Today, Instagram will have 300 million active users who spend an average of 21 minutes inside the app, sharing nearly 100 million posts and pressing little love hearts over 4 billion times.


In 2012, when Mark Zuckerberg spent $1 billion on a company that only had 13 staff, people thought this was the end, his game was over. Now, 4 years later, it’s clear that he has the kind of visionary eye that company directors across the universe would kill for. That tiny little company was Instagram HQ, and the app is now where all the cool kids hang out.


Earlier this year Facebook beat its estimated revenue. Everybody knows that the internet is a fickle place where users will quickly find a new favourite thing, and Instagram is all about rich visuals and the biggest trends – which could simultaneously help to keep Facebook relevant. Instagram is on track to produce a revenue of $3.2 billion in 2016 – which makes Zuckerberg’s spends back threefold.


If there is any visual element to your brand – and even if there isn’t – Instagram can be a powerful platform that rewards you with a huge ROI. Here are some tips and tricks to organically grow your audience, just like nurturing a pretty sunflower in your garden.


1. Use #Hashtags that matter
There are some hashtags out there that are connected to millions and millions of photos. While this makes them ‘popular’, they might not actually be useful for your brand. For example, the hashtag #instagood is used in somewhere over 450 million posts. Seeing this might make you want to use this on your post, thinking that it will get more engagement. While this may be true on a superficial level, you’re actually not directing any relevant audiences to your brand. A better way to do this is to use hashtags that are directly linked to your post and the people you want to attract, whether this means your location or the content of the post. At WhiteNoise we have special tools that can measure the most popular hashtags relating to your key business points, meaning that we can find the most popular and relevant buzz words to get your audience interested.


2. Encourage User Generated Content (and give credit)
Once you have your account set up and running smoothly, it’s time to encourage users to start engaging with your brand. You can do this by creating your own hashtag, or by reminding users to tag you in their photos. A good way to do this is in your bio – check out ASOS:




Everybody wants their 5 minutes of fame, so as soon as they see that you’ve given someone else credit for posting an image then they’ll be right onto the case to get their name in bright lights too.



All of our favourite things ????. Great ???? @rosierelton. #YourNeighbourhood #Manchester #Spinningfields #tacos #sushi

A photo posted by Neighbourhood Mcr (@nbhdmanchester) on


3. Start the conversation yourself – and keep it going
By involving your audience, they’ll be more likely to pop back, and they’ll pay more attention to your future posts. Ask questions in your post captions, and reply to their comments – but don’t forget to tag them in your reply as they may never see it!


4. Don’t be tempted to get fakers
The thought of buying fake followers or using apps that get you ‘real’ ones for free might seem tempting, however, the whole point of having an audience is that they have followed you because they’re interested in your brand. Fake followers and followers earned through apps don’t care what you’re posting, they’re only there to make numbers up for street credibility. They won’t generate any content, they won’t leave comments, and, ultimately, you’ll get no ROI. It can also be very obvious when users have fake followers as they tend to have odd usernames, and they’ll be based miles away from where your business is targeting.


5. Include video!
One of our favourite facts at WhiteNoise is that there has been a 40% increase in video engagement for Instagram since the end of 2015. More videos appear on the ‘featured’ tab within the app, and Instagram now allows an enormous 60 seconds of video to be uploaded, suggesting that the platform is interested in leveraging the power of video.


To increase the success of your social media networks, get in touch with WhiteNoise and we will be happy to create your bespoke content plan.