Instagram is growing and rapidly. With that in mind, it's important to focus on growing your followers on there. We've talked about how Instagram is essentially free marketing before. And it truly is. There are even paid ways to advertise on Instagram too. But to properly engage in the realm of free marketing, it takes some dedication and a little know how.
Before you dive into growing your Instagram followers, I suggest you spend some time and focus on how to brand you Instagram. Today we'll focus on how to gain followers on Instagram. But instead of playing the numbers game (because numbers aren't everything) quality over quantity is key. The goal is to engage your followers and there's actually a little 'science' behind it. So, while these tips will grow the number of your followers, there will also be some tips to make your followers want to come back for more.
HOW TO GAIN FOLLOWERS ON INSTAGRAM
Tip #1 Create the Perfect Username
This seems obvious, but it's a lot easier for potential followers to find you if your profile if it's public. Let your followers see who you are and what you are all about. It's also a good idea to keep your profile pictures the same across all social media accounts. This makes it easier to be recognized on a variety of platforms. You also need to make sure that you username is attractive. So how do you create the perfect username?
Make your username simple. Sometimes it can be hard to choose one. But is is the single most important aspect of a brand. A good name helps you stand out and become memorable in the process. Even though you can change your username anytime you want, it's best to decide on one that you won't change.
Your username should be easy to spell. It’s best to use your personal name or your brand name. Don’t use any crazy letter combinations. It can make it harder for people to find you! Here are a few more things to consider...
The best Instagram profiles have these in common:
- Easily Identifiable Username
- A Recognizable Profile Photo
- An Informative Instagram Bio
- Website Url
Tip #2 Construct A Killer Profile
Don't neglect the opportunity to create a great description for your bio area. The description should define what you are about and what you can offer to your followers. You should also include a link to your site or blog. You can even add your email if you opt to not use an Instagram business account.
Your bio should quickly tell people :
- Who you are
- What you do
- Where you are located
- What they can expect
- How to contact you
- and what they should do next
These are all important elements that people will be looking for. At the very least, your bio should include information on who you are, what you're about and how to find your site or blog.
One final step aspect of the perfect bio, and it ties into the whole 'tell them what they should do next' aspect is to create a call to action (CTA). Which is nothing more than a phrase that encourages someone to take action. It's up to you to decide what you want your followers to do. Here are a few examples:
- Read your latest blog post
- Purchase your newest product
- Subscribe to your monthly e-letter
Once you decide, give them clear-cut directions on how to do that in your bio and be sure to link to it.
Tip #3 Take & Edit Photos Ahead of Time
Instagram relies on photos, obviously. And taking photos can be a little time consuming. Therefore, it might be easier to take a lot of photos and edit them all at once. I know it seems a little weird to get all of your photos done a few weeks before you post them. But it really helps with the time factor. So if you can, go ahead and lay out 30 days worth of images in a single day.
It also helps that your images are visually cohesive whenever you view your Instagram as a whole. Think of your Instagram feed as a 9 image grid. You have nine chances to make someone like and follow you! The key to an Instagram feed is the balance of color and space.
Color. Try to keep the colors as uniform as possible. The main trick to this is to stick to one filter. Edit your photos in the same way each time and it will automatically make them flow better.
Space. You need space. Whether it's white space or the main focus of the photo - which can be close or farther away. Think of space like zoom on a camera – you need a balance of tight and wide photos to make it appealing.
Tip #4 Post Incredible Photos
This should come as no surprise, since we're dealing with Instagram. But it is a visual platform and people will gravitate towards images that captivate them. Sure, you can post those adorable photos of your pets or baby, occasionally. But for the most part, people want to see photos that are taken to the next level.
That's why you need to take several aspects into consideration when you're taking photos for Instagram. Things like lighting, composition and background. You can always edit photos too. Programs like Enlight, Snapseed and VSCO are great for editing photos.
Don't overlook the simplicity of a well-done flat lay. Whatever route you take with your photos, just make sure that they are good quality and that they stand out.
Your photos should tell a story. Let's face it. You’re the only person who knows what actually went into taking that photo. Go ahead a share the story behind it. Where was it taken? How does it make you feel? What's really happening in the photo? Make your followers connect to the image in an emotional way. It’s okay to have a one liner every once in awhile, but try to go deeper. Just be relate able.
Tip #5 Post Every Day
The trick to engagement is to be consistent. Not only does it help to grow your followers, but it also keeps your followers engaged. It can be somewhat of a feat to post every day, and if you think that might be too difficult, you have options. It all comes down to engagement, head over here to checkout six easy steps to do just that.
You can also schedule your posts ahead of time to take the pressure off of posting every day. There are a variety of free and paid apps that you can use. Like Social Pilot, Hootsuite and Tailwind. You can go ahead and schedule your Instagram posts weeks in advance, if that's what you want. It's up to you.
Tip #6 Use Call To Actions
Ask your followers something and they will most likely answer. Your goal is to create conversations and a highly engaged audience. By nature, people want to join in and feel as if they are part of the discussion. So think about what your audience might respond to. Whenever you ask questions, it shows that you care about your audience.
If you’re afraid your question will be met with radio silence, don’t be. You need to get over that fear in order to build a following. For the most part, people are more likely to like a photo than comment on it. This is why you need to change their behavior. So post a question at the end of every caption. Give them the option to reply. The easier the question is to answer, the higher response you'll get.
Tip #7 Use Hashtags
Instagram relies heavily on hashtags. Hashtags help to build awareness and find others within your niche. You're able to add up to 30 hashtags per post, but you need to make sure that you vary them. Now it does make sense to use popular hashtags. However, you might get lost in a sea of images with the same hashtags. In opposition, if you use a hashtag that is very rare, who will really search for it? Variety is key when it comes to hashtags. Take advantage of them and mix it up.
On Instagram, you search via hashtags which means that you can be searched via hashtags. So, it makes sense to use hashtags. Now as I stated above, you can use up to 30 hashtags per post. But that doesn't mean you have to use all 30. Just do whatever feels right.
Word of advice:
- Post your photo without hashtags
- Create a note on your phone and put in your 10-30 hashtags but make sure that you have periods on 5 lines before it (see image below)
- Copy that and then past in a comment
- Publish photo
Tip #8 Follow AND Engage
You really should try and follow others. Because it ups your chances of being followed. However there are a few important things to consider: Only follow those you really want to follow - don't just follow someone for the sake of it. Think within your niche or target audience and your interests. For example, if you're an artist, you might want to follow other artists and people who enjoy art. Naturally you will have a lot in common.
Once you follow someone, be sure to "like" and comment on their photos. There's a rumor that you should like about 100 photos a day on Instagram in order to stay engaged. That's a lot and a huge goal to work towards. But, it isn't necessary to stress yourself out over. What is necessary is taking the time to "like" and comment at least a few times a day. Just stay active the best you can!
If someone comments on your photo, reply back to them. It IS worth your time. Simply because they took the time to write it, and therefore you should do the same. Unless you have thousands of comments on each photo, there really isn’t an excuse why you can’t spend a few minutes writing thank you. Be social! Respond to comments to keep the conversation going. Afterwards, visit your followers accounts and engage with their posts too.
Tip #9 Schedule Your Time
If you don't schedule time to focus on Instagram, it most likely won't happen. The main thing you need to get serious about is your growth tactics. Which means you need to be consistent in order to see any growth. You need to have a daily routine of when you'll take your photos, edit and post then, write captions, follow other accounts and like/comment.
The benefit of having a game plan is that it gives you a guideline to stick to on a daily basis. Something like this might be helpful:
- schedule about 5-10 minutes a day to like and comment on photos in relevant hashtags that you use
- spend about 10-30 minutes on photo creation (unless you batch create)
- 5-10 minutes liking and commenting on photos in relevant hashtags.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to follow people every day. However you should set aside a few minutes a day to go to a popular person in your niche and follow people who are following them.
Tip #10 Create Your Plan & Stick With It
You need to create a plan around your post schedule. Why? Because it helps to keep your post topics in the vein of what your audience wants to see. There's nothing worse than scrolling through hashtags and seeing a photo that just doesn't belong there.
For instance, if you search for awesome photos of latte art using the hashtag #latteart and you stumble upon a photo of a piece of pie. That's not latte art, at all. So the key takeaway here is, don't be that person. Plan your posts and plan your relevant hashtags. People want to know that you are reliable and can count on content from you. It keeps you relevant too.
Alright so there you have it. An easy to follow way to Instagram Success. Because you won’t grow ANY social media platform if you don’t show up like it’s your boring 9-5 job. The trick is to hustle. And if you don't have a good strategy to follow, it can get messy pretty quickly. Especially when you want to grow your account. We hope these tips help you to grow your following. Is there anything you think we left out? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss!