As you already know, Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world. It has more than 500 million monthly active users!
Without a strong Instagram presence, companies risk being ignored or forgotten by a huge portion of consumers. If you take it seriously, it can open up a world of opportunity for your brand.
So in this article, we’ve decided to take a look at the 7 best tactics tp grow a bigger, relevant audience on Instagram.
1. Use Quality Hashtags
Nowhere on social media are hashtags (keywords preceded by #) quite as important as on Instagram. They give you visibility. Users use hashtags to navigate easily to topics they’re interested in. So they can expose your image to a large and targeted audience. If you aren’t using them, you won’t grow your audience.
Instagram allows for a maximum of 30 hashtags per post. Many power user can be found maxing out this ability. If you use that many, you won’t have to worry about hashtag fatigue. Instagram users don’t seem to get them. One study discovered that hashtags equate to more likes on Instagram.
Which hashtags should you use?
If you use bland hashtags, some people will notice your post. But they won’t be people you want. You have to use hashtags related to your niche.
The first thing you should do is see what hashtags your competitors are using. Then click on those hashtags and scroll through other, similar photos that share that hashtag. Record what other hashtags those users have added. Now when you post a photo, use them to get instagram followers.
You can also find the 100 most popular hashtags here.
Also, don’t put your hashtags into the description of the photo. Put them in a comment. This will hide your list of keywords after others have added comments. It will look a little bit nicer.
2. Post Regularly
If you don’t post regularly, no one is going to bother following you. According to social media analytics tool Quintly, accounts with the highest number of fans post up to 2 or 3 photos per day on average.
There is also a correlation between post frequency and followers count. So post regularly.
Instagram use an algorithm based timeline. Consistency is a key element to getting your post to appear at the top of the timeline.
Don’t stick to photos only. Post videos and stories. You can get a lot of engagement from posting them. Add 5-10 Instagram stories per day. This will keep you regularly at the top of your followers’ newsfeeds. Post a mix of both videos and still photos on stories.
3. Host a photo contest
There are basically 3 kinds of Instagram contests:
Email-Gated Contests: You ask participants for their email address to enter. The main benefit of this is that you generate email leads.
Like to Win Contests: You simply ask users to like an update. Everyone who do so will be entered into the contest.
Hashtag User-Generated Content (UGC) Contests: You create a contest-specific hashtag and ask your followers to share a photo or video using that hashtag to enter. This is the contest I recommend.
UGC contest will deepen your relationship with your customer. It will also significantly increase your brand visibility. As a result, you will get more followers. American metal band Deftones hosted a photo contest that resulted in 20,000 new Instagram followers within 3 months.
Social Media Examiner has an awesome post on Instagram contests. Read it and follow their advice if you want to host a successful contest.
4. Use Emojis
Did you know emoji is the fastest growing language in UK history? It has become a universal method of expression. It has exploded on Instagram too. Instagram reports that nearly 50 percent of all captions and comments on Instagram have at least one emoji.
So, what are the emojis that Instagram users use & like the most? According to an analysis by Simply Measured, “love hearts”, “Sparkles” and “artist palette” are the three most engaging emojis.
Here is the graph with analysis of the top 10 most engaging emojis on Instagram. Use them on your post to get more followers.
But keep in mind that, blindly using them will hurt you instead of helping you. You need to understand how people communicate with them. If you’re new to the world of emoticons, read HubSpot’s Emoji Guide.
Use emojis on your bio, your comments and your call to action. Try to be as creative as you can with them. Here is a great example of creative use of emojis:
5. Use The Right Filters
Instagram gives you a couple of filter option. Using the right filter will get more views and engagement. According to research done at Georgia Tech and Yahoo Labs, filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed. They are also 45% more likely to be commented on than unfiltered ones.
So, what kind of filters work the best? Higher exposure gets more views while warmth temperature gets more comments. Not everyone is the same. What works for other people may not work for you. So use a tool like Iconosquare to dig into your own account’s performance. Find out what your followers like and use them. If you don’t have a large following, study your competitors to see what’s working for them.
6. Do Cross-promotion
Identify accounts that target the same audience as you and are a similar size to yours. Reach out to them and ask if they would be willing to promote your account through shared shout outs. Doing shared shout outs help both parties. So you won’t have any problem finding willing accounts.
When you are first starting out and have less than 1,000 followers, you can expect to gain 10-20 followers for each share for share you do. Experiment with different accounts and see who help you grow the fastest. Also, be careful not to overdo the cross-promotion. Try to keep a ratio of 1 cross-promotion for every 5 normal posts.
7. Follow Your Target Users
Locate your top competitors. Then start to follow their followers. If they follow your competitors, they might choose to follow me, too. You are in the same industry and are providing just as much value. Do it every day.
If you have time, try to follow 20-30 users per hour. Many will begin to follow you back. Instagram wants to keep users from abusing the system. So if you try to follow too many people within a certain amount of time, Instagram will block your ability to follow new people. But they won’t ban your account.
If you only follow 20-30 users per hour, you are unlikely to get blocked. But if you do get blocked, simply wait an hour and try again. Most likely, you won’t face any problem.
It seems challenging to build a following on Instagram. So many people neglect it. But if you follow the above-mentioned tricks, you will easily build a powerful tribe of loyal, targeted followers.
I would like to wrap up this post with this brilliant infographic by the kind folks at Made Freshly. It summarizes a perfect Instagram post.
Have you used any other strategies to gain followers on the photo social network? We’d love to hear them in the comment section below.