The Internet has gone visual. In fact, we can pretty much say it is now more visual than ever before. Platforms and content pleasing to the eyes reach and convert more in comparison to traditional means. The idiom “one picture is worth a thousand words” never made so much sense.
Now imagine if you could not only go visual but also personal. Having a platform that connects you, the place where you are and what you’re doing with the world? Well, that’s Instagram in a nutshell.
How to use Instagram
Instagram is still well-known as the selfie’s social media platform. However, it has grown to become much more than that. Besides personal What-I’m-Doing-Now pictures (#WIDN), big brands joined it as well.
It’s not rare to find giveaways and campaigns requesting participants to follow a certain Instagram account, share a specific posts or tag a friend on an image. Platforms such as Iconosquare offer brand campaigns members can join and make the chance to win the most varied prizes.
As per research released in January 2015, Instagram is used by 53% of young adults ages 18-29. Besides, 49% of them use the platform on a daily basis generating massive engagement.
The growth of Instagram was boosted by user profiles that reached massive numbers. Many of these accounts count with more than one million followers.
Ways to grow your Instagram following fast
When reading such statistics it’s impossible not to feel excited to join IG. It is a free social media platform, easy to sign up for and start posting. But when it comes to growing your reach, it has specific strategies you want to have in mind.
Let’s go through the 5 most effective ways to get more followers on Instagram:
While they are also popular on Twitter, Instagram takes the use of hashtags to a different level.
First of all, it’s much more flexible when it comes to quantity. You can assign up to 30 hashtags to an image. Even though using all 30 won’t make you a rock star, keeping them around 10 to 12 will do the trick.
Focus on engaging hashtags. Just using them for the sake of it will not give you the same results as using those that generate more leads. Some hashtags that are a guarantee of success are:
- #FF (Follow Friday)
- #l4l (Like for like)
You can also include others such #tagafriend or #repost as calls-to-action to boost engagement.
Another tip is adding hashtags as first comment instead of on the description of an image. This allows you to edit them later without having to delete your content, which makes room for a flexible strategy.
In the beginning, Instagram was all about spontaneity. Like blogs before Pinterest had no pictures, Instagram’s was different on its early days. In the beginning, it was full of low quality shots that were posted just for the sake of sharing the moment.
But it’s something from the past. Nowadays, you want to make sure you attract the “right” followers with the right images and not just “anyone”.
Before hitting post, don’t feel guilty for using an app or two to enhance your images. Even though IG itself offers a variety of filters, you may want to improve your image in other ways. Some of the most popular apps are:
The same rule applies to videos. You want to get the most out of the 15 seconds that Instagram gives you. Make sure you add a link to your website and a call-to-action text to it, for example. Let your visitors know where they can get more from you.
Things happen fast on Instagram. Therefore, you want to refresh the memory of your followers on a regular basis.
It makes little sense to post every day for an entire week only to disappear for a month afterwards. People will forget about you, your brand and your message. Every single time you take a break from posting, you’ll have to restart from scratch when you get back.
It’s true that scheduling for Instagram isn’t that accessible yet. With the exception of Schedugram, other services require that you manually intervene with your post, also when you schedule them in advance. Still, using services such as Hootsuite or Latergram.me can be easier than coming up with posts out of the blue every single time. They also allow you to plan your editorial calendar for better results.
Instead of just posting “something”, you can use consistent imagery to promote your website, brand and campaign. You can organize challenges and giveaways around a certain product or service to engage followers.
Don’t be afraid to post various times a day. If you want to reach as many people as possible, you have to be active in different hours of the day. If you can’t make it to post every hour like big brands do, go for at least 2 or 3 images on a daily basis, including in the weekends.
Once you pick the best hashtags for your brand, start producing top quality images and become consistent on Instagram, it’s time to develop a theme.
Themes are great to reinforce your (personal) brand also on Instagram. Whether you are a food blogger or are selling cameras, you want people to get your message from the moment they land on your feed.
Images with a frame are very popular. However, you make sure their layout is in line with your overall visual brand. It is a rule of thumb no matter the platform you are using, but since Instagram is all about looks, you want to walk that extra mile.
There are various strategies you can play with to get more attention. For example, you can “cut” an image in 9 pieces and posting them in sequence to create a sort of cover on your feed. This is used by photographers and designers who want to direct people’s attention to their main product: their images.
You can also position similar posts, such as quotes or blog post promotion, on the same column. This can be done by sharing a similar image every 3 or 6 posts.
Themes are also excellent to keep a clean look on your feed. After a campaign, a challenge or a giveaway is finished, don’t hesitate to remove related posts. It’s even mandatory when they’re not in line with your value proposition. Remember that your feed has to be pleasant to the eyes of the your public.
Every time you follow someone new on Instagram, you’re prompted with a couple “suggested” accounts. They are similar to the one you have just added and have a significant reach.
While you may not always interact closely with all of them, it can be an interesting exercise to see what “competition” is doing. By analyzing engaging posts, you can have an idea of what people in your niche are interested in.
Copying someone’s style is never the message. You don’t want to lose the spontaneity of the tool. Yet, letting yourself get inspired by what others are doing can be beneficial to your growth strategy.
When you follow someone new, take the time to check their feed, like a couple of images and leave them a comment. Remember that it’s all about creating engagement. Don’t be afraid to repost images nor to build a relationship with influencers.
Together with the expansion of Instagram, it is only natural that formulas and best practices are developed. Still, they are not set in stone.
Experiment by running A/B tests on your account. Instagram is a social media platform that makes room for new approaches.
With time, you will notice that one strategy works better than another. If one method is not working for you, ditch it immediately and make room for something different. At the end of the day, people are still more interested in you and your story. And it’s your personality together with the right strategies that will help you increase your reach.
What is your most effective way to get more followers on Instagram?