Increasing your Instagram followers: Practical ideas, tips and examples. The sequel.

Posted On October 22, 2020 Digital Marketing

Want to know how to increase your Instagram followers? In this two part series we discuss; why the psychology behind gaining followers is so important, and show you how easily you can apply this is, with practical ideas, tips and examples. 

Welcome back, if you’re confused by this statement I would highly recommend going and checking out the first in the two part series on ‘How to Increase your Instagram followers’. It has lots of important information which should inform you as to why certain things work on Instagram, and certain things don’t. And the first four practical tips on how you could apply this knowledge. 

To recap: 

There are key things that every Instagram needs to do in order to get users visiting, staying, and hopefully sharing your message. The ‘big five’ apply to all aspects of your account, from the bio, to images to stories.

  1. Tell users what you can offer them.
  2. Show brand personality 
  3. Tell people why they should care- think corporate social responsibility.
  4. Create sense of belonging- it’s a social community, create space for this.
  5. Make people smile.

Further to this, you need to think about how users are going to end up at your Instagram bio. Maybe you’re smart and used some SEO hashtags, or maybe a friend of the user led them to you. However, one of the most effective ways of getting noticed is hacking the Instagram algorithm, catapulting yourself to the most visible place possible-the top of users’ feeds. How? The Instagram algorithm selects what to show on the basis of: 

  1. How interesting you content is deemed (the collection of interactions from likes, shares etc)
  2. Timeliness – post at the right time.
  3. Relationship – how much interaction is your stuff getting from others in your sphere.

Let’s take all this and think about how to apply it practically. Here is the second installment of how to get more Instagram followers.

5. Time it right

  1. Keep a consistent content calendar, know when your audience is online and using Instagram. Randomly timed posts are likely to be a waste of time if they don’t reach your target audience. Use an automated system to avoid such issues. An automated system not only provides consistency, but also allows you to plan out marketing campaigns with accuracy, pinpointing when best to post certain content.
  2. When should you post? There are general rules that apply to all businesses (see the helpful graphic below), however the demographics of your target audience, and retail sector will also matter, so take this into consideration.
  1. How much? Again this really depends on who your target audience is, gen z can’t get enough of content, older generations might not be so keen on being inundated with new posts. As always – know your audience. Saying all this, there is a trend ‘you can more than double your follower growth rate from posting 1-6 times per week to once or more per day’ according to research.
  1. Remarketing. The ‘Baader Meinhof Phenomenon’? You see an advert for a new car online, you see it again, then again-the more you see it the deeper it gets in your memory and the more you notice it.There is an optimal to this, your whole marketing campaign should not use one post! Use Instagram Insights to assess the effectiveness of a post.

6. Influencers and collaboration

In the same way users provide social proof through sharing images and commenting, influencers (good ones) provide confirmation that your brand is worthy. Now a word of caution, the poor choice of an ‘influencer’ can result in missing out on authenticity and coming across as fake – choose wisely, does this person represent your brand values? Is it a ‘natural fit’? Think it out first. 

A far more organic way of gaining traffic, and also a way of strengthening relationships is using supporting businesses as a platform. Are some of your suppliers engaging in new production methods? Sourcing ethically produced materials? Whatever it is, share their results through your Instagram and they will share your content through theirs- bringing two groups of followers and interested parties in one space is a simple but effective way of attracting new followers.

7. Don’t do fake followers

There’s a myriad of different programs out there to help you bump up your followers. Sounds like a great idea? It’s not. Doesn’t matter how many fake friends you have, if they’re not engaging with your content then it’s going to become very obvious to ‘real’ users that you’re trying to mislead them – there’s no better way to lose a customer or potential follower than breaking their trust, so don’t – there’s better ways of getting followers.

8. Highlight Instagram Everywhere

Multi channel and now omni channel retailing have become the backbone of modern ecommerce. It’s where you see “Stores selling both online and offline — likely also selling through multiple online channels” according to BigCommerce. Are you currently using multiple channels? If you already have a captive audience on other channels why not funnel them from one channel to another, use a well placed (visible) Instagram Button to do just this. Why do this? Each channel has it’s merits- some messages are better suited to Instagrams silky, image rich platform.. Also consider 73% of shoppers using multiple online channels before making a purchase, it’s clear-retailers need to make it easy for users to move from one channel to another. 

9. Hashtags

One of the top, and most well known ways to get people to your account is through #Hastags. You can put them in your bio, posts, and stories. They are an essential tool for discovering new information for users, and in the case of online retailers provide a way to draw users to your content and brand. Why use them? Well positioned hashtags will drive traffic to your account. They also help to build community – one word will find commonality between users, drawing individuals into groups, providing social inclusion and belonging. 

Tip: 

Don’t use over populated hashtags, with over 184 million photos connected to the hashtag #love you need to hashtags that don’t get lost. It’s fine to use broad hashtags, but also get specific, users are far more likely to find you!

Do consider how many you use. You want to show authenticity not desperation. Currently there’s a potential to use 30 hashtags – to be honest I would personally struggle to think of thirty. Track Maven suggest the optimal number is 9 – just enough to drive traffic without seeming needy. Furthermore, you need to consider rotating hashtags, why? Because Instagram may flag up the repeated use of the same hashtags as “spammy behaviour”, you’ll then be slapped with a “shadowbanned“, you don’t need to know the technicalities of the term, you do need to know that it will limit your reach and engagement. There’s no shame in using a hashtag generator, use this and an astute understanding of what your audience is responding to hashtag wise, and you will be just fine. 

10. Analytics

Plan, do, review. Whatever tools you use to funnel people to your Instagram account, whether it’s through hashtags or keywords, from your website, or through sharing you want to know what worked and didn’t.

A nifty feature of Instagram is its ability to analyse your marketing effectiveness. Tap your profile pic, go ‘insights’, ‘post’, ‘see more’, ‘impressions’. You can check comments for top videos or trends, and you can also check what current non-followers are engaging with, and what they’re not engaging with. 

Take away: the key things you need to do to get more followers.

Understand how you get people to your page; through your other channels, directly through searches and feeds, and indirectly via other users. 

You want to get to the front of the que on feeds and stories- it’s all about making your content interesting, timely, and talked about – via friends and family.

Understand the importance of emotion. People want to align themselves with your brand, show your brand personality and ethical credentials. Remember – social media is…social. Create community, make people smile and have some fun!

Take these tools and run free! But seriously, with the plethora of different features on Instagram, and the various things you need to consider when attempting to make your presence heard it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Simply, be authentic. You’re just highlighting what your business does already- the most qualified people to speak about your business, and the people who understand your customers and potential followers best are people from your business. Use the platform to showcase everything that is good about your business and you are sure to increase your Instagram followers.

Contact us for more information about Social Media Marketing!