Instagram quickly outgrew its first impression as a fun app for kids and has become a serious content marketing, networking and audience building tool for individuals and brands. It’s one of the most popular social networking sites on the planet, with over 200 million active monthly members sharing 60 million images and 1.6 billion likes per day.
Just how awesome is it? Engagement rates for brands on most social networks are less than 0.1%, but Instagram blows them all away. The average Instagram engagement rate for brands in a 2014 Forrester study was an epic 58 times higher than on Facebook.
1. Cross-promote your dedicated hashtag.
That’s nice that you created a #instagram hashtag for your company, but who knows to use it to share content about you? Make sure it’s in your profile, but take the game offline and have it printed on your receipts, in print ads, on signage in your store and at relevant events.
If you’re on radio and TV, direct people to use your hashtag. Integrate online and offline campaigns by ensuring it’s listed on your other social profiles, on your website, and in your email blasts. Don’t just hope people will find it.
2. Make the most of your bio URL.
It’s prime real estate on your Instagram profile… do you really want your bio to only link to your website homepage, now and forever? Yawn. Change it up at least bi-weekly and use that clickable link in your bio to drive traffic to your newest or most popular content.
3. Get creative with hashtagging.
When it comes to Instagram caption ideas, you need to look beyond the one-word, obvious hashtags. Sure, you want to use those, too, but mix it up and use hashtags to tell part of your story. Be funny, ironic, or outrageous–just don’t be BORING. Collaborative workspace company Instagram is great at this, and they include a fun mix of Instagram content, too.
When you’re just starting out, getting followers on Instagram will be a lot easier with customer photos in your feed. Why? It can help increase social proof.
If you’ve never had a customer before, reach out to influencers in your niche with under 5,000 followers. I know the number seems low but influencers with few followers on Instagram want to monetize their accounts and will be willing to take pictures with your products at a much lower rate. You can also offer them an affiliate deal where they’ll get a commission for every sale they score with their customer referral link.
If you’ve already had a couple of sales, reach out to customers and offer a free gift or cash incentive for taking quality images with the product they purchased. Offering incentives isn’t going to be your long-term strategy but for the short-term while you try to build your brand, this can help you grow.
As more customers start seeing customer photos on your Instagram, they’ll naturally start tagging you in posts when they receive their products. If you comment on their post, repost the content and follow them you’ll likely get them to follow back. Though some will follow you after tagging you in their post on their own.
5. Work with Influencers – How to Get Followers on Instagram
Another way to get an Instagram followers increase is by getting influencer shoutouts or having influencers do an account takeover.
If an influencer has a loyal following, they can give you a shoutout that’ll result in new followers for your account and possibly a few sales.
Be sure to write up a contract that prohibits the influencer from sending fake traffic. We once worked with an influencer who gave us a shoutout and we got 2,000 fake followers on our account. It was obvious she used a bot. When you get a sudden rush of fake follower on your account you risk getting your account banned.
If you’re looking for a more effective approach to get new followers, ask the influencer you work with to do an account takeover on your Instagram Stories. That way, people will have to follow your page to view the story. You’ll need to get him or her to let their audience know a few days in advance.
When you’re just about to post an image with Instagram, there is a set of social buttons that allows you to post both in Instagram and then to social accounts like Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.
You can connect your desired accounts and selectively post pictures to them. But doing this allows people to see that you post directly from Instagram. They can click on the picture and get taken back to your profile where they can easily follow you.
This can help collect your following from your separate social channels under one roof where they can get to know you or your brand a little better.
7. Host AMAs in your Instagram account
I have yet to hear or see this happen on Instagram, but when you think about it, Instagram is the perfect place to hold an Ask Me Anything.
Twitter Chats and hosting AMAs on forums can be a little scattered and messy to follow — especially Twitter Chats. But Instagram has a clean layout and it’s easy to track questions and post replies.
You can announce to followers on your blog, social media channels or various forums that you’ll be hosting one on Instagram, and they can be sure to be notified when it starts if they follow you there.
8. Comment and interact with people
You have probably noticed this, but Instagram is a social media platform that is actually very social when compared to other networks.
Comments and @mentions are a large part of communicating on Instagram and get connecting with others.
When you find a post you already liked, take a moment to leave a comment.
Is there a comment in the thread that you’d like to reply to? Join in the conversion with an @mention of one of the other people who commented on the post.
This sends a notification to the person who posted the picture and the person who commented on it — so you’re killing two birds with one stone.