3 Golden Rules for Instagram

30 September 2019

Instagram is one of the world’s most powerful social platforms. There are more than a billion users a month and the app seamlessly mixes businesses, personal lives and advertisers together in a way that has made it an invaluable tool for both brand building and lead generation. An incredible 80% of users follow at least one business on Instagram and its relevance is only growing. 

Thankfully, making a successful business account is simpler than you think. Follow our three golden rules, and you’ll be well on your way to owning the ‘gram.

Be different

Not every business can be blessed with a steady stream of aesthetically pleasing subjects. In some ways, this can actually work to your benefit, as it forces you to get creative in thinking about how you can translate your business into an engaging Instagram feed. There’s only so many food, fashion, travel or design accounts that people can follow before it all blurs into one pretty mess. 

You can instead take something that’s related to what you do but is more interesting and turn that into your theme. Realising that water and sewage treatment is not something that you want to see in extensive detail, one small business took their Instagram presence in a whole new direction by instead posting photos of incredible manholes covers and fountains. It tied in perfectly with their brand image, whilst also being unique and intriguing enough for people to actually want to follow. Likewise, Vodka brand Tito’s runs an account that’s solely focused around adopted dogs, and the accompanying wholesomeness is a world away from the sleek, dark nightclubs that normally dominate spirits advertising.  

Be consistent

When someone follows an account on Instagram, whether it’s an individual or a business, they usually do so because of one or two big factors. Some accounts have great subject matter, others a unique editing style, and a select few offer windows into worlds otherwise undocumented. Whatever the case may be, these differentiating factors drive enjoyment and engagement with that account. A food based account that posts a fashion photo for example, will often see a massive downturn in likes and comments.

The issue is so divisive that many publications employ multiple Instagram accounts to appeal to different markets, making sure users never see posts that aren’t interesting to them. Once you pick a theme, stick with it. Unless you’re a company customers find extraordinarily interesting, there’s little use posting photos of your office space one day, photos of your product the next and then finishing off the week with an inspirational quote. 

Be influential

On Instagram, an influencer is someone within a niche or industry that commands a large following and therefore enjoys “influence”. If a huge makeup artist raves about your new product, chances are good that it will sell out in hours. This has lead to many brands partnering with influencers to promote their products and services; the old adage that advertising sells a lifestyle, not a product, has never been more true. Now brands can sell their products directly into a targeted, prefabricated ecosystem, something they could only dream of in the past. 

If you want to use influencers in your niche and location, there are some key metrics to look out for. Follower counts aren’t as important as they used to be, and you should instead be looking at an account’s ratio of likes and comments to followers. This is called engagement, and is an easy way to map how loyal and passionate an influencer’s followers are. It’s often better to use 5 engaged influencers with 10k followers each than it is to use a single account with 100k and limited engagement. 

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