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How to Start an Instagram Account from Scratch

Hélène Heath
July 28, 2017
Last Updated On
March 28, 2023
walk out deck on a lake

It can undoubtedly be a daunting task to create an Instagram account from scratch. Especially before you even have a social media strategy in place — but don’t despair! We made a step-by-step guide to aid and assist in everything from account basics to what to post on Instagram.

Should Your Brand Make an Instagram Account?

If you're a new brand it's a no-brainer platform to adopt and make an Instagram account to reach your audience. It's hyper-visual and primarily organic, making it a great social entertainment platform — and with about two billion monthly users, it’s ideal for propelling a new 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 by learning to start an instagram account, its two billion+ users render the platform a saturated space. 

Instagram might be intuitive for anyone using the platform for fun, 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 an Instagram account from scratch and win at brand-building with your page, posts and more.

A clear, informative bio.

How to Create an Instagram Account

To actually create a new Instagram account, decide whether you’d like to create a business or personal account. Brands should choose a business account — here’s how to set up your Instagram Business Account: 

  • Go to Instagram, or download the app on your phone 
  • You can sign-up with a phone number or email, but you should set up your brand’s Instagram account with a general email that the marketing team can access. Be sure the account is easy to access
  • To switch to a Business account, go to Profile > Settings (Gear icon in the top right corner next to ‘Edit Profile’ button) > Settings & Privacy > Switch to a professional account. 
  • From there, select either a ‘Creator’ or ‘Business’ Profile. 
  • Select your category and whether or not you’d like to show it in your profile.
    Some of the most popular category options include (but aren’t limited to): Personal blog, Product/service, Art, Musician/band, Shopping & retail, Health/beauty, and Grocery store.
  • Done — you’ve just created a business account on Instagram.

How To Further Optimize Your Instagram Account  

Your brand’s Instagram account represents how users see you. While user’s might be drawn in with a post or a Reel, you want to make a positive impression when they inevitably head to your profile — and increase your chances of Instagram recommending your account to others. Here's how to optimize your Instagram profile and 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 to go 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 link your website, where people will learn more about your products or brand. 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. We recommend identifying your brand as a business, if only for educational purposes. It also legitimizes your company on the Instagram marketing circuit.

7 Tips to Set Up Your New Instagram Account for Success

If you want to create an Instagram account that makes an impression, there are a few things you should plan before you even start posting. So, what should you consider to set your Instagram profile up for success and create engaging content along the way? We've got 7 tips to get you started finding success on Instagram.

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, 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? Cool? 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.

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 begin when starting an Instagram account from scratch, brainstorm ideas, assess what your competitors are doing, and revisit your brand strategy and your target market. These starting points always bring 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, you miss an important time to post like 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:

  • Your 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, and 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. Finding the best time to post on Instagram can be a challenge, so make sure you're paying attention to engagement metrics and find what works best for your audience and your brand.
  • 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 new 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 influencers and brand ambassadors 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 help you build content. All this UGC 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 trying to accelerate growth.  Make sure you outline specific goals that use practical Instagram advertising strategies before you determine your course of action to avoid wasting any precious budget.

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 outlined above, and you should find yourself graduating to more significant leagues in no time.

Dash Hudson — Your Instagram Accounts’ Best Asset 

If you want a tool that helps schedule and manage your content, while providing insightful data and analytics to help your team hone your continuing strategy and measure success, Dash Hudson might be the perfect fit for you. When it comes to Instagram, Dash Hudson’s LikeShop link in bio solution creates a seamless line from your content to your website for your audience, and social commerce features that help reach your brand’s e-commerce and social goals.


How much does it cost to have an Instagram account?

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

How do I create a second Instagram account?

To create a second IG account, tap your profile name at the top of the page, and select ‘Add account’. From there, follow the steps outlined in this article to create a second Instagram account. 

Brands that operate in more than one region, or have diffusion lines with a separate brand identity might want to have two accounts for different brands, tones, voices, and more. For example, home improvement company Home Depot has a US-based account (@homedepot), a Canada-based account (@homedepotcanada), two separate accounts for their charitable foundations (@homedepotfoundation and @retoolyourschool), and a career account (@homedepotcareers).

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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