Instagram has steadily grown since its inception in 2010. The photo-based social network has now amassed 700 million users and is owned by Facebook. Both Android and iPhone users post to the Instagram app from their mobile devices and upload photos, apply filters, type captions, and comment on each other’s posts. Instagram Stories (like Stories on Snapchat) was recently released and attracted 250 million users. On top of its loyal following, Instagram users are more readily to engage with brands on the website than on other social platforms. Read on to learn more about the latest social media trends for getting more followers on Instagram.

Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Instagram_circle.svg

Cross-Promotion

Encourage your audience to visit your Instagram by linking to it from your website, your blog, and your other social media profiles (like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter). For your next online marketing campaign, be sure to cross post your content to your various social media profiles. For example, some companies gain Instagram followers by promoting their Instagram page with paid advertising on Facebook. Cross-promotion can also be done at events and in-person. If you’re at a conference or a marketplace event, bring signs and postcards that encourage people passing by your booth to follow your Instagram and use your hashtag.

Grow & Foster a Presence

To succeed on any platform, you need to develop your online presence. Be an active member of the niche you in which you are trying to get your brand noticed. Foster brand community within your audience and the audiences of successful profiles in your area of interest. Being active also means regularly posting to Instagram. Post on a daily basis, and push relevant content that intrigues and captivates your audience.

Quality Visual Content

Instagram is a visual platform, so companies cannot afford to post low quality photos and content. You don’t have to be a professional photographer or own a brand new DSLR, but you have to put thought and effort into your posts. Brand communities often enjoy posts that tell a story, take a user behind-the-scenes of the company, and allow a person to get to know the company and its culture. Another popular trend is for a company to provide education on its products through Instagram posts that feature the product and easy ways to use it. Your photos don’t have to be directly connected to your product line or your industry, but they have to reflect the professionalism and level of quality you put into your day-to-day activities.

Photo Credit: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/06/22/22/13/instagram-1474233_960_720.jpg

Collaboration

Sharing plays a critical role in the Age of Information, and collaborations between brands, influencers, and popular profiles help increase followers and engagement. One way to publish high quality content is to be open to working with others. A collaboration, when planned well, can bring a lot of followers to your account.

You may be familiar with social media take overs — when two parties decide to post to each other’s accounts on a platform. The result is that you get to put your name and your brand in front of another user’s large and loyal audience, which increases the chances of their followers following you as well.

Organize Takeovers with other popular brands or influencers in your niche. Focus on users who show the same commitment to level of quality and community engagement that you do. Ask content creators, photographers, and fans to produce content for your feed, and do the same for them. Always remember to tag each other and hashtag the posts.

Another beneficial campaign is to ask an influencer to share their experience with your brand and your products to their blogs and their social media accounts. Their audience members will be more likely to follow you. And since the needs of the influencer’s audience are likely to overlap with the needs of your target market, you may gain some new customers along the way.

Hashtags

To get started, use hashtags that are popular with your target market. Create hashtags around your online marketing campaigns, and ask your followers to use the hashtag. The goal is to start a trending hashtag associated with your brand that encourages users to share their experiences with your brand; users will also feel more acknowledged, noticed, and understood.

Don’t forget to occasionally use hashtags that are generally trending on Instagram. For example, take a #SelfieSunday approach by posting a photo of the team at the office. Share a #TransformationTuesday with your followers by posting a past and present photo of your office or your product.

Photo Credit: https://websta.me/search/home

In the above screenshot from Websta (see “Maximize Tour Time” below), I used the hashtag “home” as an example of how to find relevant hashtags. My search brought hashtags like #homecoming week and #homestyling to my attention. A marketer at an interior design firm might want to use these hashtags in their Instagram posts to extend their reach.

Hashtags make your content easier to find, put you in front of new audiences, and encourage users to engage with you. Don’t feel shy about occasionally using #follow or #followme. Being asked to participate in the conversation lets your fans know that you want to hear from them.

Competitor Analysis

The competition in online marketing is fierce and the information and knowledge available to us online is only is growing at an exponential pace. To stay relevant, you have to stay up-to-date on the trends and the strategies going on in your area of interest. One way to make sure you don’t fall out of style is to do some competitor analysis. How often are your competitors posting to Instagram? What types of posts have done the best on their profile? Do they directly ask their followers to share and comment on their content? Do they post at the same time of day?

Don’t just analyze your direct competitors in your space. Expand out and look at profiles that are doing well in your subject area, even if it’s not directly related to what you do. For example, a marketer in the video game industry may look at successful profiles in the film industry, because the interests of both their audiences may overlap.

Engage the Community

The level of engagement between businesses and users in brand communities on social media is astounding. More than ever, users are interested in authentic interaction and direct communication with their favorite brands. To encourage this level of brand engagement, practice engaging with other Instagram users, both on their content and on your posts.

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BXV9cYED33D/?hl=en&taken-by=benandjerrys

In the example above, posted to Instagram by the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, the brand encouraged participation and communication with the audience by specifically setting up a question for them to responded to in the comments, As you can see in the screenshot above, users were excited to join the conversation and add their votes to the poll.

Another way to boost your following is to regram your followers and other accounts that are successful in your niche. Not only does regramming give a shout out to a fellow community member and put you in front of new audiences, but it also means that you get to publish premade content.

Take the time to go through someone’s photos and like the photos that stand out to you or are relevant to your niche. You’ll be surprised at how many people decide to follow you afterwards. Comment on the posts of others with enthusiasm and authentic responses. Their audience will start to notice your presence in the comment threads. Additionally, don’t be afraid to direct message users using Instagram Direct (introduced in 2013).

Another engagement strategy is to follow other accounts in your space on a regular basis. After liking an account, go to their posts and like some of their photos. If you see an opportunity to write a comment, go for it. You will see an increase in followers. Just remember to go back later and purge the accounts you are following who aren’t following you back.

Maximize Your Time

It’s not recommended to cheat or buy followers to get ahead on Instagram, but there are ways to work smarter and not harder. One option is to use a third-party website or app for saving time while doing tasks on Instagram. On Websta, you can search by hashtag or keyword to find out how popular a hashtag really is. It will also direct you to the most popular profiles associated with specific keywords. This will definitely come in handy during competitor analysis and while you are trying to craft a presence and tone that fits in well with your market. Iconosquare is another third-party website that provides analytics, a reposting capability, and the ability to publish to Instagram from your desktop computer.

The analytics and the data needed to measure the effects of all your marketing efforts are crucial. You’ll want answers to questions like what percentage of people are following me back? What strategies or combinations of strategies are resulting in the most follows and engagement?

We hope that the insights you’ve gained about Instagram enable you to go out and get more followers! Remember, social media is about sharing and making connections. Combine your efforts, measure your results, and adjust your strategies as you grow and foster your online presence.

Square 1 Group is a professional web development firm that provides websites and maintenance and support for clients from a wide variety of industries and for clients both small and large. In addition to designing beautiful, efficient websites, we also offer assistance with online branding, content creation, marketing strategies, lead generation, and more. Feel free to contact us today.