A pracitical guide for building a community on Instagram

How to start and what to keep in mind when it comes to personal branding


In a world where everyone is looking for the next shortcut, using bots, making random comments, follow/unfollow and other things I want to give you a guide how to build something of value that will last for longer, a true community where people care about your content. Because people that are doing these strategies up there are going to loose in the long term and I guess if you are reading this you’d like to be on the winners side. Let me take you through the steps.

“We learned about honesty and integrity …that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” — Michelle Obama

1. Your niche

When making a new Instagram account you have to think about what you like to do on this platform. Are you passionate about nature photography, do you like to edit yourself to different places on earth with photoshop, do you love food or fashion? For everything you like there is definitely a niche with people sharing the same kind of interest as you do.

2. Your name

It is not too important but a catchy name can definitely help support the message you like to get across. It can definitely support your story, but be careful changing your name can cost you followers and can be a hindrance if you like to change niches.

3. What is your story

Storytelling is your most powerful tool on social media. If you like to start your personal brand it is necessary to tell a story in each and every post. For example if you are a photographer that just started, don’t pretend to be a professional. People are going to notice your lie and not going to trust you, but if you just tell your followers that you are a beginner you are being honest and they will trust you. Most are generally curious about progress because there are tons of people out there currently starting with something or just thinking about starting. So be a role model. Be the one that they can come too when they don’t know how to go one or to start. A plus is that in a couple of years you have a nice documentation of your beginnings as well.

4. Provide value

How can you provide value with your posts? Can you motivate others to get started with something, are you entertaining, do you have valuable knowledge about something that you can share, are you doing community work?Everything can work. Long descriptions on your pictures seem like a waste of time but people are acutally reading them so give them something they can take away.

5. Post as often as possible

Ideally you want to post at least 1–2 times a day. Especially in the beginning. People like to see that you are consistent with your content. I even tried to post at the same time and found generally on instagram 7–9 and 17–2(CEST) work best. The first few thousand followers are the hardest after that it gets easier and you start to not even care about the number anymore but more about the people behind it.

6. The most important time after a post

Photo by Phil Desforges on Unsplash

I noticed that the most important time is the 15 minutes to an hour after you posted. Be active during that time, answer and like every comment maybe even be active in your community, commenting and interacting with them. Post a story that your new post is out. I can tell after the first hour how many likes it’s going to get in the end on average.

7. Use the possibilitys that are given

Instagram gives you the possibility to get discovered so use it! How? Hashtags, Geolocations, tagging other accounts. You can:

  1. use 30 Hashags
  2. 1 geolocation
  3. Tag 20 accounts

So use them. By clicking on hashtags you can see related hashtags, look on geolocations that you’re at or that your target group uses a lot. When it comes to tagging accounts you can tag bigger accounts or ideally accounts that are reposting pictures so you can reach a bigger audience.

8. Document

Document rather than create! Why? Because it’s just easier and more honest. It’s hard to always think of content each and every day and don’t get me wrong from time to time it’s very good to create and get out some super high quality piece of content butfor your day to day content just start documenting your journey.

9. Put in the hours

There is one strategy that is really powerful and can work as a shortcut even though it’s not really a shortcut but more just putting in the hours. Gary Vaynerchucks 1,80$ strategie.

What it is about?

Search for 10 Hashtags in your nieche, go to the 9 top posts and leave your two cents on there ( ideally a meanigful well researched comment). For the comment just look at the other pictures of the account, read the bio and make a comment based on that. As with everything else try to provide value. Someone in the comments asked a question that hasn’t been answered yet but you know what to say? Answer!

10. Don’t be a sellout

I know this is hard especially if you are spending a lot of time and get nothing back in the beginning, but listen for a second. When you put in the time, doing everything up above companies naturally are going to approach you. Be really careful on choosing the companies you like to work with. Think about your story again, is this company helping you to spread your message or are you just doing it for the money? There is nothing wrong with advertisement but don’t screw over your follower because then you’re sacrificing the long term benefits for short term gains. Another plus…. If you are not working with every comany that’s not cleared out in a minute you are making yourself much more valuable and only make meaningful coorperations.

11. Enjoy the journey

It should be fun doing these things because building something of meaning is just worth it. It’s not only going to make you happier but also connect you with so many likeminded people all over the world, it’s going to give you clear goals in life and even your dayjob will probably feel better because you’re doing something meaningful and how know, some day you might be able to quit your job and do what you love. Enjoy the ride

“A true community is not just about being geographically close to someone or part of the same social web network. It’s about feeling connected and responsible for what happens. Humanity is our ultimate community, and everyone plays a crucial role “— Yehuda Berg

If you like to follow me on Instagram you can find me under https://www.instagram.com/coding_rob/ I’m a developer helping others getting motivated to start programming and documenting my day to day life. If this article somehow helped you on finding your way on Instrgram I’d be super happy if you write a little message.