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10 November

10 Simple Growth Hacks for your Business’ Instagram Feed – 10 Before 10:00

Julia Farrugia

Julia Farrugia writes.

Approximately 75 million users are on Instagram each day. It comes as no surprise that, with such big numbers, companies have tapped into Instagram as another fantastic source for online marketing.

But it’s not all about the numbers.

How do you make sure that the way you’re using Instagram is the best way for your brand?

1. Build your Brand

The first thing to do is to set your brand guidelines. Decide on what you’re going to post and how this will relate to what your company does and wants.

The guidelines don’t have to be strict, keep them flexible so that you can adapt to changing social media trends. You can choose to include your logo in your posts, or you can go logo free. You could even add the logo to specific posts only, whatever it is, remember to always be consistent!

Intel posts photos that aren’t directly related to what it is that it manufactures because f it were to do this it would have a very small and select audience. Instead it posts photos that are interesting to a larger audience, while still adding a touch of science.


Cool spring nights can create misty mornings. Moisture cools overnight, and condenses into a mist as the temperature warms. #Spring #ScienceSnap #DidYouKnow

A photo posted by @intel on


2. Don’t use Instagram as a catalogue

Your Instagram is not a catalogue! If you simply post pictures of products you won’t do very well. Use Instagram to build a relationship with your audience. Establishing  your brand will make your products more memorable to your customers. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show off your products, it just has to be subtle and contain an element of creativity so as not to become dull.

Sharpie fill their Instagram feed with pictures drawn by their fans. They showcase their fans’ work, which simultaneously shows how Sharpies are the first choice for many artists.     


It’s a tall-off! Tall Off Tuesday! #giraffe #sharpie A photo posted by @sharpie on


3. Give Back

Use Instagram to connect with your fans. Have goodie giveaways for a select batch of people (e.g. The first 100 to like the photo). This allows you to give something back and increases your brand’s feel good factor.

Hipmunk promoted their new merchandise by giving some t-shirts out for free to fans who commented on the post with details about their travel adventures.


New hipmunk t-shirts just arrived. Want one? Tell us your #travel goals for 2013 with #Hipmunk2013

A photo posted by The Hipmunk (@thehipmunk) on


4. Show off Your Customers

Customers are your best advertising tools. If they love your brand they’ll gladly spread the word. So treat them like kings and queens! Take the time to thank them for their support, and, if you can, why not show them off? Snap a photo of your customers (with their permission of course) and share it on your Instagram feed. They’ll tell their friends and your brand will be a step ahead of the rest!

Virgin America are great at this!


We gave out a few New Year’s surprises onboard our “Cosmopolitan Happy Hour” flight to Vegas thanks to Elevate partner @Cosmopoliton_LV A photo posted by Virgin America (@virginamerica) on


5. Engage your Audience

Reply to their comments and share their photos. Encourage them to use your brand hashtag and to take photos of their favourite products from your range. Show them you care about what they think!

Ben and Jerry’s did this fantastically by launching their #CaptureEuophoria campaign where fans were asked to show why they love Ben and Jerry’s so much. The photos were then featured on Ben and Jerry’s Instagram feed.



It wasn’t me. photo by @pennylabrador


A photo posted by Ben & Jerry’s (@benandjerrys) on


6. Hashtags! Decide on a hashtag for your brand and use this when posting. You can create a few other hashtags to use for themed posts. Think #throwbackthursdays or #tbt. Encourage your followers to use them in their photos by choosing the best photos for that tag.    

Red Bull have an ongoing #CoastalCleanup hashtag campaign! 


Keep #SouthAfrica beautiful. #CoastalCleanup A photo posted by Red Bull (@redbull) on


7. Above all, be human.

Your Instagram feed provides you with the perfect opportunity to show that your company is made up of human beings. Connect with your audience by showing a lighter side to your company.

Starbucks did it brilliantly with their #HowWeMet campaign.  From love stories, to great friendships, the stories gave Starbucks an emotional, human, element and were a great success with their fans!



Gareth: “We met each other through a mutual friend. I never usually do coffee with a mate, but Wayne got me into it.” “My group of mates say, ‘men don’t do coffee!’ —but I say: ‘well, Wayne does.’” “We’re modern men—who do coffee!” #HowWeMet #Cardiff #Wales


A photo posted by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on


8. Your 15 seconds of Fame!

Instagram allows users to post short 15 second videos. Use these to promote your brand. Give sneak peeks of product launches, show teasers of initiatives, or post a quick video of the staff celebrating a new accomplishment.

Top Shop recently posted this cheerful teaser of their Holiday Campaign, the element of mystery and fun was an instant attention grabber.  


Jingle bells, fairly lights and rock’n’roll! See what @caradelevingne has been up to behind the scenes in our #Holiday campaign #ilovetopshop #campaigngirl #caradelevingne #campaign #sneakpeek #preview A video posted by Topshop (@topshop) on

9. Get linked!

Instagram was recently sold to Facebook for 1Billion Dollars. How is this significant?

Instagram and Facebook can be integrated through linking the accounts. This means that when you link your business account to the business’ Facebook page,  you can choose “share to facebook” in the sharing options and anything you share on Instagram will go straight to Facebook!

This may be done with most social media sites, however Facebook might be taking it to the next level, check this article out to find out more!




10. Use it to do good!

Instagram is great for more than just corporate companies. It can also be used by NGOs working to make a difference.

Big NGOs like UNICEF often use social media in order to get their message across and have produced some fantastic campaigns! If you are in an NGO and don’t have an Instagram account then it’s time to join the band wagon!

If you’re a corporate business why not find an NGO with a similar aim and work together? Working with an NGO is great because you get the chance to give something back. It also shows that your business cares about more than just money, so go ahead and get busy!

Internet giant, Google, shared this photo to spread awareness about how Pandas are suffering from habitat loss!


Habitat destruction has led to just 1,600 pandas remaining in the world, and French sculptor Paulo Grangeon has come up with an unusual way to raise awareness of the species’ precarious position. He designed 1,600 papier-mâché pandas, and they’re now “on tour” in Hong Kong to promote conservation. We’ve captured some photos of the paper pandas in @GoogleMaps #StreetView.

A photo posted by Google (@google) on


#10before10 is a new series of posts by Switch Digital which will help you improve your online marketing efforts with 10 simple and actionable tips every Monday morning.

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A little more about

Julia Farrugia

Online strategist by day, environmental activist by night, Julia is the youngest member in the team. When she’s not curating, editing, or writing content she’s scheduling and planning. Her highlighters are her friends and she’s constantly taping to-do lists to the wall.