Instagram Social Media Marketing

Insta Following – How To Successfully Grow Your Instagram Followers

May 8, 2020
Insta following

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Insta Following – How To Successfully Grow Your Instagram Followers

Whether your business is big or small, social media marketing is a great way to enrich your overall marketing campaign. Instagram, also known as Insta, is one of the most popular platforms when it comes to marketing online. To make the most of this platform, you need a solid Insta following. In this guide, we will discuss the many ways that you can build a strong and loyal Instagram following. It may take some creativity and time, but isn’t at all too complicated.

In this guide, we will discuss the many ways that you can build a strong and loyal Instagram following. It may take some creativity and time, but isn’t at all too complicated.

Instagram has more than 500 million active users so it goes without saying that this platform offers a wide audience. And with over 71% of businesses in the United States alone making use of Instagram for marketing, it’s clear there is a lot of potential on the site. So, let’s look at how you can grow a following to give your marketing campaign the best shot at being successful.

We assume you’ve got a proper Instagram account and already got verified or are on your way to getting verified. If not, that should be one of the first things that you do. After that, you can focus on getting followers by using the knowledge we’ll impart on you here.

Plan Your Content

This is the first step and the most important one. Without a clear plan of what you’ll share on Instagram, you can’t plan how you’ll use it to gain followers. There are different types of content on Instagram and they all work for different reasons. Make use of visuals, text and videos.

You don’t want to share random content because you’ll attract random users that way. You don’t want random followers, but a loyal Insta following that appreciates your niche and brand. To get the right people to follow you, you need to share content that they can care about.

Here’s a look at the content that you can create on Instagram:

Product-focused content

By sharing visuals of your product you could boost sales quite a bit. Introduce Instagram users to your goods and show off what you’ve got on offer. Be sure to show how people love your product or service

People-focused content

You should know that sharing content that is focused on humans get more attention. So, share the kind of content that show humans. This approach can go a long way to giving people the chance to see a more relatable side of your brand. If you can, share photos and videos of the team behind your brand. Make users feel connected to your company and/or service. Show off how your products are made and the people who spend time making them.

Employee-created content

This is a great way to show your human side again. Let your employees get involved with the account and share content. As long as they stick to certain rules (no swearing etc) you should let them have fun with the account.

User-generated content

We’ll dive deeper into this one a bit later in the article.

Consistency is key

If you have read any of our other guides, you’ll know that consistency is very important. Accounts that often share high-quality content has a higher Insta following. It is suggested that you post at least once a day. That’s the very least and you can post even more if you have enough good content to share. It is believed that by increasing your posting frequency can double your followers.

More posts also see you getting more likes and better engagement rates. Of course, that is something you want for your Instagram account. Also, with Instagram’s algorithmic timeline, consistency will help get your posts in front of more eyes. If you’re getting more likes and engagement, you might also have your posts at the top of the feeds of your followers.

You should make sure that the content you share will be the kind of content that your audience wants to see. There’s no point in sharing lots of content that won’t attract anybody. As long as you’ve researched your target audience, you are likely to share content that people will want to engage with. By being consistent and offering quality posts, your account will be seen as valuable and trustworthy. In addition, an Instagram account that is consistent will more likely have its content shared. This leads to more followers and keeps your current followers interested.

You should post anything between once and three times a day for the best results.

Insta Hashtags

It is highly suggested that you study and use high-quality hashtags. Instagram is one of the social media platforms where hashtags make the most impact. Using the right hashtags can get your content shared with more people and reaching a wider audience. Also, Instagram users seem to love hashtags and use them all the time.

Consider adding a location hashtag to your posts, this seems to increase the engagement on them. Although it is possible to use up 30 hashtags on a single post, you should stick to about nine at the most. You don’t want to clutter your posts so much that the point of the content is missed.

To have the most relevant and quality hashtags accompanying your content, you can make use of free tools such as AutoHash and Display Purpose. You have to make sure you use the right hashtags to get the most from them and grow a loyal Insta following. It will help increase your following greatly. Having hashtags that can be associated with your brand is ideal. Combine it with the trending hashtags and you’ll be reaching many more new users. Focus on hashtags that will resonate with your target audience.

Types Of Hashtags

Here’s a quick breakdown of the kind of hashtags that you should be aware of:

Popular And Trending Hashtags

This kind of hashtag will go a long way to pleasing your Insta following. By focusing on the trending and most popular hashtags, you’ll improve the chances of your content getting seen by more people. If they are relevant to your brand, you’ll make people want to share your content. Instagram users will see your brand as clever, witty and up to date. 

However, it can be a bit difficult to stand out when popular hashtags are being used by your competition. Be as creative as possible with this.

Branded Hashtags 

When you have a hashtag, you can generate a lot more engagement and exposure for your brand. Many companies use branded hashtags. It is so popular that more than 70% of the hashtags used on Instagram are branded.

Location Hashtags

This is a great tool if your business is small and depends on local customers. These are also called geotags and get roughly 80% more engagement than non-location hashtags.

Share User-Generated Content For A Boost In Your Insta Following

User-generated content offers brands a wealth of great advertising that is free and authentic. In basic terms, this type of content is found around the web and shared by brands. Of course, the original creators are given credit.  In most cases, brands use content shared by their followers or fans. If you can share a post of someone expressing their happiness with your brand, you’ll get great publicity.

You can even ask your followers to create content sharing their experience of your brand and/or service. Just don’t offer to pay for this content as that will be seen as a dishonest and shady move. For a more in-depth discussion of user-generated content, check out our useful guide here.

Instagram Image

‘Borrow’ The Competition’s Insta Following

One way to get more followers is to lure away those that are supporting your competition. Although this may seem like an unethical move, if you do it by playing nicely, it’s nothing more than a marketing strategy.

Getting these users’ attention won’t be as difficult as they’re already active in your niche or industry. Here is how you can rope in the competition’s followers:

Identify The Closest Competition

The most obvious place to start your search is by finding your local competition. They are your most direct competition so they should be added to the top of your list. 

Examine The Competition’s Following

You can easily find out who is following your competition. However, you have to make sure that these followers are still active. Many people use Instagram and then stop using the app. For this reason, some followers can be inactive and not useful in your search. Check if the followers post constantly, how long they’ve been on the platform, how much have they posted etc.

Engage With The Followers

Once you have identified the active followers supporting your competition, you can start engaging with them. Be subtle and don’t make it obvious that you’re trying to lure them away from your competition. 

Do this by liking their posts, leaving friendly comments on their posts and following them. You can ask about their experiences with your industry. This makes them feel that their opinion matters. By showing your brand’s human side, you can connect more with users.

A unique way to attract a user’s attention is by commenting on some of their unpopular content. Just make sure that you are being genuine – no one likes someone obviously lying for attention.

If you’re following users, don’t unfollow them the moment they follow you back. You will lose their support in an instant. Also, consider following users who are on your list only. Don’t follow just anyone, they have to be chosen wisely. Users with fewer followers are more likely to follow you back.

Use Analytics

Posting high-quality content will increase your Insta following. How do you know what kind of content your audience likes? By using the analytics available to you. Instagram Insights is a great tool for this purpose. By examining the analytics, you will be able to understand what your followers liked and what they didn’t.

As you take a closer look at your analytics, you can determine what content is getting the most impressions. What kind of images or videos are more popular? By learning from your insights, you will be able to share more engaging content in the future.

Use Videos and Insta Stories

Instagram may be a photo-sharing social media platform at its core, it has grown into more. You can share live videos and Stories too, which gives brands much more to work with. Now, you can engage and entertain with video visuals.

The average engagement that you can expect from videos is much faster than compared to normal content. When you decided to go live, your brand will appear at the front of the Stories feed. With more than 400 million people using Instagram Stories, there is a huge market for these visuals.

Consider Collaboration

If you collaborate with other Instagram users via sponsorships or partnerships, you can increase your reach on the platform. Your Insta following could increase as a result as well. There are several ways you can do this. Something as simple as an ‘Instagram Takeover’ will entertain a wide audience – yours and the user taking over your account. This involves your brand and the user taking control of each other’s Instagram accounts for a day. You’ll post on each other’s accounts and have fun sharing fresh content.

Use social media influencers as part of this strategy. Influencer Marketing has become a lucrative marketing strategy. Both brands and influencers benefit from working together. In fact, it is expected that the influencer marketing industry will grow to approximately $9.7 billion in 2020

There are many reasons that using influencers for marketing has been shown so much love. It works Let’s discuss why it works so well. Trust, high-quality content and brand awareness are just some of the benefits of using social media influencers.

Give Users What They Want

You want a great and loyal Insta following and the best way to get this is through organic growth. If your following really likes and trusts your brand, you’ll grow in an authentic way. Your content will also get more engagement and likes.

For an organic Instagram following, you don’t need to do complicated math calculations. You simply have to give users what they want. Create content that resonates with their interests and attracts them. High-quality and interesting content should be the focus of a well-planned social media marketing campaign.

Here are some things to consider when you create your content:

Check Out Your Closest Competitors

Once again, it is suggested that you use your competitors to build your strategy. Learn from what your competition is doing. See what is working for them and use that, tweaking it to suit your brand. Take a close look at the content that got the most attention. Why did this content work? How can you use it?

Monitor Trends

Keep an ear on the ground when it comes to trending content. Use the trends to share content that will get lots of attention. Hashtags will play an important role here. 

Rope In The Help Of Followers

You can even ask your followers what content they want to see. They can give you ideas on organic content that is also fresh. You can use a ‘Poll’ to get this kind of information from your followers. Use any feedback you’ve received as well.

This poll by Sky News did well in 2019 because it asked a question about a topic that people really wanted to discuss:

Insta Following Image - Poll

Host Contests And Run Giveaways

This is a tactic often used by marketers and it really works – if you do it right, of course. This approach will increase your reach and help you gain new followers. You could ask followers to comment with a specific word or share selfies to enter your contest, for example. With contests and giveaways, you can reach Instagram users who would not hear about you otherwise.

With popular contests and giveaways, your Insta following can also tag their friends, getting more people involved. This drives the engagement that your Instagram account enjoys. Of course, you should be realistic with the reach you get at first. Unless you have millions of followers, you won’t have massive results. But you’ll be able to start a journey towards getting to that place.

If you’re going to have a giveaway, there is a specific way you should go about it for the best results.

Have a theme

This will help your giveaway stand out from similar content on Instagram. Give your Insta following something they can identify with. You could use holidays such as Christmas in your themes, for example. Your brand and niche will determine the kind of themes you choose.

Set clear rules

Make your rules something that your followers can easily understand. You don’t want them guessing what it is you want them to do. The easier you make your giveaway, the better – you’ll get more people involved.

Choose a deadline 

When the contest ends should be well-known information – this is important for the success of your giveaway. You shouldn’t have a contest or giveaway that goes on for too long. Users could forget about it or lose interest. And don’t make the event take place too quickly or you’d lose on gaining momentum.

Choose Your Prize Wisely

Your prize shouldn’t be based on what you like but rather something that is relevant to your brand. Give away something that will create more interest in your service or products.

Post At The Best Times

Choosing the right times to post on Instagram can be a tricky thing. In most cases, each brand will have its own times best for posts.

Do Your Homework

For the best results on your Instagram account, you should have research done on your target audience. Make sure you have a good idea of the persona that you are targeting. This is common practice when creating an effective social media content marketing strategy

When you have determined this information and know your audience, you will know when they are most active. That way, you can post content when your Insta following will most likely be active. Of course, you can also use Instagram Insights to know when to share content.

If you can get this right, your content will be seen by the maximum amount of Instagram users. 

Global ‘Best Times’

If you need a basic idea of when to post just to get you started, there are some global times considered the ‘best’. The times stated here are in the Central Time Zone.

Between Tuesday and Friday at 5 am is a good idea – this is when many users are waking up and checking their social media feeds. Then, between 11 am and 3 pm are great times to get engagement. If you want to share content on weekends, 11 am on Saturday is considered the most beneficial.

Experiment With Varying Times

If you don’t feel that the Instagram Insights or suggested times are doing it for you, consider experimenting. Post at different times and see how that goes. You have nothing to lose and a lot of experience to gain. Check for when you get the most likes and comments on your posts. This is a clear indication for when you can expect the most engagement. But give yourself enough time to learn – don’t use information from just a few days. Use about a month or two to get all the data you need.

Engage Your Insta Following

Engagement is the most important consideration when Instagram determines how many people to show your posts to. If you get enough engagements, you will find your post in more users’ feeds.

If you get enough engagements, you could also get featured in the top posts of trending hashtags. Even better, your post could be shown in the ‘Explore’ tab. One way to get more engagement is to reply to comments and like them. Users like to feel appreciated by the brands that they take the time to comment on. Having conversations is a great interaction as well.

Cross-post

You can cross-post to have current fans who haven’t found you on Instagram yet know that you’re active. You can easily share your Instagram posts on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. If you want a really successful social media marketing campaign, you’ll make use of multiple platforms. By cross-posting, you are enabling your brand to reach much wider.

Be careful when doing this though. Not all content will work equally well on all platforms. Your Twitter followers may not appreciate the same posts as your Insta following. Consider experimenting to learn what works and what doesn’t.

In addition, you can embed your Instagram posts on your blog posts or add an Instagram feed to your Facebook page.

Share Visual Content That Will Get Attention From Your Insta Following

Although it may seem difficult to determine what visuals will truly stun and what will be ignored, you should do your best. Instagram runs on visuals and you should make the most of that. However, sharing visual content that will please your Insta following is about more than just sharing cute pics.

Here’s how you can achieve great results:

Have A Consistent Theme

As mentioned earlier, you should have a theme for your competitions and giveaways. This applies to your account as well. You need to make sure that when people see your logo or certain colours and filters, they’ll immediately think of your brand.

Not only will such a theme be visually pleasing, but it will also show Instagram users that you put a lot of effort into creating your account. This boosts the value of your content and your account. Your brand will stand out amongst the competition too – always a good thing.

Advice For Your Theme

Consider using similar elements on your Instagram account as well as your other social media platforms. Incorporate these elements into your blogs and websites as well. Use fonts, brand colours and logos that flow well with each other.

Stick to a specific colour palette. It takes a higher level of dedication but the result is very aesthetic. Colour-based themes work very well – humans are visual creatures after all.

Use a filter and own it – make it the dominant filter used by your account. If you stick to using one filter, it will give your visuals a similar feel. This creates a sense of congruency that your Insta following will appreciate.

Be Original With Your Visuals

When it comes to sharing photos, it is best to be original. Sure, you can share the pretty images of other users, but originality is always valued very high. Stock photos have their place, but that should not be your Instagram account. These just don’t impress users. 

Also, make sure that the images you share are relevant to your audience. When you share something, consider if your followers will appreciate the content. Will it grab attention? Will it hold that attention? Make sure your images are of the highest quality and the correct size for Instagram.

Add Long Captions To Your Images

Having long captions – even paragraphs – of valuable text added to your content is a really good idea. While images may drive Instagram, the text that goes with them keeps users entertained and interested.

Instagram allows you to write 2 200 characters – that is a lot. However, only three lines of your caption will be shown in feeds. Make that first few sentences count, pull people in and make them want to read more. One thing that could be problematic is line breaks, or the lack thereof. Instagram doesn’t allow them so you have to find a way of inserting them yourself. Writing out your post’s text in another app and then pasting it is one way to create a more structured caption.

Finally, add good hashtags. As mentioned earlier, by adding relevant and important hashtags, you ensure that your posts and content reach the maximum amount of users.

Have A Schedule

We’ve already established that consistency is vitally important to build an Insta following that will like what you share. Now, you should also have a schedule to keep consistently sharing high-quality posts at regular times. It is recommended that you share about one or two photos a day. 

Share about five (or up to 20) Instagram Stories a day. This may seem like a lot but Stories are short and don’t last more than a day, so there’s no way to really ‘go overboard’. Plus, people love Instagram Stories. Also, add one live video a day. By sticking to such a pre-determined schedule, you are showing your Insta following that you will always have something new for them. It may call for a lot of creativity on your side, but this ensures that your account is of the high quality that it should be. 

Use A Social Media Content Schedular

We suggest that you rope in the help of a tool such as SocialPlanner. It will help you discover and make use of trending and top-performing content. We mentioned that having a schedule is important. With SocialPlanner, you can plan all your content ahead and share it when it will perform best.

In addition, you’ll be able to handpick the best online content directly and use it as part of your social media marketing strategy. It allows you to combine and make use of top-rated content in a way that can drive your marketing forward. But, more than this, it allows you to see what other brands and businesses are doing well and what’s driving results for them. It also allows you to take what others have done well, and do it better. 

If you’re active on many social media accounts, which we suggest, you will love this kind of tool. It gives you the ability to be able to publish content to multiple channels at the same time. It can be pretty overwhelming to have to manage a Facebook page, a Twitter profile, a LinkedIn page and an Instagram account all at the same time. However, for your business to get the success it deserves, each of these is going to need an equal amount of care, attention, and updating. SocialPlanner allows you to do just that.

Final Thoughts On Growing An Insta Following

You’ve been given many tools in the form of advice to help you get a much bigger and more loyal following on one of the world’s most popular social media networks. It is now up to you to take what you’ve learned, implement it and achieve the greatness you know you can. Good luck!

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