Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms out there right now. With over a whopping 1 billion monthly active users, it’s no surprise that a lot of businesses are trying to use Instagram to their advantage. I’d say, that’s a pretty good move! Imagine the positive impact it could have on your business if you could get your products and services in front of even a tiny proportion of those monthly active users…
The great thing about Instagram is that 60% of users say they use Instagram to learn about a business, brand or product. This stat should be music to your ears as there are people actively searching for the products and services that your business has to offer! The question is ‘How do you get your business in front of these eager eyes?’ The answer: Build your following, never buy it!
The problem people face when it comes to building their following is that Instagram is a very busy platform. There are millions of people and businesses competing for that all important follow. You may have noticed that I mentioned above to never buy your following. Many people try to take shortcuts and buy a certain amount of followers. A quick Google search and I found a website selling 5000 followers for a mere $19.99! This may sound like a brilliant quick fix but Instagram have wised up and back in 2018 began to remove any ‘fake’ or bought followers from user’s accounts.
Which is exactly why we have written this article about our 3 fundamental steps to build your Instagram following in 2019. And more importantly, build it without cheating…
Step 1 – Use Hashtags
One of the most important tools you need use to build your Instagram following is the hashtag. They are the best way to reach new potential followers by targeting people interested in your content. You are allowed to include up to 30 hashtags for each of your posts. Most advice you see out there will tell you ‘quality not quantity’ which does hold some ground. However, I would argue that you can find 30 high-quality hashtags to use for each post… So, why not quality and quantity?
The more hashtags that you use, the higher the chance of your content being seen by potential followers. Taking this further, you can choose high-quality hashtags that are specific to your business to target people that are going to be interested in your content. We refer to this as a ‘hashtag strategy’. Before we show you how to find good hashtags to use for your business. Let’s take a look at what we mean by using hashtags specific to your business.
Say for example you have a bakery, there are many hashtags that you could use to target people interested in your products.
Perhaps you have an online clothing store, your hashtags can target people too…
The hashtags being used above are all specific to their industries. What this means is people looking at these hashtags can see the content they have posted. A neat little trick is to also hashtag industry leaders in your sector. If you look at the clothing post example, you can see that they have used the hashtags #nike #yeezy and #threestripe. The reason you should think about tagging industry leaders is that you know there is a good chance that people looking at say, Nike, are going to be interested in your products if you sell clothes. That technique can cause you to see a massive increase in following and engagements on Instagram as people are going to be interested in your content.
So, where do I find the best hashtags to use?
The best way to find hashtags related to your business is to use the search bar within the mobile app. For this example, we are going to use digital marketing as this is our own niche. All you have to do is type a hashtag that is related to your business (in this case we’re searching email marketing) and Instagram will provide you with related hashtags. Take a look to see what we mean…
Follow hashtags too
If you only had to include some high-quality hashtags to great content, everyone would have tens of thousands of followers. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. So, another great tip we have for you to grow your Instagram following is to follow the hashtag. Back in 2018, Instagram released an update in which allowed you to follow hashtags. If you follow hashtags related to your business, any other posts in your Instagram feed that have used the hashtag will appear in your feed. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to interact with users that are going to be interested in your business. For this reason, I would advise following a number of hashtags that relate to your business that have a few thousand posts. This way, you know you have enough of an audience for your content to be seen, without having to compete with millions of other posts on a more popular hashtag. Be specific, rather than following the hashtag ‘#digitalmarketing’. It might be more beneficial to follow the hashtag ‘payperclick’.
Let’s move onto the second of the fundamental steps to grow your Instagram following.
Step 2 – Use Instagram Stories
Instagram introduced stories to their platform some time ago now. Ever since their release, they have grown in popularity and that doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. People love to create their own stories and engage with stories from other users and businesses. For this reason, making stories work for your business is going to be fundamental in growing your Instagram following.
One of the best things about stories is the way in which you can target users to attract new followers. Make sure that you are using hashtags and location stickers in your stories. This way, your story will appear at the top of the feed for users in that location. Your story will also be visible for any specific hashtags that you have used within the story. You should also conduct the same hashtag research we mentioned in the earlier section to find out which hashtags will work best for your stories. It’s also important to be aware that you can add story highlights to your Instagram profile. You don’t have to add every story to the highlights reel, however, it might be a good idea to add your best performing stories. This way people can see them in the future should they wish. Any story you add to your highlights will appear at the top of your Instagram profile like below.
Now you know that Instagram Stories are important when it comes to growing your Instagram follow, let’s take a quick look at some story ideas…
- Product ‘sneak-peek’ videos
- Behind the scenes footage
- Create polls for people to engage with
- Create hype around an event with countdowns
- Hold live Q&A’s
- Push your products or content
Let’s move onto the last of our fundamental steps to grow your Instagram following
Step 3 – Produce High-Quality Content Consistently
The final fundamental step to grow your Instagram probably sounds like a no brainer. Create high-quality content and share it consistently. We’ve given you the tips to bring people to your page through hashtags, engagement, and stories. The next step is to create content that makes them want to follow you. Your content should be visual and on brand. My advice would be to create a months worth of content over a couple of days. This way, you don’t need to be worrying about creating content each day to post. Your content is ready to go when you need it! Creating great looking content can be tricky. Bu,t as long as you make it attractive and on brand, you will be on the right track.
Quick Tip: Make the most of free stock images from websites such as Unsplash and Pexel. You can find attractive looking photos for pretty much any topic. However, unique content is best so if you can take your own photos, go for that option!
My final piece of advice for this post would be to create a content schedule. At the very least you should create a basic week by week plan on Word to make sure you know exactly what you need to be posting and when. However, I would advise looking into certain social media scheduling apps or websites. These programmes allow you to schedule the posts to go out on all of the main social media platforms. This way, you can stop worrying about having to post each day, you can focus on engaging with Instagram users and new followers to keep them coming back.
We hope that you have enjoyed this post and found it useful. If you would like to take your Instagram to the next level, we have a wealth of information in the form of free courses to Ebooks. Why not take a look to see what takes your fancy!