The ultimate guide to making an impact on Instagram

With 800 million monthly active users, Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform.

It is also one of the best platforms for building trust with your followers. According to research by Socialbakers, brands get three times more engagement on Instagram than Facebook, while celebrities enjoy 3.6 times more interaction.

Along with this growth comes an increase in competition, as more brands battle it out for attention. So how can you make sure you make an impact?

Here are our top tips on how to engage with your Instagram audience.

Get editing

Editing your Instagram photos can increase engagement by more than 45%, which is why the app comes with a range of features. The easiest option is to add a filter and there are more than 20 to choose from. However, Instagram is capable of so much more and it has an arsenal of editing tools to help you turn your photos from drab to fab. Pick a photo from your phone’s library, click ‘edit’ and play around to find what best fits you and your brand.

You can also edit photos and video on the hoof (pardon the pun). Here are a few things to have fun with:

  • Type: write messages over your images
  • Rewind: record a short video and play it backwards (this works particularly well with horses!)
  • Superzoom: dramatically zoom in on your subject (or yourself, if you dare) with one tap. Music is added for extra effect.
  • Boomerang – this takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a mini video that plays forward and backward.
  • Stop Motion – similar to Boomerang, you take a series of photos with a single click, which Instagram turns into a GIF.

There’s an app for that

Once you’ve got your head around the tools on Instagram it’s a good idea to download a few apps to create something a bit different. You should aim to create a signature ‘look’ for your feed, which is instantly recognisable.

Instagram has a number of standalone apps that are worth checking out, such as Hyperlapse, which lets you create timelapse videos, and Layout which combines multiple photos into a collage. But there are hundreds of photo-editing apps out there.

Here are a few of the best:

  • Pic Stitch: the number one photo and video collage app
  • Google’s Motion Still: take a photo from your library and turn it into a looping gif.
  • SnapSeed: this app has amazing editing tools
  • VSCO: check out the stunning filters, which are much better than those on Instagram
  • SKRWT: helps you correct perspective or fix the lens distortion, which often happens if you take pictures on your iPhone.

Tell a good story

Instagram Stories is a popular feature that is all about posting regular photos and videos.  They are only on Instagram for 24 hours so people don’t expect perfectly curated content. Fun snippets that give a glimpse into your life work brilliantly.

Make it stick

Before sharing a photo or video to Stories, you can add fun stickers, like specs, love hearts, hats, slogans, emojis and GIFs. You can also add a sticker with your location, date/time and temperature (you might want to brag if you’re competing somewhere hot and sunny). You can even turn your own face into a sticker, so if you fancy swapping places for a day you can superimpose yourself onto other riders!

Go live

Tapping into Instagram’s live-streaming feature is a great way to engage with your audience.

A recent addition is the ‘Live guests’ option, which enables you to go live with someone else. This is great for Q&A sessions – you can invite your followers to get involved, or instigate a conversation with another rider.

Once you’ve finished the broadcast it can’t be viewed again, so have fun with it and don’t worry too much about it being too polished or professional.

Write a great caption

Captions can be up to 2,200 characters in length, including emojis and up to 30 hashtags. This doesn’t mean your captions should be made up of a long list of #hashtags. That’s just #ugly. Write something that will speak to your audience and grab their attention.

A great Instagram caption will:

  • Add context to your photos and videos
  • Show off your personality
  • Entertain your followers
  • Encourage them to take action.


Speaking of hashtags, do you really know how to use them? Or why?

If you don’t use hashtags only your followers will see your photo. If you want to reach a wider audience, use between five and 10 relevant hashtags, avoiding the most common ones (you will get lost in the infinite streams of content), or anything too niche. Good hashtags = good visibility.

It’s also a good idea to post hashtags in the first comment, rather than in the caption, as this looks less ‘salesy’.

Play tag

If you feature a photo of someone who uses Instagram, make sure you tag them. Tap on ‘Tag People’ beneath the caption field and then tap on the person or object in the image that you want to tag and enter their name, or Instagram username. A list of suggestions should appear as you type.

If you forget to tag someone in a photo you have already posted just tap the three dots icon (…) in the top right to bring up the menu, select ‘Edit’, and then tap ‘Tag People’.

For more great advice, get in touch to find out how we can help you make an impact with your marketing. We provide a range of services, from social media to strategic marketing management, and athlete representation to international services.