How many times have you seen this title? “Build a massive Instagram following!” “Get More Followers Now!” I bet too many. Everyone is concerned with numbers, while the concern should be with “Conversion” as engagements and interactions.
Instagram is currently the fastest growing and most consumed social network. With 300 million monthly active users there are plenty of people scrolling through feeds ready to double click on your latest photo upload. The question is – why should they engage with your posts / brand.
To gain relevance as a brand whether business or individual, following the next line of content will make a world of difference for you.
- Have A Theme!
I still consider myself a late bloomer when it comes to adopting new technology, as I tend to analyze and review its relevance before I hop onboard. Most of you will agree that the social networks are on the increase and keeping up is a challenge.
My main brand handle @234central was created in less than 3 months and it has over 2,000 followers and counting.
Our focus is opportunities, promoting social and economic development via lifestyle, social commentary and pop culture themed posts. The focus is clear and consistent with our bio.
With suggestions from instagram and strategic engagement, we gain followers and individuals who like our content daily. And this is because our content is relevant to them – our theme!
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
People started following because they liked what they saw, and more importantly, knew what to expect! When your Instagram page has a consistent image and theme your following and your engagements will grow steadily than if it’s just random photos. Create a clear, consistent theme and stick with it!
Hash tagging your photos makes it easy for people to find your photos but more importantly it makes it easier for you to find other users who share your interests, for an opportunity to engage with them.
An “expert” is going to tell you to go find the most popular hashtags and use them with your photos as well as liking others photos that post with them to get more likes/follows. Do not do that.
Alternatively find trending hashtags for the day, hashtags that are driving conversation – search on twitter as most people use both platforms interchangeably.
Current top 15 hashtags on Instagram according to Webstagram:
- 1.#love 940,179,654 posts
- 2.#instagood 432,793,166 posts
- 3.#me 383,299,672 posts
- 4.#tbt 357,691,090 posts
- 5.#Follow 347,708,672 posts
- 6.#cute 345,628,007 posts
- 7.#followme 336,968,637 posts
- 8.#photooftheday 327,828,212 posts
- 9.#happy 312,322,620 posts
- 10.#tagsforlikes 309,042,631 posts
- 11.#beautiful 298,859,003 posts
- 12.#selfie 288,532,047 posts
- 13.#girl 269,703,119 posts
- 14.#like4like 241,143,216 posts
- 15.#picoftheday 238,016,548 posts
These are all just generic tags that are not tied to any community other than accounts seeking attention and higher numbers. They might like a photo or two but forget about retention or loyalty and certainly no sales. We just talked about establishing a theme, do some work, research who is talking about the thing that you love to post photos and chat with people about. Find SPECIFIC hashtags and engage with the people posting, you have the same interests now all thats left to do is connect!
Tip: some limits to note. Instagram will not let you follow more than 7,500 people, like more than 350 photos per hour, (stay at 300 or less to be safe i never get close to 300) and you cannot post more than 30 hashtags per post.)
- Photo Quality!
I cannot stress this enough, if your photos suck no one will take you serious, let alone follow you. Do not just snap a blurry photo and slap a filter or two on it. Seriously, please do not do that. There are plenty studies about which filter gets the highest engagement rate but that is like performing a study on which fast food restaurant is the healthiest. Most of the best photos on Instagram do not have filters. Quality Over Quantity applies here perfectly, it’s better to have 1 good photo a day than 5 mediocre photos. This also ties into your theme. If your posts are consistently at the same time or times daily, you can train your following to know when to expect new content which will also help you to see a higher engagement rate!
(You can get free business and marketing support from me… send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Now that your Instagram is worthy of a following, how do you gain those followers?!
Don’t actually take anything but you can really leverage your competitors or other accounts that have a large active following in your niche. If you are a brand new shoe company and you make rad simple yet elegant tees, you want to find another or related brand who has been doing that successfully for longer than you. They have done the hard work for you! You now have a free, highly targeted, list of potential followers. Now go through this list (since you know they will love your product) and engage with them.
Don’t be fake, pushy, and certainly don’t try to sell.
Simply like, follow, and interact with them like a human. A like will help, a like combined with a comment will almost always get them to at least click on your profile, and a like, comment, and a follow will result in (for us) almost a 50% return.
This is simple but very important; find other similar users and promote each other. Make some friends and help each other out. You are trying to build a community after all!
- Sponsored Posts & Giveaways
Everyone loves a good giveaway. Team up with other brands, influencers, or even other friends and offer joint giveaways. One giveaway model that works is – For the user to be entered to win they must post a specific photo with your designated hashtag and tag two friends in that post. Each entry then notifies two other people on their potential to win. Get creative and see what works for you!
These are some of the most basic yet important ways to build a REAL, ACTIVE, targeted following. Start here, follow these simple rules and watch your page start to grow.
You can contact me for brand management, PR and marketing support – @234central or @crystaldigest or simply email email@example.com
Looking forward to your feedback!