Instagram has over a billion active users per month. To put that in perspective, there are only 325 million people living in the United States! That is over a billion people that could be seeing your post. Having a larger social media following is proven to correlate to more sales, better ROI, more blog views, and a stronger community for your brand. Here are our best actionable tips to grow your Instagram followers.
Follow the Right People
Follow other businesses in your brand’s niche. Sure, its great to follow everyone you can to get your name out there, but put special focus on linking up with your niche neighbors. If nothing else, you will be able to see what they are doing as your competitors and where their followers are coming from. It will give you more of an insight on what you should be doing based on what your contemporaries are doing.
Plan Your Posts
There are hundreds of social media planning programs out there, and you should be using one. You won’t have to spend time every single day worrying about your social media if you plan and schedule the week’s posts in advance. Instead of dropping everything in the middle of your work day to craft and share your next post, an Instagram post scheduler lets you plan ahead. This ensures that you can hit the best times to post every day without having to keep staring at the clock.
There are over 400 million daily users of Instagram stories. They are a quick way for someone to see what your brand is up to. Over half of Instagram users report that they prefer watching Stories more than endlessly scrolling their feed. You can get extremely creative with your Stories, so don’t just share duplicates of posts you’ve already made. Ask questions, tell stories, use polls, use GIFs, use music. You can also play with filters and Boomerangs. If nothing else, it will help you grow more comfortable being on video and you will be able to connect with your followers in a slightly more personal way.
Give Value to Your Audience with Relevant Posts
Stick to what you know. Don’t confuse everyone by diversifying your post topics. If your business is involved with tech, stick to tech related topics – avoid posting about your dog, your hobbies, or other industries. Just like you would be confused if you saw a bakery posting about lawn chairs on their social media, don’t post outside of your brand’s niche to keep things consistent for your readers.
Post at Least Once Per Day
Be consistent in your posting. If you post on your Instagram once per day, and every one of your followers sees the post, that’s still only about five seconds every day (as they scroll past) that your readers are seeing your posts. If you post once per week, that’s only five seconds per week. Pick it up! Post at least once per day, but ideally at least twice. Stay under five posts per day, though – you don’t want to go too far so that your readers are seeing too much of you.
Use a Theme for Your Feed
Write down a few words that you want people to associate with your account. You might say artistic, classy, bright, colorful, black and white, gritty, pastel, or sepia toned. Whatever words you choose, make sure that all of your Instagram posts follow those words as a rule. Make whatever necessary edits you have to make to ensure that all of your posts follow the visual guidelines you have set. Having a theme gives your page visitors another way to remember you – “the company with the black and white themed blog” is one example!
Show Your Audience That You Are Authentic
Don’t be disingenuous. Get honest and be real about your product or services anytime you possibly can. Humanize your business with it’s social media content. Share stories about where your product or business came from, how you design your products, behind the scenes looks, and other similar content. There should not be a large gap between who you are in real life and who you are online. If there is, you are doing something wrong – and your readers can certainly tell. Do anything you can do to close that gap, so that you are more authentic (and your brand is more authentic) online.
Comment on Other Folk’s Stuff
Susan Petersen, the CEO of Freshly Picked, has stated that in the early days of her business, she spent hours every day liking, following, favoriting, and commenting on other people’s posts. It got her name out there, allowed users to discover her, painted her as a kind person worth following, and now, her Instagram has over 800,000 followers. But don’t just do this with any account – make sure that the account owner either fits your target audience or customer profile, or that they are a user primarily in your niche.
Don’t Pretend to Be Someone Else
People can see right through a façade. If you don’t want to seem dishonest or disingenuous, be yourself on social media. There is of course a reason to be a little more professional than normal if you’re running an account for your business or brand, but what you don’t want to do is completely pretend to live a life that you aren’t really living, or that your business is involved in things that it is not. Always tell the truth, or don’t make the post. You don’t want to ruin your reputation and lose followers. People are perceptive – don’t underestimate them!
Pay More Attention to The Best Times for Posting
Each social media platform has a window of the best time to post. This is when most people are using the app for that day. For Instagram, it varies by day. On Sundays, post between 10 and 12 PM. On Mondays, post between 11 AM and 5 PM. On Tuesdays, post between 9 AM to 6 PM. On Wednesdays, post between 11 AM and 3 PM. On Thursdays, post between 11 AM and 4 PM. On Fridays, post between 9 AM and 4 PM. On Saturdays, post at 11 AM. That’s not to say that your business will fail entirely if you fall out of those times, but you will have significantly more eyes on each post if you stick to them.
Use Hashtags – at Least 10
Hashtags are a lifesaver when it comes to Instagram – more than other social media sites. Use at least 10 hashtags – but ideally, around 25. Don’t go past around 30. If you don’t want to seem spammy, you can hide your hashtags in a comment. Use niche hashtags, about relevant topics, related topics, other influencers, and more. Use hashtags that are active and trending as long as they relate to your posts – don’t tag a post as something it is not. You can also create a custom hashtag – but it may not have as many followers as what is currently trending. Keep hashtag groups in your phone’s notes.
Create Your Own Hashtag and Cross Promote It
Using #SandysBakery on your social media posts is a great idea – but who will know it exists but you? At least at first, you’ll have to call attention to your brand’s special hashtag. Of course, make sure you use the hashtag in your profile and in your posts, but also make sure that you print it on your other advertisements, on your websites, on your business cards, your billboards, your receipts, your print ads, the signage in your store, and anywhere you can at relevant events.
Instagram quickly outgrew it’s first intent as a silly picture app for children and is now a serious platform for marketing, selling, networking, and audience building. It is one of the most popular social networking sites with over a billion monthly active users. 60 million users share images every day, and there are 1.6 billion likes every day – almost 2 likes per user across the entire platform. Engagement rates for brands on most social networks is, on average, around 0.1%, but on Instagram, it shoots up to 4.21%. There is no question – using Instagram is needed for any business and you cannot succeed without it.
It doesn’t matter if you are a big brand or a two-person small business – you can accomplish success with Instagram by working with these social media strategies. Like any social network on the internet, there are right and wrong ways to use Instagram, and then there are ingenious and clever ways to use it. If you want to grow a massive following over time (of real people – not fake, bot, or inactive accounts), you’ve just read the right article.
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