Instagram : Picture This!


From ‘The Mast’

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Instagram is my favourite social media platform. Why? Cause, it’s all about the image. And, I love images. Darryn Altclass (of xyz) says:

“Instagram is for being passionate about what you love. Its extremely niche focused & it’s great for visual storytelling.”

Unlike facebook and twitter, instagram is one of the more ‘analog’ of the digital systems. By this, I mean, you can’t really schedule posts, it doesn’t allow you to repost easily, there’s no easy way to mass follow people, and it ‘aint easy to manage multiple accounts. All of this gives it charm – it means it’s more authentic. You might even say it keeps the interactions more ‘human’.

Keeping things more human means there aren’t really that many ‘tricks’ you can perform. Building an audience, posting photos, sharing – it mostly has to be done manually. It takes more time, but if done correctly, it also means you can build a much more focussed and engaged audience. Some might call it “the right audience”.

The other night at our xyz event I talked about how to use Instagram as a business tool. For those that missed it, here are a few pointers:


the image

It’s all about the photo. Figure out what story you want to tell through your account and then repeat that in different ways through each photo.

With your images, consider the rule of thirds, find good lighting, muck around with filters (have you tried VSCOcam? ) and don’t always use your phone. Use or DSLR, edit on the computer and dropbox it over. Instagram loves the photo – focus on good photos.

Consider how each photo will work in your overall feed. Keep it consistent. Instagram likes a feed they can categorise easily and people like know what to expect when they follow you. Develop a style.


profile & links

Explain your business well in the profile and use the ‘website url’ space for your latest call to action.

Instagram doesn’t make URLS clickable in comments. When you want to link users off to your website, refer them to the “link in our profile”. People can then click on your profile URL and it will trigger their phone’s browser.



Hashtags on instagram are more purposeful than how they’ve become used on twitter. They shouldn’t be use as the punchline to your joke #amiright!

Use them to get your posts in front of the right users – users that will interested in that particular photo. Get involved with Instagram’s weekly hashtag – if you play their game, there’s more chance they’ll notice you and feature your account. Look up the most used hashtags and figure out a way to utilize them in your visual storytelling.


partners & shoutouts

Partnering with other users is a quick way to get new followers. Find a person or a brand that has a large following and figure out what you can offer them to mention you / post a photo of your product. It’s like a personal recommendation and people will come over and check out your feed.

It’s kind of par for the course these days. Be strategic about who you choose to align with and be clear about what you expect from the relationship. You want the ‘right’ followers, not just ‘any’ followers.



Schedule your posts with Latergram.

Latergram lets you upload a photo and assign a time for it to post. When that time comes, your phone pings with a reminder and you’re guided through to instagram to post. You still have to be awake and available at that time, but it does help you to plan things a little easier.

Be careful with hashtags in this app though – at the moment it appears that it isn’t recognising them. Maybe keep all relevant hashtags in your phone’s notes and copy them over to the first comment after the photo has posted.


follow me

Hope there’s something in there you didn’t know or hadn’t thought about.

If you’re intersted in how I run instagram accounts, you can check out @whiteflagstudio, and my new one for Bare Bones

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