If you are using Instagram for your business it can be a bit overwhelming as to where to start, what to post and how to grow your audience. I grew my personal account @blazblue_01 from 0 to 70,000 in two years using the following strategies. I’m now applying the same techniques to grow my business account @mamabearcomms.
First and foremost, you need to think about why you want to be on Instagram. What are your goals? Is it to drive traffic to your web site; is it to drive traffic to your online or retail store? Have a compelling reason. Don’t create an Instagram page because you think you should.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks: they have grown from a community of zero to over 400 million in just five years! So it makes sense to explore how this medium can be used to drive traffic, subscribers and sales to your business.
Here are six easy tips to grow your followers on Instagram:
1. Post compelling images
As you know, Instagram is all about visuals. So creating a feed that is inspiring and of high quality is really important. You don’t need to be a professional photographer but you do want to be somewhat savvy with a camera or a design application. If you don’t feel confident taking the photos then look at getting someone to take the photos for you. Otherwise you can use photos from other feeds or sites like Pinterest as long as you credit the people for the photo.
A Cup of Chic is a homewares and stationery business that uses beautiful, consistent monochrome tones to create an inspiring feed.
Oak & Ink has a feed inspired by people and Pantone colours which is unique and stands out.
Nora Eisermann & Laura Muthesius are a Berlin-based food stylist and photographer. Their account @_foodstories_ feature mouth-watering images which leave you drooling for a treat.
2. Post regularly
I see this quite often. A business sets up their Instagram account, they post a few images, and then you don’t hear from them for weeks. If you want to grow your account you need to post regularly.
I generally post daily but if you want to kick-start your account and gain some momentum I would suggest posting 1 – 2 images per day. If you want to stay relevant and be top of mind, you need to show up regularly in your followers’ feeds. It also gives other non-followers a chance to see your work if you are using hashtags correctly (see point 4 below).
3. Create a consistent feed
Think about how you want your brand to look. Do you want to just post product shots or lifestyle shots, or do you want to include quotes and graphics that link back to your blog? Consistency is key!
You can achieve consistency through the colours you use, the use of similar typography on your shots, or even through editing filters on your phone (Instagram has filters available in their camera app as do VSCO).
Krissy’s feed on @cottagefarm is beautifully curated using similar tones and lifestyle images.
Julie Audet’s gallery utilises a simple, inspired-by-nature, colour palette that is truly wonderful, inspiring and always consistent.
4. Use hashtags
This is where a lot of people get bamboozled. What is a hashtag? How do I use them? Where do I put them? Which ones do I use? Don’t worry – you are not alone!
Essentially, a hashtag is a way to categorise your image on Instagram. Put simply, it means you can look for anything you need by searching for the hashtag. If you interested in jewellery, then you would look up tags such as #armcandy, #jewellery, and #jewelleryaddict.
If you are a travel writer or photographer then you would use tags specific to travel, such as: #travel, #travelwriter, #travelblogger #travelphotography, #wanderlust #beautifuldestinations, #liveauthentic, #passionpassport and #bestvacations. You may want to tag companies or brands that may be interested in sharing your photo. For example, Cathay Pacific encourages their followers to use the tag #lifewelltravelled so that you have a chance to be featured on their page.
You need to think about your target audience and what their interests are. Then apply those tags to your images so that you can attract the right audience.
Try not to use generic tags like #amazing, #love, #cool – they are not specific enough. These tags have over 100 million images and so your image gets pushed down the ranks very quickly. At the end of the day, you want to maximise the number of people that see your image so you may be better off targeting hashtags with a smaller amount of images. For example, #food has over 186 million images but #foodstylist has only 150,000 posts. Try and be more specific in order to attract the best audience.
Tip: You can only add up to 30 hashtags per photo so think carefully about which ones you want to use.
5. Engage with your audience
Always reply to the people who take the time to comment on your images. It’s also a great place to ask questions and opinions. I also like to have a look at their accounts – it tells you a bit about their interests and you may even find you have some things in common! This will lead to a stronger engagement and connection overall.
6. Promote your Instagram account
Utilise your other channels to promote your Instagram account whether it be on your web site, Facebook Page, email newsletter, or in your store. The more you promote it the more people you will attract.
There are many ways to grow your Instagram followers. Following these six easy steps will definitely help you on your way.
If you require assistance with your Instagram marketing strategy you can contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What Instagram strategies do you use to grow your followers?
All images are sourced from the user’s account on Instagram.