When it comes to growth, Instagram is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s popular, fast-growing, and with a daily active user base of over a billion, there’s plenty of scope for growth.
For businesses, Instagram can increase sales, boost lead generation, and drive engagement again and again. But before you can feel those benefits, you first need a solid follower base to market to. Read on to discover how to source exactly that.
Want to take your Instagram further? Look at tools to plug the platform into your Shopify store as an extra sales channel. Learn how Shopify apps work here.
Consistency and regularity is key
Whether you’re a solopreneur running a venture out of your spare bedroom or a big brand operating a number of enterprises, your social strategy requires time and effort.
If you really want to increase your Instagram follower count, you need to bring consistency and regularity to your posting schedule.
As well as giving your followers more of what they want, this is also good for your Instagram ranking too. The platform looks favourably on those accounts that frequently post fresh content, so it’s worth pursuing.
If you want to get your content right, first conduct some research into the best time to post. This will vary depending on your industry, target audience’s country of residence, and so on, so make sure your research is on point.
Top tip: you can make your Instagram strategy that bit easier but using a tool like Sendible. This lets you plan and schedule your posts ahead of time, and they will post automatically without you needing to do it manually.
Look to your followers for engaging user-generated content
Instagram is a treasure trove of photos, videos, and images. More than 95 million photos are posted to the platform every day — so why not mine this for your own benefit?
In terms of Instagram growth, user-generated content (UGC) is cost-effective and delivers results. It’s genuine, produced by real people for brands. As a result, sharing UGC on your Instagram provides valuable social proof for your business.
The quickest and easiest way to source this is with a UGC competition. Simply offer followers the opportunity to win a prize following submission of their own content, centred around a specific theme. For instance, you might ask people to submit snaps of their view from their place of work.
Encourage users to submit their content by tagging you or mentioning you in the caption. This boosts the visibility of your brand to their followers, expanding your reach into the bargain.
Take note though: sourcing UGC from tags and mentions is only available for brands with business accounts. If you haven’t made the switch yet, do so. Not only can you collect UGC easier, but you can also access a whole host of other features to help you grow your Instagram.
Embrace Stories for a dynamic Instagram profile
Instagram has a dazzling array of features to help you connect with your followers and expand your audience. But perhaps the most engaging of these is Stories.
Stories are ephemeral content that stays on your profile for 24 hours — once it’s gone, it’s gone. They also offer great scope for flexing your creative muscles and driving followers and clicks at the same time.
Each Story can be customised with a variety of different Stickers: polls, gifs, countdowns, questions, and so on. Use these to encourage follower engagement, sourcing their opinion and sharing it across your Story.
Similarly, you can use Stories to host contests and giveaways, with friend referrals required to enter. These drive engagement and add diversity to your existing Instagram strategy too.
As with the rest of your Instagram feed, you should post regularly on your Story to get it seen. A fresh Story that is regularly updated gives your Instagram account dynamism, compelling people to check in often.
Plus, when you share on your Story, you automatically push it to the front of your followers’ feeds. This lets you circumvent the feed algorithm and get your Stories seen by your followers as soon as they open the app.
Give the people what they want
The true driver of growth on Instagram is high-quality content. Beautiful, engaging content is what the platform is all about, and it’s what gives your followers a reason to visit your account — so why not give them what they want?
In order to get this right, you need to get inside the minds of your followers. What do they regularly engage with? What kind of content sees the most likes or comments? Know this, and you’ll know what to post to keep your followers hooked (and increase new follows).
It’s worth looking at your analytics here. Instagram offers built-in analytics that let you identify which posts perform best. Analyse your top-performing posts, identify why they worked so well, and use this to inform your next round of Instagram content ideation.
If you’re stuck for time and need some quick inspiration, you could also check out your competitors.
Trawl other brands in your industry and see what kind of content they post and what does (or doesn’t) work. At the same time, check out what hashtags your competition uses too. This helps you spot the most popular, which you can in turn use for your own content.
Instagram might just be one part of your overall growth strategy, but it’s an important one. With such an array of benefits on offer from the platform, it’s worth doing all you can to increase your follower base.
Follow the tips above and start growing your Instagram followers slowly but surely in 2020.