Winning At Instagram: The Insider’s Guide
Winning At Instagram The Insider's Guide

Instagram’s the hottest ticket in town right now.

The platform has grown exponentially in recent times.

The question you should be asking is what this means for your business.

I have little doubt if you’re reading this guide you already have a presence on Instagram.

I also have little doubt that if you’re reading this guide then that presence isn’t doing a great deal to help your business.

You’re probably struggling to gain followers, have relatively low engagement (likes and comments on the photos you post) and are wasting a lot of time on the platform.

I can sympathise.

How do brands and individuals crack 10,000 followers and then keep scaling up?

It’s not magic.

In fact, it’s relatively easy.

But it does take time.

What this guide intends to do is equip you with all the knowledge you need to turn your Instagram Account into a machine.

This means a big following with LOTS of engagement from real and relevant followers.

Why does this matter?

Because a large and relevant following will –


-Provide social proof and credibility for your business e.g. would you buy from the guy with 100 followers or 10,000?

 -Ensure other brands and influencers will want to collaborate with you

-Generate new leads for your business

-Consistently generate superb brand exposure


So what are you waiting for?

Dive in and get to grips with the guide to start rocking Instagram today.

If you have any questions feel free to book a call with one of our experts today.

9 Instagram Statistics You Can’t Ignore

9 Instagram Statistics You Can't Ignore

Still not convinced Instagram is the platform for you?

Here are ten reasons why your brand should be concentrating on Instagram in 2018.


32% Of Adult Internet Users Access Instagram


You’ve heard it before “Instagram’s a platform for teens”.

Yes, it is used by a lot of teenagers but guess what?

A lot of adults use it too. In fact, 32% of all adult internet users use Instagram.

10% of Instagram’s total user base is over 35.


32% Of Teenagers Think Instagram Is The Most Important Social Media Platform


Maybe you are targeting teens.

Well guess what?

You were right that teenagers love Instagram, 32% of them believe it’s the most important social media platform.

Those kids will also become adults, so brand exposure can’t be a bad thing in the interim.



Posts Tagging A Location Or Another User Will Achieve Considerably Higher Engagement Rates – 79% & 56% Respectively


This one’s a hack and a statistic all rolled into one.

Not tagging your location in your Instagram posts?

You really should be. People like looking local, even on a global platform like Instagram.

By tagging your location in posts, it makes your business more visible to those who matter.


51% Of Instagram Users Access It Daily & 35% Say They Look At It Several Times A Day


People rely on Instagram as a daily source of entertainment.

This contrasts other platforms where they might dip in once or twice a week.

It also means you can consistently reach your clientele and stay at the forefront of their thoughts by utilising Instagram.


Each month in 2018, more than 120 Million Instagram users used the platform to learn about a business


Instagram is not just a platform for selfies and cat videos.

Research shows consumers increasingly use the platform in much more practical ways. This includes searching out businesses and making enquiries through Instagram directly.

This means if you’re not active, you might be losing leads.


50% Of Users Say They Follow At Least One Business


“But nobody follows businesses on Instagram”.

Yes, they do.

In fact, 50% of users say they follow at least one business on Instagram.



60% Of Users Say That They Have Learned About A Product Or Service On The Platform


Instagram may not drive a sale if you’re selling an expensive item but people are using the platform to learn about your brand, your ethos and your product.

Don’t underestimate this.


200 Million Instagrammers Actively Visit The Profile Of A Business Every Day


They’re watching you.

Give them something to talk about.


Instagram Is Set To Earn $15billion In Mobile Revenue From Adverts In 2018


Advertising on Instagram can be a highly effective way to reach and engage new audiences.

The sort of ad-spend predicted in this statistic does not occur without a vast amount of people successfully generating a strong return on investment.

How Does The Instagram Algorithm Work?

How Does The Instagram Algorithm work_

The Instagram algorithm is nothing to be scared of.

One unusual thing about Instagram is that it’s incredibly transparent about the way its algorithm works.

Why does this matter?

Because the Instagram algorithm is the set of rules which determine where your content will appear on a user’s newsfeed.

For instance, it doesn’t work on a chronological basis. Just because you posted recently, it doesn’t mean that all your followers who are online will see it. Instead, Instagram have suggested the algorithm uses six factors to determine where your post lands.

These are:

  • Interest
  • Timeliness
  • Relationship
  • Frequency
  • Following
  • Usage


Those six items are roughly in order of importance, with the first three being more important than the bottom three.

So based on this information, how do you beat the Instagram algorithm?


 1. Interest – Will They Care About The Post?


“The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”


What does this mean?

The order of photos in your newsfeed isn’t about how many likes or comments a post has.

It’s about how relevant the content is to you.

But how does Instagram know what is relevant to me?

Instagram may be deciding relevancy based on your past interactions e.g. what genres you tend to engage with.

For instance, if you like a lot of posts in the travel niche, your feed will probably prioritise posts about travel.

Simple really!


2. Timeliness: How recent the posts are


“The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”


Instagram needs to stay relevant. To do so, you must feel the service it provides is current.

It doesn’t want posts from weeks ago appearing on your feed, because that won’t be relevant to you.

Instead, Instagram will prioritise more recent posts.

So chronology is still relevant, it’s just not the only factor.


3. Relationship: The accounts you regularly interact with


“No matter how many accounts you follow, you should see your best friend’s latest posts.”


Let’s be honest, although you follow influencers and brands, you wouldn’t be on Instagram if your friends weren’t.

So it stands to reason the content you care about most is that produced by friends and family.

Instagram takes this line of reasoning and it doesn’t want you to miss content produced by friends.

How are friends determined?

Instagram’s Thomas Dimson, shared these ideas:


-Based on people whose content you like

-Those you direct message

-People you search for

-People you know in real life


So if you regularly search for someone the algorithm will probably consider them a friend and rank their posts high.

This saves you from searching them out and improves your experience on the platform.


Other ranking factors


1. Frequency

Frequency is how often you open the Instagram App.

This determines how Instagram arranges your newsfeed e.g. open it daily and Instagram will arrange the posts based on everything posted that day. Open it hourly and Instagram will sort through the most interesting content from the hour.


2. Following

If you follow thousands of accounts it’s unrealistic to expect to always see content from favoured accounts. The number of people you are following will determine how streamlined your Instagram experience is.


3.    Usage Time

How long do you spend on Instagram?

The length of time you spend on Instagram every time you open the app will affect the configuration of your newsfeed.

For example, if you don’t spend long on the app Instagram will show the most relevant posts first. Whereas for those who prefer longer browsing sessions it may provide a deeper catalogue of fresh content to browse.

How To Beat The Instagram Algorithm

How to beat the instagram algorithm

So how do we turn our new-found extensive knowledge of Instagram’s algorithm into a winning strategy?

In this chapter, we look at how businesses should be using Instagram based on the algorithm’s preferences.

This will allow you to build a winning Instagram strategy.


High Engagement = More Exposure


Although engagement isn’t what determines a posts position on the newsfeed, a high level of engagement is still the easiest way for Instagram to measure the quality of a post.

By engagement, we mean the number of likes, comments, video views, saves and shares a post achieves.

If your post is getting plenty of the above then Instagram is going to favour showing it to more people.


So how do I boost the level of engagement on my posts?


1. Quality


First of all, make sure your posting quality content that people actually want to see.

A good way to determine what ‘quality content’ means in your niche is to look at accounts which already achieve high engagement and attempt to emulate the style and quality they produce.



2. Call To Action


If you want people to like, save and comment on your posts then tell them. You don’t need to be blunt or needy, a simple Call To Action will do just fine.

This might be in the form of a question e.g. Which colour purse do you prefer?

Or would you wear this?



3. Utilise New Features


When Instagram delivers a new feature, try to be an early adopter. Instagram will push new features into user’s news feeds. Instagram stories and IGTV are good examples of this and they link nicely to point two.

For instance, in stories, you can use polling features and AMAs to provoke a response from your followers. This is a great way to gain interaction.


It Takes Two To Tango: Interact With Your Followers!


So you’re starting to create posts which are getting better engagement.

Job done, right?


Instagram doesn’t look kindly on accounts which don’t interact with their followers and supposedly restricts the exposure these accounts earn.

You need to interact with your new-found following.

There’s a reason the most used emoji on Instagram is the heart.

It’s a platform of love.

So spread the love by interacting with your followers.

Like their comments, respond to them, even follow the ones who truly dig your brand.

Not only will this grow your brand equity with the person you are interacting with, others will see it and want to interact with you because they know it will be reciprocated.

This will mean more exposure and good publicity.




Instagram’s algorithm monitors how quickly your posts attain engagement.

If people comment and like it quickly, Instagram will believe it to be a quality post and show it to more people.

So check out your insights and find out when the majority of your followers are online.

Or base it around your target market. Are a lot of them of a working age? Why not post during commuting hours, when they have nothing better to do but to scroll through Instagram?

Put a plan in place to measure the best time to post.

You can also DM those close to the business or get employees to interact with posts as soon as they’re live to give them a boost!


Use Relevant Hashtags


Nobody likes a spammer.

Instagram knows when you spam hashtags.

So make sure you only use relevant hashtags and keep mixing them up.

Don’t use the same thirty for every post, make sure they’re relevant to what you’re posting.

You might also have noticed you can now follow hashtags.

It’s great for those who regularly search specific hashtags as now posts containing the tag will just appear in their feed.

But be careful.

If you spam a hashtag, there’s an option for users to select the “Don’t Show For This Hashtag” option. Which effectively means they’re putting you in the spam folder.

If that happens too many times your content will quickly become invisible.

So take care when writing your hashtags.


Be Authentic


At the end of the day, be you.

Focus on showcasing your brand qualities through Instagram in everything you do.

From the content you post to how you interact with followers and the captions you write, stay true to your brand identity and you will be fine.

Hacks To Skyrocket Your Instagram Account

Hacks To Skyrocket Your Instagram Account

Ok so you’re posting pretty pictures, you’re engaging with your audience and you’re using hashtags correctly.

Your engagement is going up but now you want to take it to the next level.

In this chapter, we’ll look at some nifty ways to take things up a notch.

These are insider secrets and tactics we shouldn’t be sharing with you.

But why not?


1. Host a competition


This is a great way to quickly gain attention on the platform. Run a competition across multiple social media platforms.

One highly effective way to do this is by creating a viral queue system whereby entrants climb an online leaderboard based on how many times they share the competition on social media platforms.


2. User-Generated Content


User-generated content effectively refers to when your clients post about your business on Instagram.

Burberry utilised this incredibly well for a campaign surrounding their iconic trench coats called the “Art of the Trench”.

This focused around sharing images of people wearing their signature trench coat on Instagram and on a micro-site. The campaign proved to be incredibly popular.


Surely Burberry should only put out glamorous images of models?

Well, let me tell you why.

User generated content grants your brand or service great social proof if people see other, normal people using it.

You can also incorporate this idea into a competition by asking clients to share their own images with a unique hashtag with a prize for the winner. This allows you to reach the followers of your clients.

Why’s this important?

According to Forbes, 81% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts. So User Generated Content may be a great way to subtly influence the friends of your clients.


3. Takeovers


Ever considered letting a notable person or Instagram influencer take over your business’ account?

This can help bring you to the attention of their followers and you might just learn a trick or two about why they are so popular on Instagram based on how they run your account.


4. Influencer Outreach


Not all of these Instagram ‘Influencers’ charge extortionate amounts to post business’ products on their accounts.

Some will do it if they love the product and it doesn’t hurt to gift them a few items in exchange for posts.

Don’t be blunt though. Cultivate a relationship and demonstrate you love their content by interacting with them over a period of time, then start a conversation with them.


5. Automation – Grow A Following


If you’re struggling to grow an Instagram following you do NOT need to buy fake followers – find out why in the penultimate chapter of this e-book.

Automation, however, can help. To see if it will work for you, jump on a competitor’s account and start following their followers.

I bet that many follow you back.

With automation, you can (you guessed it) automate this process and even like and comment automatically on relevant posts.

Find out how we do this in the final chapter.


6. Automation – Make Your Life Easier


You can also automatically tweet and pin your Instagram posts to Twitter and Pinterest respectively.

This means you can have a presence on these platforms without worrying about what and when to find time to post.


To do this use IFTTT –

-Create your account on If This Then That (Free to do)

-Select ‘Applets’ in the top left/middle of the page

-Search for ‘Pin your new Instagram photos to a board’

-IFTTT will walk you through the rest of the process


Rinse and repeat for Twitter!

Et voila, your Instagram posts will automatically post to Twitter and Pinterest.

How To Use Hashtags

How To Use Hashtags Properly

We’ve already mentioned you should never spam hashtags in this ebook.

By that, we mean that you should never use hashtags which are irrelevant to the post or your business.

Instead, use hashtags you interact with frequently.

This shows the algorithm you DO operate in the niche.

Sounds time-consuming?

It doesn’t have to be.

Let me tell you how we do this at Twenty One Twelve.

First, we follow the hashtags which are relevant to our clients and then automate the liking of new posts with that specific hashtag.

But there’s more to it than just being relevant.


How to find hashtags


So which hashtags should you use and yes there is a skill to this.

Here’s our process –


-Find people who are killing it on Instagram in your niche

-Look at their hashtags

-Check the number of times each hashtag has been used

-Search for variations

-Create lists based on your various services, products etc.


Why do we bother looking at how many times a hashtag has been used?

Because if a hashtag has been used over a million times do you think anyone will care about your post?


Your post will get lost in all those other posts.

Instead, aim to use hashtags which have only been used around 5k – 100k times.

This means you have more chance to rank in the explore page for such hashtags, which is where you will pick up those important extra likes and comments and potentially new followers.

Here’s What Happens When You Buy Fake Followers

Here's What Happens When You Buy Fake Followers

One obvious benefit of buying fake followers is… You will quickly gain a big following.

But there’s no point in buying fake followers.

We don’t say this because it will stop you using a company like ours.

It’s because it will create a lot of problems for you.

For instance, a few years ago Facebook began cleaning up fake user profiles.

This process removed thousands of likes from the pages of brands who had bought fake likes.

It left these brands looking quite stupid.

Facebook owns Instagram and I have little doubt they will implement some similar removal process soon.

But that’s still not the main reason why.

The main reason is demonstrated below.


Here’s What Happens When You Buy Fake Followers


Hootsuite writer Michael Aynsley decided to test what happens when you buy fake followers.

He bought 1,000 ‘quality’ users for a dummy account for just $9.95.

Then he sat back and watched the results.


This is what happened:

The account instantly grew.

After 2 hours he had 412 new followers.

But during this time the photos Aynsley had posted to the account hadn’t gained one solitary like.

After 24 hours he had a thousand followers but still no likes.


Why’s this a problem?

Because as we mentioned earlier, Instagram’s algorithm bases which posts to show on the newsfeed on several metrics.

These include – relevancy and engagement.

So what’s the point in having thousands of followers if nobody is liking or commenting?

It sends a signal straight to the algorithm that your content sucks.

And the algorithm isn’t going to show content that sucks to anybody.


Moreover, who were these mysterious followers?


Aynsley described them in no uncertain terms.


A bizarre mix of teenagers posting shirtless selfies, accounts with no posts at all, and more than a few bots peddling webcam porn. Not a great audience for your brand to associate itself with.”


Not great profiles to associate your brand with.

Aynsley concludes that buying fake followers is DEFINITELY not worth it.

So how do you grow a big following?

How To Grow A HUUUGGGEEE Following on Instagram

How to grow a huge following

Trying to grow your Instagram but feel like you’re getting nowhere?

You’re not alone…

Those influencers who travel the world might have better imagery and they might use hashtags better than you but there’s no weird wizardry behind the amazing results they achieve.

Take it from a company that works with plenty of Instagram influencers – it’s a science and not a magic wand that grows a huge following.

For the first time, we’re opening up our Influencer Instagram Growth Programme to brands and individuals.

So whether you’re a photographer, artist or luxury brand this is for you.

It’s a simple process which will gain you hundreds of highly relevant followers each month.

And no, it’s not buying fake followers. (In fact, we remove fake followers from client accounts – talk to us to find out why and how).

“Enough rambling, how does this alchemy work?”

We take a list of Instagram accounts whose following you would like to replicate.

These might be competitors or publications which specialise in your industry.

For example, if you’re in the travel industry you would select travel influencers who create similar content to you and industry publications such as Conde Nast Traveller.

Then, we simply go and follow their followers from your account.

We also like their photos and can even comment on them.

If they don’t follow back we unfollow them.

But it’s amazing how human psychology works and just by following and liking some of our accounts enjoy a 40% follow back ratio.

As you can imagine their Instagram following is growing pretttty quickly.

Yours can do the same.

“Sure thing but I don’t want to follow any old random person”

By selecting accounts in your niche we know we’re following your target market.

But that’s not good enough.

There will still be undesirable, random and sometimes fake accounts in there.

And when I said it’s a science I meant it.

So we set parameters around who we follow.

This includes specifying that every account we follow –


-Is a specific gender

-English speaking only

-Has a certain number of followers

-Are following a certain amount of people


We also go one step further and specify things such as-

-Words to blacklist (let us know if you have any to include, we have a standard set)

-Number of posts a user must have

-When they last posted

-Not to follow private accounts


Because we understand it’s not about having 100k random followers who don’t care about your product.

It’s about having relevant followers who represent your target market.

By being specific we nail down a relevant following.

And as a result, your engagement on Instagram is going to skyrocket.

“I’m not sure it’s right for me but I want to find out more…”

Not sure this is for you?

No problem, it can be scary.

But do you want your Instagram to remain where it is or do you want to see major growth each month?

If it’s the latter then schedule a call with me today.

You might even get a free trial if you do, then it’s only £99 per month for incredible growth.

Twenty One Twelve

There are 2 comments on this post
  1. November 29, 2018, 3:54 am

    I signed up today. I already have 23 followers. My question is how do I post from my computer. I do not see anywhere to post an article.


    Teri Green
    Atlas Biomechanics

    • Chloe Staines
      December 12, 2018, 5:35 pm

      Hi Teri,

      That’s great! We suggest using scheduling software such as HopperHQ or Onlypult to easily upload Instagram photos and videos via your computer. However, there is a Youtube video which tells you how to post directly from your desktop, please find it here,

      If you have any other questions please let us know!