The Roadmap to Insta-Success: How To Use Instagram To Build Your Brand Online

Megan Ingenbrandt

Jun 02, 20154 min read
How To Use Instagram To Build Your Brand Online

Instagram is so hot right now.

If you haven’t heard, Instagram is replacing Facebook in terms of organic reach and user engagement. Brands are shifting away from the Book, and focusing more towards the image-sharing network.

Why is Instagram so successful? Because it allows brands to tell their stories through a series of pictures and videos. Tons of brands are successfully getting their message out there using it. And it’s replacing Facebook as the most popular place for brands to post online.

But how does it work? Can a bunch of pictures really help you tell your company’s story? Well, my friend, a picture is worth a thousand words. And Instagram is chock full of them, and video too! Here’s some of my favorite tips for ensuring your brand’s success with Instagram.

Before We Start...

Before setting up an Instagram profile, you’ll need to decide whether or not it’s a good fit for your company. Here are a few questions you should ask before setting up an account.

What are you trying to achieve?

What goal do you have in mind for your Instagram page? Are you trying to attract new customers? Are you hoping to drive more customers to your website?

Consider what your brand has to gain from creating a profile. Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons, you’ll know if Instagram is an appropriate outlet for your brand.

Who are you trying to attract?

Consider a few things when trying to figure out who you are trying to attract with your Instagram page.

  • How old are the people you’re trying to reach?
  • Are they male or female?
  • Are they married?
  • Do they have kids?
  • What are their interests?

Instagram appeals to a younger audience than most social networks. That’s why it’s important to know your target audience before setting up an account. If your product or service aims to attract an older crowd, you should focus your efforts elsewhere.

Why Instagram?

What makes Instagram one of my favorite social networks is that you choose what you see. The platform’s algorithm is the most simple, yet complex one there is. It’s the user’s brain.

That means that whatever you post on Instagram is going to be seen by people who are actually interested in what you have to say. People who are already fans of your brand or product are likely to follow you, and interact with your posts.

The photos and video you post can put a face to your brand, making your more trustworthy in the eyes of your customers.

So, What Do I Post?

Pictures and video, of course! Just make sure this content is in line with the values of your brand. Just like with your personal brand, your online presence is a definition of who you are. You have to be careful, and consider what your Instagram posts will say about your company.

Here’s a few ideas on what you can share:

Go Behind the Curtain

Instagram is great for giving your audience a look behind-the-scenes of your business. It’s a useful platform for humanizing your brand. Other social networks can be all business. Instagram can provide your followers with a look at what goes on beneath the surface.

I’m not saying share a bunch of embarrassing photos of your employees from the company Christmas party. Instead, show what makes your brand human. Post photos and video of what goes on in the day-to-day of your company. You can share images of birthday celebrations, or preparations for big events. You can also highlight employees and their contributions to the company.

When giving your readers a backstage peek, it’s important to steer clear of anything that could be damaging to your brand. That includes anything that could make your company or your employees look bad. Stick to content that is relevant to your company, while also showing that you like to have a bit of fun.

Be a Tease

Have you recently published a new blog post? Share a graphic from the post on Instagram! When you publish a new video on YouTube, share a snippet of it on Instagram. Give your followers a little taste of whatever it is you’ve created. Give them just enough to leave them wanting more, and that will drive users back to your website or blog.


If your company is hosting a networking or educational event, share it on the platform. In the past, I’ve posted a condensed version of an event flyer, as well as photos from the event on company Instagram accounts. It establishes your employees as thought leaders, and generates a buzz for your next event. And as a PR Specialist, you know I love generating a good buzz!

Encourage Engagement

Get your followers involved. Remember when I said to learn the art of the hashtag? It really comes in handy on Instagram. Instagram works a lot like Twitter, with one caveat: there is no character limit on an Instagram post. Include your images in the conversation by using hashtags that resonate with your brand.

I’m a big fan of Nike on Instagram. They’re pros at showing why they’re the best in the sportswear game. They already know their brand is synonymous with athletic gear, so they don’t take to Instagram to sing their own praises. Rather, they mix it up and post a variety of things like fans using Nike products or thanking followers for being loyal to the brand.

Go ahead, search #justdoit on Instagram. You’ll see a menagerie of posts from loyal Nike users decked out head to toe in Nike products.

Get them to repost your content. One of my favorite ways to do this is with the Repost App for Instagram. With this app, followers can share your original post, text and all, on their own profiles. Similar to the retweet on Twitter, this gets your content out to an audience you may not have reached otherwise.


If you plan to use Instagram for your brand, make sure you follow this roadmap to become an Insta-success! Do some research before setting up your account, and make sure what you post is in line with your company’s branding. If you follow all of these steps you should have a ton of followers in no time.

Are you already on Instagram? What strategies have proven successful for you? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments below!

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Megan is a social media addict based out of New Jersey. She is a huge Buffalo Sabres fan, lover of Frankenstein, and has never met a cup of coffee she hasn’t liked.