There is no short cut to getting more Instagram followers. While there are companies out there that say they can guarantee to get you your first 1,000 followers – or 10,000 or whatever the number is – chances are they are buying followers. While you might think it’s ok to boost your numbers in the beginning because it adds credibility, you need to give your target audience more credit. They will know your followers are fake. And what is the point in building a marketing strategy if you aren’t going to engage with real customers? You can have a million followers, but little to no engagement.
So how do you grow your Instagram following to connect with even a fraction of the over 500 million daily active Instagram users? And what should your goals be when it comes to getting Instagram followers?
Here are 8 tips to help you get more Instagram followers the right way.
USE HASHTAGS – IN THE RIGHT WAYS
Hashtags are an incredible tool to help you find and connect with your target audience – not to spam them with a long list of the same hashtags on each post. There are a few ways you can use hashtags to grow your Instagram following.
- Use popular hashtags to join in on existing dialogue. Your target audience likely already engages with specific hashtags from competitors and other general Instagram accounts. They also use the search function to seek out new content. Using hashtags that they are already using makes it easier to find your content.
- Create a dedicated hashtag for your brand so your audience can follow and track your content. Make sure you don’t just use it on Instagram because no one will know it’s there! Promote it across all of your marketing channels – digital and otherwise.
MAKE SURE PEOPLE RECOGNIZE YOU
Instagram allows you to play around with the visual identity of your brand. This goes beyond your logo and branding. You also need to think about how your Instagram profile looks. To create a recognizable visual identity on Instagram, you should consider your overall themes, colours, and fonts. Your profile should be carefully curated when it comes to both style and content. And don’t forget that you can and should also brand everything you create.
SET UP YOUR PROFILE PROPERLY
A well-set up social media profile can make the difference between success and failure. Two features worth mentioning are your Instagram bio and making sure you write a great one that will allow you to be found. The other thing you should consider is changing up your profile URL – give people a reason to go to your IG profile page – and your website. One way you can do this is to post blogs regularly and include a post with a call to action that send people to read your blog.
FOCUS ON CONTENT
Your Instagram content doesn’t have to be overly produced, but it does need to be quality content. This means producing visuals that aren’t pixelated, are on brand and branded, provide value, etc. Even more, to get more Instagram followers your content needs to appeal to your target audience – which means you need to figure out what they like. If they like your content, they will follow you to see more.
Social media should be social. If you are looking to get more Instagram followers like and comment on other brand and user content and follow other people. Instagram users are more likely to follow you if you follow them – it’s been proven. Try to follow people that would be part of your target audience. You can do this by looking at the types of accounts they follow and checking out the engagement on other content.
GET TO KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Post and engage when your audience is on Instagram. You can figure this out if you have a business profile by looking at your Instagram analytics. If you don’t have a business profile, it will take some trial and error, but you can also consider when your competitors post their content and how engaged their followers are. If that doesn’t work, then you can use good old trial and error, but make sure you track when and what you are posting.
If you already have followers on Instagram, don’t be afraid to ask them what they want to see from you.
Lastly, consider creating a strategy to reach your target audience that is hyper local by using geotagging on your posts. Your content will be more visible to those that are local to you.
COLLABORATE WITH INFLUENCERS
A great way to expand your reach on Instagram if you don’t yet have a lot of followers (of if you do have a good number of followers and you just want more) is to engage Influencers as part of your strategy. This allows you to amplify your reach through their community of followers.
INCLUDE CALLS TO ACTION
Calls to action are one of the most important things to include in any of your marketing tactics. If you want more followers, ask people to follow you! Ask them to visit your profile. Tell them what you want from them so it creates a path of least resistance.
It can sometimes feel like you are screaming into a giant content vacuum on social media. And when you spend the time to create great visuals on Instagram you want them to be found by an engaged audience who will become customers. Getting more Instagram followers isn’t necessarily easy – it takes hard work and dedication – but it is doable.
Candace Huntly is Founding Partner at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications blog.