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A guide to building an Instagram community


With an engagement rate 15 times higher than Facebook, Instagram might just be the dark horse of social media marketing.

We recently attended a Social Media Week workshop by Jess Siggers, otherwise known as @porthjess over on Instagram. You might recognise her colourful Instagram shots of Bristol; a bright row of houses in Cliftonwood or an angled shot of a landmark, her feed has seen great success, with over 40k followers! Now that really is something to shout about.

Jess is also behind the successful @igersbristol page, where you can find more creative shots of the city from it’s residents shared on the feed.

Jess shared her insight and knowledge of the platform in her workshop, inspiring us to pull together all you need to know about Instagram success together with her tips.

Over 120 million Instagram users have made a phone call, visited a website, emailed or direct messaged a business from the platform. So it isn’t just about liking pretty pictures (although that is a fun part!), and can be a very effective way to market your business. If your audience is using Instagram, you should be too.

Remember that there are over 800 million Instagram accounts out there now.

Your job is to stand out enough to be memorable, sharing the all-important image and caption to make people feel something; enough to make them hit the ‘follow’ button.

Get the basics right

Make sure that you set up a business account. It allows you access analytics, meaning you’ll be able to tell what the visitors to your Instagram page get up to. Key information to take from analytics is which posts perform best, to help you plan future content and when your users are active – so you know when the prime time to post is.

Your bio is an important aspect of your Instagram page. Add as much key information as possible, including your company name, the type of business you are, the city your based in, the link to your website and a couple of hashtags associated to your brand.

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘content is KING’ and it is true. When it comes to Instagram, the focus is totally on visual content. Get the images right, and you’ve got a great place to start, so where possible build a bank of photos so that you have some on the stocks.

It really helps to have a theme for your Instagram account. This gives it a cohesive look, which encourages people to follow along. Your theme might be a particular filter, a location or object – whatever works for your business.

instagram plan

Stuck on ideas?

So what should you be uploading? As a business, here are a few ideas for photo ideas

– Meet the team, with a caption introducing the team member

– The making of’ one of your products

– Office antics, such as staff birthdays

– Visiting events, sharing photos with influential people you meet

– Sneak previews of upcoming products or services

– Before and after photos

– The city you live in

– What you get up to on your lunch break

– ‘How-to’ style posts

– Visiting cafes, shops that are local to your business

Remember that photos with faces in get around 35% more likes per follower. People like to see other people, so don’t hide behind the camera too much.

Don’t forget to include videos too – perhaps you could do an Instagram Live next time you are at an event, or make a video interviewing a team member for fun.

Invest your time

A great way to kick-start engagement for your profile is to spend 20 minutes each day, engaging with other users. Not sure who to follow? Pick a hashtag with images that inspire you. Spend a while liking and engaging with other photos that use that hashtag.

The most important way to gain new followers is to engage. You can’t expect people to just find your profile – so introduce yourself by commenting on their photos, liking their content and direct messaging.

Tag fellow employees, check in at your local café. In fact, photos receive up to 79% more engagement when geo-tagged, so this is a great way to get your account noticed.

Reply to all the comments that are left on your posts – especially within that first golden hour after you post your photo. This is to do with the algorithm – more on that another day.

Don’t be the person leaving spam comments such as ‘great pic!’ or ‘nice!’. These comments aren’t meaningful – did you know that comments should be 4 words or more, or it could be counted as spam?

Also, be consistent. In order to grow followers at an exponential rate, you need to be posting photos at least every 2 days; daily if possible! Use hashtags in your caption, try adding a question to the caption to encourage comments below.

So there we have it, a whistle-stop tour on how to start building your Instagram community and growing your following. A huge thanks to Jess for all the tips! Let us know how you get on, and feel free to get in touch if you’d like support with your social media marketing.

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If you’d like to find out how we can help you with your marketing please get in touch. We would love to help.

Give us a call on

0117 214 0471

Visit us at

Simitive Innovation Centre,
4th Floor, Newminster House
27-29 Baldwin Street

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© McArthur Davies 2019