Chances are you’ve heard the hype about Instagram and may have even started an Instagram account for your business. And if you’re doing well, you’re regularly posting. But you may be struggling to find your audience. Just like any new account on any social media site, it can take a while to grow a large audience. Here are some tips to grow your Instagram audience quickly.
1. Promote Your Instagram Account
If no one knows you’re there, how are they going to follow you? Make sure that you’re promoting your Instagram account through a variety of means.
- Tell your customers you’re on Instagram.
- Tell your other social media site fans that you’re on Instagram and give them the link to your profile.
- Include your Instagram URL in your email signature
- Include your Instagram handle on flyers and business cards
- Link to your Instagram account in your e-newsletters
2. Provide Exclusive Instagram-Only Content
Exclusive content is so important to growing your Instagram followers. If your fans and customers are already following you on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, why should they follow you on Instagram too? You have to give them a reason!
I always recommend sharing exclusive photos of events or products on Instagram only. You can tease these images by sharing one photo to your other social media accounts and telling those fans that they can view the rest of the photos on Instagram (make sure you give them the link!). This gives your fans a reason to come over to Instagram to see the rest of the photos. Don’t automatically link your Facebook or Twitter accounts to share every Instagram post.
You can also share exclusive discounts or promotions strictly to Instagram followers. Once people know that you offer these promotions, you can be sure your followers will increase.
3. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are an Instagrammer’s best friend. You can significantly improve the reach of your posts by including relevant hashtags. I recommend using 3-7 hashtags per post for the best results. Hashtags should be related to the post content and/or your industry or niche.
If you want to know which hashtags are the most popular, you can search Google (or any other search engine) for the most popular hashtags on Instagram. They vary slightly but usually stay fairly consistent. I caution you, however, not to use hashtags simply because they’re popular. For example, if your post is of a new piece of jewelry you have in your store, don’t use #sunset or #justinbeiber. Keep the tags relevant – in the jewelry example, you could use #pretty or #fashion. Both of these are popular tags but are also relevant to the post.
4. Actively Engage with Others on Instagram
One of the best ways to grow your audience is to actually connect with people. This means being active on others’ profiles by liking and commenting on their posts. Responding to comments on your posts also generates conversation and followers.
Find new people to follow in your industry and start engaging with them. When they begin to recognize you and your profile, they will often follow you back and return the favor with likes and comments.
When people comment on your posts, make sure you @mention them in your response so that they receive a notification and see what you wrote. Answer questions, thank them for their thoughts, or ask them how they’re doing. Keep the conversations going and more people will chime in.
5. Follow More People on Instagram
Unless you’re a big brand, no one wants to follow you if you only follow 25 people. You’re here to be active and engaging, so follow more people and get active! While there’s no ideal specific ratio for followers to followings, you should be following as many people as possible.
If you’re looking for great people to follow, try following people that your followers follow (I know, that’s a mouthful!). When you go to your notifications page on Instagram, switch over to the “Following” tab. This will show you all the posts that those you follow are engaging with. Chances are you will have similar interests and like many of the posts and people that those you’re following like. You can click on the posts and go to these other users’ profiles. Scroll through and follow anyone of interest. Instagram is fairly reciprocal and if you like and engage with other Instagram users, they will often like you back. Just a heads up though, don’t follow someone just to get them to follow you and then unfollow them – it’s rude and not good etiquette. Follow people you have a genuine interest in.
6. Post More on Instagram!
We all know that a stagnant or neglected account will sit idle. Instagram is no different. Try to post at least a few times a week, ideally at least once a day. The more often you post, the larger variety of hashtags you use, the more you’re engaging with other Instagramers, the faster your audience will grow. So get to posting!
You’ll notice that nowhere in these tips did I recommend you buy followers. That’s because this is a big no-no! Trust me when I tell you that buying Instagram followers will not help you in the long run. In fact, these fake or bad Instagram followers can hinder your opportunity for growth and hurt your chances of reaching the popular page.
As with any social media site, you want more followers. But it’s important to focus on cultivating a great community around the followers you do have. The more you focus and connect with on your existing followers, the more your audience will grow naturally.
Any other advice you would offer to grow your Instagram audience?