In the beginning, Instagram was just a fun way to share photos with family and friends. Who knew that Instagram would grow to the marketing and networking powerhouse that it has become today? Now, many companies are running to catch up and take advantage of the Instagram marketing movement.
If you have a blog or business, using Instagram can be a great way to help create a personal relationship with your readers or customers.
Use these tips to launch your Instagram marketing campaign and increase your Instagram followers.
How to Increase Your Instagram Followers
1. Use Hashtags
A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the pound or number sign (#). Using hashtags is a great way to increase your followers on Instagram. When you place hashtags in the caption of your photo (or as a comment), when people search for your specific hashtags, there's a chance that they'll find your photo amongst the other images using the same hashtag.
The more eyes that see your photo, the better chance you have of gaining followers on the platform.
My favorite way to find hashtags is by looking at the hashtags that other bloggers or businesses are using in my niche.
Update: Instagram now allows you to add hashtags to your bio.
Bonus Tip: Use MiloTree
MiloTree is a smart pop-up that will help you increase your followers on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. There is also an option for increasing your email list. I used MiloTree to help grow my Pinterest account to over 10,000 followers.
2. Beware of Follow for Follow
I'm not against using the follow for follow method to increase your followers on Instagram. From my experience, it takes followers to gain followers. People are more likely to follow accounts that have a decent number of followers. That being said, there are certain things to be aware of when using this method to grow your account.
Many Instagrammers who are trying to boost their number of followers will follow a bunch of accounts and then unfollow them once they get a follow back. They don't have any interest in your account.
Usually, these accounts will have thousands of followers but are only following a few hundred. On the opposite end, you may feel that because you followed someone, they have to follow you back, which isn't the case.
I recommend only following accounts that you have a genuine interest in. Just because someone follows you, it doesn't mean you have to follow them back, and vice versa. Work on building a following of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
3. Promote Your Account
One great way to boost your numbers is to promote your Instagram on your other social media accounts. To start, you should always have your Instagram account listed on your blog. You can do this by adding an Instagram social media icon to your blog, placing an Instagram widget in your sidebar or footer, or using a pop-up like MiloTree to encourage people to follow you on Instagram. You can also get free Instagram training for growing your account by clicking here.
I use and recommend the Simple Social Icons WordPress plugin if you're looking for a simple and attractive set of social media icons to add to your blog.
4. Engage with Other Instagrammers
It sounds simple, but people often forget to engage with others on the platform. The more you like someone’s posts or comment on their posts, the more likely they are to return the favor. People love to receive attention and are more likely to give attention to accounts that have reached out to them first.
5. Participation Points Will Be Awarded
This point goes along with using hashtags. Don’t just sit back and watch the trends, take part in them! By using trending hashtags in your post, you are more likely to attract new attention. Try using hashtags like #throwbackthursday or #photooftheday to entice new viewers and hopefully new followers.
Make sure you keep the photos relevant to the hashtag. Using the hashtag #throwbackthrusday with a picture that has nothing to do with the throwback trend won’t get you the engagement you’re looking for.
Check out Sheila's post My Favorite Hashtags To Get Noticed And Grow Your Instagram for a list of helpful Instagram hashtags.
6. Know When To Post
Randomly posting photos throughout the day may get your photo out there, but it won’t guarantee it will be seen. The Huffington Post commissioned a study from Lattergramme, a company that allows users to manage when their posts get uploaded to Instagram. This study showed that posting at 2 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST where the best times to post your photos and have followers see and acknowledge them.
With the algorithm changes, Instagram no longer shows your feed in chronological order. Instead, they show posts based on what they think you want to see (your personalized algorithm). For this reason, your post isn't guaranteed to appear in peoples feed as soon as you post it.
This is why it's essential to engage with other accounts on Instagram. The more people like and comment on your content, the more you're looked at as a favorite account amongst your followers, and the more likely they are to see your content.
I have found that in general, regardless of the algorithm, when I post to Instagram during the hours recommended in the Lattergramme study, I receive more engagement.
7. Don't Forget Your Bio
Don’t focus only on your posts and neglect your bio. When users are trying to decide if they want to follow you or not, they will often look at your bio. Make sure you include a blurb of what followers can expect from your account. Also, don't forget to include a link to your blog.
8. Don't Over Post
When you post too much on Instagram, there's the chance that users will come to see your account as being annoying and will unfollow you. Most Instagram users are looking for quality over quantity when it comes to posts. Try posting once per day, then twice per day, then three times per day, and see what your audience responds best to.
9. Make It Interactive
Outside of contests and sales promotions, you can engage your followers and attract new followers by asking questions. Post a photo and ask for caption submissions. Ask funny or poignant questions that relate back to your post and, more importantly, your blog. As long as these interactive posts are relevant to your target audience you will find your followers not just viewing your posts, but seeking them out.
Note: Once a week in my Facebook community, you can promote your Instagram account and get more likes, comments, etc.
10. Make It Your Own
Being unique is a great way to get people to pay attention to you. Each social media platform develops a certain structure over time which leads to every post looking the same, and it can get boring.
Don’t be boring. Be unique. Break the mold while keeping it relevant to your blog. Create unique content you will be sure to catch the user's eyes. My favorite Instagram account are the accounts that stand out.
11. Don't Forget to Tell Your Followers What You Want
Although you think it’s obvious that you want your followers to go to your blog, you really do need to tell them. Having a call to action reminds the Instagram users that you are a blog and if they like your posts they will love your blog.
By not calling out your desire to have them as a reader or customer, and not just followers is defeating the purpose of using social media to market your blog or business. If you are willing to say, "Hey! Come follow my Instagram account," then you need to be willing to say, "Hey! Visit my blog", as well.
As with any social media platform, growing your Instagram account takes time and patience. Post regularly, use hashtags and engage with other Instagrammers. Over time, you will begin to see your follower's number increase.
If you want to dive deeper into growing your Instagram account, I recommend checking out the Make Your Brand Famous on Instagram class on CreativeLive. CreativeLive has lots of affordable classes for growing your blog and social media.
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