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Starting an Instagram account is a lot easier than it appears trust us. Even if you’re new to the world of Social Media or perhaps not the best with technology, Instagram is an extremely user friendly platform. If you’ve lived off the grid for the last 8 years, Instagram is a platform where users can share their visual content with the world. Everyone uses Instagram to build their online brand and reach the over 800 million users on the app from celebrities and athletes to big name brands and organizations. Instagram has a lot of features that can fit the online needs in a variety of industries.

Instagram has change a lot since it it first launched in 2010, and the latest updates to the app have seen it move into the ecommerce and video content realms. Most recently Instagram released the ability for brands to tag products to their online stores and allow influencers to officially tag sponsored content which has really help the ecommerce and influencer marketing industries. They also launched IGTV, a big new update to Instagram, which is their video content side of the app that can be viewed directly through Instagram or their dedicated IGTV app. It’s been a big year for Instagram, and we’re sure there’s more to come.

If you’re beginning to think that maybe you should be starting an Instagram account there really is no better time. Starting an Instagram account is easy, but just in case you’re feeling a little intimidated about the whole thing we’re helping you out with our guide to starting an Instagram account.

Starting An Instagram Account: The Basics

Pick A Username

The first thing to starting an Instagram account is pretty straight forward – picking an Instagram username. With over 800 million users, the typical Instagram usernames are probably taken by now so you might need to get creative. We recommend that no matter what you decide to go with in terms of a username, if you’re starting an Instagram for your business or brand it should obviously include something relating to your company name. Your username should also be as short as possible and something that rolls of the tongue and is easy to remember.

Personalize Your Profile

Now that you’re well on your way to starting an Instagram account it’s time to work on your overall profile. The two things you 100% need are a display picture and some sort of bio. For your display picture, use something that represents you and your brand, be it a selfie or your logo. If you are using an image of yourself, we recommend picking an image that works for the type of account you’re starting. If you’re starting an Instagram account that’s for your professional career, you might want to stick to a professional looking headshot over a picture from you out at the bar last night. Whatever you choose to use your picture should be clear and identifiable especially seeing how small it is.

For your Instagram bio look at keeping it short, sweet and to the point. Thinking of adding a tagline, short bits of information or other text that describes who you are or what your account’s purpose is. Keeping your bio’s content clean and easy to read is the best way to have your profile catching attention. If you’re starting an Instagram account for your brand or business we recommend that you link your Instagram to your Facebook page and switch to a business account. This allows you access to a bunch of features including setting an industry for your profile, adding contact information and the ability to use the tag to shop feature. You can also add clickable username tags and hashtags in your profile, and we recommend doing that especially if you have other affiliated Instagram accounts or a brand hashtag. Don’t forget to add your website into your profile to drive traffic!

Starting An Instagram Account: Next Steps

Generate Content

There’s a lot more to starting an Instagram account than setting up your profile and if we’re being honest that’s the easy part. But if you ask us the fun part of running an Instagram account has to be the content creation! It’s important that you’re publishing captivating and meaningful content that fits your brand and accurately delivers your message. If you’re a photographer, blogger, content creator or any other type of creative, then chances are you have an arsenal of content waiting to be published. On the other hand if you’re a business owner that’s not in a creative field you probably aren’t that handy when it comes to digital content let alone have the time to create it. You’re sure to have some visual content especially if you’ve built a website or have a Facebook page so recycling that content for Instagram is more than okay. But if you haven’t had much of any online presence and are lacking content don’t worry you’re not out of luck.

If content creation isn’t your strong suit then there are a few options you can go with to generate content that involve using the content creation skills of other people. Obviously if your business or brand has a marketing team on staff, then chances are both the content creation and entire account management will probably be left to them. If you’re a small business however your first option is either hiring an employee to manage this or a freelancer if you don’t have the budget for a salaried employee. With a freelancer you have the option to hire them to just create content or manage the entire account but depending on what you choose the cost will of course differ. You can then give them as little or as much direction as you see fit to create content for your brand.

Freelancers do come at a price though so if your budget really does not have much room to hire someone, you still do have a few options. You can first search free stock images on sites like Pixabay to find content to publish. The downside to this is many others go with this route not just on Instagram but for all their digital content which means that there is a lack of uniqueness when using stock images. If you’d prefer to use original content for your Instagram account you can look to influencer marketing to help generate content, this does usually come at a cost either by offering your product or service, and even compensation depending on the influencer’s reach. Reposting fan content is also a great way to get some content going on your page without spending a dime however we recommend if you’re going this route to credit the creator by tagging them in the image and caption.

Build A Plan

Now that you’ve got your content figured out, it’s time to workout an overall plan. Starting an Instagram account especially if there is a purpose behind takes a little more than just posting and going. You’ll want to come up with a content strategy that keeps you on track with posts and leads you to an overall goal. There are several resources available out there that can give you tips or even go as far as to setting a plan for you.

If you’re looking to do all the work yourself, start backwards by determine what goal you want to achieve with your Instagram presence. Are you looking to grow an audience, drive sales to your website, or maybe both? Depending on what your end goal is with Instagram, your strategy may slightly vary. Social media marketing takes a lot of classic marketing’s techniques and applies it to digital spaces. Start off small with your plan; It’s okay to plan 6 months or even 12 months out but when you’re starting an Instagram account it’s vital that you start small and work your way into a bigger strategy. Especially when you’re just starting out it’s not always obviously what’s going to work for you, your brand and overall results so it’s much easier to tweak a month vs 365 days work of planning. Begin to plan for 1 month, then once you feel comfortable with the flow move into quarterly planning and build out from there.. Whatever you choose to do just make sure your plan is something realistic for you to achieve.

Starting An Instagram Account: Conclusion

We’ve touched on how to prepare for staring an Instagram account and what to do once it’s launched. After starting an Instagram account, customizing your profile, compiling content and coming up with a strategy there’s still so much more to be done! Your Instagram strategy should be one that continuously evolves with your brand.

Grow Your Following

Without an audience, what’s the point of Instagram? Whether you’re using Instagram for digital brand presence or to boost your ecommerce growing your following is the #1 thing you should be focused on, especially when first starting an Instagram account. Everyone claims to have the best tricks to growing your following and the truth is they probably do have the best tricks, for themselves. The key here is to find a variety of tricks, try them and see what works best for you be it Instagram shoutouts or targeting potential followers. If you’re not sure where to start, you can checkout the Wolf Blog for more articles on follower growth.

Engage With Your Audience

The best thing you can do to help grow your following and build your brand on Instagram is engaging with your audience. This may seem fairly obvious but the truth is many influencers and brands alike neglect their followers. It’s vital that you respond to every DM, preferably within 24-48 hours of receipt, and acknowledge ever comment left on your content. Even if it’s something you can reply to, just by liking the comment or leaving an emoji or “thanks” really goes a long way.

Learn The Tricks

As we mentioned, your Instagram strategy should be one that’s forever changing and evolving with both your brand and the platform. It’s important if you’re taking your Instagram seriously that you keep up with all features, updates and general news so that you’re aware with what’s coming. It’s also good if you continuously learn tricks on content creation, account management and follower growth so you can keep your strategy at the top of its game. There are so many YouTubers, writers, websites and other resources all dedicated to the world of Instagram that you can reference. And of course, there’s the Wolf Blog where we share everything from Instagram tricks to content creation hacks.

Has starting an Instagram account become less intimidating after reading this? It definitively requires some work to be put in but when executed correctly the payoff can be big!