How to Start an Instagram Account from Scratch

Hélène Heath
July 28, 2017
Last Updated On
June 24, 2022
walk out deck on a lake

The thought of starting an Instagram account from scratch can be daunting, no doubt. Especially before you even have a social media strategy in place. There's no time to despair! We made a step-by-step guide to aid and assist in everything from account basics to what to post on Instagram.

New entrepreneurs on the social scene, take heed.

Started from the bottom now we here.

Should Your Brand Make an Instagram?

If you're a new business starting fresh on Instagram, it's a no-brainer platform to adopt. It's hyper-visual, primarily organic, and almost every adult human uses it, making it ideal for propelling a newb enterprise forward.

In theory, this all sounds like a walk in the park. But this endeavor cannot and should not be underestimated. Anyone who's ever tried so much as to grow Instagram followers knows firsthand how deceptively arduous it is to sprout an engaged audience from the bottom up. Social media roles are probably the most underestimated in any company; certain executives still don't get it and believe that the job is just about posting fun photos all day long at a whim. Boy, are they wrong.

No matter how long the list of advantages may be, ignoring that Instagram has become a crowded space would be reckless. While an incredible opportunity for brands to carve out a niche and fair market share, it's one billion+ users render the platform a saturated ecosystem. Treading mindfully is de rigueur.

Instagram might be intuitive for anyone under 25, but it can be unclear and paralyzing for entrepreneurs thanks to endlessly evolving social media business practices. Follow the pointers below to learn how to create a business Instagram account from scratch and win at brand-building with your Instagram page, posts and then some. You'll need to sign up for the robust Dash Hudson tools suite in no time. 💁

A clear, informative bio ftw.

How To Start An Instagram Account  

The Instagram page profile is like your gown at the Oscars: if it isn't good, you'll be shunned. Here's how to start an Instagram page from scratch:

  • Your profile pic. Most brands use their company logo, which is bright and leaves no confusion about what account people land on. While this practice makes the most sense, it's not mandatory. The rule of thumb is going with something high quality and representative. For example, Glossier's bio image is a solid circle of the brand's ubiquitous #glossierpink.
  • Your website. This is the only spot in all of Instagram (safe for swiping up in Stories) where you can enter a hyperlink to redirect your audience somewhere. Be wise and input your website, where people will learn more about your fledgeling biz. Once you've built up your audience, you can move on to bigger and better things like a link-in-bio solution. In the meantime, stick to a discovery mode mindset.
  • A brief, concise description. Sum up nicely what you are and what you do to inform folks in a flash. Instagrammers have no time to lose, so keeping this brief is crucial.
  • Decide on either a regular or business account. This one is purely up to you. Here at Dash Hudson, we recommend identifying your brand as a business, if only for educative purposes. It also legitimizes your company on the Instagram marketing circuit. We wouldn't believe any of the low engagement rumors surrounding business accounts, as we've witnessed both ends of the spectrum.

1. Identify Your Target Audience

The whole point of setting up shop on Instagram is to cultivate a community of audience members that are united in their shared love for your brand and/or your content. To properly devise a content plan that will speak to your core business strategy and hook consumers (more on that later), you must first resolve who you're trying to reach with those pretty visuals. Determining your target audience will be intricately consequential to your content plan, as well as your overall Instagram engagement.

2. Establish a Voice and Tone

In a nutshell: this is your brand's personality. Are you punny? Authoritative? Spunky? Too cool for school? Sweet as pie? Sarcastic? These attributes are not mutually exclusive, and figuring out your narrative's tone of voice will liaise your brand assets to your audience's eyeballs. Not only is a well-crafted brand voice directional for marketing efforts, but it's also infinitely essential to driving any consumer/follower loyalty.

The Reformation brand voice is unmistakable.

3. Make a Content Plan

This is the fun part. Assets! Pretty pictures! Videos! Boomerangs! But of what? That is the question.🤔 Building a solid content plan is highly strategic as well as creative, so bring your A-game to the devising table.

Here at Dash Hudson, we recommend coming up with 4 or 5 visual segments that make up your Instagram account's aesthetic blueprint. Identifying pillars like this will play the role of a steering wheel and help keep things tight related to the story you're telling with your photos and videos. If you're at a loss for where to start, brainstorm on ideas, assess what your competitors are doing, revisit your brand strategy and your target market. These starting points always jig up big Instagram feed ideas.

Then, stick to a consistent cadence by scheduling your posts in advance to make sure you're never caught in a content pickle during boozy brunch Sundays. Or worse, that you miss National Donut Day due to your lack of foresight.

4. Be Consistent

Consistency is crucial and multifold in this case. It's essential to establish a continuous narrative on all fronts to form follower habits and fulfill expectations. This applies to:

  • You're aesthetic. That goes for individual image quality as well as overall grid appearance. Keep the same filters on rotation, ensure an overall flow with the way your images look as an ensemble, don't post something random.
  • Your tone of voice. Don't suddenly turn into a Serena if you've been a Blair all along. See point #3.
  • Your posting frequency. Post frequently to establish a cadence with your audience. We've got the 411 on the frequency sweet spot and Instagram peak posting times.
  • Your availability. By this, we mean it’s crucial to give users all the information about your products and services. You can easily do this by utilizing Instagram shopping and using product tagging for ease of navigation within your feed or through Reels.

5. Create a Gifting Program

Exposure and word-of-mouth are priceless, especially for a burgeoning brand on Instagram. If you can set aside a small budget for influencer marketing or gifting, it can go a long way in terms of generating awareness. Focus on micro-influencers, who will often post for trade, instead of big-name power-bloggers with expensive representation, who will charge a pretty penny while offering little return. Bear in mind the forging of relationships when approaching this mission.

Reach out to carefully selected tastemakers that align with your brand ethos and establish a genuine connection with them to cultivate organic partnerships. Disingenuous sponsored posts are transparent to audiences and will get you nowhere fast. Consistently collaborate with influencers who are enthusiastic about your brand and what you are doing. True love can't be bought, and that's what your new potential followers are wise to.

This practice will also kill another bird and help you build content. All this killer content created by your ambassadors will be yours to repurpose on your feed. No more breaking out into a cold sweat when thinking about where your next piece of content will come from.

6. Run an Instagram Ad

The organic reach Instagram will grant you is excellent, but there is no shame in the accelerating game. For all Instagram ads best practices, check out these practical strategies and the most efficient logistical approach to take. Buyer beware: make sure you outline specific goals before you determine your course of action to avoid wasting any precious coinage.

7. Monitor Your Account Activity and Adjust Accordingly

Last but not least, once you've hit the ground running, your job is far from over. You have to keep abreast of all the data your efforts are yielding to be able to swerve as necessary. Dash Hudson's Instagram Insights feature can help you understand who is interacting with your content, what your audience is responding to, what strategies result in follower gains, what kind of traction you get when others post about your brand, etc. Analyzing the data will educate your future choices — don't overlook it.

The net-net is that mastering the scientific art of Instagram marketing is challenging and indeed an uphill climb. It's not easy, success will not happen overnight, and it will more often than not be a matter of trial and error.

There is no magic formula, but there is good business advice. Follow the steps you read above, and you should find yourself graduating to more significant leagues in no time.


How much does it cost to have an Instagram account?

Nothing. Luckily, it doesn’t cost anything to make an account on Instagram. 

What are good Instagram names?

If you’re looking for a good name for your brand’s new Instagram account, the best possible name is your exact brand name. If that isn’t available, or your brand name is too long, you can always abbreviate it. Just be sure to keep your name as simple and easy to search as possible if you can’t stick with either of these options. 

How can I increase my followers on Instagram?

There are a lot of things you can do to increase your Instagram growth. Analyzing and staying on top of trends, interacting with other users, and running contests are just a few things you can do to grow your follower base quickly on Instagram.

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