Whatever stage your business is at, if you want to boost your company reach in 2020, make sure your strategy to get more Instagram followers is up to date!
And forget about taking any shortcut and buying Instagram followers. It does not work and can, actually, severely damage your business!
In fact, only more real followers (not the fake, bought ones) lead to more brand awareness and trust—two factors that will help your business rocket to the top of its market.
With more than 1B active monthly active users and 500+ Instagram stories posted every day, however, the competition is fierce.
To get more followers on Instagram, you’ll need to rise above the noise.
We’ve put together 14 strategies to help you build an engaged Instagram following by optimizing your profile, posts, and ads.
Instagram fueled beauty brand Glossier’s ascent to incredible heights. They’ve acquired over 2.3 million followers since launching in 2014 by leveraging Instagram’s fast-growing and engaged audience. It’s something they only could do by understanding how to get more followers on Instagram.
Your brand can enjoy social-driven growth like Glossier if you build a base of followers on Instagram.
Here are a few more reasons why you need more Instagram followers:
- Followers help amplify your profile by sharing content with their network.
- Feed and story ads give you the ability to target a larger audience.
- The visual nature of Instagram helps you connect with potential customers on an emotional level.
- Instagram lets you sell directly on their platform by tagging posts with Instagram Shopping.
Are you convinced now? Good! The next step is to discover the best strategies to get more Instagram followers, those that will quickly deliver!
While many approaches exist for gradually building an Instagram community that sticks, these 14 ideas will ensure sustainable results — in a fraction of the time.
1. Find Your Target Audience
Whether you’re getting started with Instagram or looking to expand your current following, it’s important to find a potential audience that is interested in the type of content you plan to create.
The platform provides a lot of useful information as a part of Instagram Insights, their analytics tool, to learn more about who these people are.
Narrowing down your current audience based on their demographics also makes it easier to go after potential new followers with similar characteristics. You don’t want to spend time targeting an audience under 25 if your product doesn’t appeal to them.
Once you’ve defined your audience, it’s time to look at the types of content that will prompt them to engage.
2. Create Fun, Engaging Content
Instagram is a visual platform. Users expect to be captivated by pictures as they scroll through their feed. Only once you’ve grabbed someone’s attention with an image will they look at your captions.
Check out this post from high-end tea seller white2tea.
The post is a close-up image of a recent addition to white2tea’s tea club offering. It showcases their new tea cakes and is supported by the content in the caption. Going to white2tea’s profile continues the story about how these tea cakes were produced and why they are special. They go on to play up the exclusive nature of the tea club and connect directly with followers in the comments to provide personalized information.
White2tea knows that telling a story about their product makes it more appealing to potential customers. They focus on educating followers in not only the quality of their tea, but its history and production methods.
3. Use High-Quality Images
If you don’t use high-quality images for your company profile, it will hurt your popularity on Instagram—visual content is the first thing you need to think about.
You need to entice potential followers with every post, just look at this image from graphic artist Kilian Eng:
Tell us this post doesn’t stand out! The colors pop and lines are crisp—this is the type of content that brands are up against on Instagram.
Now, we’re not saying that you need to create art for every post, but quality is definitely a consideration when posting to Instagram.
The more attention-grabbing your image is, the more it can bring in new followers.
4. Find The Right Hashtags
Hashtags are one of the primary sorting functions for Instagram content. When you use hashtags to target specific keywords, it can significantly increase your reach. Here’s an example from men’s grooming brand Beardbrand.
While you can use up to 30 hashtags per post, Beardbrand uses only nine.
Of these, two hashtags are branded (#Beardbrand, #UtilityBalm), four are product-related (#Beard, #MensGrooming, #MenwithStyle, #BeardCare), and three are specific to the post (#GymTime, #FitnessTips, #Growth).
If an Instagram user searches for any of these topics, this post will show up.
Research your market and understand the hashtags that your customers and your competitors use.
Start by taking a look at the best hashtags to use for every day of the week. Then, experiment with the ones that make the most sense for each post.
Just make sure you’re targeting a specific interest group and not just using all the hashtags you can think of.
5. Join in the Conversation With Your Audience
Instagram is a platform for social interaction, so engaging with your audience is paramount.
The more you foster relationships with your followers, the more users will want to share your content with their network.
We’ve seen this in both the white2tea and Beardbrand examples so far.
Potential followers might ask a question on one of your posts to learn more before choosing to follow your account. Chatting with them directly is your chance to show some personality and provide answers.
Your comments go a long way towards building trust with not only that follower, but anyone else who sees the exchange. It’s your opportunity to make the brand feel more human.
6. Use Instagram Ads for Maximum Reach
Instagram lets you create feed and story ads to promote your profile. Use both to create campaigns that broaden your reach, increase brand awareness, and boost your posts in the feed.
When you target the right audience with these ads, it increases your chances for finding new followers.
Take this ad from streetwear blog Highsnobiety:
Highsnobiety uses this ad to promote their blog article about jewelry designer David Yurman. In doing so, they’re highlighting the value their account can provide and enticing people to follow.
7. Use Story Highlights
Instagram Stories see higher engagement than regular posts. They help you provide timely updates and create longer narratives about your brand.
You can keep Story Highlights pinned to your profile page, so users who are new to your brand can view them. If the Story Highlight is engaging enough, the user may just decide to follow you.
Here’s a great example of a Story Highlight from travel luggage company Away.
Not only do they highlight their products with Stories like The Totes and The Luggage; Away also offers How To’s on travel and shares tips with This Week You. Each story provides valuable information, so users who watch them are likely to follow the brand.
By pinning Stories to your profile, you’re able to demonstrate the value of your Instagram account to promote followers.
8. Write an Engaging Bio
While posts are likely the first thing potential followers will see, your profile helps provide valuable information about your brand or connect with your audience.
There are a few options you can go with, like Away’s simple “Thoughtful standards for modern travel” tagline. Or, you might include a more casual bio, like this example from LEGO:
LEGO chooses to speak directly to would-be followers with a simple statement that is engaging and on-brand. Notice how they keep it short and to the point? Your Instagram profile should be focused on a single goal, like introducing your brand.
Including your branded hashtag and a link to your homepage in your bio is also a good idea. Instagram doesn’t allow you to link through posts unless they use Instagram Shopping, so your bio is your chance to send people to your home page.
9. Show A Lot Of Personality
You can’t be boring on Instagram. There are thousands of brands vying for attention from followers, so you need a distinct message to stand out. Just remember to stay true to your brand; authenticity is equally as important.
Look at this example from Totino’s Instagram alter ego, Pete Zaroll the pizza roll. Instead of publishing workaday food-related content, Totino’s chose to create a character that shows off their personality.
Totino’s Instagram account is only loosely related to their product, but has personality in spades. By adopting the role of Pete Zaroll, they can have fun with the type of content they create and post. This differentiates them from their competitors and has netted their profile more than 40K followers.
Without this outgoing and fun personality, we doubt a frozen food brand like Totino’s would have been able to do as well on the platform. Their personality is what led to more Instagram followers and what keeps those followers engaged with the brand.
10. Write Captions That Show Highlight Product Value
Captions help you provide context for the images you share. Make sure you use this space to get your value across to potential followers.
Here’s an example of a captivating caption from online retailer Huckberry.
Not only does Huckberry do an excellent job of introducing a product that they sell, they make it into a prize that anyone can win. These types of giveaways are a great way to increase engagement with a single post and get more Instagram followers. When people see that they can get discounts and prizes by following an account that’s much more enticing than regular content.
Huckberry also uses this post as an opportunity to tag another profile, which makes it appear in that profile’s feed and reaches their audience of potential followers as well.
11. Figure Out The Best Times To Post
People interact with Instagram throughout the day. The best time to post depends on when your audience is most active on Instagram. Start by testing out times based on Instagram Insights to figure out which times are best for your target audience.
Some Instagram content types are more affected by posting times than others. For example, stories will bring in more followers during peak hours, whereas posts can gain traction over a few days.
Think about how these times impact your ability to engage with your audience as well. If you’re running a promotion or encouraging comments, you need to be there to reply to any questions.
12. Share User-Generated Content
If someone tags your brand in a fun post, share it to your profile. Tagging helps people see how current followers feel about your brand and can lead to stronger relationships with potential influencers.
One brand that is great at this is Chubbies. They routinely post pictures by their customers wearing the brand’s iconic shorts.
Chubbies posts by followers via Instagram.
By showing how current followers and customers enjoy your products, you’re adding to the social proof of these user-generated posts. Just make sure you’re always getting permission before posting. It’s polite and lets the follower know how much you appreciate them sharing their story.
Sharing content from Instagram influencers is an especially effective way to gain followers. Once they share your product with their network, many of their followers will want to check out your account. These partnerships give your posts a boost without needing as large of an audience to get started.
13. Tag People to Boost Awareness
Tag other Instagram users in your captions to boost awareness of your post for tagged profile followers.
Away does an awesome job of this with their travel-focused content:
In this post, Away tags travel blogger Kelly Graham, which gives them access to her 26.6K Instagram followers. These people are all going to be travel lovers, so they’re ideal potential customers for Away.
14. Try Instagram TV for Long-Form Content
Instagram TV is a platform where you can show video content that’s longer than the 60 seconds allowed within the feed.
IGTV allows you to showcase your brand to users without time constraints, so they really understand the value of your account and are likely to follow it.
Here’s an example from chef Matty Matheson, in which he promotes the release of his new LP cookbook.
Matty reached 64.5K viewers with this video.
Those viewers can then choose to scroll through his additional videos and find more content they like, or go directly to his profile for more information on Matty’s brand.
Both keep the user engaged for a longer period of time, which can potentially increase conversion.
When setting up an Instagram TV clip, make sure you select a captivating thumbnail for the video that grabs users’ attention.
Elevate Your Brand by Gaining More Instagram Followers
With a large number of followers, you have the power to significantly boost brand awareness on Instagram.
You’re able to share information about your products with so many potential customers at once and share it with their networks.
Not to mention, a significant follower count makes your business look credible to users, so it may very well encourage people to explore your account and follow it.
Combine all of these benefits together, and you have good reason to boost your Instagram followers with the strategies in this post.
So what do you think? How do you get more followers on Instagram? Are there strategies we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!