With Instagram now owned by Facebook, marketers are looking at how they can use the platform to grow a loyal audience. The 700 million active monthly users and 400 million active daily, makes Instagram an important place to see and be seen.
Having a larger Instagram following can mean more traffic for your website, subscribers for your email marketing list, and sales for your business. It is a great chance to build a community related to your target audience and position yourself as a leader in your niche.
As with any social network, there are always going to be rules of the road and tricks of the trade to help you get the most out of it as a marketing opportunity. Here are a few of the best ways to grow a loyal following.
1. Create a Detailed Profile
Take the time to create an attractive profile for your business, which will let potential followers know who you are and why they should bother paying attention to you. You will want to include a compelling bio that describes who you are and what you do but also inspires visitors to want to learn more.
2. Follow Others
The sort of unwritten rule of Instagram is “reciprocity”. When people follow you, make sure you give them the courtesy of following back. Instagram isn’t a one-way street and unless you are a celebrity who has droves of followers searching for you every day, you really can’t afford to lose followers because you decided to be all self-righteous. Another good thing that you can do to help grow your Instagram audience is to see who the top people are in your niche are and follow them.
3. Engage with Content Related to Your Niche
Following people back and gaining a following isn’t enough though. You will also need to engage with content. This shows you are not just a pushy marketer or mad spammer, but someone willing to participate fully at the network.
4. Use Hashtags and Create Your Own
Post pictures using existing hashtags that are trending, for more visibility. You can also create your own. For example, imagine you have a dog training site. Create a hashtag like #homecookedfavs and get people to post tips, products and more. This also helps you keep your site up to date with user-generated content.
5. Set Up a Contest
There are lots of ways to do this, but one would be to use your own custom hashtag, as discussed above, and give prizes for the best posting. You could also ask them to repost one of your images and tag you in their caption. Pick a random winner.
6. Ask for Followers
At your site or blog, list all the places they can connect with you, including Instagram. Let your Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest followers know about your account as well.
7. Always Include a Call to Action (CTA)
Don’t just leave them to their own devices. Give them clear CTAs, such as "Like if you agree!" Ask them to tag their friends. Suggest they share your post if they find it useful.
8. Use Geotagging
This is a great way to connect with locals, so if you are running a bricks-and-mortar business, add your location to all your posts.
9. Track Your Successes
Analyze which posts seem to get the most engagement. Then create more like them, and repost them strategically. This is because your audience will be growing every day, so as more users start to see your content, you can offer them the very best, for even more likes and shares.
In particular, keep track of holiday-related content so you can reuse the best every year.
10. Team Up with Other Users
Consider ways of working together with top followers in your niche, such as offering guest posts or agreeing to share certain posts in exchange with each other.
Try these ten tips and see how much of an Instagram following you can develop. I am excited to hear the success stories so feel free to reach out!
About the Author
Peter Helms II is the Founder and CEO of Ideal Solutions Consulting. As an expert marketing consultant, he aims to empower entrepreneurs and business people by consulting them on how to navigate the social media and digital world. His company focuses on providing this service to micro and small businesses because it is his belief that these businesses are in the best position to make a difference but to do so, they need to be able to stay relevant and competitive in the digital world. To connect with him, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and mention this blog post.