Jake Intel

Leland Fiegel

Your Brand on Instagram. Some practical tips.

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networking platforms out there. In fact, since being acquired by Facebook in April 2012, the photo-sharing network has steadily grown to 200 million users with 60 million photos shared daily.

This article offers some practical tips on evaluating your brand’s need for an Instagram presence and how to execute your social strategy if you choose to begin representing your brand through a series of pictures.

Go Where The Users Are

As with all social media marketing, you should know your audience. If they’re active on Instagram, logically, you should be there, too. If they’re likely to use other sites or apps instead, maintain your focus on the most relevant networks.

Take one of our clients, Nusta Spa, a luxury urban day spa in the heart of Washington, DC. To learn if Nusta’s customers were using Instagram, we did a quick search to see if clients were using the #nustaspa hashtag, or if anybody was geo-tagging their photos to Nusta’s downtown location.

Sure enough, they were.

People had posted photos of their glowing skin after a facial, freshly polish nails, even a glamour shot of newly applied lash extensions! And since Nusta is a results-oriented day spa, Instagram was a perfect platform for users to share their beauty results with the world.

What do I take pictures of?

A lot of this depends on your brand, but here are a few ideas:

  • Photos of the interior and exterior of your workspace.
  • Photos from the neighborhood or community where you’re located
  • Website screenshots. Let people to check out new sections on your site.
  • Holiday-themed images. Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, perhaps more obscure (but still recognized) holidays.
  • Pictures of your team. Maybe one of them has a birthday or another big event on the horizon. Celebrate that.
  • Really, anything that comes to mind.

Here is an example of a recent photo posted to The Jake Group Instagram account. We saw a blue jay outside of our office, so we snapped a picture of it. It’s not something you typically see every day.

Don’t neglect the caption

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a well-written caption is a great way to provide context for the media you’re uploading. Keep in mind that a picture’s purpose may be obvious to you, but that may not be readily apparent to a casual browser.

With the above birdwatching example, all we needed was a simple description of where the bird was spotted: outside our window in the office garden. It can be safely assumed that it was a simple, transient event (and the first sign of spring!)

Do I need a fancy filter?

While one of Instagram’s most popular features is their easy photo filtering, it’s not necessary to apply one to each of your photos before uploading.

There are about 30 different instant filters you can apply to photos and videos. Some are better for indoor pictures, some are better for outdoor pictures, and some look better in different light (day vs. night, sunny vs. cloudy). The best way is to go through each one to get a feel for how they actually affect the overall tone of different types of photos.

(Personally, my favorite filters are LoFi and Amaro.)


Instagram was originally created for photo sharing, although recently introduced video sharing in later versions of the app. You can now upload videos up to 15 seconds long.

The jury is still out on how brands can creatively use Instagram videos, but here are a few ideas from brands that have put out some creative videos.

It’ll take some additional effort.

Gaining followers

Instagram includes features to add your Facebook and/or phone contacts if they are on Instagram. By following your friends, you’re essentially inviting them to follow you back, although this isn’t a guarantee.

You can also announce your new Instagram account on your already established marketing mediums, such as Facebook, Twitter, and email.

Creating some sort of signage in your store (if applicable) or adding a link from your website is also a great way to let your customers know that you’re on Instagram.

Don’t sweat it too much

If your picture or video isn’t absolutely perfect, no need to worry. Instagram is much more about people and the moments they capture, than it is about sharing beautiful photography (although that is a nice byproduct sometimes).

And don’t be afraid to show your lighter side. Finally, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get as many followers or likes as you’d initially like. Patience is key in gaining traction on any new marketing medium.

Happy Instagramming!