unfortunately, we see so many businesses fail in this area. A filter can’t hide a photo that’s poor quality! If you want people to follow you, take the time to ensure each and every photo is aesthetically appealing and in line with your brand standards. Good lighting makes all the difference in the world. Here’s a good roundup of tips for taking better Instagram photos.

9. Measure Results 

Track your engagement to see which posts perform best, monitor your follower growth week-by-week and use custom bit.ly links in your profile so you can measure traffic to your website from Instagram. Iconosquare is a great tool for Instagram analytics. Measure against your goals and make adjustments as you go, keeping in mind that social ROI is about more than just the numbers

Invest the time on Instagram to make it so that people actually want to follow your brand or business. It takes some effort to do it right, but you’ll end up with a community of highly engaged, loyal brand advocates.


Need help with your social media marketing strategy? We love social and would love to talk to you about using it to grow your business. Contact us.

Looking for more Instagram resources? We loved Hillary Rushford’s Instagram with Intention class.

Heather Allen

Belle's first employee. Lover of great food, good books and spreadsheets. Mom of three. Native Floridian and city girl residing in the cornfields of central Illinois.