This week we've been asked by a number of clients how to grow their instagram followings. If you research the same types of answers will keep coming up, 'become part of the community', 'create engaging content' and 'be consistent'. To keep this short, we're going to cover these 3 fundamental steps and explain how you can adopt this in your social media strategy today.
1. Be consistent (frequency of posts & type of topics / posts) and understand the best times to post on your instagram account
Don't post 7 times in a day and flood someone's news feed and then abandon instagram for 3 weeks. You'll lose followers by flooding their news feeds and instagram thinks you're inactive. Once you have a decent following you can use the analytics to see what time your audience engages with your content the most. Until then, take an educated guess given your target market and based on their typical lifestyle.
Be consistent in what you're publishing. If you're a sneaker shop, post about sneakers, fashion, etc but don't randomly start posting about marriage equality and puppy farms -- you're followers are there because they have resonated with what you have previously posted, don't give them a reason to disagree with your views which are unrelated to your business and can cost you $$
2. Use appropriate hashtags
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags. Use as many as you can but make sure they're relevant. This is your weapon in terms of getting new followers. To make it look neat, I put my hashtags in the first comment. if you choose to put it in the description make sure you use 5 dots before it. This makes it looks neater for people in their newsfeed (pictured). An example of relevant hashtags I would use if I had printed some decals for a mechanic that specialises in European cars client may be;
#marketing #loudmedia #printing #design #bright #avery #keysborough #retail #automotive #mechanic #tradie #print #cars #luxury #audi #bmw #carservice
If the 5 dots are used correctly this is how it would display -> Pro Tip - save 20 generic hashtags in a 'note' on your phone with the 5 dots before it, this will save a lot of time when posting to instagram, all you need to do is copy and paste these 20 hashtags add 5-10 specifically related to the photo and you're done!
How do you find popular hashtags? Sites like this - www.hashtagsforlikes.co allow you to enter hashtags and they will spit back out the most popular that are related to the word you've searched. Don't make up your own hashtags, spend time researching them.
3. Make your content stand out
If you would scroll past that post without engaging with it, chances are, your followers will too. If you put thought into the photo, editing and the caption, your audience has a better chance of relating to this and engaging with it. Give them something that they haven't heard before, WOW your followers and they will be more attentive to your posts. If you create a post that is valuable, chances are some of your followers will tag their friends who may also be interested in the same topic, if this referral resonates with your content they're going to follow you! An example of this may be a Dog breeder posting nutritional information about what they feed their Rottweilers. If I saw this post and found it to be informative and useful, I would tag all my buddies that own Rottweilers so they too could read this.
Make sure the photos you use are appealing and high resolution. here are two extreme examples of a 'resort swimming pool' which are you more likely to engage with?
Try the stories feature for things that your audience may find amusing but doesn't warrant a permanent feature on your profile. Make sure you include the location when you do this as this too will help you to stand out!
4. Ask questions / Create competitions
This is a great way to engage with your audience and create a community. Ask for opinions and feedback, this is also a great way to see why people are following you and what they are interested in seeing. Another great way to build this following is to do a giveaway. Make it something unique and make the entrants tag your account in their posts and explain why they follow you or what THEIR followers would get out of following your account.
5. Engage within your industry
Make interesting, thought provoking comments on posts that are within your field. If you're a hair dresser and L'Oréal comes out with a new product range, go out of your way to search these hash tags and comment with any tips that you may have for the salon's using it. Why? because their followers will see you commenting and if they perceive you as an expert, will start following you.
6. Make sure your profile is complete
Tell people what your profile is about, where you're located and appropriate, working links to your website, call feature etc. It's human nature to look at someones profile
7. Try, Test, Measure
The most important tool you have is to be able to measure what worked. If you post 4 times a day for a week with 30 hashtags and notice a vast improvement, you know what you need to continue doing, then look at the hashtags that generated the most amount of followers, these are topics you should consider posting more about. Look at the types of photos that get the highest engagement and analyse this against those with the least engagement so you can identify the differences and continue improving.
If you have any questions or need further help use the form on the right (top) to drop us a line!