When Instagram first launched in 2010, many businesses didn’t feel that their business was suited for this story-telling visual app. However, the app has grown immensely with over 400 million monthly users active and 80 million average photos shared per day.
Today, there are a number of companies on Instagram achieving great results. Those boring, service-based businesses that didn’t feel think Instagram was a suitable platform have started their journey on Instagram.
However, these businesses are facing a big challenge. When it comes to generating engagement and gaining followers on Instagram, it can be a little difficult because you can’t create “like-building” campaigns through advertising, like Facebook. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, you can’t share links and “feed” articles into your profile. Although it may seem hard to grow a fan base on Instagram, there are a number of different strategies that can be implemented to increase your Instagram following.
1. Link Your Social Media Accounts
Now, before you start posting on your Instagram account, make sure your Instagram profile is properly set up. In addition to adding your name, website link, and a brief description of yourself or your business, link your Instagram account to other social media accounts you own. This allows your friends to know you’re on Instagram and for you to see which of your friends are also using Instagram.
2. Add an Instagram Tab on Your Facebook Page
For business owners with a Facebook Page, you can easily integrate an Instagram tab onto the page.
Head over to this page.
It will guide you to a page that allows you to select the Facebook Page in which you want to link your Instagram account too. Once you’ve authorized Instagram to have access to your Facebook, a tab of your Instagram account will be created.
This is a great way to drive you Facebook fans to your Instagram profile. Since your Instagram page is only suggested to your Facebook account’s friends, adding an Instagram feed on your page will allow your fans to know that you have an Instagram page and increase you Instagram following.
3. Feed Your Instagram to Other Social Profiles
Although I don’t recommend this strategy, since your tags and messages may not always transfer appropriately over to other social media platforms, feeding your Instagram images to Facebook and Twitter can drive users back to your Instagram profile. Users that didn’t know you’re on Instagram and following you on other platforms are able to find you there as well.
If you want to feed your Instagram images to your Twitter or Facebook, you can enable the option through your settings. This means when you share an image on Instagram, the caption and a link to your Instagram photo will be tweeted to your Twitter account. For Facebook, the image and caption will be fed onto Facebook. On your post, it will show that it is from Instagram.
4. Research Relevant and Quality Hashtags
Hashtags allow you to expose your account to the right individuals. When you add hashtags to a post that can be publicly viewed, the post will be visible under that hashtag page.
That’s why having the right hashtags is important when building your followers on Instagram. When you hashtag relevant and qualitative hashtags, you’re more likely to expose your brand and account to individuals with common interests and goals as you.
Before you decide using specific hashtags, you want to do enough research to see if the hashtag is currently being used. Is the content associated with the hashtag too offensive? Is it in the same context in which you want to share your information? Would you like to be associated with the other content that is shared within this hashtag?
One of my favorite tools to use is tagboard. It allows you look at all the posts that are used being used for specific hashtags. These tagboards allow you to gauge how popular your hashtag might be.
Another great way to see if your hashtag is popular is simply searching it in Instagram itself. Instagram will suggest different variations of the hashtags related to the one you’ve inserted. It will also show you the number of posts that are related to the hashtag as well.
5. Research Your Competitors
In addition to researching hashtags to use, you should also take a look at what your competitors are doing. Find out what influencers or individuals are posting and hashtagging on their Instagram profile.
Which posts are performing best on the page? How often are your competitors posting? What types of content are they publishing on their Instagram page?
6. Following and Liking Other Photos
Now that you have a better understand of all the hashtags and have a list of the ones you want to use, you can find other accounts and photos to engage with. Instagram has an amazing community of individuals and building followers can be easy if you have the right strategy.
Of course, you want to strategically engage with users who will potentially like your profile as well. I recommend looking into each of the hashtags and liking pictures that stand out to you and make sense for your brand. For example, if you’re searching for #digitalmarketing, take a look at the content being shared there and ask yourself a few questions:
- Who is sharing this photo?
- Is this account relevant or related to your business or brand?
- What is the likelihood of this account liking the content you are sharing?
- Will you follow this person back?
If you said yes or most likely to all these questions, then you can consider liking some of their images, commenting on the content, and/or following their Instagram profile.
7. Adding Hashtags to Your Posts
This sounds easy, right? But hashtagging needs to be strategic. Some may argue that you shouldn’t use too many hashtags, but there’s a way to hide some of the ones that aren’t as important.
When you’re adding hashtags to your caption, make sure you choose the ones that are most relevant to what you’re sharing. I recommend using 2-3 hashtags in your caption.
If you want to additional hashtags for your photo, you can do so by adding it as a comment. This allows you to hide hashtags and avoid having them dilute your caption.
Using a notes app on your phone, add 5 dots and separate each dot on a separate line. You need to ensure that each dot is on a separate line so that your hashtags can be hidden appropriately. Once you’ve done so, add your hashtags below the last dot.
Note: Instagram only allows up to 30 hashtags per post!
Then, copy and paste your note and add it as a comment to your photo.
It should look something like this:
8. Run Contests
Once you’ve started growing a follower base, you can hold contests and campaigns that can attract more users to your page.
For example, you can drive traffic to your website or sell your product by running a contest. You can either ask users to like, comment, use a specific hashtag, or ask your followers to tag a friend.
When you ask users to tag a friend, it exposes your brand and page to more Instagram users online. It is an effective way to increase your brand awareness and reach.
9. Post Consistently and During Optimal Times
Create a schedule for your Instagram. Your followers expect you to remain active on Instagram. When you’re posting consistently for a week and then disappear for a month, you may lose some of your followers. Therefore, you want to ensure you’re keeping your Instagram page active.
Also, you want to post during times that are most engaged. According to Latergramme, the best times to post on Instagram is 2:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. eastern time. During these two times, your followers are more likely to engage with your Instagram post and pay attention.
With Instagram testing detailed analytics and reporting, this will provide better insights for individuals and businesses on their performance. Similar to Facebook’s Page analytics, the Instagram analytics will allow you to dive into follower data and tops posts.
10. Instagram Advertising
Finally, try putting some advertising dollars to promote you Instagram profile. You can create effective carousel ads through Facebook’s Power Editor and promote your content.
If you’re running a specific contest or marketing campaign, you can utilize Facebook advertising to push the content in front of more audiences. With the ability to target your customers based on their interest and behaviours in Power Editor, you can ensure that your posts will be viewed by Instagram users that will be interested in your business.
While some of these strategies may work better than other, find the ones that work well with your business or yourself.
What are some other successful strategies have you implemented for your Instagram account?