If you’re on any of the social media platforms, you’ve probably asked yourself countless times, how do you go about growing your followers? And when it comes to Instagram, a platform which is really working wonders for many brands’ sales, it really pays to grow your Instagram followers.
If you’re looking to grow your Instagram followers, there are definitely tips and tricks that you can use to build your follower numbers. Tips and tricks which don’t involve badgering your mum, your mate’s cousin’s sister and your dog into following you under duress. So before you go about asking Rover for a follow back, here are our top 24 tips for growing your Instagram:
Choose your Instagram content wisely
First things first, you are never going to grow your following if what you post isn’t relevant to your audience and your brand. This means producing images that work well and are optimised for Instagram, as well as those which are consistent with your brand. A good way to consider it is: if someone searches a hashtag and sees your image on the explore page, are they going to be intrigued enough to click on it? If the answer’s no, then they’re not likely to land on your page and add to your follower numbers. Booo.
Develop a theme
Curating your content is one of the best ways to gain new followers. The aim of developing a theme is to instantly make new people who land on your Instagram grid want to follow you, simply because your grid looks so beautiful / interesting / colourful*, *delete as applicable*.
It’s really simple to curate your feed and develop a theme, too, although it does take a bit of work and getting used to. However, simple ways of developing a theme include using the same colours and tones in all of your posts, using the same filters or presets on all of your images, or having a common element throughout to create cohesion. By doing this, your followers will instantly recognise your posts when they appear in their feeds, and it will also reiterate and endorse your brand and the consistency it offers.
Use your Instagram bio
Your Instagram bio is prime real estate, but you’ve only got 150 characters, so it’s important to use it wisely. It’s often the first impression of your Instagram feed, so you need to make sure it’s snappy and compelling, so that people decide to follow you. Remember to include a CTA and a link to your website, too, as this is the only place that you can include a link on Instagram (although if you want the secrets of how to get around that, get in touch and let us give you the tips of the trade for getting more out of your Instagram link – just saying).
Develop a good relationship with your audience
By developing a good relationship with your audience, you’ll be able to work out what they like and dislike about your posts and those of your competitors. Look at what your competitors are posting; what’s working well for them, and is this type of post something that you can incorporate into your social media schedule to increase your relevance and therefore your followers?
But don’t overshare
We all know people who overshare on social media (you know the types – at any given time you know where they are, what they’re doing and what they’re having for dinner, too). And for personal accounts, this is absolutely fine.
However, for professional accounts, you need to make sure that whatever you’re posting is in keeping with your brand. Posting a photo of you as Director of your company in the thick of some of the behind-the-scenes action is absolutely fine; posting your holiday snaps to your company page, unless they’re somehow relevant to your brand, is maybe going a bit far. Whenever you’re worried about oversharing, ask yourself whether it’s something that your followers would like to see in relation to your brand; these last five words are crucial as it needs to move your brand forward, always.
Don’t see your followers as numbers
Yes, of course, this article is all about growth, and growth on Instagram in the most literal sense is follower numbers. But just as a watched pot never boils, watching your followers constantly won’t help you in the long run. This is the reason for getting to know your followers and your audience; it’s always better to have a small but engaged audience than a large, indifferent one. So spend some time interacting with your followers: reply to their comments and messages, set polls and questions in your Stories and generally treat them like the human beings that they are.
Build your network
When it comes to Instagram, there is definitely an element of ‘if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’. By this we mean, grow your network through the actual ‘networking’ bit. Go and seek out your target audience to follow, as well as others in your industry or local brands, and they might just give you a cheeky follow back as a show of support.
Set up an account swap
If you do build your network effectively, you will likely get to a point where you can set up an account swap with some of your followers. This could be in the form of an account or Stories takeover for a day, which is a great way to show off what you do to their audience, and vice versa.
Show your face
People buy from people. So where relevant, include photos of you or your team. Images with faces will naturally increase engagement on Instagram, as people want to feel like they’re interacting with another person. If you can’t include an image with faces in, using an image which is a point-of-view can help to increase engagement as it makes your followers feel like they’re part of what you’re showing them. In your face…
Remember that when you post, you should be telling a story which shows your audience what value you can add to their lives. Don’t go generic; get your audience invested in what you’re talking about and how you can help them. If you can, try to elicit some emotion with your posts: this could be making them laugh or inspiring them, or making them feel part of your team or in da club, for example.
Use a call to action
When it comes to engagement, there is no harm in using a call to action to specifically ask people to interact with your posts, as long as it’s subtle. This could be asking your followers to tag their friends who could benefit from what you’re offering, or asking a question and asking them to comment with their answers. The former will certainly help to grow your Instagram, as when your followers tag their friends, it will bring new people over to your feed, all of whom are potential new followers.
Collaborating with someone? Had some great service from someone? Don’t forget to give them a shoutout on your Instagram. This can help to build your following, if they or their followers come and give you a follow. It’s also good karma: you’re telling your audience how great they are, and in return they are likely to give you shoutouts in future, which will introduce their followers to you.
Work with influencers
Similar to shoutouts, but on a much more formal basis, working with influencers is a great way of getting your content and products in front of a different audience. It can be a great ROI, as they sing your praises to their followers for you, which should bring their followers flocking to your feed, too.
Whether you decide to simply engage with influencers in the hope of it helping to grow your following, as they might naturally fall in love with your page and your products and share what you offer with their own followers, or pay some influencers (whilst following all of the relevant ASA guidance, of course) is up to you and how much return you would like to see from working with influencers.
Use User Generated Content (UGC)
User Generated Content (UGC) is a simple way of getting your followers – and potential new followers – involved. UGC is taking photos that your followers have posted and have tagged you in, and using them to your best advantage. They might be good enough (and consistent with your theme enough) that you can use them on your grid, but if you don’t feel that they fit your theme, adding them to your Stories is a great option. Once your followers and potential followers know that their images might get shared in your feed, they are more likely to tag you so that you can repurpose their images.
As a side note: it’s always polite to ask if you can share someone else’s image (unless it’s really obvious that they’re happy for you to do so). Why not ask your audience to tag you in their posts? This is a really easy way of generating more content for your feed and keeping your followers engaged. Win, win.
Posting regularly will really help to build your followers. You’ll have more posts for people to find via hashtags or on the explore page, and your followers will know when to expect posts from you, meaning that they will know when to check in and see what’s new with you. This consistency will help people to rely on your feed and follow you.
Post to stories
Yes, we know, Stories is just another aspect of social media that you’ve got to keep up with, but it’s really worthwhile posting to Stories regularly. It’s a much more informal way of keeping your followers up to date with what you’ve got going on, and the fleeting nature of them means that people often engage with them really quickly, but they make a huge impression.
They’re great for sharing behind-the-scenes content, for example, which will help to build the authenticity of your brand. Use polls and questions for engagement, and you’ll often find that people start talking about how great your stories are, which will bring more followers to your page.
Now we really are getting into the realms of having to teach slightly more mature dogs new tricks, but Reels have taken off with a huge amount of popularity. Once you get the hang of them, you’ll see that there’s loads you can do with them, and they can often be really fun and engaging. For example, if you’re a clothing brand, why not use Reels to create a fashion show of several different looks? You can use the same model throughout, just stopping the video for outfit changes, and content such as this has potential to not only appear on the explore page, but also go viral.
This is a no brainer on Instagram, as hashtags help to get your content in front of different people. In fact, by tagging away, your content will be found more easily by those that don’t already follow you…and then, of course, they might just follow you, and your Instagram numbers will grow. #hashtagwinningallovertheshop.
Use the right hashtags
Of course, your hashtags need to be relevant in order to attract the right audience. It’s no good if your Instagram followers are growing but they aren’t people that would buy from you or invest in your brand. Therefore, research the most popular hashtags for your industry and use the tags that are relevant to you.
Remember that if you’re a small brand who wants a local following, many locals often follow localised hashtags, such as #BrentwoodBusiness, so it’s worth researching which of these to use, too. If you’re not sure what would work well for your industry or business, get in touch and let us do the heavy lifting for you.
Create a branded hashtag
Of course, hashtags don’t always need to be those used by others. In fact, sometimes, you might want a hashtag which is unique to your brand or your marketing campaign. By creating a custom hashtag for your marketing campaigns, such as #50SquidforSFH for our recent charity campaign, your followers, or even those just interested in the campaign, can easily find your posts. And if your followers start tagging their posts with your campaign hashtag? Well, that’s another route to finding that aforementioned User Generated Content.
Host a giveaway
Holding a giveaway can really build your following very quickly. Everyone loves to try their luck at winning something, and if you ask your followers to tag a friend and follow your page as a condition of entry, you may find that other likeminded users arrive for the giveaway but stick around for the long term.
Pay for an ad
Sponsored posts are a really good way of gaining followers. If you target the ad audience, you’ll find that your grid posts or stories are put in front of relevant people, who are the likely to come and follow your page if they like what they see. Not sure who or how to target the ad? We’ve got a course for that.
A really simple trick: remember to tag your posts with your business location if you can, or if you’re out and about – for example at meetings or on a photoshoot – use that location. People who are searching for that location in the explore page may well find your content this way. And if they happen to be looking for a local photographer who happened to tag their location at their recent photoshoot, for example, they may well come and follow your page.
Marketing outside of Instagram
Of course, you can also market your Instagram account outside of the app itself: on your website, on email newsletters, on your business cards and printed material…you name it, you can put your Instagram handle on it. This is a really simple but effective way of driving people to your account who may not have come across it otherwise, growing your Instagram from outside of the app.
24 tips to grow your Instagram not enough? Let our 24 fingers get to work
And if this little lot isn’t enough for you, book in for your free Instagram consultation. Our 24 fingers can get to work with even more tips and tricks to grow your Instagram followers. We’ll soon have you at that hallowed 10k.