6 Ways to Increase Your Business’s Instagram Followers

6 Ways to Increase Your Business’s Instagram Followers

Instagram is proving to be a powerful marketing tool. Of its 800 million users, 70 percent use the image-based platform to search for brand-related content. ThriveHive notes, “The frequency and popularity of content, as well as the high levels of engagement on the part of Instagram users, is what makes Instagram a great place to promote small business.”

With so many businesses competing for your potential customers’ attention, however, you need a solid marketing strategy to establish a strong social media presence. Here are six ways to build your Instagram following.

  1. Post high-quality photos.

Blogging Wizard recommends going beyond Instagram filters and using a professional photo editing tool like Canva or PicMonkey. For convenience, look for an app you can use on your phone or tablet, so you can take, edit, and upload the photo from a single device. With apps like Photo Editor by Aviary, InstaSize, Font Candy, and PicLab, you’ll have additional filter options as well as stickers and text overlays.

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  1. Optimize your profile.

Stunning photos are useless if visitors can’t immediately determine who you are, what you do, and why they should follow you. Later explains how your Instagram profile functions as a second homepage, and it may be the first one potential customers encounter if they’re bypassing Google and using the platform to research brands.

One way to supplement your profile is by sharing behind-the-scenes content through Instagram Stories. Each story is a series of linked photos that only appears on your feed for 24 hours, encouraging your followers to check in often. While the story itself disappears, some images are saved permanently in the highlights section of your profile. Rather than include a static bio listing what you sell, use your highlights to create a collage of your best content and show your customers what your products can do for them.  

  1. Follow others.

On Instagram, you need to give to receive. Liking a photo or, better yet, posting a meaningful comment will help you build a network. Forbes describes how to use the “Find People to Follow” and “Explore” features to connect with people you already know and find new accounts with photos related to yours. About a third of the people you follow will return the favor.

  1. Post at least once a day.

Quicksprout cites several studies showing a correlation between the frequency of posts and the number of followers. In one study, Instagram users with 10,000 to 100,000 followers posted an average of 1.32 times per day. For those with more than 10 million fans, the average was 3.06.

Whether you post one, two, or three times daily, what’s most important is consistency. A sudden change in your routine or periods of dormancy give customers the impression you are unreliable, and in such a high-paced social media environment, they will quickly turn their attention elsewhere.

While Instagram used to list posts in chronological order, its algorithm now orders them based on engagement. If your content receives a lot of likes and comments shortly after you post it, it will appear closer to the top of your followers’ feeds. The key to increasing engagement is posting at a time when your followers are most likely to be online; according to HubSpot, peak hours are eight to nine am and five pm. If you aren’t available at those times, use a tool like Hootsuite to manage your content release schedule.

  1. Use hashtags the right way.

Including hashtags on every photo makes your content easy for potential customers to find. One way to garner likes and followers is by using the most popular Instagram hashtags, such as #love, #cute, #fashion, or #photooftheday. However, these tags are extremely broad and don’t reflect anything about your brand identity.

Shopify recommends using an online search tool like Websta or Iconosquare to find hashtags relevant to your business. Generate a list of keyword tags for your brand, each category of product you sell, and your location. While Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, most sources agree 11 is the magic number. If you haven’t been tagging photos up until now, go back and add hashtags in the comments.

  1. Show your followers some love.

Sprout Social points out 87 percent of businesses now incorporate some form user-generated content into their promotional materials. When a follower posts content about your brand or a specific product, show your appreciation by giving them a shout-out in your hashtags or reposting their photo with the hashtag #regram.

Customers are more likely to engage if they believe their voices will be heard and their feedback will have an impact. Because they’re providing you with free advertising, it’s a win-win.

One way to encourage followers to create this type of content is to offer an incentive. Hold a contest in which everyone who posts a photo with a certain hashtag is entered into a drawing for a prize.

How are you building your brand following on Instagram? Share your strategies in the comments.

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