7 Ways to Build a Following on Instagram

InstagramLaunching on Instagram isn't right for every brand—but it's just a matter of time before all brands have to make the leap to image-sharing networks. They are the future of all mobile communications.
Currently there are 150 million active users on Instagram; there are 1.2 billion likes daily, and an average of 55 million photos are shared per day. These growing numbers, impressive as they may be, may not represent your brand's audience. So for now, professional communicators should keep in mind these key aspects of Instagram—courtesy of Allison Robins, director of global PR for Zumba Fitness—before dedicating PR resources to it:
  • Instagram's audience is young and tech-savvy.
  • It started with mobile so there is no issue with adaptation.
  • It's cost-effective and is the largest ad-free social network.
  • It's essentially fun and offers opportunities for endless creativity.
  • The focus is on sharing experiences: images and video (plus photo tagging and reposts).
  • If your focus as a PR professional is ROI, this platform is not the best for conversions and sales.
If you've determined that now's the time to go visual with your PR messages, follow these seven best practices to build a following on Instagram.
  1. Be creative and post content that is topical and seasonal.
  2. Be consistent with hashtags to drive awareness and perception—especially during campaigns.
  3. Always define your objectives/goals.
  4. Don’t overuse hashtags.
  5. Do not post just to post: Instagram is not an online catalog and you will lose followers.
  6. 2-3 posts per day, max (unless during a campaign).
  7. Remember, Instagram is one channel to use; using Facebook and Twitter can be equally as—or more—effective.
Learn more about visual-based communications at PR News' Visual Storytelling Workshop on Nov. 5 in New York City.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI



About Steve Goldstein

Steve Goldstein is editorial director for Access Intelligence’s PR News brand, which encompasses premium, how-to content, data and competitive intelligence for public relations professionals; PR News Online; PR News conferences, webinars and awards programs; and PR News guidebooks. Previously at AI Steve was editorial director of min, min ’s b2b and minonline as well as managing editor of CableFAX: The Magazine and CableWorld. Before joining Access Intelligence, he was executive editor of World Screen News, and editor of Film/Tape World, which covered film, television and commercial production in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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  • Karly Weigel

    This article makes great points. The key to Instagram is making personal and brand related post engaging and different. I completely agree with a key fact from the article in regards to posting just to post. Not only will your followers become disinterested if you push irrelevant content, you risk losing valuable followers. In terms of Instagram use, less truly may be more. Many companies and PR professionals could take these tips to heart.

    Karly Weigel
    Platform Magazine

  • Pingback: More Than Just Sharing Photos: How Instagram is Changing the PR Industry « blog.paramountpr.com

  • montana spencer

    One additional point about Instagram is that it is owned by FB so at some point they will utilize it and it would be great to already have some understanding and fan base by the time that happens.

  • lilly

    I love the way that the company pura vida bracelets uses instagram. I have only followed them for about a month, but they are by far my favorite company to follow. They post about 2-3 times a day, usually with a contest, gorgeous product photos, cause info and or user pics wearing bracelets. Anyone else have a fun company to follow or recommend as an example?