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The Hashtag
InstagramThe quickest way to reach the heart of Instagram is through the #hashtag. Your first step should be to create a hashtag for your company that you can use for future campaigns and that your followers can use to refer back to you. A little research can go a long way when it comes to the hashtag—staying informed is imperative to your Instagram success. Every now and then, visit Top Hashtags to see an up-to-date list of popular topics.

At the same time, remember not to overdo the hashtag — there is nothing more annoying than searching a hashtag and getting results that are anything but what you searched for. Stick to relevant hashtags and keep it classy and concise — you don’t want a paragraph of hashtags to follow your picture, making it look like you’re on the prowl for followers.

While Instagram seems like a much more independent social network than Facebook or Twitter, it has the potential to be just as interactive. An active Instagram user makes for an interesting, attractive user that people will be more prone to follow. Comment on and like photos similar to your Instagram’s taste, whether it’s similar in content, location, style, etc.

Think about the 1 – 2 – 3 Rule: For every one picture you post, comment on two and like three others. This keeps you active and present, and other users will be more likely to notice you. Not to mention their followers might find their way back to you through the users with whom you interact. Making your presence known through friendly, cooperative gestures is a good way to attract people.

Start a Campaign
Once you’ve gotten your name (or, rather, #name) out there, find ways to interest your followers with more than just your photos. Give them the opportunity to share some of their own pictures and get featured on your page. This shows genuine interest in your followers and is a way to thank them for their loyalty.

Just this year, a small, family-owned company called McKay Flooring held a successful Instagram campaign using the hashtag #mywoodfloor or #mckayflooring. Simply advertise your campaign, provide a #hashtag for users’ submissions and offer some kind of reward. McKay Flooring gave a £100 Amazon gift card to the winner, but your prize can be as simple as featuring their photo on your Instagram page.

Open the Door
Don’t be a stranger to your followers. Make sure they remember that you are a real person and there are real people working on your Instagram page. Post pictures of your team in your company headquarters to bypass the anonymity that comes with any online social media. People like to see real human faces with real smiles. It helps bridge the gap between you and your followers, who could be any number of miles away. Remember that it’s easy to get impersonal online and when advertising for your company, it’s important not to let that happen.

Don’t Leave Advertising Behind
Take pictures of your products. Show your followers what you have to offer. Instagram is a great place to put your products on display without the advertising being too upfront. Check out Starbucks‘ Instagram page for the full effect. Of course, pictures of coffee beans and cappuccinos appeal to almost everyone, but the impressive thing about Instagram is that it can be applied to anything — even GE has an Instagram page. The point is to get your name out there in the most efficient and effective way possible. And right now in social media, Instagram is the way to go.

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