I get it, running social media is time-consuming enough, and you’ve already got an endless to-do-list to sort out. So why bother trying to build your Instagram account?
Well, Instagram is the fastest growing social platform, having reached 1 billion users this year. A massive 80% of those users follow businesses, which represents a great opportunity to market your business and connect with your audience.
As with any social platform, more followers mean more interactions, higher credibility, and a stronger online presence. With that in mind, putting effort into building your following is something worth doing.
To help you out with this, I’m about to share the strategies that get me over 1000 real followers a week. Let’s get started.
1) Image is Everything
Instagram is an image sharing platform, so the content you post should be stunning.
If your niche doesn’t lend itself to stunning images, then you should focus on formatting your pictures well. Ensure your pictures are appropriately centred and have a minimum pixel size of 1080 x 1080.
To do this, I use Gimp. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an image editing software, like Photoshop, but the key difference is it’s free. Here is a download link to Gimp. The sheer number of features can make using Gimp a bit overwhelming at first. But you’ll only be resizing, centring, and cropping, which is simple enough to do.
You should know that Instagram is mobile-centric. And whilst you can use it on Windows/iOS, not all the features and options will be available. For that reason, it’s easier to edit images on your laptop, transfer the file to your phone, and then post from there.
The bio section is where you give an overview of your business, detailing what you do and what you’re about. However, there are only 150 characters available, so you’ll need to be concise.
You can add a clickable link here too. But bear in mind, you only get one clickable link throughout the whole platform.
Using hashtags, and linkable profiles, in the bio go some way to offsetting these limitations.
If you didn’t already know, a hashtag refers to the # symbol followed by a keyword that will lead individuals to particular content related to a specific topic or theme. Their purpose is to organize and categorize content, which helps your audience find your content.
Linkable profiles are where you can link to other pages you identify with. However, users who don’t want their profile tagged in others’ bios can choose to untag themselves.
3) Interacting With Others
Building your following involves spending time engaging with people. Responding to comments and questions could make the difference between getting a new customer, follower, or improving your standing with your audience.
Another top tip is to go through the accounts of people you follow, pick at least 3 pictures, and leave thoughtful comments about the images. This puts you on the radar and you’ll often get return engagement.
4) Post At Least Once A Day
There is much debate over how often you should post. It’s speculated that the Instagram algorithm likes you to post multiple times a day, and by doing that, you get a bump in terms of your content being placed in front of your potential audience.
But let’s be realistic, there are only so many hours in a day, and the more you plan to post; the more content you have to come up with. I recommend building a bank of items on your phone, and posting once a day, every day, to build momentum. Having major gaps between posts will break your momentum.
5) Use Hashtags
Hashtags are major.
If your account is an Instagram business account, which I recommend you get if you haven’t already done so, you can analyze how effective your chosen hashtags are in getting views and impressions.
To access this info, go to any post and tap the “View Insights” text below it. Swipe up and you’ll see data on how the people who viewed your post found you.
Every post you make can be accompanied by a caption and up to 30 hashtags.
There are 2 types of hashtag:
- Branded – a hashtag that’s unique to your business. It can be your company name, slogan, or the name of one of your products or campaigns.
- Community – are hashtags that connect like-minded users around a particular topic. But unlike branded hashtags, community hashtags can be broad and not directly related to a business.
6) Finding Hashtags
To be effective with hashtags, it’s important to be clever about the hashtags you use.
Popular hashtags, such as #instagood and #love have been used millions of times, but using them doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a ton of likes and comments.
Instead, it’s better to use hashtags that are relevant to your audience or industry.
Find hashtags to use by:
- Looking at what your competitors and audience are using.
- Using free resources such as all-hashtag.com.
- Using Instagram’s search function. Simply type your main keyword into the app’s search bar, and then select “tags” from the drop-down menu. You’ll then be able to see all of the top hashtags closely related to your main keyword.
For a clean look, it’s best to post hashtags in the comments section, rather than in the caption box.
When starting from zero, I found that getting my first 100 followers was the hardest part of the process.
Having low numbers mean you notice every unfollow, which was particularly frustrating in the beginning.
But staying consistent will build your momentum. And there will come a point when a post gets so many likes and comments, that you have to turn your notifications off.
This won’t happen overnight, but staying consistent, especially with posting every day, will get you there.