Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Instagram is a visual social network with a prominently creative user base. It’s simple to use, free to download, and perfect for building an online presence if you’re trying to gain exposure for your business via the web.

If you aren’t already active on Instagram, the following tips will help you get started.

It’s All About the Content

Don’t rely solely on Instagram’s in-built tools to make your photos look great. Think about what’s going on in the photo and the type of corporate culture you’re trying to convey. Do you want to show off your company’s sense of humour, try to inspire, or motivate others towards a shared goal? We tend to engage more with content that strikes a chord; there’s no better way to set the tone than with a cleverly contrived picture!

Less is More When it Comes to Filters

Use filters, but don’t overdo it. Always try to make the photos look relatively natural. If they look too edited, people will fail to connect the image with reality on a subconscious level. So don’t change the photo by adding things that weren’t originally there (including odd hues and colours). Simply focus on exposing and highlighting the beauty you’ve already captured.

Always Stay Relevant and On Topic

If your goal is to reach followers and build a community, learn how to use hashtags properly. Hashtags will not only bring more engagement to your profile but will attract followers. That said, don’t clutter up your posts – this will look spammy. Two or three highly relevant keywords will suffice.

Make Use of The Explore Tab

Keep a close eye on the explore tab. This is where photos and videos get featured. The more engagement you get on your photos, the higher your chances of making the cut. Check out other popular profiles/photos and try to replicate their success.

Upload New Photos Often

The secret to success is to stay engaged and active, whatever you do. Post new photos to your feed on a regular basis, but don’t overdo it. One or two high-quality photos at peak times of the day will be far more effective than uploading a constant flurry of pics throughout the day. In fact, if you upload too many you could risk losing followers.

Contact Fellow Instagram Users

It’s not a competition. Use Instagram to contact influencers and other businesses that might help you gain followers. And most importantly, return the favour. Good business isn’t about receiving, it’s about giving and receiving. Help others and they will be more inclined to help you. If you need to make your account seem more viable, buy Instagram likes so you’ll have something more to offer.

Appreciate Your Followers

When you start getting regular followers who like and comment on your posts, make them feel valued. You should never take your followers for granted and start ignoring them just because you get a lot of likes. Respond to their comments, and leave comments on their posts. If you have a lot of followers and get hundreds of comments per day, use Iconosquare to find out on which users are interacting with your Instagram account the most, and focus on them.

Make Mutual Shout Outs

Find fellow Instagrammers who have the same amount of followers as you and negotiate a ”shout out.” This is when you link to each other’s accounts and attempt to give/attract your/their followers. This is an effective technique as a personal recommendation from somebody else will almost always seem more legitimate than a simple plug.

Instagram, like every other social network, gets updated frequently. If you’re using Instagram to grow your user base and attract followers, always ensure you’re aware of any algorithm changes that may affect your ability to gain engagement. Setting up an account and running a marketing campaign is a lot easier when you know what’s going on.

About the Author:

David Bishop is an SEO marketer and website designer from London, England. He frequently writes for both online and offline publications in the tech sector.