Grow Your Instagram With Real Followers
Regardless of how good your product, service, or business is, one thing is clear.
It’s important to have a social media following. Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, with higher engagement rates than Facebook. If you’re looking to grow your brand in 2019 and beyond, you can’t afford to miss out on it.
Over 60% of users find products or services on Instagram.
Gone are vanity metrics such as follower accounts. It’s all about engagement. If you have 200,000 followers yet only get 30 likes per post, it’s pretty obvious to the casual user. This will affect your brand’s credibility.
All businesses regardless of industry should care about growing their Instagram account. Not only can it assist the bottom line and key business KPIs, it lends a tangible sense of credibility to the business. Who would you trust more, a company with 3 followers or no presence, or a company with thousands of engaged followers?
The choice is clear, it can only help your business. However, there are effective and ineffective Instagram growth strategies. So if you want more real, engaged Instagram followers, read on.
Post Great Content On Instagram
Similar to life, first impressions on Instagram are everything. Have you ever monitored how someone else scrolls through Instagram? Or even observed yourself.
It’s quite startling.
Instagram is probably the social media platform that is consumed the quickest. People scroll through their feed at lightning speed.
This means you have to have something really visually appealing that makes users stop and take a look. You only have a fraction of a second to get someone’s attention with your content.
As they say, content is king. But what type of content?
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It really depends on your Instagram niche. Content posted for body-builders will resonate differently than content intended for stock options traders.
The best way to figure this out ahead of time is with a little bit of competitive research.
Start by searching by hashtag for hashtags that would be relevant for your business. From the list of results you’ll see what’s trending and on the explore page.
Make sure to conduct at least 10 searches that would be relevant for your business, then write down what the top accounts are doing.
Here are some good questions to ask yourself to identify what they’re doing write to get a large amount of engagement:
- What engagement ratio do they have? (Followers divided by likes + comments)
- What type of content do they post?
- What format of content do they post?
- What times of day and week do they post?
- How often do they post?
- What hashtags and how many do they typically use?
- Do they use user-generated content?
- Do they use calls to action like “tag a friend?”
Businesses often use a mix of content. It’s difficult to post once, or multiple times per day with unique content from your business. Often times businesses will have unique industry-related content, behind the scenes content, “filler” visual content (for example, a relevant stock image with a tastefully designed layout and quote) or employer and user-generated content.
Write Compelling Instagram Captions
To summarize, some key things to keep in mind are:
- Post different types of content: still images, image albums, short-form videos, longer videos, boomerang videos, Instagram stories, etc.
- Create a content calendar so you can bulk schedule content and stay consistent with your posts
- Test different styles, color palettes and moods to see what engages the most with your audience
- Do competitive research to see what other popular accounts in your niche are doing, and do it better!
Increase Your Instagram Engagement
To maximize your Instagram growth rate, you’ll want to increase your engagement. This can be done in a number of ways.
When you post on Instagram, only a small fraction of your organic followers actually see your content. If you want to grow your Instagram account, you need to feed the Instagram algorithm.
With social media marketing, it’s all about engagement. If Instagram users interact with your content more, it’s shown to more people. It’s a positive feedback loop.
A great way to increase your engagement is to use calls to action that encourage engagement. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. You’ve probably seen this already from other Instagram marketers but didn’t realize it was a deliberate strategy.
Four Hacks For Instantly Increasing Instagram Engagement
Below are a few examples of ways you can increase Instagram engagement and grow your account through targeted calls to action.
“If you like this, tag a friend or share this!”
This popular strategy is simple. You’re asking for engagement. It’s definitely better than doing nothing but can feel spammy if you do it every post. You’ll likely see an increase in engagement if your content is share-worthy. However, the user isn’t really getting anything out of this other than feeling altruistic.
The Contest Giveaway:
“Comment below with your favorite Keto recipe and be entered in to win 5 months of free premium subscription to our app!”
Another tried and true method for boosting engagement. Obviously commenters are potentially getting something out of it, so they’re more motivated to take the time to engage. You’ve likely seen this on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook or almost any other social media platform. There are a number of tools to facilitate randomly picking a comment (beyond the trust scroll and stop with your eyes closed), such as: https://woobox.com/pickawinner
“Three random comments will get a $25 coupon code for their next order, comment below.”
Similar to the contest, but with a discount rather than a giveaway. May work less effectively as free is a powerful motivator compared to a discount. If you’re on a budget, and still want to break even and potentially leverage post-sale opportunities, this may be a better option for you.
“Tag a friend if they do this!” or “What’s your favorite bodyweight exercise for triceps?”
You may have already engaged with this strategy, and not even realized it was a strategy! My personal favorite–with endless variations, you can do this on every post without looking spammy.
It can very organically fit with your content and simply look like you’re engaging with your community. Which you are.
Also, this can be an excellent tool and an opportunity to get ideas from your audience. You’re crowdsourcing market research. Try asking your Instagram audience what type of content they’d like to see next, or what topic they’d like you to cover on your blog.
You even have the added bonus of knowing your next piece of content will be well received. They already said so! Try it out for yourself.
Leverage Instagram Influencers
What are Instagram Influencers?
An Instagram influencer is simply someone who has a relatively large following. There’s no specific number one has to reach in follower count to be considered an influencer.
However, typically a commonality between “influencers,” is that they take their Instagram account seriously and view it as a business. Even if their followers don’t see it this way.
A sure-fire way to tell if someone is an influencer is they’ll often have an email address in their bio for business purposes and inquiries. In that case, they’re definitely an influencer!
Influencer marketing is an oft-touted strategy. It’s hailed as the be-all-end-all of marketing tactics. But what is it, really?
Influencer marketing is just leveraging another person’s audience. Ideally, someone who has followers who would be interested in you or your business.
How do you find the right influencer to grow your business and following? There’s two main ways to do this.
There are a number of marketplaces to vet and find influencers who would be effective for your business. You can find out who is open to partnership opportunities and statistics on their accounts such as engagement rate. You may only be able to reach very large (50-100k+) influencers through this strategy or their direct agency.
Direct Messaging Influencers
Nothing beats the old boots on the ground strategy of direct outreach. Often smaller influencers won’t be found on influencer marketplaces, so this is the only way to reach them.
- Do a hashtag search on your niche
- Pick accounts within a size that matches your goal (a common “sweet-spot” is between 2,000 to 10,000 followers)
- Message them!
However, before you begin, ensure you have an air-tight strategy and you vet influencers accordingly. Align your goals and
- Make sure to vet them: do they align with your content, brand, messaging, ethics, etc.
- Ensure they have relatively good engagement (20 engagements per post on a following of 10,000 won’t help you much)
- Craft a campaign outreach strategy: what are your goals, how will you bring value to influencers in a mutually beneficial way? Think cross-promotional strategies, free products, an affiliate deal, content collaborations, etc.
There’s nothing worse than direct messages that offer no value, ask for something for free up-front, or waste someone’s time.
A great rule of thumb is to not begin by asking for something or trying to establish a partnership right away.
Strike up a conversation, offer a compliment, or talk about common interests and get to know them. If someone likes you, they’ll be much more open to working together.
There’s a lot of benefits to putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Ask yourself: would I respond to this message?
As always, authenticity, reciprocity and doing your homework will pay off in launching an effective Instagram influencer campaign.
Optimize Your Instagram Profile
Follow best practices to ensure you maximize the value of having followers. There’s no point in having a large following if you don’t use your profile to your advantage.
Have a brief, concise bio that tells users what you’re all about at a glance. They should know exactly who you are, what to expect, or what your business is within 5 seconds or less.
Instagram users are only able to have one link in their profile (this is to reduce spam), so use it to your advantage. Either have it be your website, a promotion or something timely that changes often. Make sure you include a clear call to action around it.
You can read all about how to optimize your profile for success on another post here.
Cross-Post On Other Social Networks and Blog Posts
Instagram looks at the first several minutes after you post as “prime-time.” Make sure to reply to every single comment you get promptly after you post. You can boost this initial content launch by crost-posting from your other networks.
Consider cross-posting interesting content to Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, your website or even email list. Make sure not to over-do it in a spammy way. Also, repurpose the content by adding to it. If you have an amazing image or video to cross-post from Instagram to Facebook, add some more text that gives your followers context.
By leverage your existing audience, you can grow your following. You might be surprised by how many followers on other platforms you have, and how many of them don’t know about your Instagram account.
Furthermore, give people a reason to sign up for your Instagram account. Post amazing content consistently, and leverage our engagement strategies for exclusive discounts and giveaways.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are both an art and a science.
Before posting, make sure to conduct hashtag research. You can do this by typing in a hashtag that would be relevant to getting more followers for your niche and see what related tags come up. You can also use an external hashtag research tool.
There are a number of free and paid hashtag tools to conduct your research. Keywordtool.io allows you to research hashtags and search volumes based on Instagram’s auto-complete function.
The optimal number of hashtags for maximum engagement to increase your followers seems to be between 5-15. More than that can seem spammy and inauthentic. Make sure not to use the same hashtags on every post, as Instagram will catch on and reduce your reach.
You want to use a mix of high volume, high competition hashtags; and, low volume, low competition hashtags.
The low competition ones give you a better chance to actually show up in searches, explore and feeds, but bring fewer people.
Conversely, high competition, high volume hashtags expose you to a much larger audience. But they’re more difficult to rank for on the algorithm as you’ll be up against accounts with a huge following and massive amounts of engagement.
If your account is new, consider targeting mostly low competition hashtags as you work your way up.
Use Instagram Ads
Organic reach on social platforms continues to decline. While it’s incredibly powerful for getting more Instagram followers and should be a key part of your strategy, you can’t ignore Instagram ads.
It’s the quickest way to skyrocket the amount of Instagram users that see and could potentially follow your account. The sky (and your budget) is the limit.
As with influencer marketing campaigns, you have to assess your goals.
With the Facebook/Instagram advertising platform, you can optimize for a number of objectives. Engagement, page visits, website visits, sales conversions and more.
Many brands choose to boost their social media following and Instagram followers by running a brand engagement campaign to kickstart their account and grow more quickly.
Just make sure you know what you’re doing. There’s a wealth of information, video series, courses (paid and free) that are beyond the scope of this article. Or, you could hire an Instagram advertising expert to run a campaign for you.
Facebook also offers an advertising course for their platform that’s completely free.
Wrapping It Up
If you want more followers on Instagram, there are actionable steps to take. There are no shortcuts (except hiring Hypeplanner to manage your Instagram growth), just hard work and good strategy.
Don’t want to do it yourself? Hypeplanner takes the guesswork and hard work out of the equation by offering managed consistent and massive Instagram growth. We can help you get more real followers. Contact us for a free growth consultation or go here.