How to Grow your Brand on Instagram

How to Grow your Brand on InstagramAfter receiving one of the kindest shout outs ever in Lisa and Sarah‘s Alt Summit presentation, I thought it’d be fun to share some of my own personal tips with you about how to grow your brand on Instagram!

Since rebranding my blog back in March, I’ve seen a 167% increase in Instagram followers (holy crap, right?!). It’s by far one of my favorite social media platforms because it gives me the freedom to be creative all while allowing me to be personable and connect with others. If you aren’t on it already, or perhaps you’re not that active, I urge you to give it a try! Here are five easy things you can do to grow your brand:

1. Hashtags. I’m not saying you should tag your image with 100 different adjectives, but rather find the hashtag that members of your community use and get involved. If you go to an event, check the specified hashtag and interact with others. Are you a blogger? See what tags other bloggers are using on a regular basis. Don’t just tag your photos with it and be done; take the time to check out what others are posting and engage (comment/like/follow, etc).  Which leads me to my next tip..

2. Be Active. As with all communities, the more you put in, the more you will get back. If you don’t like or engage with others, there’s really no incentive for them to interact with your photos. This also means be active in your posting. I may not hit it all the time, but I at least have a goal to post an image once a day. Since moving to this approach, I’ve noticed an increase in engagement all around.

3. Find the Right Time. Think about your ideal reader/customer and when they are most likely to be on their phones. If you take a really great picture at 2am, that doesn’t mean you have to post it then. Of course this is personal preference (perhaps you like to live in the moment), but I tend to stagger out my images to ensure as many people see them as possible.

4. Use the Explore Section. Now, you might be saying to yourself, whaaat? This feature used to really stink in my opinion, but Instagram has made a few changes recently that I really like. It’s now so much easier to find images you’ll like because the photos are based on likes from other people you already follow. Interacting with new people, especially those you wouldn’t have otherwise known about, is always a great way to grow.

5. Take the Time to Edit & Write a Caption. Of course you’re going to capture that beautiful sunset and hashtag it #nofilter every now and then, but for the most part, your iPhone images will need a little editing. VSCO CAM is hands down my favorite photo editing app as it allows me to adjust basic things like exposure and contrast without it appearing too filtered/edited. I tend to edit my photos the same way each time, which really help build a constancy in how my images appear (great for brand recognition). Captions are a great way to connect with your followers. If you take a picture of paint, don’t just title it “Paint”. Maybe talk about the project you’re working on, or prompt a question about their favorite color or type of paint. Get creative and get people talking!

So that’s it! If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment below. It took me almost a year before I took a photo I was really proud of, so if you’re new to it, don’t worry, you will improve! And if you don’t believe me, just head on over to my profile and scroll down a bit :)

  • Crystal

    The pictures that you take with a soft white background, are those taken in a light box or some sort of background? Or do you really have a perfect spot in your house like that?

    • Oh how I wish I had a spot like that in my house! Truth be told, I shoot on top of a white poster board in front of a window. Not really glamorous, but it works :)

      • Crystal

        Ok. Thank you. I’m constantly trying to get better product photos and find myself setting up elaborate sets to get them when what I really want is a clean whit background so my product pops. I’ve had it in my mind that super cool bloggers like you

        • hahah if only my house looked that clean and nice :)! I would love to know how this works out for you. And I’m happy to answer any questions you have after you have your setup!

      • Amalia

        This is a great tip! I was going to ask the same question. I always struggle to find the right place to shoot my product/recipe photos! A posterboard is genius. So simple, and a dollar at my local dollar store!

        • Yeah Amalia! It’s totally transformed my photography and it’s pretty easy to set up and move around. Would love to know how this trick works for you!

  • transientexpression

    Great tips, thanks for sharing! I really haven’t been getting as much as I could out of instagram, so I’m definitely going to try some of these suggestions. Regarding the right time, when do you find is the best time for posting?

    • Oh yay! So glad you found this information useful! And as for time, I’ve found that around 8-8:30am (PST) works pretty well, and so does around 5pm. For some reason my mid-afternoon post don’t do well at all, assuming that it’s because people are working. Saturdays also never tend to do that well.

  • This couldn’t have come at a better time! I’m in the process of trying to rebrand myself and my social media platforms as I wait for my web designer to finish my new blog design.

    Do you have any suggestions as far as deleting old photos from wayyy back when you first started Instagram? I don’t want to make a new Instagram for my blog (I want to keep my followers) HOWEVER, I do want to rebrand. Would you suggest going back and deleting all those old pictures (you know, before #selfies was a thing.)

    As always, love your blog and everything you post.

    • Oh how exciting Cassandra! I can’t wait to see the new look, I’m sure it’s going to be amazing :)

      And very interesting question! I personally didn’t delete old photos because I like having that catalog so I can look back on my progress. You’ve gotten the followers you have thus far because they like what you’re posting; it might shock them if they go to your profile and it’s all gone. Eventually your new brand/style will reveal itself on your feed and bury the old stuff. So I say keep it, but feel free to make a few select edits (i.e. bathroom selfles)!

      Also, thank you for your kind words <3!

  • Amy

    As always, excellent advice! Thanks for sharing with us. Since i’ve started posting on instagram every day, I’ve seen a HUGE increase in traffic. I have no idea where the people are coming from, but it’s wonderful be able to interact with so many of them. I heart Instagram!

    Amy @ http://instagram.com/delineateyourdwelling

    • Yay, that’s so exciting you’ve been able to see an increase in your engagement! I think some social media platforms are all about consistency, you know? Instragram IS the best, off to follow you now :)

  • Totalllyyyy agree about the explore section. I always though it was not worth anyone’s time, but now it’s SO much more engaging.

    • Right?! For a while it was all about selfies and weird makeup shots right? Love the new changes!

  • chris

    Thanks for the tips!

  • Thanks Casey! And it does take a bit to learn, but once you have it down, you’ll be able to crank out your edits in no time :)

  • KC

    Rachel, I really needed to read your post. Great tips! I was trying to figure out how to get my followers engaged in my post as well as increase my followers. Thanks so much!

    • Oh good, so glad you found them useful! Best of luck growing your brand :)

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  • Kev Shepard

    Sometimes all you need is just the right tool. Consider growing the brand on instagram as an investment, and ads can do miracles. If they’re not available in your country – you can always utilize a third-party tool. E.g. scraping your competitors followers is a good idea, as well as geography search in a specific city – it’s very important for a local business. All these features and more can be found at zengram.net.

  • Susan Kim

    Hi Rachel! Thanks for the article and, i appreciate this! But maybe you could use a little piece of advise concerning management of your followings. While your blog (or your brand’s campaign) is actively growing it’s vital to follow as many people as possible, but since a great portion of them won’t ever follow back, you have to get rid of them. Doing it manually can be a tough task, in which Fast-Unfollow can be very useful since it is able to unfollow up to 5000 users per day. You can try to unfollow your first 1000 for free. If you combine it with something for statistics, as followgram that you mentioned, or iconosquare that i use, you can achieve the top.

  • Bernie Sanders

    Thanks for these tips how to become instafamous, coz nothing matters without followers. I’m totally agree with you. As for me, It’s better to make cash on youtube aand 777spinsot