By Alex Benton
Ah Instagram, you mysterious creature. Over 200 million users, but how do you reach them? On Facebook and Twitter, fans can be acquired via targeted advertising. But on Instagram, unless you plan on sliding them a briefcase filled with $1 million, they’ll undoubtedly ignore your calls for a meeting. Growing an Instagram audience requires some good-old-fashioned elbow grease. Below are five simple ways that can help you increase your follower count, without coughing up the big bucks.
Hashtags on Instagram serve as a tool to classify your images and siphon them into different content categories that are easily searchable. This allows your images to be found by people who are exploring similar themes, increasing the likelihood that you will acquire new followers. By including hashtags that are relevant to your brand, your content will be easier to discover on Instagram and will attract a new audience.
Tip: Popular hashtags such as #latergram, #tbt, #instagood and #photooftheday are widely used and followed on Instagram.
2. Community Outreach
To raise awareness of your presence on Instagram, you must engage with the greater Instagram community. When starting out, ensure that you follow other accounts, including influential Instagram users who correlate appropriately with your brand. Liking and commenting on posts by these users will ensure that you are noticed by them and their audience. It will increase the likelihood that you will gain new followers. You should also search hashtags relating to your brand and engage with relevant images by liking and commenting, thereby increasing your reach and Instagram brand awareness with a pertinent audience.
Tip: Schedule time each day to search brand-relevant hashtags. Then, like and comment on influential Instagram users’ photos. Programs like Iconosquare (formerly Statigram) are good tools to search hashtags.
Contests are a tremendously effective way to increase your follower count. When running a contest, there are three important elements that will ensure that you maximize the overall effectiveness of the campaign and drive significant audience growth. First, ensure that a unique hashtag is used for entries, aiding in the moderation process. Secondly, solicit that users must follow your Instagram handle as an entry requirement. Finally, make sure that you are offering a desirable prize. This will increase the likelihood that people share the promotion with their Instagram followers.
Tip: Run a contest by asking users to do the following:
- Take a picture.
- Post it to Instagram using a custom hashtag.
- Follow your Instagram account for the opportunity to win a prize.
Promoting your Instagram presence on other social media platforms with a link to your account is an excellent way to grow your audience. Furthermore, Instagram allows you to seamlessly link your account with other platforms like Facebook and Twitter, making posting on these networks a simple task. You should also publicize your Instagram account on the homepage of your website, at events, and in other marketing materials like catalogs and emails.
Tip: Download the official Instagram logos from the Brand Assets section of the Instagram Press Center and incorporate them into your existing brand collateral to promote your account.
5. Great Content:
Ultimately, the best way to acquire and retain an Instagram audience is through high-quality content. Posting beautiful, visually-stimulating images on Instagram enhances the probability that that your content will be discovered by people who do not follow you, and it increases the likelihood that your posts will appear on the Explore tab, leading to an uptick in followers.
Tip: Utilize Instagram’s filters, tilt, and depth of field tools. People are on Instagram to look at beautiful, creative photos, so make sure yours stand out.
Have you successfully grown an Instagram audience? Share your success stories and tips below!