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June 7, 2017

How to Grow Your Instagram: Two Brand Case Studies

Instagram is one of the most critical platforms today for businesses to have a presence on.  The engagement rate is ridiculously high. Forrester says Instagram is the king of social engagement – and it generates 58 times more engagement per user than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per user than Twitter.

It’s the visual social platform where your potential buyers and customers go when they want to look for pretty images – and then, they engage back with and pledge loyalty to a business that presents the visuals they want.

For the millennial generation, it is considered the No. 1 most important social platform.

So, how do you go about building a great Instagram presence?

How to Grow Your Instagram: Two Brand Case Studies

I talked to two users on Instagram that have achieved significant growth and results from their presence. Here are their secrets.

1. Sprout Social: 3,400 Followers Organically and Growing

Here’s what Sprout Social said when I asked for its top organic Instagram growth methods. (Sprout Social is on Instagram @sproutsocial.)

“It’s still growing. Instagram grows every day and the landscape shifts all the time. We’re in it for the long haul, and we’ll never stop analyzing our tactics to put out the best content for our audience and continue to grow our presence.

We focus less on what we do on other networks like Twitter, and Facebook, and more on the personal aspect when we post to Instagram.

We strive to provide an inside look at life at Sprout HQ and how Team Sprout works and plays. We use fun hashtags the whole team can get behind such as #TeamSprout and #SproutandAbout Occasionally, we will add in #socialmedia because we are trying to reach people who love social as much as we do.

Our number one tip to someone starting their business account on Instagram is don’t be afraid of building relationships on Instagram directly by collecting and using user generated content (and asking for permission to do so). Another good thing to keep in mind is taking advantage of geotags. Instagram is a global platform and can really expand your relevancy and reach.”

2. Content Marketing Institute: 500 percent organic growth in the past 18 months

Content Marketing Institute became active on Instagram in January 2012. Here’s what it had to say about how it has grown its presence. (Follow @cmicontent.)

Part of the @cmicontent team enjoying the last night of our annual retreat. #CMWorld

A photo posted by Content Marketing Institute (@cmicontent) on

“We’ve grown our presence on Instagram nearly 500 percent in the last year and a half, to more than  6,300 followers. Our team has experimented with our posting frequency. We have not found a drop-off in engagement when we post more rather than less, so we share photos as often as we can to build brand awareness.
Don’t underestimate the power of your community! #CMWorld is our brand hashtag which is used across social media. This hashtag gives our community members an opportunity to consistently find relevant content in all channels, including Instagram.
Be consistent. Deliver content to your community regularly. Also, have a consistent tone and voice across all social media so your audience truly gets to know your brand and its personality. Consistency builds credibility, proving you are committed to the platform and to your audience.”


Take inspiration from these brand examples and start building your Instagram strategy today. Remember, community and consistency in your presence is key – post great visuals, and engage back with your fans. The results will be worth it.


Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.