In the world of business in 2018, it’s all about having an online following and generating exciting content. Arguably the most popular social media platform (especially for businesses), Instagram is an extremely powerful tool thanks to their shopping features, inter-linking and virability factor. But with 1 billion monthly active users fighting to be seen by Instagram’s algorithm, how can you compete to get more followers?
1. Create compelling content
Instagram is an extremely visual platform and so in order to gain followers and increase the number of likes you get, your content needs to be high quality, engaging and relevant to your audience. It should inform, entertain or engage – whatever your goal, ensure you are meeting it with your imagery or video content.
2. Post consistently
The way to get seen by your audience is to post consistently and regularly. If you post erratically, then the algorithm will be working against you. However, if you get in to a routine to the point where your audience can count on seeing your content then you’re on to a winner. Because when they engage with it, it’s seen by their followers, who you can then reach as well.
3. Time it right
When using Instagram, it’s as much about when you post as it is about what you post. Posting at the optimum time will maximise your reach but this ‘optimum time’ differs for everyone. Lunch time (between 12pm and 1pm) can often be a popular one but you’ll have to conduct your own test to see what works for you. The simplest thing is to consider who you’re trying to reach; what does their typical day look like and when will they be more likely to be going on Instagram?
4. Consider a scheduling tool
Business needs and optimum Instagram posting time don’t always line up unfortunately. However, don’t let that stop you from growing your follower base; instead, consider investing in a scheduling tool to allow you to plan your content ahead of time.
5. Devise a strategy
Like with any aspect of your business, planning is vital to success. As part of your Instagram strategy, consider who you’re trying to reach, what you want from them (buying, sharing, signing up?) and who you are as a brand.
6. Write engaging captions
The captions on the content that you post can be just as eye-catching as the content itself. Consider using things like emojis and tailor your language to the audience you are trying to attract.
7. Add relevant hashtags
Hashtags can be a very powerful tool when used in the right way. Do apply viral, popular or topical hashtags, do create your own hashtags to help with brand visibility, but don’t go overboard (too many can look like spam) and don’t use gimmicky ones like #likeforlike or #followback. Although this may increase your follower count, it likely won’t be with engaged, authentic followers who are interested in your business.
8. Complete your bio and profile
When potential new followers arrive to your profile, you want to give them as much reason as possible to hit that follow button. Complete your bio, add a website, add contact information, and make sure that your audience know exactly what your brand is all about.
9. Tag people
Using the tagging feature, consider tagging relevant people in order to encourage them to share your content. Sharing will open up the doors to their followers, and potentially boost your own count.
10. Add a location
Another way in which users can find content is through locations. By adding these to your images or videos, people will be able to see it every time they search the location. Even if your content is not necessarily geographically focused, you can still add the location of the city you’re based in to help people find you.
11. Encourage your followers to tag their friends
One of the simplest and yet most effective click baits is ‘tag a friend who…’. These captions don’t necessarily have to be related to your business, but posting topical content or funny memes and encouraging your followers to tag their friends, could potentially double, triple or quadruple your follower count in a single post.
12. Run competitions
Everyone loves to get something for nothing and so giving away something in a competition will engage large audiences. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive; just something that will appeal to those you’re trying to attract. Be sure to add a stipulation that people must be following you in order to be entered.
13. Follow relevant people
When you follow users, they’re highly likely to check you out to see if they want to follow you back. The best way to find relevant users is to check out a brand or influencer who are in the same industry as you and follow the users who follow them.
14. Use your stories
The Instagram stories feature is useful because it’s not reliant on the algorithm; it will appear to all your followers for the 24 hour period that it’s there for. It’s a highly engaging feature and one that’s proved to have great results.
15. Consider going live
As well as stories, going live on Instagram is a trend that’s growing more and more. It’s useful for growing brands because going live will notify your followers that you’ve done so, so it can really grab attention.
16. Think about investing in adverts
Sponsored content is a powerful option and one that’s almost guaranteed to see an increase in your follower base. Make sure your ads are engaging, eye-catching and sure to stand out from the crowd.
17. Work with influencers
Another form of sponsored content, other than actually paying Instagram, is to work with influencers. Influencers could be bloggers, Youtubers or simply those with a large Instagram following, but they usually have very dedicated, engaged audiences. Working on a campaign with them will help to boost your follower count because there’s a level trust involved in the influencer-follower relationship.
18. Check your analytics
There’s no use having a strategy (as mentioned earlier) if you don’t check back to see how effective it is. Check your analytics to see if you’re engaging with the people you were hoping to and adjust the plan if this isn’t the case.
19. Promote across social networks
It’s called social networking for a reason. Reach a higher number of people by promoting your Instagram account on other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter and even Linkedin.
20. Don’t forget about non-social media tools
As well as promoting your Instagram on social media, you should also think about the many other channels available. Add an Instagram link to your website and get your user tag added to business cards or other promotional materials.
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