Instagram is one of the big four social media platforms. There are almost 1.5 billion users on Instagram. Right now, Instagram is the perfect social media platform for any brand, regardless of its goal. Be it driving traffic, user engagement, or sales, you can do everything on Instagram. But for that, you first need to build a solid and loyal audience (or fanbase, I should say).
As you grow, you will have more opportunities for sales and branding and for driving a narrative focusing on your brand.
If your Instagram presence is not as strong as it should be or as you want it to be, then this is high time you focus on new strategies to get more reach, engagement, or sales( or whatever your goal is).
Note: Never try to take the easy way, like paying for followers or buying followers and likes. Nothing of it actually works, and believe me; all these shitty tricks are just going to hinder your growth.
Plus, the number of followers ultimately means nothing if they don’t engage with your content or convert in real. So, Instead of focusing on followers, your primary focus should be on content and building a genuine relationship with the followers.
Anyways, here are my top tips to help you grow your Instagram in the right way.
Ways to increase Instagram followers
1) Optimize your Instagram account
Fully optimizing your Instagram account is the very first that you should do. This will add that extra push to every strategy that you will use in the future. It also helps your audience to understand your brand.
Here are the things that include profile optimization-
- Choose the right profile picture or logo.
- Using a proper username, most of the time, it’s the name of your brand. (Try to make it as search-friendly as possible and avoid using numbers and characters).
- Try to include a keyword in “Name.” Remember “Name” & “Username” are two different things.
- Properly describe what you do or your purpose in the bio and include at least two keywords related to your brand in the bio.
- Also, Include a link below your bio to drive Instagram traffic to your main website.
2) Keep a consistent content calendar
The biggest mistake that brands make is posting random content at haphazard times. You may get some followers initially, but it won’t take long for them to forget your brand. Always stay regular with your content and make a proper content strategy that aligns your content to your brand goals. Another thing is you should not spam your audience with 10-20 posts in a day. In my opinion the maximum number of posts in a day shouldn’t be more than 4.
And try to find the perfect time to post your content, as instagram bumps the newly shared post up on peoples’ feeds. To find the perfect posting time, go to your insights and check when most of your followers stay active and post according to that.
Plus- It is proven that Instagram favors the posts that get a lot of engagement in the first few hours of posting, and if a post gets very good engagement, it has very high chances of ending up on the Explore Page.
You can schedule your Instagram posts in advance using various tools, i.e., Sprout Social, ContentCal, or Facebook’s very own Creator Studio.
3) Get partners and brands to advocate your content.
This is possibly one of the most used Instagram growth strategies in 2021. Take the help of people or brands who already have a solid audience base to present you on the platform. The best ways are sponsoring user-generated content, shoutouts from influencers, and holding contests. These tactics will immensely help you get your brand name in front of the untapped audience.
People trust people more than brands, which is the main reason behind the success of this strategy. And using this strategy, you get people to talk about your brand, giving the fans the desired social proof to follow or trust you.
4) Find hashtags that convert
The most common yet most working way of growing followers on Instagram is indeed hashtags.
Hashtags have been a prominent way to discover content and reach a new audience for years. Hashtags are very, very helpful in organic growth, and every brand should make use of them.
To get you started with your hashtag strategy, go for hashtags that are not too crowded. Trying to showcase your content in the ocean of billions of pictures and videos is not at all easy.
You will have to do your hashtag research to find hashtags that are somehow related to your brand or are most likely to be searched by the user.
Eventually, down the road, you can follow various hashtag strategies to tweak your hashtag game. One such strategy is hashtag pyramid, where you use hashtags on the basis of their volume.
For example- Out of 30 hashtags, 10 must be very popular, 10 semi-popular, 5 that are not so popular (aka doesn’t have many posts under them), and 5 others can be your brand or locality-based hashtags.
5) Post content followers want
Easier said than done! Understanding the needs and wants of your audience is not that easy. Most of the time, your audience won’t even tell you what’s wrong with your content (even if you ask) and will suddenly stop engaging with it. So, whenever your engagement starts dropping down, something is definitely wrong.
Start by investing in Instagram analytics tools to understand your audience’s behavior better and see what they like and what they don’t. And on that basis, post content that your audience loves to engage with.
Tip- Posting inspirational quotes, wishing ceremonies, etc., doesn’t work anymore! Be creative with your content.
6) Engage with your audience
This is where most of the brands fail! They think that why the heck they should comment, like or engage with their audience’s content. But my friend this is the biggest mistake. When you engage with your audience, it gives them (audience) a sense of connectivity. Let me tell you a fun fact- even brands like BMW and Audi reply to every single of the users on their posts. That makes their audience connect with them deeply and makes them realize that the brand actually cares about them and hence improving brand image. And the biggest benefit? well , it makes them come back to your content each time and forces them to engage with it.
Another important tip is to make sure that you also interact with the accounts of your competitors and the accounts that have similar audiences to yours. This way you are tapping into an already established audience and giving them a chance to try a new product or letting them know about a competitor.
7) Use Instagram Reels
If you’re not leveraging Instagram Reels in 2021, then you are missing out a very big opportunity for your brand. Reels is Instagram’s newest feature which is somewhat similar to tik tok which allows you to make micro videos of upto 30-seconds.
And as we all know that Instagram is trying to compete with tik tok with its Reels feature and that’s why Instagram is trying to push it as much as it can. The reach on reels is way way higher than normal posts (even 20X in some cases) and Instagram itself is pushing Reels on users’ main feed and the Explore page. Just like TikTok, Instagram Reels are more likely to go seriously viral.
Using Instagram reels is an amazing way to increase your reach way beyond your followers and grow immensely in a short time.
Reels is a relatively new feature, I think this is the best time to hop onto while the competition is still low.
8) Create Shareable Content
The main ingredient of social media growth is content. If your content is good enough, then no matter what, nothing can stop you from growing.
So, your main focus should be on creating amazing content that resonates with your audience and they find it relatable or at least funny or shareable. If your content meets any of these points, then it means your content is super to go.
Content shared by users on their feed posts or stories is arguably the most common way for people to find new brands.
Instagram continues to be the favorite platform. So, building an audience for your brand here is going to be immensely helpful. And I hope these tips will at least help you a bit in growing your following on Instagram. Before wrapping up, let me just quickly summarise everything here- First thing first! Optimize your profile, post content that adds value to your audience, stay consistent with posting content, collaborate and ask others to advocate your brand and content, follow a proper hashtag strategy and keep checking on it. Finally, a bonus tip- Cross-promote your content, as well as Instagram handle on other platforms.