So we all love a bit of Instagram. It’s actually, one of the most intriguing social media platforms around. The app doesn’t allow links to show in your posts, this means the click-through rate is always pretty low. We find this takes some of the pressure away. Posting on Instagram shouldn’t be overtly promotional, it’s more about building a brand reputation. If you can offer something creative and innovative which cuts through the volume of self-gratuitous selfies and food pics, you’ll be successful here. But how to get more Instagram followers? Read on, we’ve got a few hints and tips for you.
Optimise Your Account
A fully complete and optimised account is likely to attract followers. An incomplete or lacklustre profile will repel people. Here are a few tips for account optimisation:
- Include a relevant profile pic, a logo is ideal.
- Ensure your username is relevant and easily searchable.
- Write a full and accurate bio that sums up what your brand is all about – be sure to include bags of personality.
- When writing your profile, include keywords that could help customers find you.
- Use relevant hashtags in your bio – this is the number one way for random followers to happen upon your profile.
- Don’t be spammy in your bio, this is a sure-fire way to repel followers.
- Include a link back to your site.
Hubspot has this advice to share: “Customise your Instagram profile to make it look good, tell your potential followers who you are, and give them a reason to follow you”.
Get Your Pictures Right
There are some simple hacks that will boost your likes exponentially. Here are a few ideas to implement on your future posts:
- Keep pictures relevant and interesting – not promotional.
- Use relevant hashtags in your caption (more about this later).
- Use an interesting/captivating caption to your pictures. Try to keep it genuine, conversational and comical if possible.
- Quality beats quantity. Don’t scatter gun your Instagram account, keep it relevant and interesting.
- Use the filters. There’s been research to claim Mayfair filter performs best, we wouldn’t recommend using this all the time. Look for filters which complement each individual image.
- Use a call-to-action in your caption, asking people to click the link in your bio is the most common CTA on Instagram.
- Tag people in your images. This gets your image seen and will boost engagement.
- Geotag your pics, your photo will show up to others who post in your local area.
- Get your image dimensions right.
- Use collages for effect. This is especially useful if you’re summing up a campaign or brand achievement.
Forbes offers this insight to anyone starting out on Instagram: “Be consistent. Know why you’re posting and who you’re posting for. Be consistent about how you use the platform and your follower count will grow organically”.
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We’re big fans of reach building here at Netleadz. Reach building is the act of proactively seeking out relevant users and getting your brand seen. Here are a few tips for implementing reach building techniques on Instagram:
- Start liking images from people in your target audience – as many as possible.
- Comment on random pics too – we’re not talking about the random brainless ‘awesome pic’ comments we all get. Offer something genuine and interesting.
- Follow relevant users. Search out popular, relevant hashtags and follow genuine users.
- Go for the low hanging fruit, suggested friends are there for a reason – follow them.
- Implement these every day, no excuses.
Neil Patel, Digital Marketing thought leader offers his own experience of this: "For every one hundred likes I did on random photos of other users, I generated 21.7 likes on my photos and 6.1 followers. I did not have to follow people back for this to work".
It's All About the Hashtags
Hashtags are one of the most essential tools to use in your brand’s Instagram strategy. The question is, how can you utilise these effectively? This is how it’s done:
- Do some hashtag research to see which relevant tags perform the best.
- See which hashtags your competitors use and how effective these are.
- Use around 5 hashtags per caption – this number gets the best engagement.
- Add extra hashtags into the comments.
- Don’t hashtag for the sake of it, some tags like ‘#likeforlike’ can devalue your brand.
- When your brand takes off, try creating a unique hashtag – this is a great tool for Instagram competitions.
Foundr Magazine offers their view on hashtags: “They are a way for viewers to navigate easily to topics they’re interested in. Attaching #hashtag(s) to your image, therefore, enables your content to be found easier by those who don’t already follow you”.
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Getting influencers involved in marketing your brand is one of the quickest ways to see your Instagram following soar. Instagram is seen as one of the most important platforms for influencers but heed our wisdom:
- Only go after relevant influencers who appeal directly to your target audience.
- Doing the occasional shout out and sharing the love is a great way of getting on an influencer’s radar.
- Influencer marketing is seriously expensive so do your research before going through with any partnership campaign.
Social Media Examiner is an advocate for influencer marketing on Instagram: “With tens of thousands to millions of followers, influencers are trusted for their opinions and they can add credibility to the products they promote”.
If you’ve got access to a budget, advertising is a great option. Use online ad-buying tools from official Instagram partners. This allows you to use a third-party site to create, target and place ads on Instagram yourself. Be sure to keep up to date with performance – never underestimate the importance of data analysis.
Hootsuite acknowledges the importance of Instagram advertising: “Instagram ads should definitely be on your radar. A sponsored ad is a powerful way to reach new potential Instagram followers, fast”.
Other Handy Tips
There are plenty of other hints and tips which will boost your Instagram following. Research has suggested optimum times to post, most effective filter, etc. We’ve included these below but don’t take them as gospel. Every account/following is different, we suggest trying out different tactics and seeing what works best for you. Here are some miscellaneous tips to help you on your way:
- Cross-promote your Instagram account on other social media platforms.
- Post Instagram images on Twitter.
- Host a competition which requires entrants to follow you and like your picture.
- Research suggests images posted at 2am and 5pm work best (9am and 6pm are the worst).
- Utilise the Instagram story feature.
- Find a niche/theme to your posts – keep posts on-brand.
- Ask questions of your following to boost engagement and reply to comments.
- Post on Sundays for maximum visibility – Sunday sees the least images posted.
- Post on Wednesdays for maximum engagement.
- Share behind-the-scene images to give a human element to your brand.
- Build and nurture your community.
- Analyse the performance of images and see what works best.
All in all, we like to think Digital Spy sums up Instagram marketing: “There’s more to cultivating an Instagram army than just being pretty and wearing nice clothes. Or owning the cutest puppy in a 3-mile radius”.
If you need help boosting your digital assets, get in touch with us today to see how we can help. Here at Netleadz we offer the full range of Digital Marketing services including content, social media, paid media and SEO. Find out more about how we can help you here.