Instagram is one of the most popular and fast-growing social networks, with millions of posts shared every day. In addition, businesses are finding higher levels of engagement on Instagram than other networks like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Here are our top tips to grow your following on Instagram.
1. What's in a Name?
Make your account easy to find by using a search-friendly username. Don’t use special characters or numbers, and if your business name is long you may wish to shorten it, but make sure it’s something your audience will still recognise.
2. Update your Bio
Ensuring your account has all the information it needs is a vital step for gaining more followers. The Instagram bio functions as your homepage so populate it with key information about your business, including any frequent hashtags that your brand uses. Add a link to your landing page so you can drive Instagram traffic to your website. A profile picture, proper username and relevant image captions help people recognise that the account belongs to your brand.
3. Be Frequent & Consistent
Once people follow your account, one of the worst things you can do is let them forget about you. Keep to a posting schedule, which shouldn’t be more than a few times a day. Although Instagram’s algorithm now shows users more of the content they like, you might consider using the recommended posting times of 8 am and 5 pm in order to target when the greatest number of people are active online. Using a scheduling tool for planning your posts may help you to achieve this. Your team can plan campaigns and schedules in advance and backup content can be drafted in case you find yourself with nothing to share. Don’t forget to regularly use your brand hashtags and relevant hashtags on your posts.
4. Utilise #Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to get followers but steer clear of overused tags as they make it difficult for your photo to stand out. Research to find out what hashtags your target audience are likely to be searching for. Use analytics tools to see how well your hashtags are performing or check out your competitors to see which hashtags get engagement and which don't.
5. Promote Yourself
Promoting your Instagram helps people find your account. One way is to add social media buttons to your website and blog. You could also try cross-promoting on your other social media accounts, for example by sharing your Instagram posts on Twitter and Facebook. However, you should make sure you’re promoting interesting content that users will enjoy, and not simply asking for followers.
6. Stay Relevant
Some content performs better than others, and this can be dependant on many factors, such as filters, captions, subject, location, post times, emojis and much more. Using an Instagram analytics tool can help you see which posts are doing better and why. Use this information to help plan your future content. The Instagram Layout and Boomerang apps are great ways of switching up content types, and video is another tool that can be used to drive engagement. Your posts need to be visually appealing but avoid the temptation to overuse filters, you don't want your posts to get lost in a sea of similar looking pictures. Your Instagram Story can be used to keep your followers up to date with offers, deals or light-hearted 'behind the scenes' moments that make your brand feel friendlier.
7. Be Social
Collaborating with other Instagram accounts that have a large following can put your brand in front of a much wider audience. For example, you could trade mentions or share each other's content. Finding marketing collaborations with other businesses can be beneficial, but make sure that your content being shared is of value to the audience and not focusing on generating sales or gaining followers.
8. Keep it Real
Fake followers can be purchased, which can seem tempting, but there are big disadvantages to doing so. An inactive account with many of thousands of followers can seem deceiving to legitimate users. Building real relationships and trust with users makes for better engagement. Furthermore, bot or disused accounts following you are unlikely to comment on, like or share posts, let alone purchase anything from your company. They, therefore, have very little value.
A huge number of people are turning to social media as their main mode of contact with a brand, so you need to respond to as many comments and questions as possible. This is a great way to build relationships with your audience and good customer service will encourage brand loyalty. Social media is all about being social, so remember to like, share and comment on other people's posts, and always respond to comments on your own posts, even its just a like.
10. Encourage Participation
In order to gain a lot of followers, you have to provide an incentive or something of value. One method of getting users to engage with your brand is by promoting user-generated content, using story polls or holding competitions is a great way to achieve this. Encouraging people to share content and use your branded hashtag are both great ways to increase your exposure.
Can we help?
Need help optimising your social media? Get in touch to see what we can do for you. Call us on 01392 964012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org