Instagram is a crucial platform for brands to establish their social presence. It can drive traffic, boost sales, and engage customers. However, growing your Instagram audience and engagement can be challenging due to tough competition and the intricacies of Instagram’s algorithm.
To help you gain more followers on Instagram, here’s a breakdown of the key strategies:
1. Optimize your Instagram account:
Your Instagram profile serves as your brand’s digital storefront, and first impressions matter. To make the most of it:
- Instagram Bio: Craft a concise, engaging, and informative bio. Include your brand’s slogan, tagline, or a branded hashtag. Use keywords relevant to your niche to enhance discoverability.
- Profile Picture: Choose a professional, recognizable profile picture. Often, this is your brand logo, ensuring it’s clear and legible, even on smaller screens.
- Bio Link: Your bio link is your only clickable link on Instagram. Consider using a tool like Linktree to create a landing page with multiple links. This offers flexibility and increases the chances of driving traffic to your desired destinations.
2. Maintain a consistent content calendar:
Consistency is key on Instagram. Posting content at random intervals won’t help you grow your audience. Here’s how to approach it:
- Frequency: While there’s no set number of posts you must make, most successful brands post daily or near-daily. This consistency keeps your brand on followers’ radar.
- Timing: Optimal posting times are usually during mid-to-late mornings and early afternoons on weekdays. However, this can vary based on your specific audience’s behavior.
- Use Stories: If you’re concerned about low visibility for your posts, remember that Instagram Stories offer another opportunity to engage your audience and can direct traffic back to your main posts.
3. Schedule Instagram posts in advance:
Scheduling tools, like those offered by Sprout Social, can be invaluable. Here’s why:
- Control and Organization: Scheduling in advance ensures you maintain control over your content calendar. It helps you stick to your posting schedule, ensuring consistency.
- Crossposting: Many scheduling tools enable you to crosspost content from other social networks. This helps maximize your reach and efficiency.
- Optimal Timing: Tools like Sprout’s ViralPost feature analyze your engagement history to identify the best times to post, maximizing your content’s visibility.
4. Engage with customers, brand advocates, and influencers:
Engaging with your audience is essential for fostering a sense of community and building social proof. User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool:
- User-Generated Content: Encourage followers to create and share content related to your brand, using specific hashtags like #BareWithUs or #DrunkBreak. Reposting UGC demonstrates your appreciation for your customers.
5. Avoid fake Instagram followers:
Purchasing followers may seem like a shortcut, but it can have detrimental effects:
- Confusion: Fake followers can confuse your organic audience, as they often result in an account with many followers but low engagement. Authentic users may be discouraged from following you.
- No Real Value: Fake followers don’t add any monetary value to your business. They can’t engage with your posts or buy your products.
- Buzzless Engagement: A large number of fake followers won’t engage with your content, leaving your posts filled with spam comments and appearing inauthentic.
Instead, focus on building a genuine, engaged following.
6. Showcase your Instagram everywhere:
Promote your Instagram account across your digital ecosystem:
- Website and Emails: Add social media icons to your website and marketing emails to make it easier for people to find your business on Instagram.
- Instagram Feed Integration: Consider featuring an Instagram feed on your homepage or product pages to showcase your content and engage visitors.
- Cross-Promotion: Share Instagram-specific content or announcements on other social channels, like TikTok or Facebook, to reach a broader audience.
7. Post valuable content:
Creating content that resonates with your audience is crucial:
- Content Types: Experiment with different content types like Carousels, Reels, and regular posts. What works best can vary between brands, so testing is essential.
- Instagram Analytics: Utilize Instagram’s native analytics and additional tools like Sprout Social to analyze your content’s performance. This data helps you refine your content strategy.
- Competitor Analysis: Study your competitors’ strategies to identify what’s working in your industry and find opportunities to differentiate your content.
8. Start meaningful conversations:
Engagement is a two-way street:
- Service Channel: Instagram is an excellent platform for interacting with followers. Encourage questions, address concerns, and engage in dialogue.
- Personable Interaction: Responding promptly and personably shows followers that you genuinely care, which can lead to long-term loyalty.
9. Use relevant hashtags:
Hashtags remain important on Instagram, but they should be used strategically:
- Industry-Specific Hashtags: Focus on niche-specific hashtags relevant to your target audience. These tags are often less competitive and more meaningful for your brand.
- Hashtag Analytics: Use tools like Sprout Social’s hashtag analytics to determine which tags perform best for your content.
10. Use geo-tagging:
Geo-tagging is a useful feature for attracting local followers:
- Location Stories: Users can find location-specific stories on a map. Tagging your location increases the visibility of your content to local users or those interested in that area.
11. Use short-form video content:
Short-form videos are trending on Instagram, and Reels can be a powerful tool:
- Reels’ Appeal: Reels are fun and engaging, and the format aligns well with Instagram’s algorithm. Get creative and use built-in tools to craft eye-catching Reels.
- Cross-Promotion: Share your Reels on platforms like TikTok to reach new audiences and attract more followers.
12. Partner with influencers:
Influencer marketing can help you tap into existing audiences:
- Identifying Influencers: Use listening tools to find influencers in your niche who align with your brand’s values and have an engaged following.
- Collaborative Approaches: Explore various partnership types, from paid sponsorships to product exchanges, affiliate programs, and collaborative content creation.
- Effectiveness Tracking: Monitor influencer campaigns’ effectiveness by analyzing metrics like follower growth, engagement, and ROI.
13. Organize top stories as highlights:
Story highlights are a way to curate your best content:
- Organized Themes: Group old stories by theme or topic to make it easier for visitors to find relevant content.
- Profile Visibility: Highlights are prominently displayed at the top of your profile, encouraging visitors to explore them.
14. Go live on Instagram:
Instagram Live sessions offer real-time engagement opportunities:
- Direct Interaction: Host live sessions for product launches, tutorials, Q&A sessions, or simply candid chats. Live streams can help build a sense of community.
- 24-Hour Stories: Live streams can be shared as stories, allowing followers who missed them to catch up later.
How to make the most of your current Instagram followers:
So you’ve got a decent following on Instagram—high five! But let’s be real, it’s not just about the numbers. It’s about creating a buzzing community that’s as excited about your posts as you are. Here are five ways to keep your existing followers hooked to your content:
- Engage with followers: Instagram isn’t for monologues — it’s a place for conversation. Reply to those comments, ask your followers what they think, and encourage user-generated content.
- Offer consistent value: Whether it’s killer how-to guides, exclusive promo codes, or just a good laugh, make sure every post adds value to your followers’ feeds. The goal is to keep them coming back for more.
- Show your human side: People connect with humans, so drop the corporate mask. Show your followers the real faces and stories behind your brand. Maybe it’s a day-in-the-life of your awesome cafe or employee spotlights.
- Stay on top of trends: Instagram is always changing. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. Whether it’s a popular filter, a viral challenge, or a new feature — jump in and give it a try. It keeps your feed fresh and your followers intrigued.
- Track analytics: Keep an eye on those metrics to see which posts your followers are loving, what’s not doing so well, and when they’re most active. This data can help you refine your strategy and create more engaging content.
How to get more Instagram followers (the wrong way!):
As the social space becomes more crowded and competitive, brands are willing to take risks for the sake of instant results. We’ll say it again: brands shouldn’t buy Instagram followers. Nobody should! Here are some reasons why buying followers to grow your account is a serious mistake.
Your real followers know what fake followers look like:
A sudden follower spike is a red flag. Not to mention having bots stink up your account with endless spam followers. This all damages your reputation and keeps you from growing an authentic Instagram following.
Fake followers bring nothing to the table:
Your follower count doesn’t mean much if your “followers” don’t drive engagement. You might look “bigger” at a glance but who cares? Consider how your engagement rate on the platform will suffer if your follower count is inflated.
If nothing else, buying Instagram followers violates TOS:
Consider how Meta has taken direct action against buying engagement in the past. They’ve gone as far as to shut down companies that sell likes. That’s because this practice violates the platform’s terms of service.
How are you growing your Instagram following?
Listen: getting more followers on Instagram isn’t going to happen by accident. And despite what you might have heard, there’s no silver bullet solution for making it happen. The tips above can help you build the foundation for an organic following that actually engages with you. Putting these tips into action is so much easier with a powerful publishing and analytics tool like Sprout.
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