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Instagram is the fastest growing social media site worldwide with 23% growth in active users in the last six months alone. Users can spend hours scrolling through great photos posted by their friends, favorite celebrities, brands and products, bloggers, TV networks, and more.

There are over 300 million users who share up to 60 million photos each and every day. As the up and coming social network, Instagram has the largest population of younger users. Over 50% of users are between 18 and 29 years old.

So how does Instagram work and how could your business benefit from this Social Platform?

In this blog we will help you understand how Instagram works and how your business could use Instagram in its future Social Media endeavours as a way to connect with current and potential customers in a very graphical and interactive way that is not as easy to do on Twitter, LinkedIn, or even Facebook.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo-sharing social network designed to easily and quickly share pictures or short videos usually taken on a mobile phone.

On Instagram you can “follow” other profiles and you have “followers” who follow your photos. You can also like individual photos posted and can re-post other users’ photos. With each new photo you can write a caption, add hashtags to make your photo more searchable, and encourage comments and sharing.

How Do Instagram Hashtags Work?

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a pound sign (#) used to identify messages or photos about a specific topic, brand, location, etc. Hashtags make it easier for users to find your photos on Instagram and are what makes Instagram so networking friendly!

Hashtags are Searchable. Hashtags can affect where or if you are ranked in Instagram search.  Being visible in search results is important, because potential clients will search for what they’re interested in or what the most popular hashtags are. Using a hashtag that represents what’s in your photo is very important.

Hashtags are Interactive. Hashtags can also be created and used to encourage interaction. Why not create a specific hashtag and ask customer who buy your running shoes post pictures of where the shoes take them? Or start a hashtag for all your guests to use at your customer appreciation dinner?

Currently you can use up to 30 hashtags so the options are nearly endless. The goal is to pick commonly used yet relevant hashtags. You can use the Instagram search function to see how frequently a hashtag is used and what types of photos are associated with that hashtag. You can also use websites like to see the most popular hashtags for Instagram.

How do I get more followers on Instagram?

Many of the same rules apply to Instagram as for all other Social Media sites: Be interesting, Say something humorous or relatable, Post high quality photos, etc.

One commonly overlooked strategy to engage and get new Instagram followers is to use the popular like and follow hashtags (ex. #like4like, #follow4follow). People can be selfish and want something in return and they particularly want to be followed or liked back. Just remember than when you say you will like or follow them back, you try and stick to that. This can be a tedious process but it can be an important part of the growth stage.

How often should I post on Instagram?

As you attract new followers on Instagram it is even more important to keep them happy if you want them to continue following you. Remember that it is not just a numbers game – the quality of your followers is just as important if not more important than quantity!

A general rule of thumb for businesses on Instagram is to post a new photo every few days. This gives your followers a reminder of your account but doesn’t bombard their Instagram feed with too many posts.  The goal is to keep them liking your photos and following your account.

A recent study by Huffington Post found that the best time to post on Instagram is 5 pm (people are procrastinating at the end of their work day) and 2 am (there are less people posting and more engaged users).

How do I showcase my brand personality on Instagram?

Every Instagram account has a different style and layout. It’s a good idea to keep all your posts in a similar format and look. Inconsistent style or voice of posts can be confusing to your followers. Using a filter app is a perfect example to making your page consistent – one of my favorites is called Rookie Cam.  There are so many different ones out there, so pick a filter that suits your brand and the type of photos you are posting.

How do I connect Instagram with my website?

If you are active on Instagram make sure you have your Instagram account linked from your website along with all of your other Social Media profiles.

Currently the Instagram bio has a 150 character limit so write a catchy and quick description. Be sure to place a link to your website here as Instagram does not allow you to use links in your photo captions or in comments.

Do I Need Instagram for My Business?

After all this are you wondering if your business needs Instagram?

Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding if you should start using Instagram for your business:

  • Does your target market fit the demographics of Instagram (18-29 year olds)?
  • Do you have time and resources to devote to keeping your Instagram account updated?
  • Would your limited time and resources be better devoted to other more important Social Media profiles?
  • Are your products and services easily captured in photos?
  • Do you have a steady stream of new photo content to post regularly to Instagram?

If you have further questions about Instagram or about how SEO and Social Media interact, please contact us at or call 1-888-262-6687.

Chris Genge

Chris Genge is the Founder and CEO of 1st on the List. Since 1997 he has helped hundreds of companies across North America with his technical expertise and practical upfront approach to Search Optimization and Digital Marketing. As a pioneer in his field, Chris has the ability to help clients set goals and achieve results all while fostering growth and teamwork amongst his incredible team of SEO experts and Web Designers.