How to get started with Instagram

Instagram's platform allows you to reach 100% of your audience and its organic reach is growing every year. It will allow you to connect with your customers and potential customers when leveraged properly.

Putting your account together

1. Choose a username/handle.

Don't choose one that has numbers or is hard to type since people use this to find your account. If you are creating a business account, choose your business name to help your current clients find you easily.

2. Write your bio.

Your bio helps people understand why they should follow your account. Try to include:

  • What will people get out of engaging and following you? If it's daily photos, motivation, or awesome designs, let them know!
  • Something unique to you or a personal touch. My includes an intro and an emoji, but you can have a small way to encapulate what you're about
  • A call to action. Do people need to check out your site? Include a small CTA.

Your bio also includes a link. If you are setting up a business account, include your website link or create a linktree. Linktree allows you to direct followers to specific areas of your website, rather than having them try to navigate to a specific page. This works well for directing them to new blog posts or specific offers.

3. Choose your Instagram color palette.

Your palette should reflect what you want your audience to feel when they see your work and what best represents your business. This will vary from account to account.

Choose 5-6 colors for your palette. They won't be used in every photo or post, but they will act as a guide for content to make sure every post is cohesive.

Your Instagram palette is a visual guide for your brand. You should try to stick to those colors for all future posts because social media success is built on consistency. You need to show up as you every time you present yourself. Since people don't have the benefit of seeing your face every time, like when you meet in person, controlling your colors is a way of building trust through consistency and cohesiveness. For more about palettes, you can keep reading here.

4. Start following people.

Some places will recommend following 200 people to start. I would recommend following people that inspire you, accounts that look like your target customers, and potential people you'd like to work or partner with some day.

By following people, it lets other accounts know that you're active. If you don't follow anyone, it can look like you're into your own account and won't be getting social.

5. Get social.

The point of social media is to engage with other people. It's not simply a like for like game or a way to push your message out. It's a way to begin and hold conversations with new people.

Once you get started following people you're interested in, spend some time engaging with:

  • Liking their pictures
  • Leaving REAL comments (not ones that look like they're written by a robot)
  • Asking to repost content that you love

Things to remember for posting to Instagram

1. You design for a 9-square grid. You can see some examples here.

2. Don't forget, every post needs hashtags! For more on hashtags, read on here.

3. Expect follower fluctuations

Daily follower counts can change a lot from day to day or post to post. Realize that a natural fluctuation of 5 to 15 followers (or more depending on the size of your account) is normal. This fluctuation is from people who are following and unfollowing accounts in an attempt to grow theirs.

4. Expect good and bad days

Sometimes a post can get 100 likes and sometimes it pulls in 20. It all depends on your hasthags, content, time of day, and more. So don't be surprised if you have an off day every once in a while!

5. Expect to meet some really cool people

There are some crazy awesome accounts on Instagram. They are doing tons of fun things and are usually happen to engage with you 1 on 1. Dream big about who you could be interacting with!

Try using different kinds of posts

Instagram offers several kinds of posts that you can incorporate into your feed:

Single photos

This is the one you'll see the most of and have designed templates for.

Multiple photos

You can add more than one photo at a time (and up to 10) to a post on Instagram. Click here to see how.

Videos

Instagram allows you to post video! The video can last for up to 60 seconds. Click here to find out how to upload a video to your feed.

Boomerangs

You can also add boomerangs to your account's feed. Boomerangs act like a GIF and are constantly moving back and forth.

Incorporating the LATEST features

Once you feel solid about your account, posting, and engaging, try incorporating the latest Instagram features.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is a way to captures something going on in your day or life, without having to worry about messing up your curated feed. Learn how to use Instagram Stories.

Instagram Featured Stories

You can feature stories on your account as a longer lasting way to remind people of what you offer. Learn how to use Featured Stories.

If you're really looking to get into everything that Instagram has to offer, check out the latest updates.

Resources