January 8, 2017

How to Get More Followers on Instagram

With Instagram’s 500 million users and new research showing that Instagram laps other social media like Facebook and Twitter when it comes to user engagement, it’s more important than ever to get your follower numbers up. With more followers, you’re more likely to see brand loyalty, brand recognition, and boosts in sales. Not sure how to get those numbers sky-rocketing? We’re here to help! Below are 7 tips for increasing your number of followers.

Set a goal.

It’s hard to know if your marketing is working if you haven’t set a goal. So, from the start of your Instagram marketing campaign, set clear goals for yourself so that you can later measure what you’ve done and then change, tweak, or continue strategies accordingly. Take a look at your number of followers and determine how much (%) you’d like to increase that number. Then set out on the strategies below and see what you’ve accomplished in a 2-week, 4-week, and 8-week period.

Publish great content.

I mean, that seems obvious, right? But it’s worth repeating. If you have great, engaging, beautiful content people are more likely to follow your account. So, take the time to carefully create each photo, filtering and editing them so they look professional. Protip: the filters Mayfair, Rise, Valencia and Hefe have statistically been the most successful ones for increasing views, likes, and comments.

Publish great content – regularly!

Posting regularly is another key action to acquiring more followers. It shows users that you are active and engaged and it also ensures that your content is fresh. Maybe not every day, but be sure to post at least once a week. While consistency is paramount to success, your timing has to be right, too! Recent studies have shown that some times are better than others for posting. In a study done by Later.com, researchers found that 2 AM and 5 PM are peak times for user engagement during the week. It’s good to think about these high traffic times but also be sure to keep in mind your audience. If your potential followers mostly work regular, 9 to 5 jobs, then posting before working hours, at lunch, or quitting time are probably ideal for you. If your target audience is college students, try late night hours rather than early morning.

Start an Instagram contest or a great ad campaign.

People love free stuff – and what better way to spur engagement than by offering rewards! There are lots of different kinds of contests you can host – like asking people to follow you to enter to win something (usually your products!). That kind of persuasion is mutually beneficial – they get stuff, you get more followers! User Generated Content (UGC) contests are also a great way to extend your reach – friends of followers see what they’ve posted and learn about your brand at the same time.

Or you could sponsor a great ad campaign – ask people to follow you to enjoy a 15% discount or some equivalent offer. If you inject a little time sensitivity into your ad campaign as well – something like “Ends at midnight tonight!” – you’ll create an urgency for people to start following you.

Hashtag, caption, like, and comment.

You’ve got to get people’s attention if they’re ever going to follow you. Hashtags are one way to get users to notice you. Once they’ve found your page in a key word search, they’re likely to love your great content (above) and start following you.

Great captions also really engage viewers – and a sure fire way to get people following you is to ask a question in your caption. Toms, the shoe company that gives back to people in need, is all about taking action, and so in their most recent ad campaign they asked “what do you hope to resolve in the new year?”, which inspired thousands of views and responses.

You get back what you give out, so to engender some karmic reciprocity, why not like and comment on other people’s posts? This is a great way to start genuine relationships with potential fans and even Instagram sponsors (more below). If you do a search of key words related to your product, you’ll find the Instagram accounts of lots of “sister” products. These are great places to find like-minded potential followers. These are your people – so, see what they’re posting about and get in on the conversation!

Promote across media.

It’s likely that you have more than one social media account – maybe a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Use these accounts to draw awareness to you Instagram account! Direct your Facebook followers or your Twitter-verse to your Instagram page by telling them what they can find there that they aren’t seeing on your other social media accounts. For example, do you post lots of behind-the-scenes pictures on Instagram? Peak your audience’s curiosity by telling them they’ll get the insider’s scoop on your brand if they follow you on Instagram. A simple, “find us on Instagram” and a link to your account can do wonders for your numbers! Protip: put a link to your Instagram account in as many places as you can think of – on your website, in your email signature line, on your blog, on your business card – people can only follow you if they know where to find you! Also, consider enticing people by embedding some of your Instagram photos in social media where you can.

Pay for it.

If budget permits, you can always pay for advertising to boost your number of followers. A study by Nielson Brand Effect showed that brand recall was 2.8 times higher with sponsored ads than with other forms of online advertising. This means that people are remembering (and possibly following) your brand more if you’ve paid for ads on Instagram. Instagram’s business blog is a great place to learn more about this. Partnering with Instagrammers (Instagram “celebrities” with vast followings) is another way to get exposure via sponsorship – see our blog post about Influencer marketing here.

You’re now well on your way to a bigger, better following. Posting great content and keeping it fresh with regular posts are two of the most effective ways to get more followers who are loyal and will spread the word about your great brand. Post at the right time of day for your target audience to reach the most people and engage with your fans. Solidify your place in the communities your brand serves with hashtags, likes, and comments. And be sure to leverage your audience from other channels, promoting your Instagram content on your other social media accounts. With a multi-faceted and carefully planned marketing strategy you’ll see your numbers of followers increase in no time!