How to lift your game on Instagram

Serious about Instagram?

If so, today’s article is for you.

It’s a summary from a recent interview with two leading Instagrammers – @tastefullytash and @vividsportswearoffical.

Read on to learn more and apply these tips & tricks to your own Instagram marketing effort.

New to Instagram? Read this introduction to Instagram first.

Q1. Which brands are best suited to Instagram?

This is a question we’re asked often.

Some people argue that Instagram is only relevant for brands that have high visual appeal. But this is not necessarily true. Some brands are using it really well with creative approaches to their content.

For example:

  • American Express focus on the experiences you can buy on your card
  • Shipping company Maersk Line use it to promote their company culture
  • Civil Defence Waikato are a good example of an organisation using Facebook really well, and there’s no reason why a similar approach couldn’t work on Instagram.

Take home point: Brands can use Instagram successfully if they find an angle that works for them and their audience.

Q2. How much effort is required to maintain an Instagram account?

If you’re strategic about your approach, you can minimise the time required to succeed on Instagram.

Use an app like ScheduGram or Buffer to schedule your posts – this way, you can research, create and curate a batch of content and schedule it for publication over a period of time. And if you use Buffer, you can automate the process of scheduling and recycling Instagram posts

It’s also a good idea to allow some time per day (say 10 minutes) for engagement.

But to work efficiently, you need to have your strategy clear. Who are you targeting, how will you reach them, and with what content? If you have a theme and style for your content, it will look good as a curated collection on your feed, and your content ideas will be easier to generate.

Q3. What advice do you have for clients who don’t know how/where to source images for Instagram?

Our advice would be to build a bank of content (photos) over time.

You can also regram (share) other content. You can use a regram app to do this, or you can screen capture the image, post it and credit the originator in the caption. That way you have more control over how the image is presented.

Remember: Sources want to be re-posted so it’s a win-win way of publishing content.

Q4. What Apps do you use to manipulate images? 

We use apps like canva, vsco or snapseed – they’re great for editing images before you post them.

Instagram is moving away from the filtered look, so images that look realistic are performing better.

Again, it’s important that your images work together as a family – so that when people visit your feed, they get a clear idea of your style – making it easy for them to decide to follow your account.

Q5. How do you manage multiple Instagram accounts?

You can manage up to 5 accounts via the drop down tab within the Instagram mobile app. 

You can also use ScheduGram or Hootsuite to post from your computer.

Q6. What about hashtags?

You’re allowed to use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram, so you should use the whole lot if you’re serious about growing your exposure.

Tip: Instead of putting hashtags in your photo description, put your hashtags in the first comment right at the time of posting (or scheduling). That way they don’t overpower your comment, and it also looks cleaner. But just a warning – hashtags need to be added immediately (after posting) to be correctly attributed to the photo.

Note: It’s also important to analyse which hashtags to use. Ideally, you want to use niche tags rather than generic ones. That way you have more chance of being found by a more engaged audience.

Q7. What are the general steps to starting out on Instagram?

  1. Decide what you want to get out of being on Instagram
  2. Develop your strategy (audience, content, imagery)
  3. Conduct hashtag analysis (which tags should you use)
  4. Begin posting content (regularly)
  5. Maintain engagement (be a human!)

Q8. How do you get more followers on Instagram?

Great content (combined with niche hashtags) is the still basis to Instagram success.

And after that, the quickest way to gain followers is to get regrammed by other, larger Instagram accounts.

How to get regrammed:

  • Follow lots of brands in your niche or subject area
  • Use their branded hashtags (and tag them) to gain their attention
  • They will choose which pieces of your content to share (if at all)

Q9. What about the recent changes on Instagram?

Now that Instagram is owned by Facebook, it’s getting more like Facebook. It’s serving the content that it thinks users want to see, rather than serving content in chronological order.

Take home point: Now is the time to get onboard with Instagram, while its free and popular – because it’s going to get harder and harder to grow an audience without spending money if they continue to follow the Facebook model.


A special thanks to Tash & Viv for their time. Follow Tash or Viv on Instagram. Got an Instagram question? Leave a comment below.

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