How to Win at Instagram

Instagram launched on October 6, 2010 and ever since that date I’ve been trying to figure out how to use it for both personal and business purposes.

First How to Fail at Instagram

Grab your smart phone… seriously, do it… I’m not joking, this illustration won’t be as powerful if you don’t do it… grab your smart phone and open up to your camera roll…

Okay, now scroll through the camera roll. What is the common thread between every photo in your camera roll? Take a look at mine…

There is absolutely no theme. If this were an Instagram feed, it would have very few followers.

Now How to Win at Instagram

I was talking with one of my two “celebrity” friends. (If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to have a celebrity friend, it’s just like having any other friend, but with really, really good stories). I said I noticed his wife had over 30,000 followers on Instagram. I was like, “dude, I can’t believe that. I had no idea.” He responded, “yeah man, it’s crazy. She gets free stuff sent to her all the time, people even send her weird emails… it all just kinda took off.” When I asked how it happened he said this…


“She figured out what her followers expected. She knows they expect a certain type of photo and she works really hard to meet those expectations. People know what they’re going to get from her and she delivers.”


This expert Instagrammer delivers a very sharp and narrowly focused type of image. I have been following her for several months and I can affirm, she delivers.

I’m not an expert at Instagram but I love learning from experts. For several months I’ve been contemplating starting an Instagram for my business. I’ve always said, “no,” because I didn’t know what I would post. After hearing about how my friend’s wife approaches her instagram, I realized that I not only had content to post, but rather, I NEEDED to start an Instagram.

Take a look at my feed and see if you discern a theme:

You may have said one of the following: travel, architecture, buildings… what I’m really going for is cities. If you could see the descriptions you would notice that I share something about the city that each photo was taken in.

So how does this apply to you? The MAIN PRINCIPLE to take away is to ask yourself, “What can I/we deliver consistently on Instagram with consistency and excellence?” Narrow down the answer to a certain theme and then incorporate images that celebrate that theme.

I’ll leave you with a few questions to ask yourself as you define what your Instagram feed could look like:

  1. What kind of images can I/we take consistently with excellence?
  2. What do I/we want to communicate through our images? (values, mission, progress, success)
  3. What kind of images do I/we are fun to take and fun to share?
  4. How will my/our images add value to Instagram and to a follower’s feed (and life)?

I’m curious to hear how you will use this information with Instagram or any other social network.