Earlier this year (June 2016), Instagram reported that they had over 500 million users using their platform; 300 million of those users use Instagram on a daily basis. That is a huge population and represents incredible market potential just waiting to be tapped.
Still, many business owners struggle on Instagram or avoid it entirely, because they don’t find the site intuitive and they aren’t sure how to actually build a list of active, engaged followers. Not utilizing the network could be a huge mistake for a business as an established Instagram profile with a lot of followers can open up opportunities to establish your brand as a trusted authority within your industry, promote your business, increase your sales and even catapult your brand into fame!
If you are feeling lost, here are eight powerful techniques to start you out and help you get more followers on Instagram for 2016!
Post Consistently And Frequently
This is one of the most important things that you can do for your Instagram page, especially in the beginning. You want your page to look active. According to a Union Metrics, a social media analytic website, top brands post on Instagram an average of 1.5 times per day. You can post more frequently then that if you’d like as it appears that it doesn’t negatively impact engagement rates – just make sure that the posts are high quality.
Posting consistently as well as frequently looks good to your future followers that you have a lot of pictures and content to share and keeping an active profile makes you more visible on the platform.
Don’t have time or unsure on what content to post on Instagram? Try hiring a a virtual employee from CloudPeeps.
Build Smart Partnerships With Strategic Allies
Do you know what an influencer is? This term refers to someone on a social media site who has a ton of loyal followers and a talent for spurring them into action. One of the most powerful strategies you can use on Instagram to build up your followers list is to seek out and partner with influencers who have an audience in the same market that you are targeting.
In fact, using social influencers to help promote your brand is one of the fastest-growing methods of marketing for big and small companies alike; a recent report from Augure revealed that 84% of brands planned to include influencer targeting in their marketing strategy. It’s effective, too; the same report found that 93% of those surveyed felt influencer marketing was an effective strategy for building brand awareness and a poll from Tomoson on average, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for every $1 they invest in using social influencers.
One of the easiest ways to leverage this technique is through “shout-outs.” Basically, you just pay for an influencer to “shout out” about your brand by sharing your content and encouraging their followers to follow you too.
If you don’t have a big budget, you can often trade shout-outs for shout-outs so long as you are looking for allies who have similar following sizes as you. Both paid and unpaid shout-outs can work wonders for growing your fan base.
Another great way for brands and influencers to work together and grow their audience is by cross-promoting content through an Instagram takeover.
You can find influencers using several methods. One way is by using Websta or Instagram’s search feature; type in a hashtag that is relevant to your target market. Upon doing so, you’ll get a list of the latest posts utilizing the hashtag that you entered. You can then sift through and find any posts that appear to either have a lot of likes or comments. It’s likely that these posts will lead you to an Instagram user with a large, loyal following within you target market.
Alternatively, you can take a look at who your current followers are interacting with to find a social influencer that’s relevant to your business. To do this, navigate to the heart-shaped icon at the bottom of the Instagram app and click the “following” link at the top of the page. This will show you the activity of your current followers. Look through the list for content your followers are sharing and engaging with that is relevant to your target market, then check out the user who originally shared it.
Note users with a large number of followers and add them to your potential Influencer list.
After you’ve compiled a list of potential influencers that you want to potentially partner with, the next step is to make sure that they really do have a following that’s interested with what they’re posting.
A simple way to measure the influence a particular Instagrammer has is to calculate their engagement rate which can be done as follows:
Engagement Rate = (Number of “likes” + “comments” / Instagrammer’s number of followers) * 100
Take Advantage of #Hashtags
You should view every single Instagram photo as an opportunity for growth. The addition of hashtags at the end of your posts will help with gaining your business more exposure by making your photos searchable. Here are a few tips on getting the most out of your hashtags:
Don’t spam hashtags as less is more even if it appears that there isn’t a saturation point. Too many hashtags most likely won’t net you any relevant followers. Instead of casting a wide net, focus on choosing just a few highly targeted hashtags which will help you to reach the right audience. These users are far more likely to follow you or purchase your products or services.
Creative captions are your friend. Are you storyteller at heart? Are your pictures pieces of your journey? Brief captions can be great, but just recognize that a short caption followed by a wave of hashtags can possibly hurt your image. Don’t be afraid to share your words as well as your images! Instagram allows 2,000 characters per post, so you can share your awesome, funny, heartfelt experiences that made your pictures worth 1,000 words and then some!
Follow and Engage With Others
This is the main point of Instagram! You share what you love and others do the same! All you have to do is search those convenient #hashtags that you enjoy and you’ll find new posts and potentially new friends as well. Don’t be afraid to give them a follow, and love and comment on their photos. Many of them will do the same, and so will their followers, once they see how awesome you are!
A true Instagram master knows how to inspire communication and loyalty in their followers. What better way than to have a contest, survey, giveaway, or some other call to action? It let’s your followers know that you’re a real person and you care about speaking with them. And it will give you better knowledge of what they want from you. If you’re running a business this is a great way to drum up interest and sales from your followers.
Steal Your Competitors Followers
Want to target an audience that’s already interested in your service offerings? One of the best ways to gain Instagram followers is by leveraging your competition’s Instagram accounts.
To be effective in stealing your competitors’ followers, you need to capture their attention and show that your brand is worthwhile to follow.
To find followers, you can use Crowdfire which will allow you to see which users are following a particular Instagram account, and will allow you to follow those users.
The best way to do this is by engaging with the followers you plan on targeting.
There are basically three ways that you can engage with Instagram users:
- Follow a user
- Like a photo
- Comment on a photo
Remember, the more time you put into engaging with followers the more you’ll get out of it. Put some time into writing thoughtful comments on potential followers’ posts. Also, don’t count on just one engagement sealing the deal for you. You’ll probably find that you’ll need engage with each user over a span of several days before getting them to follow, but it’ll be well worth it!
You’re posting good photos and videos (Instagram 101), using general hashtags, and replying to your user base as they comment on your content. What’s next?
As a brand, you can capitalize on the Instagram users’ “whoa-that’s-cool” mindset by creating a giveaway. This is a tried-and-true social marketing technique that continues to work splendidly. There are many ways you can run a contest on Instagram, and it can be something as simple as “like to win” or “follow to win.”
Aside from helping you with building a following on Instagram, creating a giveaway can help create hype for a product launch, increase traffic to your website, assist with building your email subscriber list, and promote overall brand awareness which potentially leads to increased sales.
Take a look at several types of contests you can create for Instagram:
Like-to-win and comment-to-win contest. These contests are probably the easiest to create and are what they sound like. You ask users to either like a post or to comment on it for entry. With a comment-to-like contest, you can also ask followers to tag their friends in the comment section to gain entry or for an additional entry. Making use of tagging can help with getting traffic to your Instagram account which potentially means new followers for your brand.
Photo contest. For this type of contest, ask users who want to gain entry to post a photo on their personal account and have them tag it with a specific hashtag you designate. Creating a unique hashtag related to your brand and having users tag their photos will lump all your content into an easily searchable collection.
To promote an exclusive collection they are planning to launch, NastyGal recently created a photo contest asking users to post a photo of their favorite female musician and to tag it with #NastyGalxCourtneyLove.
To amplify the benefits of a photo contest, you could also ask users to take a selfie with your product. This is a great way to get user-generated content connecting your consumer with your product as well as making use of social proof.
Use Other Platforms
The Social Age is truly a wonderful time. Think of all your social media accounts as Legos. One snaps perfectly into another until you’ve built your own personal network! All too often business owners forget that it is the whole and not just the parts that make up a successful marketing campaign. You need to look for ways to bridge channels in order to leverage their true potential.
You can use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to promote your Instagram page to people who haven’t seen it. There are even communities in Reddit where you can meet like-minded people to share your specific content with.
Translate Followers Into Email Subscribers
While we are on the topic of using multiple platforms, make sure to turn your Instagram followers into email subscribers. That gives you another method of outreach, one which is arguably even more powerful and personal.
An easy tactic to garner sign-ups is to run a contest on Instagram that requires an email address for entry! You usually need a pretty awesome prize to get a contest like this to fly, but if you can manage it, you’ll have a boatload of new subscribers.
Slipping A Link In Your Bio
If your goal is to send traffic to your site, one of the things about Instagram which may annoy you the most is the fact that you cannot add a link in the caption of your post. All is not lost, however, because what you can do is add a clickable link in your bio. Then in the description for your post, simply direct interested users to visit your bio and follow the link.
Even better, you can use Soldsie’s Have2Have.It to direct followers to a page that has the same look and feel as your Instagram feed. Users can then click on the images to purchase your products or read your content, resulting in an increase in traffic, sales, and revenue. Additionally, with a Have2Have.It page, you can easily add Instagram users to your e-mail marketing list as seen in the screenshot below.
All these techniques are guaranteed to make your Instagram page shine, and will certainly gain you legitimate, active followers. Now go forth and grow your following!
What ways have you grown your Instagram account?
Ready to start selling on social? Visit Soldsie for a free 30 day trial of Have2Have.it and make your Instagram shoppable!