Managing a successful Instagram account includes everything from investigating your target audience and competitor accounts, to creating a unique selling point, to selecting Insta-worthy shots.

Maintaining a following can be like having a full-time job. Unlike most full-time positions, though, this one comes with a checklist proven to make even the smallest accounts successful.

Quick-and-Easy Checklist

There’s a few things you need to do before becoming Insta-famous. Here are six tips to keep in mind.

Stalk Competitor Accounts  

Pay attention to your competitors – view their feed and take note of which posts have the most likes and comments. By observing what they’re doing to succeed, you can translate that into  increasing your own viewership.     

Think About What Makes You Different

What sets your account apart? What are your strengths, weaknesses? Make a list of both and then create a bulletproof advertising plan.

Identify Your Target Audience

Figuring out who your viewers are, where their interests lie, what compels them to surf Instagram, and what time of day they’re online, are all crucial questions to ask yourself as you manage an account. Mothers, for example, often scan through Instagram when their children are asleep – during lunch and nighttime hours.

Make an Editor’s Plan

What are you writing about? Be sure not to overload your viewers with sponsored posts.

Define Your Style

Style includes aesthetics and post descriptions. Maybe you have a signature filter or hashtag, or maybe you’re the satirical type. Whatever it is, own it.

Do You Want to Advertise?

Decide whether you’d like to advertise your profile, and then determine how much time and money you’re willing to spend.

Make a Plan

So you’ve completed the basics; now, you need to think of a good content plan. An effective content plan will divide your content into four sections: entertainment, expert, selling, and learning posts.

In addition to creating a content plan that works, you should include hashtags. Hashtags are essentially keywords preceded by the “#” symbol. When users click on hashtags, they will be able to view all public posts with that hashtag.

Hashtags, however, can become harmful when used in excess. The magic number here seems to be 10-15 per post, where any more or less is inefficient.

Content is King

An Instagram account will not succeed without quality content. The more interested your posts are, the more views (and followers) you’ll get.

Think of a creative idea, select a style for your brand, and stylize your posts. Don’t forget to personalize your post descriptions as well. Use your descriptions as a way to motivate dialogue and create conversation.

Like other promotional tools, Instagram requires a thoughtful approach. Though it can be time consuming, the payoff will be worth it in the end.