Having thousands of followers on Instagram can appear to be rather glamorous. Instagram fame brings authenticity to a person or brand and can help immensely when it comes to growing a business. The problem is, the fight to gain new Instagram followers can seem like a never-ending battle …
If you’re at the stage where you’re ready to throw in the towel and result to using a ‘like’ or ‘follow’ bot, there’s something you should know first …
There are two types of accounts on Instagram:
- Accounts trying to grow a business
- Accounts trying to grow a following
Bots are only a good idea if your goal is the latter. Reason being, bots attract random or fake accounts, including people who aren’t interested in your brand and will not engage with you. These types of accounts are called ‘ghost followers’ and they are, in fact, completely pointless.
On the surface, ghost followers may appear to make your account look more popular, but people can spot a bot instantly. Typically, the account’s following will be high but its engagement rate will be low. This diminishes a brand’s credibility and certainly won’t help you grow or make sales. Furthermore, Instagram penalizes accounts that use bots and you’re even at risk of loosing your account all together. All in all, we recommend staying away from bots.
So how do you gain a specific following that will be interested in the product or service that you provide? Get your pen and paper ready! We have identified five proven ways to help grow a targeted Instagram following and subsequently increase your sales.
5 ways to grow your Instagram following and make more sales
#1 Seek out your target audience
Instagram has introduced many features over the years that enable you to hone in on a niche audience. Whether your looking for users from a particular location, with a certain interest or in need of your service, it couldn’t be easier to find a specific audience on Instagram. You’ve just got to know where to look and what to tag.
Each of your posts should include between 3 – 30 hashtags relevant to your brand or post. For example, if you are a sports brand, you might want to use the hashtags #fitspo, #sportswear and #getactive. Take a look at what your competitors are using, or use a hashtag analyser tool such as Hashtagify to help you find trending tags.
Another way to help your target audience find you is with geotags. When you post a new photo to Instagram, you have the option to add your exact location. This helps local people find your business when searching for your particular service or product.
#2 Create Great Content
Now you’ve found your target audience, you need to find a way keep them on your page long enough to notice how awesome you are and click that ‘follow’ button. As Instagram is predominately a visual platform, beautiful pages attract more attention and typically gain a higher following.
Here are some of our top tips to make your Instagram feed look follow-worthy:
- Content should be authentic and on brand with your products or services;
- Ensure there is good lighting when taking photos;
- Focusing on textures, lines and contrast;
- Edit your photos, but go easy on your filter usage – less is more!
- Theme your photos or stick to a consistent style so your audience knows what to expect
But as the saying goes, looks aren’t everything. Here is are some other things you need to consider before posting to your Instagram feed:
- Content should always serve a purpose. In other words, if it’s not engaging or valuable to your target audience in some way, you might want to think twice about posting it;
- You should try to post to Instagram at least once per day, but maximum twice. Too many posts can be seen as spam and may cause people to unfollow you;
- If you have a business Instagram account, use Instagram analytics to see when your followers are most active;
- Static photos typically perform better on Instagram than videos.
#3 Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories enable you to post a photo or video that will disappear after 24-hours. Instagram introduced this Snapchat-like feature in 2016 and it was a hit from the very beginning. Stories are a great way to engage with your audience, show off your brand’s personality and draw people to your profile.
Even though Story content isn’t visible on your feed, you certainly don’t just want to post any old thing. Stories need to be just as strategic as the content on your profile and posted with a purpose. You can, however, be a little more laid back with their looks in terms of colour scheme and edits. The main point of Instagram Stories is to create a buzz, make your business personable, interact with your audience, and finally, make them actionable.
Some great ideas for businesses to post on their Instagram Stories include:
- Customer testimonials;
- Breaking news / sales / announcements;
- Behind-the-scenes footage and product development;
- To promote a new post on your feed;
- Ask questions or create a poll to encourage engagement.
Instagram Stories also have multiple tools and features to help you reach a target audience and make your posts actionable. The most common call-to-action tool used on Instagram Stories is the ‘swipe up’ feature, where viewers can be redirected to a website/URL of your choice.
You can also save your Instagram Stories as a Story Highlights, which are featured under your Instagram bio. Acting as an extension to your bio, Story Highlights offers the opportunity for your audience to find out more about your business and what they can expect from your account, products or services.
Story Highlights are one of the first things people see when they land on your account, therefore we suggest taking time to plan them out as you would the rest of your Instagram profile. You can create multiple Highlight categories, each which should have a well-designed cover that is in line with your brand and theme.
#4 Loop Giveaway
Loop Giveaways are contests where you collaborate with other businesses and/or influencers to help you to reach a bigger audience. They usually consist of several accounts, anywhere from 5 to 30, who team up to buy or donate a prize, and then create a “loop” of steps that contestants must follow in order to enter the giveaway. Typically this involves tagging a few friends and following each account in the loop.
Loop Giveaways help you to gain followers by asking people to do one or more of the steps to enter the contest:
- Follow you and every other account in the loop;
- Tag between 1-3 friends in the post;
- Share the image on their own profiles to cross promote the contest;
- Redirect users to other accounts in the loop and repeat the steps to increase exposure.
Loop Giveaways take a bit of planning. In order to create a successful contest you will need to:
- Find accounts of a similar size and target audience to participate;
- Establish the giveaway rules and prize;
- Organize the time, date, and order of the Instagram loop giveaway.
#5 Influencer Marketing
Influencers are great for building brand awareness, creditability and hype. They work with businesses to endorse their products or services and share their experience with their followers. With any luck, this ‘influences’ their followers to check out your business.
You should start by searching for influencers who share same niche and target audience as you. For example, if you own a restaurant and want to attract an audience of people who enjoy dining out, then you should collaborate with food bloggers in your area. Some influencers work on a ‘product for post’ basis, while others may charge for their influence. You may wish to contact smaller-scale bloggers first, otherwise known as micro influencers, and then build up to influencers who have a larger following. You can contact influencers directly on Instagram or via email, or use influencer directories and apps such as This is Hey or Vamp .
Instagram’s algorithm is always changing, therefore it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends. Space Digital is consistently trialing and testing new techniques to keep up-to-date with what works and what doesn’t. If you’d like some help growing your Instagram following and business, please visit our Instagram service page or contact us on 07 3724 0469 for more information.