Instagram followers make you feel popular, for sure, but from a business perspective, having a high number of followers increases the likelihood of sales and finding dedicated brand advocates. It’s been a huge asset for my businesses in 2018. Instagram is both a popularity contest and an essential marketing platform. Over one billion people use it-which means that there is definitely someone out there who has a place for you in their life.
How do you expand your Instagram reach, though? How do you convince people that you are worth clicking the “follow” button for? I’ve found many effective tactics over the past few years. Instagram necessitates a significant amount of strategy, so instead of floundering helplessly, here are a few tips I gathered to get you started:
- Publish exciting content.
Content is, as they say, everything. It’s the reason people follow you, it’s the reason they like your posts, and it’s the reason why they turn to you before anyone else. Similar to how products and services are meant to fill unmet needs (it’s one of the cornerstones of business), your content needs to do the same.
Attracting followers means giving internet users what they want that they are not finding anywhere else. People want to learn, they want to laugh, to feel acknowledged, to feel captivated-so whether you produce videos, infographics, dynamic images, memes, or something else, your content needs to dial back on overt promotion and encourage people to engage with you.
- Post at the right times.
Timing is also essential. Your content can be remarkable, but it won’t matter if people will not see it. This part is when you learn to navigate Instagram’s algorithms that determine what content appears on users’ feeds.
Conduct some research (and examine your own analytics) to determine the most advantageous times of day to publish material based on your audience. You might find it practical to post during slower periods right before times with the most activity (such as when people are bored at work, settling in for bed, or kids are arriving home from school).
- Engage with your followers.
Even if your content inspires all the reactions you were hoping for, it’s not enough to simply let it sit on your feed and hope that people come. People are tired of companies that think of them as ants with wallets, so they seek acknowledgment and appreciation from businesses that recognize that they too are made of people. Interact with the followers you do have: respond to their comments, answer questions, address concerns, and re-share user-generated material. When people who do not follow you see how you treat the people who do, they will be more likely to count themselves in.
- Use automation tools.
You are realizing at this point that an effective Instagram strategy entails a significant amount of work. Between engaging with followers, posting at the right times, following the right people, and producing enticing content, your time is eaten up-and the more followers you have, the harder everything is to do.
You do not have to do everything alone, though. There are plenty of Instagram automation resources available that can comment, like, and follow profiles for you. You aren’t purchasing fake followers; you are expanding your reach in ways you cannot do manually. My personal favorite Instagram automation tool is SocialCaptain.
- Use analytics tools.
Never conduct a social media campaign blindly. Why make it an ordeal of trial and error when you have analytics tools at your disposal? Besides resources like Sprout Social and Buffer, Instagram already offers Instagram Insights. If you want a closer look at which of your posts and techniques are performing well and why, campaign analytics can give you actionable insights that enable you to adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Optimize your profile.
It seems obvious, but not every business or personal brand owner pays as much attention to it as they should: their profiles. Besides a recognizable profile picture and your name, be sure to compose a compelling bio (which is also a useful place to include a link to your website or blog), and consider displaying a nice array of highlighted Instagram stories.
You should also keep in mind how your feed looks before you post something-are your images diverse yet on-brand? How do certain pictures look when next to each other? You can use visual planning tools like Plann to help make your overall feed aesthetically pleasing.
- Join engagement groups.
This strategy is better for beginners, but it’s not always people’s first thought when thinking about how to build an audience: engagement groups. When you join an engagement group, you make yourself visible to a host of people in your niche market, and you can easily find people to interact with (and don’t forget to return the favor to some of the people who follow you). Of course, always remember to use relevant hashtags.
Instagram is not an easy platform to market on, but its massive user base means there is an audience out there for you, somewhere. How do you plan to boost your Instagram followers?