How To Grow Your Brand On Instagram

By BrainStation August 11, 2017

Of all the social media channels available to brands, Instagram has been getting a lot of attention recently as a great tool to grow your brand. In fact, looking at the current state of Instagram as a marketing tool, it is providing brands with 25% more engagement than other social media platforms. So how can you optimize your Instagram profile to build your online presence?

We collaborated with Designer Mary Young to dive into Instagram and how to use it effectively.

grow your brand on instagram

Why Instagram is a Platform for Growth

  • It provides brands with 25% more engagement over other social platforms
  • Forrester analyzed over 3 million users interactions and saw a 4.21% brand engagement rate
  • Engagement is higher because users follow accounts based on pictures that they want to see, ultimately creating a platform without as much noise.
  • Demographics: 58% of users 18-29
  • 26% of users have income > $75,000
  • Average time users engage with the app is 50 minutes
  • Average of 2.5 billion likes on posts every single day
  • 70% of all hashtags on Instagram are branded and 50% of text contains emojis, allowing marketers to organize and categorize their content efficiently
  • The number of brands that have achieved success with Instagram as their primary marketing strategy is increasing, with companies like Daniel Wellington reaching 2.5 million followers through their influencer campaign.  

Forrester analyzed over 3 million user interactions and saw a 4.21% brand engagement rate, the reason for this being that Instagram is a unique platform where for the most part, you choose what you see. This results in reduced noise and a higher engagement rate, allowing content to reach consumers whose interests are aligned with your brand or business.

Instagram is especially useful when you look at the demographics of people who use the app, 58% of users are aged 18-29, and 26% have an income greater than $75,000.

User engagement on Instagram averages 50 minutes, that’s almost an hour of scrolling, double-tapping, and ultimately soaking in your brand’s content.

Best Practices on Instagram

So how do these brands do it?

Grab that low hanging fruit

  • Friends and family act as seed followers and provide social clout for your brand
  • Link your Instagram anywhere possible, whether it be on other forms of social media, business cards, or on the company website.
  • Adding the brand’s social media handle to any extra communication from the company helps to increase awareness

It’s all about the bio

  • An eye-catching biography is the first chance to hook your audience and tell your brand’s story. Combining text, emojis, and links helps to provide value to users and drive traffic to your website.

Consistency is key

  • Be consistent with your messaging and imagery to maintain a distinctive voice and tone throughout your posts. Photographs that have a familiar aesthetic will ensure that your page reflects your brand and is recognizable to followers.
  • *Pro tip: if you put your phone on airplane mode to edit your photos, you can post them to Instagram and see how they fit with the rest of your feed by viewing your Instagram folder in photos.

Use the right #hashtags

  • Hashtags should relate to your business, product, and photo. It can be helpful to use popular hashtags like #instagood and #photooftheday, but while this exposure may help you gain followers it doesn’t mean you will see increased sales. *pro tip: look at accounts that you see as #goals, and if their content is similar to yours, replicate their hashtags.

Edit correctly

  • Instagram’s popularity originally stemmed from the simplicity it brought to the photo editing process. Editing a photo can be a great way to standardize your feed, but it’s important not to overdo it with filters.

A key feature that makes Instagram such a valuable tool is the ability to have a business profile, enhancing your account with an additional call to action, “Contact”, in addition to providing insight into your reach, unique account views, impressions, demographics etc.

Building a Community and Continued Growth | Growing Your Audience

Post content at peak times

  • It’s important to post when your following is engaged so that your content won’t fall through the cracks of the Instagram algorithm.
  • 80% of your content should focus on enlightenment and engagement, keeping self-promotional posts to around 20%. This means sharing products in an informative and interesting way, detailing the function or benefits, as 65% of top-performing posts feature products.

Engage with your users

  • Responding to comments, liking posts that users tag you in, and curating user-generated content by reposting and giving credit. This creates a conversation with your audience and builds a community around your brand.

Tag your location

  • SimplyMeasured observed over 600 accounts and found that adding a location tag increases engagement by 79%

Taking the shot

  • You don’t need a fancy camera.
  • Lighting, Lighting, Lighting
    • Natural light when it is a daytime photograph, and take advantage of the brightness, contrast, and shadows editing tools to create the perfect lighting.
  • Rule of Thirds
    • Popular composition rule where to achieve a well-balanced photo you break the image down into thirds.

Instagram editing tools

  • Saturation for emphasizing colour and making your feed pop.
  • Warmth to adjust a colour cast on your photo, if it’s blue/green you can add warmth and if the picture has a yellow hue, cool it down.
  • Highlight is a great tool to make the whites of your photo brighter.
  • Sharpen can add a professional edge to pictures taken on a phone camera.


Want to dive even deeper into building your social media presence? Check out our Social Media Strategy weekend workshop or Digital Marketing course.