Startup Lessons,

#StartupLesson EP006: A Startup’s Guide to Dominating Instagram for Business w/ Collin Mclelland

March 16, 2017

This Week’s Teacher; Collin McLelland

Welcome everybody to the Stage One Startup Lesson of the week where we bring experts to the show to teach you various valuable lessons on how to build your startup the right way.

In today’s lesson, you’ll learn how to dominate on Instagram with your business.

Collin got started on Instagram around 18 months ago after becoming a member of the Foundr Domination cohort.

He was on a webinar with the CEO, Nathan Chan who inspired him to take things on Instagram seriously.

Having been inspired he then started an Instagram account and started putting motivational content on the page as that tends to grow an audience quickly on Instagram.

After some time Collin began to create multiple accounts which led to an audience reach of over 250k.

Which then started a whole new road of experience for Collin, he began dabbling in the likes of sales funnels, email marketing and content marketing.

During this transition, Collin began to realise that businesses had a need for these types of skills and services.

Collin is now the proud Co-Founder of Amplifi Media which focuses on helping businesses grow their online presence through the use of digital marketing.

Class is starting

Why should brands be using Instagram?

Instagram is now the King of all Social Media platforms, and every brand should have a presence on it.

The app has over five hundred million active users that like 4.2 billion images per day.

That’s “Billion” with a “B“.

It has up to 10 times the engagement of any other social media platform.

If you’re a brand trying to build a product or service. It’s already used by 48% of brands, and that’s expected to rise to 70% by the end of 2017.

For some more statistics on the user base:

50% of the users are following a business right now, while 60% of them learned about a product or service from the Instagram platform.

Even up to 75% of the users take action, like visiting a website after they see a post from a brand.

So I think this is where most companies and brands should be focusing on social media gain because I think the ROI of your time and your money is the highest return on Instagram compared to Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, any of the other platforms.

Examples of Brands that are blowing up on Instagram right now.

I tell people that Instagram is best for business to consumer brands that have a tangible product.

Brands like GoPro, I think Instagram was made for a company like GoPro, they have 11 million followers right not.

Also, there is a company that my friend owns Circular Co Watches, it’s owned by Danny Buck, you can follow him on Instagram, it’s @DannyBuck, and he’s a branding expert.

He shows how you can build a company on Instagram of a minimal budget, I mean he has nowhere near the budget the GoPro does, I’ve seen him learning photography and taking pictures of his watches himself, the watches are circular co.

has around forty-five thousand followers now and he’s built his business of off Instagram.

You check out SumoMe, they have an online software, and I think they have a 120 thousand followers now and what they do is they put out quite content, you know, pictures with the quote over it, and they’ve built up a good following like that and driven traffic to their website.

There’s something for everybody on this platform; you just have to figure out which angle you want to hit it from.

How Do People Grow Their Instagram Account?

That’s the million dollar question like that.

What I tell everybody is that your content must be high quality and visually appealing.

If you don’t have visually appealing content, none of the information in this show is going to help you because Instagram is a visually driven platform.

First off, you have to be producing content that is esthetically pleasing.

What you need to do is decide what your strategy is and develop a theme and try to stick with that theme over the course of a page.

You never want to work outside of that theme; you want to stay true to your brand on Instagram.

The fastest growing accounts are posting multiple times a day.

This will be the hardest entry barrier for companies, being able to produce enough content to post, one to three times a day and at the same time maintain that high integrity of the content.

Once you can figure that out, this is the biggest key to success to growing on Instagram.

Also, it’s said the 80% of content would be video by 2020 and Instagram is clearly favouring videos right now.

I saw an account the other day, they had 30 thousand followers, they put out a video, and it had 350 thousand views.

If you can focus on working video content into your branding, this will help you have some extreme growth.

Instagram is changing from a photo platform to a video platform apparently, so if you can put out video content, you’re getting an edge on the competition because soon enough Instagram is going to be video.


You need to find some hashtags.

Right now Instagram is allowing up to 30 hashtags on your post. The thing that I see with a lot of brands is they don’t pick the correct hashtags; you need to do some analysis on the hashtags that you’re using.

You want ones that are relevant to your brand, your product.

The best way is to use the search function on Instagram.

We’ll just use a watch company as an example because it’s a pretty simple topic to understand.

If you go to the search function on Instagram you can go over to tags, and you can type in watch, and it’ll bring up a whole list of hashtags related to watches like:

  • #WatchOfTheDay
  • #WatchMania
  • #WatchCollector

You can go and click on those, and you can see how many posts are on each one.

We want to get hashtags that have at least a 100 thousand posts, that means that they’re active hashtags.

If we’re getting the ones that only have 500 posts, that mean no one is using that hashtag, so they’re not going to be able to discover our brand through that hashtag.

After you find your 30 hashtags, what you want to do is you post your piece of content to Instagram and then in the first comment you go in and you enter all 30 of your hashtags, you can just copy and paste them into that first comment. That way keeps your caption clean.

Account Appearance & Bio

You want to have a quick and clean bio that gets the point across as to what your page is about and what kind of content they can expect from you.

Also, you have a spot in there to enter in your URL for a website, you want to take advantage of that, get your website URL in there, that way you can drive traffic through your Instagram bio.

Instagram can be a huge source of traffic to your website so you definitely want to utilise that.

Networking on Instagram

One of my biggest contributors towards my success on Instagram is how fast I built my network on the platform.

I had 10 thousand followers at the time and I was already good friends with pages that had 400, 500 hundred thousand followers and these people helped bring me up.

You know the old saying: “Your network is your net worth“, well, it’s the same thing on Instagram.

Connect with these big influencers and when they see one of your posts they’re going to go on it, they’re going to like it and they’re going to comment it.

What this does is it opens up the algorithms to get you more exposure because these pages have credibility with Instagram because they’re big, solid accounts and if they see them engaging on your post it means that you have some credibility as well.

They like to open this up to their users so that they can discover your content.

Also, another benefit of it is: The big influencers know all the little in’s and out’s of what’s working on the platform.

Spammy Activity & How-to Avoid it.

It’s one of the most annoying things on Instagram.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to avoid this, and there a lot of people doing.

A technique that is widely used on Instagram for users that are new to the platform is the ‘Follow-Unfollow‘ technique.

That’s why you’ll see someone with 3 thousand followers and they’re following 7 thousand people, you can follow a maximum of 7500 people.

That’s what they’re doing, they’re just waiting for people to follow them back and then they’ll unfollow them.

This completely kills your engagement because the users that you’re getting, they’re not really interested in your content, they’re only interested in following you because you followed them first.

I don’t recommend doing this at all, we’ve seen this on other platforms like Twitter and it just dies out and it kills your engagement.

Auto-Likes & Auto-Comments

Another big trend that we are seeing at the minute is the use of auto-like and auto-comment platforms which automates this process for you.

It’s incredibly annoying and obviously not a genuine style of engagement.

You’ll often see an image with comments underneath the picture like;

“Nice post”, “great work”, “loving what you’re doing”, something very generic.

These types of services are provided by third party platforms that connect via Instagram’s API.

Here are a few reasons as to why you do not want to be doing this.

  1. It annoys everybody
  2. It’s actually against Instagram’s terms of service to be running of their API using a bot system.
  3. Instagram accounts (including yours) have an actual score attached to them that’s similar to a credit score. So when Instagram notice you engaging in spammy activity it works against your account.

Tools to Help Manage Your Instagram Account


So, there are so many tools out there to help new users manage and grow their accounts without it being hard to control.

One of the most important things you want to invest your money into if you’re serious about growing a presence on Instagram is a Scheduling Tool.

A tool like; Later

Later allows you to schedule your posts up to an entire month. So what I tend to do is dedicate a few hours on a quiet day (if you get one) to creating content for your Instagram account.

You are also able to add your caption in Later so that all you need to do is copy and paste it within Instagram when you’re ready to post.

Later also comes with a Mobile App so that you are able to post from anywhere at anytime.


I cannot stress enough about how important it is to be able to track your analytics on your Instagram account.

An amazing piece of software which allows you to that is; Iconosquare

This allows you to track and analyse your content as your account grows.

One great feature that I love with Iconosquare is that it even tells you when the best times are to post! What an amazing feature.

Iconosquare will also be releasing features in the next few weeks which allows you to be able to schedule your posts in line with their best times feature.

They’re literally turning Iconosquare into a one stop shop for your Instagram Account.

For a free analytics software, another superb tool that I’ve used is; SocialBlade

With the free version, you are able to track and monitor your account growth over the last 30 days.

Advertising on Instagram

Advertising on Instragram is a great way to achieve quick growth on the platform.

However, like all advertisement on Social Media, it’s a pay to play scenario.

You have to be willing to invest money into achieving the results you want to see.

You are now able to advertise directly on Instagram with it’s in build advertising platform or through Facebook.

Advertising on Influencer Accounts (Influencer Marketing)

This is probably the most effective way to build a loyal tribe of people to follow your account.

Use the likes of big influencers within your niche to share your content, a lot of influencers allow you to pay for your content to go on there page.

This way you’re sharing content directly to the people you want.

Another example of influencer marketing is when you might have a tangible product, like for example a watch, you’ll send a free watch the influencer and they’ll promote to their audience your product. In this case a watch.

Below is a video on how you can actually manage and analyse an Influencers account.

Lastly, Don’t Get Caught Up On The Numbers!

One piece of advice I like to give all of the people I work with is, do not get caught up on how many followers you have.

People do not realise how much time and effort going into building an Instagram.

If you’re constantly thinking about the followers you’ve got, you’re not going to be thinking about the content you’re going to be creating.

Content is what attracts and drives people to your page.

Class Dismissed.

More information where you can find Collin.

Instagram – @WordsOfSuccess

Website –

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