9 Proven Ways To Increase Instagram Followers : A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

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Ways to Increase Instagram Followers

Instagram is Facebook’s trump card when competing with Snapchat’s dominance.

Instagram keeps adding new bells and whistles to their service. And while this constant influx of new features can be confusing, they also provide great opportunities for marketers.

In today’s article, we’ll cover the latest techniques to get more followers on Instagram.

But before we get into the how, let’s find out a bit about Instagram’s users.

Who uses Instagram?

It is important to know the demographics of your Instagram channel before you start marketing there.

For example, you cannot go to the Reddit community and start selling things; they will block you and tarnish your reputation for being too sales-y.

You have to do it slowly and with a lot of effort.

Similar to that, understanding your Instagram audience will give you an idea of how to effectively market your product/service on the platform.

So who are Instagram’s users?

  • 32% of internet users in the world use Instagram.
  • Adults from the age group of 18 to 29 constitute the majority of the users at 59%.
  • Female users (38%) are more likely to use Instagram than men (26%).
Source: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/

Based on the above data, it is clear who the highest demographic is.

It’s mostly young, urban women.

Steps To Increasing Your Instagram Followers 

We went through the top 10 posts on the internet on how to get Instagram followers and distilled all the advice into one single post. Make sure to follow the steps one by one because it’s easy to go wrong with Instagram marketing if you initially take the wrong steps.

1. Identify your audience.

Identify your audience

Going through this process of understanding your audience is paramount.

Answer the following questions and write them down in a document:

  1. What is the age group of your audience?
  2. What is the target gender (predominantly male or female) or is it generic enough to target both?
  3. What is their lifestyle like and what are the products they buy?
  4. Who are 8 to 10 brands that interact with an audience similar to yours?
  5. Is your audience centric to a certain location?

When you identify the following questions, you can easily figure out the kind of content to create, how often to create, and what kind of language you should have in your posts.

2. Identify your hashtags.

Identify your hashtags

Hashtags might be annoying and not so useful on other platforms, but on Instagram, it’s the core of the platform.

There are good hashtags and there are bad hashtags.

Bad hashtags are ones that people just use to get a rapid following. “like4like” is an example of a bad hashtag that people use when they want to get and give likes. This attracts the wrong followers, and it makes sense to stay away from them.

Good hashtags identify the qualities of your business and your product, and they relate to your audience as well.

Hashtag Tip:

Some businesses are meticulous with their hashtags. You can create a bunch of hashtags for the following:

  • A hashtag for your brand as a whole. This can be the name of your brand combined with the products you sell.
  • A hashtag for your post. You can explain your post with hashtags. If you are a clothing brand and your post has a shirt with a penguin on it, some hashtag examples can be #shirtsformen or #penguinshirts.
  • A hashtag for your location. If your business is specific to a city, then you can add that as well. It helps in filtering out your audience.
  • Your own hashtag tagline. You can create your own company’s hashtag tagline. Make sure you use this across other channels and in your email communication as well. When this hashtag gains prominence, then your brand gets the most visibility. EX: Coca-Cola’s is “Open Happiness”.

Discovering good hashtags straight from Instagram can be a hassle. You can use tools like Tailwind,  Top Hashtags to find out top performing hashtags that would help you to get more Instagram likes.

Also, ride the wave of hashtag trends like:

  • #TBT (Throw Back Thursdays) – This is where you share a photo from your past.
  • #MondayMotivation – This is where people post motivational quotes and messages every Monday.

3. Regularly post quality content.

Visual Style

I cannot emphasize this enough. You need to be right up there with the quality of your posts to have any chance of getting a high quality following.

On Instagram, the standards of posts need to be very high. A lot of good brand pages have their own visual style or use similar filters in each of their posts.

The visual storytelling needs to be on point. Take a look at Bachelr to see how they make product shots appealing. You feel like buying everything in the store.

Regularly post quality content

This is a visually appealing post.

If you can’t afford a photo shoot, make sure you at least use stock photos. You can get free stock photos at Unsplash.

Before you start posting, you need to create a repository of posts, at least 15 – 20 of them. This allows you to post content even during weekends and holidays.

There’s research that has shown particular Instagram filters lead to more engagement and likes. Figure out which ones work best.

Always be aesthetically pleasing. This is a minimum basic requirement on Instagram.

Captions 

There’s something about captions that captures the eye of the reader.

Think about it:

  • What makes a meme really funny?

It’s not just the image, it’s the text as well.

It’s the same on Instagram. Have an interesting caption for your images. Think of the caption as just as important as the visual element.

Take a look at the image below; it’s just a normal image, but it becomes really funny because of the text.

Have an interesting caption

If you put yourself in the shoes of your audience, you’ll know how important it is to creatively craft every post.

People come to Instagram to entertain themselves and have fun. They want to watch interesting stuff, look at interesting products, and tag their friends. Let them do that!

Post Timing and Frequency 

This is related to how often you post.

Most millennials access Instagram on a daily basis. They do it 6 to 7 times a day and spend close to 15 minutes there each visit. Power users end up consuming all the content in their feed until they run out of content.

So there is a lot of content that a user goes through on a daily basis.

If you aren’t on their feed constantly, you will be forgotten.

“Out of sight, out of mind.” It’s as simple as that.

Make sure to have at least 2 to 3 posts planned for every day and mix them up. Also, be a bit flexible and post about things that you are thinking about or experiencing.

People love impromptu posts.

4. Cross promote with companies that have a similar audience.

Collaboration is one of the key ingredients on Instagram.

For every top brand, there are hundreds of smaller brands trying to get the attention of people.

As everybody is trying to get ahead, it only makes sense to grow together.

Identify a few of the smaller brands that cater to your audience and reach out to them. Pitch a collaboration or a cross posting.

You will promote their business to your followers and they will promote yours to theirs.

This is a good way to exchange similar audience sets.

5. Free goods for promotion. 

Free goods for promotion

One of the ways product companies get traction is through free goodies.

Let’s say you have a sports clothing company and you are competing against a hundred other companies in a similar niche.

First, you should identify a few mid-level influencers. Not the top tier ones but the secondary level ones who are easily accessible and are open to quick partnerships. Give them your free gear and get them to talk about you.

If there are 10 influencers with about 100,000 followers each, your potential reach is close to 1 million people. How else do you reach 1 million people without paying a bomb?

6. Run an Instagram contest.

Contests! People love contests that are easy and fun to do and also gives them an opportunity to get some free goodies.

Contests that people don’t have to move to do is even better. Here are some things you need to keep in mind while creating a contest:

Here are some things you need to keep in mind while creating a contest:

  1. Have a defined start and end date for the contest.
  2. Make it very easy to participate in the contest.
  3. Ask people to do something simple and preferably something that makes them look good.
  4. Keep the value proposition clear. What do people get?
  5. Imbibe virality in the contest by making people comment to participate in the contest.

7. Make your content fresh.

You cannot be obvious or be doing the same thing everyone else is doing on Instagram.

I’ve seen this across many profiles, they focus on not straying too much from their brand, and they become rigid and predictable with their content.

Do not become predictable. If you are predictable, you become boring.

The point of your account should be is to give different content to your audience each time.

Certain content styles trend more than others. For example, text message and Facebook screenshots usually end up trending for a while.

For example, text message and Facebook screenshots usually end up trending for a while. They are usually fake but they make people laugh and they engage exceedingly well.

Other things that trend well:

  • Quotes with a Twist

Quotes have been popular for a long time, but make sure you don’t add obvious quotes like “Never Ever Give Up” unless you can make it look different (maybe with a funny image). Also, add quotes that are new or outrageous. These get people’s attention.

  • User-Generated Content

People like to be covered by brands. You can show pictures of people using your products or taking pictures of your establishment or doing anything with your product. Contests also include user-generated content. Make sure to have a dedicated hashtag for user-generated content.

Outsource your content to your audience.

  • Text Screenshots

Have fun conversations in the form of text screenshots. Text screenshots are images of a text conversation between two people. It could be between a parent and a child or even a conversation between a dog and an owner. You can make these conversations very entertaining.

  • Behind the Scenes of your Business

An inside scoop of your business humanizes the brand and also gives insider access to your audience which helps them connect with your company better. If you notice, actors on Buzzfeed’s videos have become celebrities in their own right because they are constantly being put out there.

  • Video Posts

This has been mentioned a lot of times on ShoutMeLoud. Do videoVideo marketing is big, is getting bigger, and will be the biggest form of content consumption in the foreseeable future. Videos have better engagement and they say more in a lesser amount of time.

  • Beautiful Product Shots

You’ll need to create that aspirational feeling among your audience. They should want your product and you can make them feel that way by making your products look beautiful.

An example of a product shot from Vans. An image of your product in its natural environment adds more value to the user.

  • Offers and Discounts

People go crazy over discounts, and if it’s from their favorite brand, then it’s basically done and dusted. Make sure to promote your discount posts and have a strong call to action asking people to buy.
A checklist of what needs to be in a good post:

  1. A high-quality image with beautiful filters.
  2. A call to action that engages people and goads them to take any action that you want.
  3. A post that isn’t pixelated and is in line with Instagram’s image conditions.
  4. A post that will evoke a reaction from your audience.
  5. A post that is relevant to your audience.

8. Create an Instagram team. 

It isn’t easy handling Instagram. You need to jump onto popular hashtags and ride that wave continuously. You need to come up with post ideas every day and if you don’t have a stream of videos or memes coming directly to your inbox like 9GAG, then it can be hard to come up with new content.

This is why you need a team, or even if you don’t have a team, a dedicated time set aside only for Instagram duty.

  1. Make sure to create a repository of memes and videos. Test this content for relevancy.
  2. From this repository, make sure to create 10 to 15 posts in advance. Create a content calendar. Know what you are going to send out 2 weeks from now. This will ease your worries.
  3. Always be peeled toward trending hashtags that you can jump on that’ll bring you a lot of traffic. Have you seen the Buzzfeed articles of people’s tweets about some incident that has happened recently? You can be in one of those lists if you create posts speaking about an incident while it’s trending.

9. Monitor your Instagram analytics.

Monitor Instagram analytics

Instagram is serious business and you can always benefit from a tool like Iconosquare.

Iconosquare is an Instagram analytics tool that gives you insights into your Instagram performance.

It’s an all-in-one tool that helps with:

  • Organizing your Instagram media.
  • Managing your comments and monitoring posts.
  • Scheduling new posts.
  • Finding an influencer in your niche.
  • Finding which hashtag and filter brings about the best engagement.
  • Identifying the location of your followers.

9 Ways To Get More Instagram Followers

As we conclude this post, I hope you have a better idea of what to do on Instagram.

One of the most important aspects of any marketing effort is patience.

You need to keep at it, even when you don’t see the numbers growing. You need to measure your numbers and be consistent.

Initially, make sure to schedule days that you will post no matter what.

That consistency will bring results.

What are some things you do to get more followers on Instagram? Let me know in the comments below!

Like this post? Share it with your friends!

Here are some more Instagram posts to check out:

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