Outdated employment systems, a lack of entrepreneurial spirit--Foundr Magazine was fed up with the status quo, and back in 2013 its CEO and founder, Nathan Chan, decided to do something about it.

Enter: Foundr. Founded by fed up folks looking to change the game and help fellow entrepreneurs, they leveraged the formidable, prodigious power of social media to grow their digital magazine. And here's the thing--you can, too.

We'll explain how by taking a few moments to brief you on their history and how they mastered the power of social media to give rise to their success, and then tackle some "best practices" behind the use of perhaps the most effective social platform today: Instagram.

Foundr's Beginnings

Back in his mid-twenties, Foundr Magazine founder Nathan Chan was searching, as so many of us do in that formative period. In Nathan's case, he was searching for inspiration in the magazine field--why were there no business magazines he could relate to? For young and aspiring stage entrepreneurs? Why no periodicals that featured the true-to-life, daily struggles of starting a business?

Nathan decided that if no one else would take up the mantle, he'd have to do it himself. With only a few bucks in change, Nathan set out with the goal of offering a resource for visionaries and entrepreneurs hoping to create, grow, and sustain a business.

While still holding a full-time job "on the side," Nathan started the digital magazine by finding and engaging world-altering entrepreneurs, interviewing them, and featuring their lessons via the iOS & Android platforms.

For young entrepreneurs, by young entrepreneurs, Foundr swiftly gained recognition as a top-ten ranked App Store "Business & Investing" magazine. They now enjoy the viewership of hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs. How did they do it? Social media.

How Foundr Leveraged the Power of Social Media

Foundr has been able to spread its love of entrepreneurship through the successful promotion of its monthly magazine and podcast via social media channels. As we've previously stated, social media is now the latest marketing platform. They're on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Oh, and then there's their presence on Instagram. They're particularly fond of Instagram. It's one of the most popular, fastest-growing social media platforms on Earth (we can't speak for the rest of the galaxy's offerings), and it's a resource that's specifically played a large role in their ability to generate a mailing list of more than 200,000 subscribers.

They use the promotional power of Instagram to consistently make interesting posts relevant to their target audience. The opportunities offered by the social platform allowed them to build a Instagram following from literally zero to more than 400,000 in only 12 months. They even converted 30,000 opt-ins in just 30 days!

Their Top 5 Tips for Instagram Success

While experiences will always vary, there's no reason your business can't enjoy enormous social success, too. And a big part of that strategy will be the successful use of Instagram. Below, we're going to hit you with their Top 5 Tips for Instagram Success.

1. Create Content Your Followers Will Enjoy: It's not enough to post content all willy-willy. You need to consider who your target audience is and what they'll enjoy.

Don't be afraid to check out what your competition is posting and "lift" a few ideas. Peruse popular industry blogs and social media channels and see what's receiving the most engagement. Keep in mind that some general forms of content nearly always work well, including food photography, funny or inspirational quotes, and images featuring sweeping vistas. Use these when appropriate.

Keep in mind to not rely on personal photos that don't relate to your business's brand, however. There is such a thing as oversharing! A great tool to help check out what your competitors are doing and other influencers serving the same market as you is ink361.com which allows you to run scans on other accounts to find their most liked and commented images.

2. Intelligently Use Captions to Drive Engagement: Captions are critical. They provide you a chance to provide context to your image, and to make a call-to-action.

A few things to keep in mind when it comes to captions:

Only the first two to three lines of any description that follows your post will be initially seen (users will have to click to see more). That means you're working with a finite space to grab their attention, so be pithy.

Compose a caption that gets to the point within a couple lines of space, and that is immediately attention grabbing. Ensure that you include a call-to-action as soon as possible, such as "Double tap if you like/agree!" This will help boost engagement numbers.

3. Don't Be Afraid to Use Hashtags: Hashtags aren't purely the domain of overeager teens. Instead, they're a crucial addition to any Instagram post.

Hashtags allow your posts to be found by people interested in related content that may not already follow your business account. With this in mind, you'll want to incorporate as many relevant hashtags as possible into your post. Instagram allows as many as 30 hashtags per post, so be sure to research the most popular hashtags in your niche and save them for future use. (For example, we use hashtags like #startup and #business.)

Once you have a group of hashtags ready and raring to go, don't put them into your photo's caption. That will look sloppy, and may annoy viewers. Instead, put your hashtags into a comment below your post. This will help to hide their presence.

4. Consistency Is Key: It isn't enough to post. You must post consistently. Don't post all at once, however. You'll want to spread out your postings, otherwise users will become annoyed and disengage from your brand. They may even unfollow you altogether. Instead, ensure you post regularly--every day, ideally--and spread your images and videos out every three to four hours.

5. Use Your Bio to Make a Call-to-Action: Don't neglect your Instagram bio! The bio is a crucial tool to generating leads and growing your business. The most effective way to make use of your Instagram bio is to include a pithy call-to-action. You only have 150 characters to work with, so be short and sweet, but include a sense of urgency, such as "Sign up for our free trial today!", and include a link to a landing page on your website.

Be simple and no-nonsense with your bio. Also, be sure to include references to your bio and its call-to-action in your various image/video captions!

If you employ our Top 5 Tips for Instagram Success, and apply them regularly, you should start to see a significant uptick in your engagement and follower numbers. And with social media success comes greater business success.

Happy Instagramming, everyone!

Published on: Sep 21, 2016