Instagram is a fast-growing platform and a still emerging social scene. Having about 300M active users each month, it is the world’s gallery of more than 20 billion photo posts.
It’s no secret that we love Instagram, we’d probably even love it if we had a few followers, but since this is about branding, blogging and business promotions and marketing, we obviously need to catch up on how to grow an impressive Instagram following. How to do it?
Besides being a recommended user from Instagram, which is usually the fastest way- (Well we’re going to skip the usual obvious tips like taking photos, posting regularly and engaging with your audience) it’s not about luck, it’s about knowing how to reach people. So here’s how:
#1 Use Instagram Influencers
This will be a bit long, but honestly this is a breakdown of all the itty bits that Instagram has to offer that you can utilize to be considered by influencers. On Instagram there’s a bigger audience, more engagement and it’s not even costly to use these influencers.
- Popular page: Instagram’s popular page uses algorithm that shows certain content based on the people you follow. It’s triggered by content generating likes and comments using a frontline of users with a rather large followings. If you take the time to go through the photos on their Instagram, you can find a number of potential influencers.
- Hashtags: When used the right way, they are incredibly effective. It will help you find content by taking the process of grouping various content with photos tagged under the same hashtag. Besides earning you visibility, you get targeted views and will encounter other similar Instagram users.You can try creating a branded hashtag, which is specifically for businesses. How? Use your business name or company’s slogan in all of your numerous posts. Besides helping to get a good spread of your brand awareness, it will also help you to excel in sharing in your current and future audience engagements.You can also try the already trending hashtags, based on what is already going viral all over the world. If you can come across these trends, try to engage in their conversations and post something related to it. This will give you a broad audience and though it might require you to give it a bit more effort, it’s totally worth it.
- Contact info: Most of the time people leave email addresses or contact numbers for things such as inquiries in their posts. You can try sending them an email or SMS about your brand and how you’d be interested in working with them. If you are following someone, you can send them private messages or what Instagram calls Direct Messaging.
If you decide to go with this, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Keep track of each account you contact, just to make sure you don’t try to reach them twice. This will undermine your efforts in making you look established and professional or organized.
- Pay more attention to accounts with at least 10,000 followers. Make sure they have high engagement rates and plenty of likes and comments.
- Be careful of fake likes and followers, they are all over Instagram too. This is so you know that your time and efforts, even your money isn’t wasted on spam.
- Prepare yourself to commit to this as a long term strategy. It’s a form of advertising so you have to practice patience and utilize your time with multiple posts to keep those results that you need and like.
#2 Promoting Content Wisely
This may seem like the easiest thing in the world since you already have an image for your branding. However, if you really want to make things solid, take into consideration how you will use promotional materials.
- Cross Promotions: If you’re new on Instagram, but you already have a solid Facebook and Twitter following, all you have to do is link and sync up all of these platforms and accounts. This will include a direct link and a wider picture for a bigger audience to see. Now each of your audience from each platform can search and find you, and hopefully get connected with you on the ones they aren’t in already.
- Run A Promotion: This is your “spotlight” moment, everybody loves free stuff. Using your latest interactions, this is the easiest way for you to boost your business with your Instagram followers. Take the time to show them that they are appreciated by running a promotion and giving back to them.Make sure to set it up in a way where it’s not too difficult for your audience to win your promotion/contest. Do it in such a way that those who haven’t already followed you have to follow you to be a part of the fun. Just remember to always make the prize worthwhile for your subscribers. The bigger the prize, the bigger the chances that more people will want to join in.
#3 Learn From Your Competitors
Always remember to take the time to analyze not just your Instagram account but also those of your competitors. It’s a power hungry world out there, and everyone is up for grabs on just about every single thing.
Research your potential competitors and check out their skills, location and audience. See what’s relevant and use that as an advantage to grow.
Don’t just do the little things; take control of overall analytics on your branding. Take note of how often they post, where they get engagement from and what kind of posts do they usually have. Pick out some of the stuff they are doing and see what works and what doesn’t for you.
Remember your competitor’s network can easily also become yours if you handle things right. Know who’s interacting with whom and who your greatest challenge is. Things will always go smoothly if you know what you are up against with.
#4 It’s All About Imagery
Instagram is about images. There’s a bunch of ways to take advantage of it.
- Create image series: Think about it, these are like stories and people love stories. They’ll enjoy following along the time line and seeing how things play out or how everything will progress. You can add a personal touch to everything, remember this is branding we’re talking about.
- Share: Choose your best photos and try to also have them synced with Pinterest.
- Instagram Takeovers: Find those brands or blogs that match your style and analytics. Take the time to come up with a pitch and come up with an agreement of connecting and possibly taking over their accounts for a day. Offer your services and be surprised by the number of interested feeds that need a little tweaking on their accounts even for just a short while.
- Permission to repost: Don’t fuss over when people want to share your images, give them the permission to do so. Giving them the opportunity, not always but often enough, to share as they desire helps spread the joy. This can result in dozens of people checking your feed and telling other people. You won’t just get discovered, more people mean more traffic, and this will go a long way.
- Shout-outs: It’s pretty obvious but to break things down, try shout-outs. This will really help your following. Tag a bunch of people you know, or people who are close to the brand. This is a fast and easy way for other followers, their followers, to discover you. Just be careful not to overdo it. Be authentic and transparent. A little shout-out never hurt anyone.
#5 Have a Strategy
Always, and we mean ALWAYS have a strategy. This applies to everything you do in your social media platforms, especially if you are planning to grow a huge following, especially on Instagram. Remember none of it will work unless you plan everything out.
Check out the accounts of those you admire, get ideas, strategize, and come up with something fresh. Ask around for various opinions, and be ready to take them into consideration. Learn from the little things and all the glitches. Take it one step at a time, so that you can pick up those important tips.
Wrapping it Up
Don’t forget to get to know Instagram’s many tools. Have some fun in experimenting and adjust yourself. Check out its new features, take notes and explore as much as you can.
Instagram is one of the most influential platforms. It’s super impactful if you can practice to properly utilize it. The real hard work will be up to you. The ability is always there; just think of building something great and staying connected. Engagement is always the key, and change is always something that should be a constant factor in your plans. But you will see all the boosts when you put your efforts in.