Social Marketing

10 Tips to Get Your Business Started on Instagram

September 30, 2013

Benjamin Lehrer

By Benjamin Lehrer

When Instagram was born in October 2010, no one could have predicted its exponential growth. On April 12, 2012, Facebook made the decision to acquire Instagram for a measly 1 billion dollars. Yes, that’s 9 zeros after the 1.

A Billion dollars?! For a 2 year old app?! Zuckerburg, you’re crazy…right?


Humans are social beings – so, naturally, social technology mutates our healthy interest in other people’s lives into hyper-activated obsession. With the most minute and mundane happenings across our network now available for us to consume, ponder and scrutinize, the things we find interesting on Facebook are fascinating: from selected toilet paper brands of celebs to latte art of ex-lovers – the things we share and snoop range from wonderful to very, very weird.

When it comes to celebrity spotting – digital connections can be real and powerful. Learning that “Oh hey! I have the same shoes as Nicki Minaj” or “Justin Timberlake eats at In N’ Out? Soul mates!” makes civilians feel connected, even if just for a moment . Amazingly, these candid, Instagram-created connections can actually humanize the celebrity world.

Instagram has taken these once untouchable, elite groups of people in our society and made them relatable. While we know in theory that “they put their pants on just like us, one leg at a time”, for fans, it’s truly riveting to see this realism in action. Once a famous Insta-connection is sparked, that digital relationship can actually last – especially because these networks provide the only source of raw, uncut captions of the lives of our idols.

Through real-time, personal photos, commonality can be created – we can track their wardrobe, match their style to ours, purchase their favorites and even replicate their ray-ban selection; the opportunity to aspire is endless. And so is the opportunity for brands to construct aspiration. A single post from the perfect icon flaunting his or her brand of choice can kick-start a movement.

Celeb media not only activates customers, but can inspire an army of ambassadors and a bona fide sales force who spread the word through their own online channels. Voluntary label loving combined with incentivized brand boosting truly mangles the entire meaning of endorsement. Clearly, Instagram has become a powerful and often gratuitous sales tool for brands all over the world.

There’s always a catch

Instagram is a free way to share pictures using filters to enhance your photos. But nothing really is free, right? Out there in cyberspace, there are thousands of accounts with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers. Celebrities have it easy when it comes to followers as they already have fans who want to connect via Instagram immediately. Brands like Nike, Nordstrom, etc. also have loyal customers who immediately want to connect, so they gain fans all the time.

Don’t be discouraged though

There are a lot of little fish that make it big on Instagram all the time, but time is what you need. This isn’t going to be a quick fix to all your problems. This is just another way you can start sharing good content with people who love your brand.

10 Tips to Get Started on Instagram

1. Creating your username – Make sure throughout all your social presence you have consistency within your usernames. IE: if your business is called “Bob’s Bakery” your Facebook URL should be and your Instagram account name should be @bobsbakery not @bobsbigbuns6. Trust me, clients think it’s funny to have names like that, but it just diminishes your social presence.


2. Pictures – A lot of clients ask me “How many pictures should I post?” I tell them at least 3 pictures a week to start. And when you start to build more of a following you can share more and more. You initially don’t want to flood Instagram with your entire life. Quality over quantity. Be mindful of what you post and make it look awesome. Spend time on your content so users will want to share it with their friends.

3. Framing and Focus – I see so many Instagramers today posting pictures that are visually unappealing. It’s like they just pulled out their phone, took a picture and hit “POST!”

Take it easy Instagram Sam!

Relax, calm down and take some pride in your shot. People aren’t going to like your picture or follow you if they know you didn’t spend the time to post something worthy.


4. Following – Follow people that are in your space or niche, and they will probably follow you back. Follow people whose pictures interest you. I love collecting retro sneakers so I follow a lot of sneaker collectors and they follow me back because I post about shoes once in a while.

5. Hashtagging – It’s ok to throw a few #hashtags in your Instagram posts. Your pictures will then be added to searchable lists of other pictures that have the same #hashtag. Just remember…DON’T OVER DO IT WITH THE #HASHTAGS. I see a lot of Instagram’ers flooding each of their post with lots of #hashtags. It’s a way to spread your content, but once the viewer sees that you’ve #hastagged 100 words, it looks desperate. You don’t want to look desperate on Instagram. Bad news bears, my friend. 


6. Switch it up! – Your face is pretty, but I don’t need to see 100 pictures of your mug in a row. Instagram’ers love an eclectic profile. They want to see what you’re interested in with all aspects of your life. One of my favorite people to follow is Rick Ross (@richforever) because this guy’s life is fascinating. Not only is he a big time rapper, but the pictures he releases in Instagram are OUTRAGEOUS. Stacks of cash, cars, houses. He’s just strait ballin’. So remember, post things that you’re proud of and have interest in. People will relate.

7. 3rd Party Apps: Bring Em Out – I highly recommend downloading Diptic on your iPhone when you start to use Instagram. “Diptic is an app for iPhone and iPad that allows you to quickly and easily combine multiple photos together into a single image.” Pretty self-explanatory, check out the app and use it to make collages with your pictures. Just like the title in #6, Switch it up!


8. Don’t be stupid, back it up! – Technology is great, but you can’t rely on it always. Back up your Instagram photos on a regular basis, just to be safe. An easy and frictionless way to do this is via PastBook’s Instaback service, which downloads all your Instagram photos and emails a link to your handy zip file, for free.

9. Know your Metrics – My favorite place to go to get all my analytics on my IG account is Statigram. With Statigram you can get your total number of likes received on any post, your most liked photos ever, your average number of likes and comments per photo, your follower growth charts and more. It’s nice to know what’s working and what you could be doing better to drive more people to your page.


10. Timing is Everything – We talked about metrics in Tip #9 and one of the most important metrics you should be conscious of is your posting time. Ask yourself “what time will I get the most engagement from my followers?” You can take a look at’s Optimization tab to see your best time to post photos. This will give you a good idea what’s getting the best traction and at what time with your following.


So go out and create that Instagram account that will “WOW” your followers and take you to new heights in your niche. It’s all about creating amazing content. Let’s see what you can do.




Benjamin Lehrer

Benjamin Lehrer

  • Churchill Public Relations

    I have a logistics question. If I manage social media for several small businesses, what is the best practice for setting up each individual Instagram account since it’s attached to a phone rather than being something I can just set up online (such as I do for them with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+). I have my own personal Instagram account, and I understand hashtag campaigns, how to frame & edit photos, what types of photos are engaging, and all of that, but have no idea how to actually set up the account for clients who want me to contribute to and manage their Instagram account, but also be able to upload photos themselves. How can a whole team of people contribute to a single Instagram business account? (other than using hashtags) – I mean the actual posting part ? Thanks for any tips!

  • Vincent Perro

    These are good advices, but I’m affraid you’ve missed one very important aspect – following management. But that is the key to success – to engage lots of people into your account’s life. The most reliable way to do so is to contact as many users with similar interest as possible. Those interests can be places you visit, filters you use, objects you picture. And, of course, you have to follow them, hoping they will follow you back. But even if you’ve done everything right, commented and liked their photos, more than a half of them won’t. That’s absolutely normal, that’s how it works, nothing to be worried about. But now you need to get rid of those who is not interested in you, and there’s one easy way to acomplish the task – to use an automated unsubscription service. I’ve been using this method for years since the early twitter era, but in instagram there was nothing for mass unfollowing. But the game has changed since this awesomeness appeared – It is capable of unfollowing up to 5000 users per day, and you’re granted 1000 free unsubscriptions once you have registered. A hookah bar i’ve been promoting using this technique got almost hundred new real customers in a month – they almost doubled the amount of visitors who, in their turn, provided a good web presence for the bar.

  • jamiehayes

    I’m looking for a consultant I can pay to help me set up an Instagram account for my business.

  • Rick Ross

    I ran across your tips while I was looking for any promotion steps. Thanks for sharing. Have you ever tried In short, it’s awesome booster, which give you real and active followers.

  • Martin Jeffield

    About apps you listed. I can add my favorite one called zen-promo that finds real followers on instagram. did you hear about it? This is very useful too as I think.

  • George twowaves

    Use for real followers

  • Rubby Joseph

    Instagram Blue Badge $450 only
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