Instagram has over 500 million active users. That’s a lot of potential!
Today, we're going to show you how to tap into that potential and make the most out of it.
Here's What You're Going to Learn:
- How to determine your strategy
- How to make your account visible
- How to optimize your content
- How to build relationships
- How to measure your results
Why Use Instagram For Your Business?
There's much more to Instgram than the 500 million active users we love to boast about.
Instagram is the only platform that shows all of your content on your follower’s page. There is no need to pay to ‘boost’ a post like on Facebook.
It’s extremely visual and therefore extremely creative.
Allows your audience to have a look into your business or personal life.
Instagram makes sure it cleans out ‘fake accounts’ so that you know your followers are the real deal.
It’s a great way to meet other people in the same industry as you
You can interact on a day-to-day basis with your followers.
Content on Instagram is universal. A picture of a flower is the same around the world.
So, now that we’ve decided that Instagram is a great tool for your business. The question is: how can we grow our following and therefore grow our business?
Here are 4 simple steps to get more followers on your Instagram:
It’s important to have meaning and direction for your Instagram account. You want make sure that you strategically choose the content you post, how you post it, and the tools you use so that you can gain meaningful followers and produce sustainable results.
Determine your brand - what’s your story?
A highly visual platform like Instagram is a great place to tell a story and your followers want to see the whole thing. Show them what you’re about, how your product is made, your company culture, etc.
Basically you’re showing off how great it is to do what you do.
Remember to choose a niche and stick with it.
For example, Marnie the Dog, an Instagram account with two million followers, is entirely dedicated to this cute pup that can’t get her tongue back in her mouth.
Research your competitors
Look at Instagrammers in your niche and see what a realistic following looks like, the type of content they’re posting, how often they post content, and how well they are engaging with their audience.
Research your target audience
If you know exactly the type of people you are looking to reach, you’ll know the best ways to catch their attention. You’ll see in step (3) that the time of day that you post is just as important as the content. If your target audience is young teens, then it’s likely that they will check their Instagram the most often right after school lets out.
2. Make your account visible
Increase your visibility by using different social media platforms. Make sure your website, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. have a visible link to your Instagram.
#Hashtaging: Posting visually appealing photos will help you maintain your current followers, but hashtags are the best way to gain new ones.
How to hashtag
a) Post popular hashtags:
Here are the top 10 hashtags according to Websta.me:
- #love (944,855,345)
- #instagood (495,298,141)
- #photooftheday (358,974,150)
- #tbt (342,224,961)
- #beautiful (336,996,535)
- #cute (330,129,505)
- #happy (326,389,816)
- #fashion (308,170,563)
- #followme (304,264,087)
- #me (302,532,178)
But remember, just because you used the hashtags #tbt and #fashion doesn’t mean you’re going to get 1 million followers overnight. The key is to choose the right hashtags.
Try keyword research to make sure you’re using the most relevant tags that have to do with your account. At the same time, you have to match them with the most popular tags to optimize your results.
b) Create your own catchy hashtag that your followers will want to use themselves
Take a page out of NastyGals Instagram with their hashtag #NastyGalsDoItBetter
c) #Dont #over #use #hashtags…
It’s annoying for your followers and looks spammy.
d) Don’t use tags like #likes4likes or #follow4follow.
This only attracts spam and followers who are using you for follows. This strays away from the idea of building an account with meaningful followers.
Use popular filters
Your audience will respond more favorably towards certain filters
Here are the top 10 filters according to Iconosquare:
- Normal or no filter
- X-Pro II
Use sponsored posts
There are two ways of doing this:
1. Reach out to influencers in your industry and ask them for a sponsored post. Prices usually range from $25-$50.
Here Instagrammer hieucow shows off her Sugar Bear Hair vitamins to her 116,000 followers
2. You can use Instagrams own Sponsored Ads. The post looks just like a regular Instagram post but with a blue ‘sponsored icon on the top right corner. Click here to see how to get an ad on Instagram.
3. Optimize your content
Find the best time to post
Think about things like the sleep and work schedules of your followers. You can determine the best time to post by testing which photos have received the most attention at different times.
As a blogger, I know that life can get busy and that schedules change, but its important to show your followers that you’re consistent.
Tools like Latergram allow you to sleep soundly while photos are uploaded for your followers across the world.
Make use of captions
Get your audience to comment on your photo by asking them questions.
Jenny Mustard, a blogger from Sweden with 54,000 followers asks her audience how their day went. Aww so sweet.
Tag whoever is in your photo and also encourage your followers to tag their friends.
Reebok asks their followers to tag their workout crew
Tag your location
Followers can click on the location and see all the other photos taken and posted there.
Videos make your images come to life and satisfy your follower’s curiosity.
Recently Nike has only posted videos.
Contests not only increase your followers, but also can drive traffic to your account and help to sell your product.
Winners, for example, asked their followers to share a photo of a piece of Winners clothing, write a story behind the photo, and use the hashtag #WINNERSMystory. This exposes more people to their products, increases traffic, and rewards their followers for following them.
Plan some campaigns
Campaigns can introduce a new product or service to get your followers excited and give them incentive to come back for a visit.
Minimalist Baker, a food blog with 395,000 followers, shares this photo with the hashtag #recipecomingsoon.
Help Others Build Their Community (and they’ll help you too)
Help out other Instagrammers in your industry by sharing, commenting, and liking their posts. They will likely return the favor.
Once these relationships have been created, try collaborating!
Youtubers and make-up artists NikkieTutorials and JeffreeStar post photos of each other on their Instagram. Together they have over 8.8 million followers.
4. Measure your results
Keeping track of your progress is a great way to learn what you can do differently.
1. Since you started your marketing strategy how many more likes, comments, followers, and shares have you received?
2. Know how engaged your followers are by adding the number of likes or views and comments. Then divide them by your follower count.
Instagrams own video of athletes competing in the 2016 Paralympics has 5.2 million views + 3,348 comments / 189 million followers = 3% engagement. Remember, 3% of 189 million is a lot!
As athletes competing for Brazil (@ocpboficial) in the Paralympics, Mateus Evangelista (@mateusvangelista), Veronica Hipolito (@vehipolito) and Yohansson Nascimento (@yohanssonf) are proud to show off the medals they earned at the games this week in Rio de Janeiro. The Paralympics (@paralympics) run parallel to the Olympic Games and provide a platform for athletes with disabilities to compete on behalf of their country. While their performance on the track is a source of inspiration for anyone who watches, what inspires Yohansson is “the opportunity to bring medals to the Brazilian people.” Veronica adds that “the opportunity to get better every day” is what inspires her. Yohansson (pictured left) and Veronica (middle), both sprinters for Brazil, earned silver and bronze medals at the games this year. Mateus (pictured right), a long jumper, earned a silver in his event. #Boomerang by @vehipolito
4. Search some of the catchy hashtags you’ve created to see if people are mentioning you.
5. Find out which followers are the most engaged with your content and build a relationship with them. Send them free products or give them a shoutout - sometimes even a reply to a comment will create a powerful connection.
6. If you’re selling a product, do any of your followers buy from you?
Other Tips to Get More Instagram Followers
1. Use a recognizable and easy to search name.
2. Make your profile public (duh!)
3. Choose a profile picture that best displays your brand. Usually this just means using your company logo.
4. Fill in your bio: Make it short and sweet, but informative. Catch your viewer’s attention by letting them know who you are and what you do.
5. Add all the necessary links to your bio so that the viewer can easily switch from your Instagram to your website, Snapchat, twitter, etc.
6. Make sure your notifications are turned on so that you can react quickly to their comments and shares.
7. If you haven’t noticed, photos matter A LOT on Instagram.
Here is some advice: Quality over quantity (because no one wants to look at 20 semi-blurry pictures of your cactus plant)
9. Post 15-20 photos before engaging with your followers so that they have an idea of what your account is about.
Websta helps you track your own Instagram and everything else that’s happening on there: from most popular hashtags to the most followed account on Instagram.
Iconosquare helps you measure and optimize your performance.
Simply Measured helps you see which areas of your Instagram are performing the best.
CrowdFire helps you manage your followers by offering you features like seeing the accounts you follow that haven’t followed you back.
Later schedules and manages your Instagram posts so that you can sleep soundly while pre-determined photos are uploaded.
Repost for Instagram makes it easy to build relationships by reposting your favorite photos and videos while giving credit to the original Instagrammer
2015BestNine shows your 9 best Instagram posts.
Wrapping It Up
In this post we talked about the best way to get more followers on your Instagram and therefore grow your business. The key to success is to be strategic, keep track of your progress, and overall, have fun and be creative!
Because that was Instagram was built on!