Those of you who are trying to *grow* a business with Instagram, create a secondary theme account.

Forum White Hat SEO Social Media Those of you who are trying to *grow* a business with Instagram, create a secondary theme account.

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    *Hey guys! Reposting this from a couple days back as last time I made the mistake of editing in a link to my IG newsletter and the post got quickly removed. It seemed to gather a good amount of interest for the hour or so it was visible, so I wanted to give it another chance. Hope this is ok!*


    Main brand accounts aren’t good for driving growth via Instagram. They serve an important role in other ways, such as product and service updates, success stories from users, customer service, giving a quick overview of your offering, and tips to get the most out of what your customers are buying.

    People expect brands to have an Instagram account for these reasons, and you should go above and beyond with everything mentioned. This is pretty straight forward.

    That is to say, the main Instagram account for your business is geared toward the existing customer base, as well as those who are already actively looking for something that the business is offering. It’s not meant for building a huge audience of potential customers.

    Many are trying to force it, but it almost never works. Yes, some businesses have huge audiences on Instagram, but how many of them have grown *because of* Instagram?

    Everyone wants to build an audience to acquire customers from, but for that, you need something else.

    **The Power of a Secondary Account**

    The idea is simple. You create another Instagram account. Something with a clear theme that attracts your target audience, and something that at the same time suits the visual nature of Instagram. That’s the recipe for success here.

    Let’s take a few examples. If you sell sofas, you can create an account for Scandinavian decor. If you have an app for sharing wedding pictures, go with a certain themed wedding inspiration account. Phone accessory brands could do an account showcasing the digital nomad lifestyle.

    Yes, Instagram is full of these accounts, but there’s a reason for it — they work. Instagram is the perfect platform for these types of accounts, and they attract hordes of people. This is exactly the content people want to see when they’re in Instagram browsing mode.

    And it’s not like you can’t do it better than most. The majority of these accounts are not being run professionally — or at least they could be improved a lot. Most of them also sell out far too cheaply and turn the accounts into pure spam with shitty ads.

    With an account like this, you’ll be able to build a following of people who are interested in the niche you operate in, but might not be buying, or even researching your products or services yet. It’s very difficult to get people like this to follow your brand account.

    Then when you’ve built an audience, you can slowly start incorporating your business into it, funneling these people to your site and your main account. You can start with some simple ads, create appropriate story highlights, or even add “by *Your Business*” in the name of the account.

    Just beware of suffocating your followers. The core theme of why people followed in the first place needs to remain in the majority of the content.

    You’ll end up with a constantly growing audience of potential customers, driving growth for your brand, which in turn lets you be laser-focused on serving your existing customers and converting those on the brink of buying with your main account.

    **How to Build One**

    Your first task is to come up with the theme of the account. Remember the recipe: something visual and something that attracts your target audience.

    It’s difficult to give out general advice for this part, but if you leave a comment below and describe your business, I can give you some ideas.

    As a side note, if someone here gets inspired to do it as a side project, you don’t even need a business yet to apply this strategy. You can build your audience first, and start your business later. That was my original plan with an account I have, when I set out to build an audience for a clothing brand I wanted to start. I ended up scrapping the idea of a clothing brand pretty quickly, but the theme account turned into a business of its own and kickstarted my personal career.

    When you’ve decided on your theme, and have come up with a good name for the account, you need to find content. At this point, you need to consider yourself as a content curator, not creator. Creating can come later, but now you just want to get things going and find what works.

    Look for bloggers and influencers in your niche. Find the best posts by them. Check Unsplash and other stock photo sites, just avoid the stock photo aesthetic. Remember to credit properly.

    Read blogs and form opinions. You need to be able to actually curate the content you’re reposting. It’s not just about compiling stuff. It’s about presenting content from your point of view. Not everyone will like it, but not everyone has to.

    Post a handful of posts, write a descriptive bio, and promote the account with your main account, if you have one. If you don’t, or if your main account doesn’t really have a following yet, start following a couple hundred people in your niche. That should give you some early traction. Know that Instagram has strict measures against mass following, so don’t bank on it being a sustainable growth strategy down the line.

    You’ll grow with collaborations and the strategic use of hashtags — both of which require interesting content to work.

    With collaborations, essentially you try to find fair cross-promotion opportunities with other similar accounts.

    Remember to think outside the box: you don’t have a big audience in the beginning, so a story feature by you doesn’t give a lot of negotiating power, but what else can you offer? Can you send them one of your products? Could you find a way to feature them on your main brand account naturally, in exchange for them promoting your new account? You need to be creative.

    Getting eyes on your new account is in many cases much better than getting your main account featured because you’ll convert many more followers that way.

    Hashtags are highly misunderstood and require a post of their own, but in a nutshell, the idea is to figure out what most people want to see when they search for a certain hashtag — and only use it if your post actually fits the bill.

    This means that you have to research relevant hashtags and look at what kind of posts Instagram is giving traction to within those hashtags. In other words, it’s not up to you to decide that *“this post could easily count as #fallinspo, imma use that.”* You have to first check if #fallinspo has similar posts as top posts, and only then use the hashtag in your post.

    Growth is going to be slow in the beginning, but it does get easier, and you’ll get better.

    **Unexpected Bonuses**

    Creating a secondary account comes with some unexpected bonuses.

    Even if the business fails, you’ll still have the audience. You can potentially turn it into a business of its own, which I did, or you can use it to kickstart another business. Having an audience opens a lot of doors.

    The second account also helps you with your brand voice. You’ll have the chance to form your own, honest opinions, and speak out without fear of damaging your business. You’ll see what connects with the audience and lean in on what’s working. It’s kind of a sandbox to practice communicating with your target audience.

    Lastly, I think this is a pretty good opportunity to learn organic Instagram better, which I think is underutilized.


    The biggest flaw most businesses make is doing things like this.
    Amassing a large following of people interested in Swedish decor is no use if your actual target audience is people living in the North east corner of the United States.

    You’re spending time and energy, and if you’re a proper business you’re spending money on photography or stock photos to build an audience that doesn’t actually want to hear from you.

    The problem with these things is two fold.
    There are many businesses that a customer has no interest in following on Instagram who go there because it’s the place to be. And there are businesses that soend time, money, and emotional capital on building an audience to chase NUMBERS. 10,000 followers is meaningless for a small business if they’re not 10,000 people who are going to buy.

    It’s like seeing all of the people who run giveaways to build audiences. Like this post and follow us for a chance at a free iPad. One to give away every week. And it’s a business selling steel fencing.

    So now they’re out the cost of 4 iPads, plus boosting the posts. And their fans list is filled with people who were never going to buy steel fencing. Now over time their reach will be awful and their posts will perform terribly. The people who are not interested in steel fencing will quickly scroll past teaching Instagram “this content has no value”.

    You are on the absolutely right message: Speak to your audience about the things they want to talk about. That is how you build followers for sure.

    But building an account unrelated to your brand is not going to be successful for a huge number of people. It’s just time wasted on an audience who aren’t even waiting to be converted.


    This seems silly. If you sell sofas, you need better room design photos featuring your sofas. If you sell cake mixes, you need better cakes made with your mix. All this can be done from your primary account.

    If you’re too cheap to create decent content, just admit that you’re too cheap to do inbound marketing well and use some other method to try and gain customers.


    I like this idea but see the other commenters’ concerns about audience targeting.

    I do something similar – I’m a SMM mainly for business coaches, who post motivational & business content. So I created an IG page about mental health/self love aimed at women in business. Then, I can share my clients’ posts to the account which has targeted followers.

    I am also opening a bakery in Chicago so I started a Chicago desserts IG page. I haven’t posted to it yet and still get multiple followers per day!

    So maybe get even a little deeper than just Scandinavian decor. Something that it will be really easy to create content for. If you want customers in the NE USA, use tags like #mainedecor and #fairfieldconnecticut to Target people in those areas.

    It’s kind of like building a funnel. You have the large audience of people interested in Scandinavian decor, then you show them your product. Likely the people who follow the main business page will be interested in purchasing/hopefully in business range


    This is a common misconception, IMO. Requires double the resources too if you want both accounts to stay healthy. Go for it, if the new account has at least one dedicated full-time employee.


    Super quality post


    What you’re telling people to do is a manual version of mother-slave accounts. This method only works at scale, but in order to scale this you’re probably botting (scum, how dare you!) or you hire multiple people to run accounts which most small businesses cannot afford. This method was popular a couple years ago, but the amount of backend costs are no longer practical for most. These days you’re better off just paying for shout outs and dedicating all of your time and effort to your real page.


    Btw OP, do you have any examples of this being implemented successfully? I’d be really curious!


    It’s a better use of time and resources to optimise your website for SERPs and invest in a link building strategy. In my XP social media often doesn’t reward you back for the often huge effort extolled.


    The comments on their though, got almost killed for saying something similar.

    I agree with you totally and you know your stuff, great post!

    I’ve talked about this strategy with multiple accounts (3 for a start) and I called it the pyramid growth strategy

    The strategy may look ”silly” but what people can’t get is when you use a viral theme account to promote your main brand only people who are really interested in your brand will follow you

    It is a great strategy, quite slow until you get your theme accounts going good.

    Great way to grow highly interested followers

    Another thing is content, this strategy will only fail when the content of the main brand is poor.

    Thanks for putting this out, couldn’t have said it better.


    While I appreciate your approach, I’d bet a good amount of social media managers are going to roll their eyes at this because what you’re essentially saying is “if you’re bad at growing one account, just make a second account, more work is so easy!”

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