How Brands can become Instagram Superstars

Instagram Culture

“A Picture is worth a thousand words”. This quote perfectly encapsulates the power Instagram can grant to brands who wish to engage with customers and boost revenue. You are probably here to understand how you can use Instagram to build a company’s brand perception, boost engagement, or even increase organic impressions.

It would be a mistake to not examine the culture of Instagram so we know exactly what we are dealing with here. What Facebook was to baby boomers, Instagram is to millennials and Gen Z and it is a whole different beast.

Instagram is a popular social media platform focused exclusively on users posting pictures and sharing these pictures with their followers. It was launched in October 2010 and has skyrocketed in users since then.

The culture of Instagram is boiled down to one thing: storytelling through pictures. While facebook, Twitter, Snapchat allow video/picture posts, Instagram has carved out its own niche of visual storytelling and users enjoy the various uses they have for the platform.

This is all awesome, but how can we use Instagram for companies to achieve high objective goals?

Through 3 small but significant (also overlooked!) features Instagram has rolled out over the recent updates:

Instagram Stories

Instagram stories have surpasses Snapchat stories monthly users for a reason. Influencers are realizing they can now post stories, much like Snapchat, but it would be in a centralized location with all of their other advertisement posts.

  • Companies can use Instagram stories to humanize the brand. By visibly getting in front of your followers, you are able to put a face to the brand and engage with people at the same time. Instagram stories allows users to comment and send reactions and you can respond in real time.
  • Stories has a mention features which allows you to put someone’s username in your story and when people click the username it takes them to that person’s profile. This is perfect for shouting out customers, or awarding a prize to a contest winner. It can also be used to mention influencers.
  • Swipe Up Links is HUGE. This is a huge feature which is not yet available to everyone (just verified businesses). When a user swipes up during a story, they’ll see a designated landing page or a specific site page. This allows you to create an easy quick way to consumers to immediately go to your website as soon as they see your story.

Cool Experiments to run on Instagram Stories:

  1. Q&A’s
  2. Run Contests
  3. Give people a behind the scenes look at your business


  • Instagram has a 30 hashtag limit per post, so many influencers and companies utilize this by having a short succinct caption, followed by several spaces and all the relevant hashtags to their post.
  • Instagram uses hashtags to allow people to discover new content and by using the hashtag in your caption you will see an increase in organic impressions. People use hashtags to search for content on Instagram, so using the right hashtags can help put your content in front of people searching for keywords associated with your business.

Instagram Contests

Instagram contests is the perfect way to encourage customers to engage with your brand and spread the word about you across Instagram and beyond.

Series of steps to facilitate a successful contest:

Choose an appropriate prize

  • Choose a prize that is unique and relate to your business. Giving away $500 cash would attract a lot of participants but they would not be quality customers who appreciate the business, but rather are there for the chance to win the money. By having a specific prize it will attract entrants who are genuinely interested in your business.

Decide on an entry method

  • Some of the simplest contest entry methods on Instagram begin at asking entrants to like a picture, or follow the page, etc. We can take it a step further and have entrants post a picture in order to be entered; these pictures can be tied to a particular theme (food, colors, seasons, their favorite product from your offering). This helps generate and faciliate word of mouth as the entrant’s following also see the posted picture, and in turn also see your brand.

Build your contest

  • Create an attention grabbing headline and post an image of the prize with the title in order to grab people’s interest quickly. In the post, write about the entry method and prizing info

Monitor Progress

  • Use hashtags to easily track how many photos are being shared on Instagram that have your contest hashtag. One simple way to do this is to ask fans to use one in the caption for the photos or videos they post as a requirement for entry. However, make sure the contest hashtag is truly unique and has not been used for previous contests or for contests for another brand.
  • Use Wishpond or Woobox Instagram contest web apps for real-time campaign reports, which allow you to track views, entries, and conversion rates.

Promote your contest

  • The easiest way would be to email your current mailing list, and promote your contest on all social media platforms.

Follow up- Actions

  • Showcase winning photos on your Instagram account and other social media platforms
  • Record a Behind the Scenes video of the panel of judges picking out the winning photos.

Instagram is a fantastic tool for marketing and is only getting stronger as its user base increases and analytics allows brands to accomplish so much more than before. A lot of influencers, such as Gary Vee, have started using theses tips (60 sec club contests, swipe up links in his Instagram stories), and they have seen returns which can also be enjoyed by brands willing to experiment with this social media platform.

By implementing these 3 small features, your brand will be ahead of the curve and will see massive returns from customers in the form of sales, loyalty, word of mouth, etc..

Good luck and happy posting! :)

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