Looking to boost your follower numbers on Instagram? For this to be effective for your overall business goals, you'll need to ensure you're reaching the right people.
Our Content Manager, Beth, explains how to get more high-quality, relevant Instagram followers who are more likely to convert to customers in the future.
Instagram has over 800,000 users sharing over 250 million pieces of content every single day.
70% of users say they’ve looked up a brand on the platform, and brands enjoy regular engagement with 4% of their total followers, compared to an engagement rate of less than 0.1% on Twitter and Facebook. It’s no wonder Instagram is becoming increasingly popular among brands!
But to maintain high engagement rates, it’s important to be connected with the right people on Instagram. Having thousands of followers is all well and good, but if they aren’t genuinely interested accounts (or worse, if they’re mostly bought), there’s very little to be gained from the platform.
There are plenty of tools out there that can do the legwork for you, following and unfollowing accounts to grow your follower numbers. Lots of brands and individuals use this approach, but ultimately if you want authentic, genuinely engaged followers who are actually going to be interested in your brand and your Instagram content, this method won't best serve your business goals.
In fact, we've previously taken over Instagram accounts from people who have used these tools, and we saw plenty of complaints from frustrated followers because the account had followed and then unfollowed them. Even worse, following tools can automatically unfollow accounts that you want to stay connected to, so it can be frustrating for you, too!
When it comes to using Instagram for business, better quality followers = better quality leads. Let us show you how to gain more followers that are relevant to your brand, in an authentic, genuine way…
Quite simply, the more you post, the more people you’ll reach. Posting regular content will show potential followers that your account is worth following, and it’ll ensure your existing followers stay engaged, and therefore continue to follow you, too.
We know it can be tricky to find the time to take pictures every single day for Instagram. Keeping a high quality, genuinely interesting feed can be hard if you haven’t left the office in a while! Here’s a few tips to help:
- Build up a bank of images, which you can share when times are a little busier.
- Take more pictures. For example, if you’re out and about, rather than just taking one picture of where you are, what you’re eating or who you’re with, do all of these! Always look for opportunities to take plenty of pictures throughout the day, as these can then be added to your image bank for future posts.
- Create graphics - if you’re struggling to find photographs to share, there are plenty of free online tools to make your own graphics. We love Canva!
- Use a scheduling tool like Schedugram to schedule several posts to go out throughout the week, which saves manually posting each time. Hootsuite have recently added an Instagram scheduling function too.
Post a mix of content
It’s important to think beyond the grid when posting on Instagram. Regularly uploading images to the feed is of course Instagram’s main, and original, function, but you can also make use of Stories and Highlights to help reach more people.
Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, but you can pin the best ones to the top of your feed as Highlights. It's a good idea to make the most of these features, as it means that anyone visiting your page will see that it's populated with great content, meaning they're more likely to give you a follow.
Try experimenting with a mix of images and video content in order to capture the interest of as many relevant people as possible. For example, an image of your product may not necessarily be that interesting to potential new followers, but a video of it being used, or a video of someone talking about or reviewing it, could be.
On that note, your Instagram account shouldn’t only be a means to promote your products or services. Use your page to show off your brand’s personality, a bit of what goes on behind the scenes, places you’re visiting and anything else you’re up to.
Tip: Make sure your images stand out from the crowd! Beautiful, bold, high-quality images are far more likely to attract new followers than generic shots. Experiment with close ups, rather than trying to fit everything in, as people mostly scroll through Instagram on smaller smartphone phone screens.
Do your hashtag research
Are you making the most out of hashtags? These are key to reaching more people on Instagram, and so often brands neglect the power of the hashtag on Instagram. (Sidenote: hashtags won’t reach new followers if your account is private).
If you’re new to hashtagging, read our blog post on how to use hashtags on social media.
Researching the best, most searched for hashtags which are relevant to your business is essential if you are to encourage the right people to follow your page. These are likely to be the people who are actually going to be interested in the products or services your business has to offer.
But how do you do hashtag research on Instagram? You can do some it directly on the platform, or alternatively there are plenty of tools out there to help with this.
When typing hashtags into Instagram, the search bar will bring up lots of related hashtags, telling you how many posts this keyword has. This will give you an idea of how popular these hashtags are, but it’s important to note that the hashtags with the most posts aren’t necessarily the ones which will bring in the most new likers or followers to your post. You’ll need to rummage around a bit to see what other pages similar to yours are using.
Often, it’s the more niche keywords which will bring in the most relevant, and therefore the highest quality, engagement and followers. For example, if you sell vintage items on Etsy, #etsysellersofinstagram or #etsyvintage may bring in a more specific set of followers than simply using #etsy. And #vintagelife or #vintageinspired might help you get more relevant engagement and followers than just #vintage.
If you’re looking for Instagram hashtag research tools, we’ve been using Leetags recently. But there are loads to choose from, making it easy to find one that works for you.
Find your best times to post
When are the sort of people who’d be interested in your brand, blog, product or service typically scrolling through Instagram?
Working this out can often be a case of trial and error - try posting at various times, and see which times your posts receive the most engagement.
A poll by Later discovered that in 2017, over 50% of social media managers said that the best time to post on Instagram was in the evening between 7-9pm. In 2018, the majority said that lunch time, from 11am-1pm, was the best time.
It’s important to remember that these times will differ according to the nature of your business and its audience though, so it's best to experiment and work out what times are best for you. For example, if you're based in the UK but have a big customer base in the US, you'll need to post from 3pm onwards when they're awake!
Share user-generated posts
Are your customers talking about you? If so, make the most of the (hopefully) kind things they’re saying and share them on your own feed!
Not only will this provide you with more positive content which is likely to interest others in your product or service, but it’ll show potential new followers that you care about what your customers are saying, too.
To share (or ‘regram’) someone else’s image, simply screenshot it on their feed, then upload to your own, cropping out the surrounding area. It’s good to credit the person who’s image it is, and perhaps mention that it’s a regram - you could even hashtag it #regram.
There are also plenty of regram apps out there to help you repost someone else’s content on your own feed. Repost is a popular one.
Share on other platforms
If you’re also on other social media platforms, you could share your Instagram posts on those too. This will not only provide you with more content to share on Twitter and Facebook, but it might encourage people who follow you on your other channels to follow your Instagram account too.
If This Then That (IFTT) is a tool we like to use to automatically share our Instagram posts on Facebook and Twitter. It saves a lot of time, and has a lot of other app integrations available too.
You can also embed your Instagram posts on your website, in blog posts or other pages on the website. As well as helping to make your website more visually appealing, embedding your posts could also encourage your site or blog visitors to follow your Instagram page.
Make sure to tag people!
This might seem like an obvious one, but make sure you’re tagging any other accounts which are relevant to the picture you’re posting, as well as the location at which the picture was taken. You might get a follow from the accounts!
For example, if you’re uploading a picture of your meal at a restaurant, make sure to tag the restaurant in the picture, as well as adding the location at the top. Like this:
Competitions can be a great way to gain relevant followers, especially for small businesses. Take this Instagram competition for example:
This months is The Pip Box’s 1st Birthday! . . To celebrate we’re launching The BIG Birthday Giveaway! Over £300 worth of cruelty-free beauty items for one lucky winner! . . To enter like this post and comment with two friends names. One name per comment. . . This competition is running across Twitter & Facebook too, enter on all 3 platforms to increase your chances of winning! . . Ends 14.02.18 at 8pm. UK only. GOOD LUCK! ❤️
See how this post encourages followers to like the post, but also tag two friends in the comments. As someone who is already interested in your brand has chosen to tag their friends, it’s likely that these friends are also going to be the sort of people who may be interested in the product or service you offer. This immediately brings in two high-quality potential followers.
Think about Instagram advertising
Have you considered putting some budget behind your Instagram posts? In an increasingly competitive digital world, sponsoring your posts could be the push your content needs to be seen by a much wider audience.
You can tailor your Instagram Ads to target your audience, however unique they may be. For example, you can target posts to individuals based on their age, location and interests, meaning the right people will see your post, and hopefully follow your page.
To learn more on social media advertising, read our top tips for boosting ROI.
Create a sturdy Instaplan
As with any social media platform, a solid strategy is needed in order to cut through the noise.
This means creating an Instagram style guide for your brand - both for images and the language you use on the platform. It’s also a good idea to research your competitors, what are they doing on Instagram, and is it working? How can you differentiate your brand?
Planning will help make sure the content you post will appeal to the right people, so it’s a crucial step in making sure you attract high quality followers to your account.
Need help defining your Instagram presence?
We’re experienced in creating social media content which brings in the most relevant, high-quality followers, which can convert to new business.
Chat to Sookio to find out how a bold Instagram strategy can transform your brand’s social media presence.