You’ve Started an Instagram. Now What?

Allyson Jansen

With Instagram’s 800 million monthly active users, creating and maintaining a strong and engaged following is key for social media success. Easier said than done, right? It’s not as difficult as you might think when you know the right strategies and insider tips for developing a powerful Instagram presence. 

Setting Up Your Account (The Right Way)

Your account name should be your business name and identical to the account name used on other social media platforms. Your username, ideally, should be the same but without spaces. Your profile pictures will be cropped in a circle shape, so the suggested minimum picture size is 110 x 110 pixels. 

The bio is where you can get a bit more creative with expressing your brand’s message. Great examples range from short and sweet to detailed and intriguing. Keeping on brand with your company’s objectives and motives will help to determine how to write your own bio.  

Instagram’s features for business accounts allow you to add call-to-actions like “call,” “shop” and “directions,” right on your account page! Make sure to take advantage of this to give followers an easier time accessing your company.

What Should I Post?

Instagram isn’t all about just posting product photos. Your content should exude the feeling that you want to convey through your brand, for your customers to connect with your brand. There needs to be a story to your picture.

Airbnb, a vacation rental website, uses its Instagram to encourage people to travel and adventure. While they highlight cool places listed for rent on their Instagram, they also feature travel photos and city skylines from their users. Who doesn’t want to live the life of this explorer?

Another example of Instagram marketing done right is Sharpie. Everyone knows what a Sharpie is, but the company uses creatives to showcase what this simple tool can do. It inspires its followers to get out and try new things with Sharpies, which in turn will drive sales as people will want to try these ideas out for themselves.

How About Pictures?

Keeping photos in line with your overall brand and tone, as well as producing high-quality photos that people will want to “like,” will keep your engagement high.

Anthropologie showcases a light and airy vibe on its Instagram, portraying a dreamy and enviable lifestyle—at least for those who shop with the brand. Their pictures all have the same aesthetical feel and are a mix of clothing, travel, home décor and lifestyle, making it perfectly curated content that resonates with its followers.

Ensuring imagery is size correctly is key for best optimization. Photos can be sized to be landscape, portrait or square. Each one has its benefits and drawbacks, depending on the photo you are trying to optimize for; however, you can always crop the image once it’s in the app when in a pinch.

  • Landscape: 1200 x 628
  • Portrait: 600 x 750 (4:5 ratio)
  • Square: 1080 x 1080

Using the Right Hashtags

Building a following—and an actively engaged one—is crucial for keeping your Instagram active and discoverable. Instagrams with at least one hashtag per post have 12.6% more engagement than those without. 

To find like-minded brands and potential customers to follow, search relevant hashtags for profiles that feature these things. Using hashtags to gain followers back is also important. They funnel people into your content by targeting interested and relevant users. 

On the Instagram Explore Page, Instagram works to curate relevant and related posts based on what each user “likes” and frequently views. If your hashtags are similar to brands they already follow and engage with, you’ll likely appear for them.

People are now able to follow hashtags like they would pages or people. This makes it easier to become discoverable by hashtags since they will appear in a regular Feed or in Stories, like other accounts.

Another way to use hashtags to engage followers is to create a brand or campaign-specific hashtag. King Arthur Flour uses #kingarthurflour for people to tag their baked goods and have a chance to be featured on their Instagram. Lululemon uses #thesweatlife as a way for its followers—and brand loyalists—to tag themselves and be seen by fellow Lululemon devotees.

What are Instagram Stories?

Over 300 million people use Instagram Stories every day, so treating them like a regular post is important for keeping up your brand’s presence. Like Snapchat, they last for 24 hours before disappearing but can be saved to Highlights for viewing later. 

Stories allow you to use stickers, Gifs, polls, hashtags and locations, which all contribute to your visibility on the app. People who follow hashtags also see Stories featuring the hashtag. The font and sticker options allow for creativity, but be mindful about staying on brand—an identifiable template will help to keep your Stories consistent and easily identifiable.

Stories can drive traffic to your site when adding website links, which regular posts don’t allow. This makes it easy to feature new products or direct people straight to your website for new deals or announcements. Try using Stories to offer freebies, like downloads or other exclusives, that include links to your website and help keep followers feeling special and engaged. 

How to Advertise on Instagram?

There are five ad types that Instagram offers to business profiles:

  1. Photos: One photo in the Feed
  2. Videos: A video in the Feed
  3. Carousel: A series of photos/videos in the Feed that users can swipe through
  4. Canvas Story: An immersive series of photos/videos that appear in Instagram Stories
  5. Story: A video or photo that appears as an Instagram Story

All offer CTA links and are seamlessly incorporated into Feeds and Stories so that users don’t feel bombarded with ads.

Instagram ads can be created in Facebook Ad Manager, since Facebook is its parent company. Ads should be creative and engaging—otherwise, people will just keep scrolling. Some of the best performing ads on Instagram have featured popular content, like dogs and food. If that isn’t relevant to your brand, try making sure your ads look like organic content—they’ll blend into Feeds, and people won’t even feel like they’re being targeted by ads!

How Does the Algorithm Work?

So, we keep talking about engagement and branding. But why’s that so important? You might be saying, “I don’t really care about metrics and data; I just want to promote my product.” 

Well, here’s the problem with that. Because of Instagram’s new algorithm, people won’t even see your photos if you don’t have high engagement. While Instagram has worked to strike a balance between chronological and ranked Feeds, it still ranks to a degree. 

Instagram factors interest, timeliness and relationship into which photos are pulled to the top of your Feed. So, accounts that you actively and regularly engage with will be shown first in the Feed; so that users can see what is most relevant to them. 

Putting It All Together

Want help managing your Instagram account? Let Concentrek Group help! We provide social media content creation and management services that can help your brand create an engaging social media presence—and garner an enviable following for your brand.

Contact Concentrek Group

Contact Concentrek Group


Ready to see what Concentrek Group can do for you? Fill out this form and we’ll be in touch soon. Can’t wait? We don’t blame you—contact us at 419.244.9000 or