With over 300 million users, now surpassing Twitter, Instagram is the social place to be.  Each day the global community shares over 70 million photos and videos on Instagram.  The largest demographic on Instagram is 18-34 year olds and a study found that a lot of those users are urban, youthful women. Instagram is still working on growing their paid advertising platform but it has proven to be a huge success for the big brands who have tried it.  Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream reached 9.8 million people in the US in just 8 days with Instagram advertising.  The targeting currently being used for those ads is the demographic data Facebook uses to show ads to the appropriate people.


Without using paid advertising, we share with you 5 ways to build your brand and followers on Instagram without spending a penny (other than the time it takes to do it).

1. Build your Instagram community with a unique hashtag strategy.  Create a hashtag centered around your business and promote a campaign using that hashtag.  Invite followers and potential followers to share their experiences, stories and, of course photos, relating to that hashtag.  If your business is a product, encourage users to share photos using that hashtag.  If your business is a service, encourage users to share photos from their experience with your service using the hashtag.  The hashtag allows you to search on Instagram to find all of the fans’ photos they have shared.  Those photos also make great marketing pieces to share on your account and encourage others to engage.

2.  Partner with influencers to promote your account.  Depending on your business, the right  influencers may be a popular blogger or a non-profit group, but are important to help share your brand to their followers.  Ultimately, the goal of the influencer is to find someone with a large following to promote your brand to their followers and gain more followers to your business.  If you partner with a good cause or a local company, that shows more credibility for your business and humanizes your brand.  It help find influencers for your business, browse through related hashtags and look at accounts that are using those hashtags to see if they may be worthy enough to contact.  To contact other users, some may have an email listed in their bio for you to send requests to or you can send direct messages on Instagram to a specific user or group.

3. Utilize video clips to strengthen your branding. When Instagram started allowing 15 second video clips, it opened up a whole new world for marketers.  Some great ideas to showcase your brand through video is, shooting a product demo and answer FAQ, create a visual portfolio of your work, highlight special offers and events, or invite fans and follower submissions through hashtags.  Video content will be even more powerful in 2015 and any brands that haven’t tried it yet will be behind this year.

4. Create a contest with your unique hashtag.  Sometimes it can be more difficult to invite users to share photos using your brand’s hashtag.  Running a contest with a prize can help encourage fans to share photos and engage with your brand. Giving out weekly or monthly prizes can be an excellent way to increase engagement and your number of followers.

5.  Promote you Instagram account everywhere.  If you are running a contest like mentioned above, promote the contest on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms.  Adding Instagram links and icons to your website and any site talking about your business is also a great way to reach new followers and build engagement.

Can’t find the time to enhance your Instagram yourself? The marketing experts at Off The Wall Media are here to help.  Visit our website OffTheWallMedia.com and contact us to learn more.