Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms available. Many businesses have jumped on, using images and short video clips to share information about their brand--and for good reason. According to Instagram's press page, the platform now has over 400 million active monthly users with an average of over 80 million photos posted daily. Engagement is also out pacing other social networks. From data in a report from Forrester, Instagram’s per-follower engagement rate for top brands is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter. So it is no wonder Instagram use quickly has become a great marketing tool. But, many small to medium sized brands are still struggling to grow their list of followers. Sure there are many services out there that claim to add followers for a fee, but what's the value in that? It might make your account look more important but it probably won't increase your engagement. So, what's the trick? Here are a few ideas that you should incorporate to your Instagram strategy.
Hashtags are a great source to reach people who fit your target demographic. Spend some time hashtag mining to identify five to ten hashtags that relate to your brand. Chances are if a hashtag is popular there are people out there looking for accounts to follow that are posting about a subject they are interested in. Think of a hashtag as a conversation. By using a specific hashtag, you are contributing to that conversation and hopefully engaging more users.
Another way to get broader exposure is to use popular hashtags like #tbt (Throw Back Thursday,) #photooftheday, #followme, #FF (Follow Friday), #instafollow, or #followback. These are commonly used by many people to share photos or to help increase Instagram followers.
Like or Comment On Photos
A great way to let people know about your account is to simply like or comment on their photo. This can be especially helpful if you are engaging with photos that use a hashtag that relates to your brand. There are stats out there that claim for every 100 photos you like, you will gain 6 followers. A strategy like this may be a little time consuming but if you can gain followers that engage with your brand and help promote your content it is worth it. This is also a very organic way to increase your reach and gain followers.
Tag Other Users In Your Posts
Using social media to directly engage people or business is a great way to build your network. Tagging other Instagram users will alert that person that your posts are either about them or about a subject related to them. I would stay away from randomly tagging a bunch of people in the hope to get followers, but tagging someone naturally is a much better way to approach this. Examples would be tagging brands at an event with you or brands whose products or services you are using. If your content is relevant to them they may in turn follow you to see how you are using their products or services.
Promote Your Instagram Account
One of the biggest hurdles that is easily overcome, is to just let people know your Instagram account exists. A simple way to build your audience is to promote your account on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest, or to your email list and encourage people to follow you. You may even target your ideal demographic through Facebook with a boosted post to help get the word out.
Tell A Story
Creating an emotional connection is a great way to bring attention to your brand. Post an attention grabbing image and tell a quick story about the image. Outdoor brands could share a picture of a mountain peak and talk about a backpacking trip to the wilderness that reminds you of a camping trip with your grandfather. A real estate office could post a picture of a baby nursery and share a story about buying your first home to raise a family. The more authentic you can be with your image and story the more impactful it will be.
Post At Opportune Times
There are plenty of studies and research done on when to post to social media. Some studies say 2am or 5pm while others say Sundays are best because there are fewer posts. The real art will be to track when your posts are getting the most engagement and then target those times. It may take a little legwork to develop a clear picture of when you should be posting, but in the long run it will help you acquire more followers.
Geolocate Your Posts
In all Instagram posts you have the ability to include a location. This is a great way to engage users in those areas, especially if your business is geographically relevant. Don't tag a location just to tag a location, instead be authentic and post images that are relevant. This will also help your images be seen by users near the location you are posting.
If you want to increase your engagement and improve your chances of your images being seen, pose questions with your caption or include a clear call to action. Give people direction or instruction on how to engage with your post. Posting a picture of a beach and asking people to share their favorite beach is far more interesting than just posting a picture of a beach. As you get responses to your request it will encourage others to share their favorite beach as well, it's the bandwagon affect.
There is no easy way to gain quality Instagram followers. There isn't really a correlation between frequency of post and increased followers so obnoxiously posting ten times a day isn't necessarily going to help you any more than doing one great post per day. Growing your Instagram list takes time. Try to focus on quality of posts and engagement of followers. Represent your brand as honestly as you can, there is an attractive quality to authenticity. We wish you the best of luck in your efforts and be sure to follow us on Instagram (@prime_incorporated.)
If you found this blog helpful, check out these other related topics:
- 8 Blogs to Read if You Are Marketing on Instagram and Snapchat
- Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros
- Establish A Brand Voice To Ignite Your Social Engagement