“I’ll just Instagram that!” – Instagram 101

With 200 million users, Instagram is fast becoming one of the most popular platforms for not only social use, but more and more businesses are now using the platform for new marketing opportunities.

Instagram is a photo sharing platform where users can comment/like/share photos and can also be used as a platform for a variety of competitions.

It’s like a visual version of Twitter – you aren’t going to get into big long descriptions on your posts but your goal is to create visually appealing imagery, interesting photos and accompanying these with hashtags.

These days the term Instagram has become a verb in people’s vocabulary with users stating ‘I’ll Instagram that’.

As the platform becomes ever so popular, especially for businesses, here are the essentials for Instagram 101:

  1. Hashtags

Hashtags are attached with photos and are in reference to details of the photo post. Hashtags are created by using the symbol ‘#’ in front of a phrase and the hashtag will be automatically generated in your description. Hashtags allow for users to search a particular topic and any photo that has been tagged will be shown. This feature makes it particularly easy for businesses and competitions as all the entries will use a specific/unique hashtag creating a collection of photos for easy viewing and judgement. Hashtags are also used to join in on worldwide topics, popular examples include:

  • TBT – Throwback back Thursday
  • FBF – Flashback Friday
  • Instameet – this was a recent campaign where users from all over the world came together on a specific day to take photos of their local region and by including the hashtag, users were able to interact with people from different locations.


  1. Sharing

When posting on Instagram, a wider audience can be reached by sharing your post through other social media including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. This feature can be used to draw users from your existing social media to your Instagram profile and in turn will hopefully create new followers.

Helpful tips in using Instagram:

  • Best time for posts is Monday’s at 6pm
  • Golden rule for hashtags is 5 per post
  • Encourage engagement
  • Create a posting strategy

As for a successful Instagram campaign, Travelocity shows the success in using hashtags. To view the case study visit, http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/six-tips-killer-hashtag-campaign/

A well-known brand, Starbucks, has shown the way in which creativity can be taken when posting on Instagram, http://instagram.com/starbucks


Instagram is not going to be for everyone. As with all social media platforms, have a think about if it’s suitable for your business and if you have the time to commit to it.

The first step for Instagram is to create a profile and get creative! Follow us @redhotblue