In 2012, Facebook shocked the social media and tech world by acquiring Instagram for one billion dollars.
A massive acquisition like that tells us how valuable Instagram’s platform is and also cements the fact that it is here to stay. Since then, Instagram has taken the internet by storm by providing a social media platform that allows individuals and brands to market themselves in refreshing and engaging new ways. Instagram currently has over 800 million active users, and that number is growing on a daily basis.
If you own a business or are establishing a brand, love photography, or simply want to learn more about marketing through social media, then you should definitely get familiar with Instagram! Many Instagram users have found that growing a follower base can be a bit of a challenge. Gaining followers that are real and having them engage with your content can be harder than you think.
It’s been 8 years since Instagram’s launch and even today we are still consider ourselves the early adopters of the social media platform – learning new strategies and techniques to gain followers.
7 insider tips to help you gain real Instagram followers
1. Hashtags are your Friends
If you aren’t utilizing hashtags to grow your follower base, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Hashtags are pretty much free search engine optimization for your account within Instagram. You can find hashtags that are directly relevant to your brand, product, or service, and instantly connect your content to that specific term.
We suggest looking for hashtags that your competitor is successfully using. Double check the search results to make sure the hashtag doesn’t have less than 50,000 searches, as anything less than that amount generally isn’t worth your time. Also, try not to use more than five hashtags that have over five million searches to achieve the best results.
2. Develop your Own Unique Instagram Style
As we mentioned before, Instagram currently has over 800 million active users. That’s a lot of competition. You have no choice but to create a unique style in order to stand out among the millions of users.
This is where branding comes into play. Stay true to you own original style and you will be rewarded with more real followers. A big problem with Instagram right now is the sheer amount of accounts and content that all look and feel the same. Get creative with the photos, copywriting, and coloring, and you will be well on your way to developing a devoted follower base.
3. Create Engaging Content
The Instagram community rewards those that put out compelling and unique content. The accounts with millions of followers are constantly creating eye-catching marketing content that resonates with a large amount of people.
Create a strategy for your brand and style prior to starting your account. Hire a legitimate photographer to capture striking images that immediately grab people’s attention. Keep things consistent and stay true to your brand as you continue to post new content. Another great idea is offering giveaways that further increases engagement from your followers and keeps them coming back for more. Lastly, keep track of what’s working best for you in terms of the best times and days to post your content.
4. Use Comments to your Advantage
Always try to comment back on anyone leaving remarks on your content. This will help keep your existing followers engaged as well as encourage others to leave comments. Also, commenting on someone else’s conversation that has a large amount of participants is another way you can accelerate your follower growth.
You don’t want to just come in hot with a direct advertisement for your brand and trying to hijack their comment section. That’s not a good look. Instead, find a conversation that makes sense for you to join in on and leave a funny or informative comment. Leaving a generic or meaningless comment really won’t help you build your brand or intrigue real followers to join your cause, so keep that in mind when trying to use comments to your advantage.
5. Pursue Influencers
Using influencers to grow your Instagram account is becoming the new normal. These people have a large and devoted following that are willing to hear out anything that the influencer has to say. By finding the right influencers specific to your niche or brand, you can pay them to promote your account which can lead to huge gains in real followers.
We suggest budgeting around $1-2K per month for influencer promotion. The key here is consistency. You might not see huge gains after the first month, but if you continuously use an influencer over time, you will definitely grow your following.
6. Utilize Instagram Advertising (Facebook Ads)
As you know, Facebook owns Instagram. To run any ads on Instagram, you will need to go through the Facebook Advertising platform. This is actually a good thing, because the Facebook Ads dashboard is cutting edge and easy to learn. It allows you to target specific consumers based on what they have “Liked” on Facebook.
This type of advertising is the future, and we recommend jumping onboard sooner rather than later. It can help you gain new followers while also converting existing ones into customers. If you aren’t too familiar with Instagram Advertising, we suggest seeking a freelancer or social media agency to help you get started on the right foot.
7. Get Creative by Using Every Possible Tool
The growth of Instagram and Social Media over the past decade has created a variety of businesses and tools that are specifically designed to help you grow your social media following. Get creative and explore all of the options out there that can help grow your real followers.
There are even agencies that can automatically follow, like, or comment on specific posts, accounts, and niches. You can use a social media agency like that to grow your account by 1000-3000 followers a month. Some might look down on using a tool like that as it’s not “authentic” enough, but you can’t argue with the results.
Instagram is not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s a cutting edge way to grow a business or brand that simply cannot be ignored in today’s technology driven marketplace. By using the tips above, you can grow your real followers on Instagram fast and establish your company or brand as a true innovator.
What is your biggest struggle with growing your real followers on Instagram? Do you have any additional tips you’d like to share that weren’t mentioned above? Drop us a comment below and let us know your thoughts!
This post is contributed by Andy. He was born in Bogota, Colombia, but raised in Los Angeles, California. The views expressed in this post are the author’s own.