Seeing as Instagram has more than 130 million users and is the top photo-sharing community in the world, it can be a very powerful marketing tool to businesses, if approached correctly.
According to Studymode.com, 65% of people are visual learners. That means that whatever pictures you post to Instagram, whether it be funny, product promotion, etc., will be understood by two-thirds of the people viewing it.
This provides a great platform for businesses to establish relationships, interact with customers, and and boost revenue from product promotions.
That said, just like any social media platform, the money is in the list (of followers)–so here’s 11 ways you can get more Instagram followers.
1. Hit Your Base
The first and easiest way to begin growing your follower base is by announcing it to your current base of friends/followers. A few areas to announce it:
- Email List
- Signs & Posters (Physical Locations)
- Products (Physical)
When we first launched our Instagram, we were able to immediately gain a small follower base by announcing it.
2. Like it Up
This is hands-down the fastest way you can gain followers on a shoestring budget.
We grew @flightdrummers Instagram 876 followers in less than two weeks by doing this. It’s as easy as it sounds–like relevant pictures to your industry and watch your follower base grow.
For example, with our @flightdrummers account, we would search hashtags such as #drummer, #drumlife, #zildjian, #sabian, #vicfirth, #drumming, etc., and then ‘like’ every picture up until the previous day under each hashtag.
We averaged 1 follower per 20 ‘likes‘ (which only took about 30 seconds to complete.) The reason this is so effective is because you are connecting with like-minded and very relevant people. When people see companies ‘liking’ their pictures, they tend to view their profile (which helps improve traffic if you have effective profile text and a website link,) like their pictures, and follow them.
3. Post for Perfection
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “quality over quantity” before. This same concept applies to Instagram. Nobody likes to follow people who blow up their feed with a ton of barely-acceptable pictures. In fact, I personally unfollow anybody that goes on an ‘IG spree’ by posting 5+ pictures in a day (unless they are funny and interactive..) When you post a picture to Instagram, make sure that it is relevant to what you represent and what you do, and make sure it is something people will want to interact with.
4. #Hashtag Heaven
If you haven’t already realized, hashtags are your best friend on Instagram and Twitter (Facebook isn’t up to par, yet.) 😉 They allow you to find and connect with like-minded people (see #2) and they allow other people to find you, which is the ultimate goal. Whenever you post a picture, make sure you hashtag words that pertain to what the picture and you are about.
If you own a fitness center and you’re posting a picture of a new piece of fitness equipment, it would be good to tag things such as #fitness, #getfit, #fitnessfriday, #workout, #inshape, #mensfitness, and #womensfitness. These will immediately place your picture under each hashtag category and open more avenues to followers.
5. Comment Like You Mean It
Seeing as there are 575 likes, opposed to 81 comments on Instagram per second, it’s safe to say that people will appreciate comments 709% more than a like (because they get 1 comment per 7.09 likes.)
So, if you take the time to leave an honest, positive comment on somebody’s picture, you will greatly increase your probability of getting a new follower. 🙂
*As you can see to the left, this picture by @freepeople has 10,640 likes and only 96 comments. That’s a 110.8:1 ratio!
6. Become a #Pro
Becoming a pro hash-tagger takes some time. First, you must learn what common hashtags are used for your industry, then you must learn which ones are effective and which ones are a waste of hashtag space. The easiest way to do this is by finding out what the pros are all tagging.
See what hashtags they use to get thousands of likes and then apply the same ones that are relevant to you. Currently, the top 10 Instagram hashtags are:
Secret Weapon: Webstagram Top 100
7. Follow at Will
Although it’s cool to have 10k followers and only be following 50 people, it’s good to follow people who are relevant to your industry. It’s important to remember that social media is a two-way street.
People will interact with you, so it’s important to do the same. Following people allows you to expand you circle of influence through interaction.
For example, if I was following 50 people and had 10k followers, then I would only be allowing myself to keep up with the 50 people I am following. Now, If I was following 1,000 people and had 10k followers, then I would be opening the doors to interaction and relationships with 1,000 people, rather than 50–therefore, I would receive more interaction on my posts and increase chances of people sharing my posts.
Fans love to see where you’re at and when–which is why geo-tagging adds another great feature to Instagram.
When you tag the location of the picture to your ‘photo-map,’ it enables people to keep up with where you currently are (whether you’re a band on tour, a retail store, etc.) and helps build a better, more personal relationship with your fans.
Instagram for Business Blog puts it best:
“Creating a Photo Map adds a new dimension to your brand story. Bands like Young the Giant have been using Instagram on tour to share photos from the road. Now with Photo Maps, their fans can view collections of photos arranged by location or can zoom into individual photos from a stop in their own hometown.” – Instagram for Business blog
*Side-note: If you want your store or location to show up on Instagram maps, you need to register it on Foursquare. (Don’t worry, it’s completely free.)
9. Tag People
Tagging people is one of the most effective methods to begin getting your posts shared immediately.
Whenever our music company, Flight Drummers, is about to do an event on tour, launch a new product, or discount memberships, we get our graphic designers together to create an effective picture, then tag all of our artists and sponsors in it. Not only does it show up on their pages, but usually, they repost it and tag us in it, therefore, allowing our promotions to gain quicker traction.
10. Use Filters
Filters allow regular pictures to become interesting and more appealing to followers. Here are the Top 10 Instagram Filters:
11. Post at the Right Time
Once you have the perfect picture (#3,) its time to post at the right time. When it comes to social media, timing is everything–which means the rule still applies for Instagram.
We found that the most effective time to post is on Thursdays and Saturdays around 4pm-5pm. We also received 81% of our comments within the first 5 hours.
So, if you are going to post later in the day, remember that after 5 hours, the chances of continued comment interaction is going to drop dramatically! *Side-note: Keep in mind that these are our statistics. Yours may be completely different based on your industry.
Secret Weapon: Statigram
If you’re looking to gain 876 followers in the first two weeks like we did during our experiment, be sure to incorporate as many of these tactics as you can. Make sure you:
- Market to your fanbase
- Like a ton of pictures
- Post quality pictures
- #Hashtag everything
- #Hashtag what the pros do
- Follow people
- Comment on pictures
- Use Filters
- Post around 4pm on Thursday and Saturday