7 stages to a thumb-stopping Instagram post

At VirtuBrands, we’re a bunch of storytellers who believe the most successful brands are those that get social.

With over a billion active monthly users, Instagram is the third most popular social media platform, following only Facebook and YouTube. If your brand is active on social media, it’s highly likely that Instagram is part of your arsenal. I travel the country delivering social media training and strategy sessions and the one thing I’m always asked is, “How do we get more followers on Instagram?” Simple questions rarely have simple answers, and it’s important to understand one size doesn’t fit all. In fact the brands that do the best are the ones which find a genuinely unique way to tell their story. That being said, there are some golden rules everyone can follow.

When someone lands on your profile you only have a few seconds to convert them into a follower. Often success will depend on the impression they form from the briefest glance or summary scroll of your feed. It’s got to look inviting and needs a simple, clear message which right away lets that potential follower know that you will add value to their feed. Here are a few tips to help get you on your way to creating a thumb-stopping Instagram page.

Be conscious with your bio, logo and category

Your bio is an opportunity to instantly grab people’s attention. It should be clear, clever, and conscious. Be funny if that’s on-brand for you, but don’t let the humour get in the way of giving that clear message which says exactly what you’re about. By way of example take a look at @Skittles’s fun approach which I love. Be sure to include your brand’s hashtag; this will aid with discovery and also set the tone for how you want people to engage with you. Be clear about the category you assign to your business. Being as specific as you can will make it clear why you’re there and what you’re for, and it will guarantee your page will be shown to people interested in your topic. Don’t forget to include a recognisable logo and decide which calls to action are most appropriate for your business.

Business page and analytics

Having a business page (as opposed to a personal account) gives you access to analytics and metrics to measure your performance, and this is easy to do by flipping the switch in your settings. Check in with these on a regular basis to see what’s working and what isn’t and adjust your approach accordingly.

Clever content

If you’re struggling to work out a strategy for your content ask yourself three things:

1. What will make my follower’s day easier?

2. What would they like to share?

3. What might they save for later?

Use the answers to create your content plan. Maybe it’s a daily top tip from your founder; maybe it’s breaking news or perhaps it’s sharing events you want your customers to know about.

Go back in the archives to see what content you have that could be repurposed. Maybe you wrote a blog that could be turned into graphic quotes, or an infographic? Using tools like Canva, Unsplash, and Link Tree can help you then bring these ideas to life. Canva provides tools to create professional, quality graphics; Unsplash is a library of phenomenal royalty-free imagery, and LinkTree can help you get around the inability to add links to your captions and optimises your internet presence. All of these are free to use.

Research hashtags

Include hashtags with every post that are relevant to your business but also relevant to the picture. Hashtags are a really important way to encourage engagement and to tap into communities on the platform. Adding hashtags either to your caption, or to the first line of comments will make you easier to find and help get those follower numbers up.

Join in the conversation

By liking and commenting on other people’s content you have a chance to get your brand seen by other people. Milton Keynes has a thriving Instagram community. Spending some time supporting and engaging with local business and influencers and connecting with likeminded folks will be really worthwhile. After all, everyone loves a team player.

Use native features

The Instagram ecosystem has tons of really creative tools you can play with. On Instagram Stories, there’s a lot of fun to be had with augmented reality, stickers, polls, Q&As etc. Alternatively, why not broadcast a live instructional video, or host a Q&A where your followers ask the questions? Use the countdown app for product launches, share fun facts about your business with the quiz sticker or turn things into a game. Think about how you could create a social partnership. Perhaps you could feature another founder as an interviewee on your stories and in return they promote you through theirs.

Colour palette, font and photography

Remember that Instagram is a visually-led app so when it comes to your squares, fixing on a colour palette is an easy way to create a beautiful, unified feel to your grid.

Be patient

Please understand that when you’re developing an audience organically (ie not using paid-for tools) it’s going to take time. But be patient; as they say, build it and they will come.

Ashanti Akabusi - Director at VirtuBrands
Ashanti Akabusi - Director at VirtuBrands

While we’ve barely scratched the surface on what’s possible, hopefully these ideas have got your Insta juices flowing. For more advice, or to arrange social media training for your team, please do get in touch, visit virtubrands.com ring VirtuBrands on 01908 382 848 or follow @VirtuBrands