[[updated February 20, 2018]]
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media networks right now. With a focus on visual content, it is yet another way from brands and businesses to connect with potential consumers. Keep in mind that it’s not just about the followers. Cultivating an engaged community is a big part of a good Instagram strategy. Here are a few tips on how you can grow your Instagram account organically and efficiently.
In order to build an audience and grow your Instagram account you will first need to be consistent with your posts. It is nearly impossible to build a following while going dormant for days or weeks at a time.
This doesn’t mean you have to post multiple times every day, but nailing down a posting schedule will help you stay in your follower’s news feeds (and mind). At the very least post 3 times a week to start creating a relationship with your audience.
Les 7 Doigts, a contemporary circus collective from Montreal, Canada, gives readers content on Instagram at least every other day.
The Agorapulse dashboard can help you stay consistent and plan ahead with its post publishing and scheduling tool. As long as you have a business profile already set up (or are happy to convert over to one) then you can enable Agorapulse to publish, or schedule, on your behalf. You can even create categories of evergreen content in a Publish Queue to keep the content rolling out inbetween new posts.
Beyond posting content on a regular basis, the quality of your content counts. With everyone getting better and better at content creation, you’ll need to step up your game to grow your Instagram audience.
Create original photos and videos for your brand or business so that you can stand out from the crowd while relating back to your brand. Creating your own content lets you customize and refine the look and feel you want to put out there – creating a full experience for your audience. When you can’t create your own content, stock images and videos can help keep up the quality of your feed.
The other side of quality content is sharing content that resonates and adds value to your audiences’ lives while staying related to your brand.
Giving your potential customers valuable information they can put to use helps build trust, and makes you a source for knowledge. Another form of value can relate to emotion. You can find a pain point that your product or service solves and present the information in a way that is funny or relatable to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
It’s called social media right? So get social! Be sure to respond to comments left on your images and videos. Such as in real life you won’t be able to build relationships and a loyal following with a one sided conversation.
Agorapulse is one of my favorite tools to keep up with comments left on my images and videos, especially when I can’t answer all the comments at once. The dashboard lists all new comments, lets you mark the ones you’ve looked at as “reviewed,” and lets you interact right from your desktop.
Remember that to grow your Instagram account doesn’t solely mean followers! Take time to grow your engagement and really get the most out of conversations happening on the network. Ask your audience questions to get them to start commenting and giving you feedback.
Beyond responding to comments like I mentioned earlier, you should also interact with other accounts. This can be time consuming, but an effective way to grow your Instagram account and get in front of new followers. Interact with brands similar to you, related brands, influencers, and folks from your target audience. Like photos, leave genuine comments and be a part of the conversations happening in your space.
See the comment I left on Kelly Knows It’s post?
People want to follow brand and businesses that they can relate to. This is where your brand voice comes in. Use your captions to give further context to photos and videos, while reflecting the attitude or vibe you want your followers to feel.
Kettle Brand loves to have fun talking to its followers about its bold-flavored chips. Word puns, emoji, cute hashtags — it’s all there reflecting the message it wants to send.
Using hashtags correctly is another key to grow your Instagram account. an engaged social media audience. Using hashtags will expose your posts to new eyes and people who may not be following you.
With that said know that hashtags aren’t one size fits all! Finding the RIGHT hashtags for your business is important for attracting an audience that will convert into engagement, traffic and sales later on. In theory, it makes sense to use the most popular hashtags for exposure – but in practice you won’t get the long term results you need.
Here’s a peek at the hashtags Kettle Brand used in the above example of the jalapeño chips.
Sure — hashtags like #love and #beautiful have hundreds of thousands of posts, but these generic hashtags are going to be useless for your business. You’ll get likes, but not from people who are actually interested in your business or brand.
Instagram allows for up to 30 hashtags, so there’s an opportunity to use a mix of your own brand hashtags, relevant keywords to attract your ideal audience and a few related directly to your post content.
Working with the right influencers on campaigns is a good way to grow your Instagram account organically. Emphasis on the right influencer. You don’t want to choose someone based on followers alone. Make sure your target influencer makes sense for your brand. There are so many campaigns you can run with influencers including Q&A sessions, product demonstrations or even Instagram takeovers! Get creative and don’t be scared to partner with influencers for extra exposure.
Best of You, a Swedish lifestyle blog with a relatively small Instagram following, has paired up with an influencer to increase its visibility.
Lastly, the most surefire way to grow your Instagram account is to simply get to know your audience. Pay attention to what hashtags they use, what publications they may read and what other accounts they follow. You can also get to know your audience by paying attention to your analytics! If you have an Instagram Business account you’ll be able to access analytics natively.
The Agorapulse dashboard also offers reports which help me see what my top posts are, who my most engaged followers are, what hashtags are working the best and more!
Remember that if you want to grow your Instagram account along with an engaged following it will take time and effort – but it’s all worth it for a following that converts! If you have any questions please let me know in a comment below.