Updated on June 25, 2019
Social media marketing has a new king—Instagram. With over a billion people users and an engagement rate that trumps both Facebook and Twitter, it’s not at all hard to understand why.
If you’ve visited your Facebook newsfeed lately, chances are you were flooded by so much noise that you forgot why you opened it in the first place. However, thanks to Instagram’s easy-to-use, single purpose platform, users are able to access what they’re looking for with just a few taps.
There’s also less competition among marketers on Instagram than Facebook. And, users are willing to spend more. The average order value of an Instagram follower is $65 versus Facebook’s $55.
So, there’s an opportunity for your brand on Instagram, but how do you begin building a following?
Have no fear; we’re here to help with that! We’ve got 7 tips on how you can start building your brand’s presence and get more Instagram followers.
1. Invite Your Friends
You want people to know that you’re now on Instagram, so get the word out! When you first sign up, you’ll be given the option to follow and share your newly created account with your phone contacts and Facebook friends. You should also be promoting your Instagram account on your other social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter. Add AddThis Share Buttons to your website. And let your newsletter subscribers know with a quick email blast.
Remember though, it’s not just about telling people that you’re now on Instagram, it’s about giving them a reason to want to follow you on Instagram (more on that with the next tip).
2. Clearly Define Your Purpose
When creating your account, you should clearly define your purpose to your followers. You should state who you are and what you do.
What sets your brand apart? Think through who you’re targeting with your social media strategy on Instagram when creating your brand page. It’s okay to be playful and creative in your description, especially if it makes sense to your audience.
GoPro’s Instagram shows off a creative, yet informative bio. “We Make the World’s Most Versatile Camera. Share with #GoPro.” You can also include one clickable link in your bio. This is an important piece of real estate, so think through where you want your audience to go. GoPro opts for engaging their Instagram followers by sending them to their LinkinBio page.
Think about what unique images or short videos your brand can offer to attract Instagram followers. Perhaps you want to feature your product, like Warby Parker does. Maybe you want to show the experiences you can have using your product, like American Express. Or feature images and videos that highlight the principles your brand stands for, like Lululemon.
Whatever you choose, if you can clearly articulate what your account is all about, the better chance you’ll have at getting more Instagram followers.
3. Be Social
Like Twitter, Instagram uses hashtags for organizational and search purposes. Unlike Twitter, you can use up to 30 different hashtags (although the sweet spot is 9). Look for trending hashtags by using sites like Top-Hashtags and join in conversations happening on Instagram. This will help you to get new eyes on your Instagram account.
It’s also important to remember that social media is not a soapbox. You should make sure that you interact with your audience by liking and commenting on other people’s videos and pictures. Did someone post a picture of your product? Reach out—like or comment on that post!
Also, don’t forget to monitor and like brand mentions. Remember, human connection should always be at the core of any social media strategy especially if you’re trying to optimize your Instagram for social shopping.
4. Collaborate with Influencers
Collaborating with other Instagram influencers in your industry can be a very powerful way to promote your brand. For example, Qantas Airlines teamed up with social media star Nicole Warner to promote their brand. You don’t always have to pair up with someone in your industry. Dating app Hinge partners with popular Instagram influencers and meme accounts to gain more Instagram followers for their brand.
When you reach out to an Instagram influencer, you’ll want to consider what you can offer them. Some ideas include offline exposure, a product sample or free merchandise. Whatever it is, you’ll need to address their question of “What’s in it for me?” before you ask them to do anything for you.
As for finding influencers, you’ll need to search for popular users on Instagram. HubSpot’s got a great list of Instagram influencers to get you started.
5. Encourage Engagement
Entice users to follow your brand on Instagram by hosting an activity that encourages engagement, such as a call for user-submitted photos. REI’s successful #OptOutside campaign remains strong year after year, as its evergreen relevance resonates with outdoor enthusiasts who want to their adventures exploring the outdoors.
Disney’s #ShareYourEars campaign was also a major hit. The entertainment empire partnered with the Make A Wish Foundation, donating $5 for each post people shared with a picture of them wearing their Mickey Mouse ears. As you might imagine, because of the charitable nature of the campaign (and because everyone loves Disney), it went viral.
6. Test Your Posts
Not all pictures or videos will garner engagement. Sometimes it has to do with the time of day or even the day of week you’re posting. Other times, it has to do with the actual content of the posts, the hashtags, location tags, and description text. You should consistently be testing which posts work best for your audience.
According to Kissmetrics, pictures get more engagement than videos. They also found that the best time of day to post is 2am, 6am, 5pm and 10pm EST, and the best days of the week were Wednesdays and Thursdays. Buffer recommends posting at least once a day. However, accounts that are growing are posting multiple times a day. And Hootsuite recommends consistency with your posting. If you set a posting schedule, stick to it.
Test out different days and times to see if that affects your engagement rate (the number of likes and comments divided by your followers). You may find that tagging a different location will get you exposure to a new audience. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid of trying a post more than once, experimenting against a specific variable—especially if it flops the first time.
To measure and keep track of your engagement rate on each of your posts, try an analytics tool like Iconosquare.
7. Pay to Promote Your Posts
As with all social media, there is always a paid promotion route you can take to gain exposure for your brand—and Instagram (especially post-Facebook acquisition) is no different. By running sponsored ads, you’re guaranteeing that people will see your posts—and if they like what they see, chances are they’ll follow you. Moreover, a huge benefit to boosting your posts on Instagram is the ability to go after your brand’s ideal target audience.
However, be aware that unlike other platforms that allow you to pay based on engagement, Instagram’s paid advertising is based on CPM (cost per impressions). You’ll want to make sure you put some thought into defining the right audience to target to ensure that it’s money well spent. There are also many Instagram growth agencies that can take care of your paid advertising and brand promotion if you don’t have the time.
Instagram is an increasingly popular platform with enormous potential for brands. It’s visual, narrow-purpose use allows for your brand to express a personality. Additionally, it allows you to attract new customers and connect with brand enthusiasts due to its high levels of engagement. Like with launching a new profile on any other social media channel, it’s hard work to get it up and running. But, if done successfully, it will be worth your time.
Start growing your followers by adding AddThis Share Buttons to your website.
Last modified: June 29th, 2019