How Instagram Helped Me Grow My Business

When I started my business, I was just like any other entrepreneur. I had a dream, a great product, and the moxie to get it going. However, I don’t think I would have gotten nearly as far as I did if I hadn’t used Instagram to help my business take off.

If you’re unfamiliar with the platform, it’s the fastest growing social media network in the world with more than a billion active daily users. It’s an image-centric platform where consumers go to escape reality and indulge in positive and inspirational content from their friends and favorite brands.

It’s an excellent way to connect with consumers, according to research compiled by Hootsuite. About 80 percent of Instagram users loyally follow at least one brand. What’s more, more than 60 percent discover products on Instagram and 70 percent are likely to make a purchase with their mobile devices after interacting with a product they like on Instagram.

These are statistics that I learned are absolutely true when I started applying Instagram growth hacks to move my business forward. I’d like to see other businesses generate the same success, so I’m going to share some of my secrets for business growth through Instagram.

Buy Instagram Followers

Although this is a controversial topic, I truly believe that it’s what started my success on the platform. You can’t do much for marketing your brand until you have followers, and the first 10,000 are the hardest to get. I used Instagress before they closed their platform. Then I used a company to grow my following and saw instant results from the engagement. Once I’d generated several thousand followers from this, it was much easier to get the rest.

As a word of caution, carefully research the best site to buy Instagram followers. One reason that this is a controversial topic is because of the many fake sites out there that pretend to offer real Instagram engagement, but present you with inauthentic, glitchy bots instead. Buy real Instagram followers, and you’ll see the rapid growth and engagement you seek.

Know the Instagram Algorithm

I’ve also found it useful to keep an eye on Instagram’s algorithm. This artificial intelligence tool helps the platform decide what content to show to each individual user, and you want to be on its good side. Oftentimes, if your account is not generating the growth you were expecting, it’s because your content goes against the algorithm.

Some of the recent updates include its prioritization of Instagram Stories. Brands who use this feature tend to see better results than those that don’t. It has also made some changes to limit the content that consumers see from brands, which makes it a real challenge to stand out now. You just have to learn how to work around the algorithm changes.

It changes often, but Instagram doesn’t always publicly share these updates. You’ll have to take extra steps to stay up to date. Subscribe to blogs that focus solely on Instagram marketing, as they’ll announce the latest updates as they come. They’ll also provide invaluable insights into working around these changes. Knowledge is power in this scenario.

Use Hashtags

If you’ve done your algorithm research, you’ll soon learn that the use of hashtags is one of the best ways to work around some of the changes in the algorithm. Hashtags categorize your posts so that users can search for them. If you’ve used the right hashtags, your posts should come up high in the search results.

The key to hashtag success is using hashtags that are already trending. There will already be plenty of trending hashtags you can steal from, all with heavy traffic that can be directed towards your account.

Search for trending hashtags in your industry and attach them to your post. Scope out your account analytics to see which hashtags are performing best. Try not to use too many hashtags, though, as this can make your post look spammy.

Post Consistently

Although there are dozens of Instagram growth strategies for businesses, all Instagrammers will agree on this: Strong organic growth requires consistency. You should have an editorial calendar that has scheduled posts for at least once per day, sometimes twice. There’s really no need to post more than twice per day, and many consumers feel that brands who post more than twice per day are spammy.

There are a lot of tools out there that will allow you to schedule posts as well, so you can set all the posts you want to make for an entire week and not have to think about it again. This is a great way to ensure you post enough times each week to keep your brand consistent without worrying about making time for it throughout the week.

Another key element of consistency is making each post reflect your specific brand. You should have a voice and a certain type of content that you would post. Don’t try to step outside of that, as it can confuse your users. Identify your signature Instagram style, and consistently post in that manner.

Really Engage with Your Audience

If you’ve taken my first piece of advice and purchased Instagram followers (or want to buy Instagram likes), you’ll already have some audience engagement. It’s very helpful for creating a pattern of engagement with your followers, but it’s not enough. You should personally engage with audiences to show that you’re a strong, consistent presence.

This shouldn’t require a huge time commitment from you. At least a few times per week, take 30-60 minutes to scroll through comments on your posts and your feed. Like, respond, and otherwise engage in order to show that you’re genuinely interested in what your audience has to say.

You should also be following some of your followers. When someone in a relevant industry follows you, follow them back. If someone comments often on your posts, hit the follow button on their account. These connections could one day prove invaluable in spreading the word about your brand. You’ll connect with micro-influencers and have opportunities to repost content, creating good will and approval from your target audience.

It’s hard to place my entire Instagram strategy in a single blog post, but I believe this is a good place for any brand to start. I didn’t think it was possible to see this much success from Instagram, and I’m amazed at the growth I’ve seen from these efforts. I hope you will experience similar results used my tried and true tactics!

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.