In the past, using bots or buying followers might have worked to boost a social media account. However, as social media management becomes more sophisticated following the evolution of smarter algorithms, shortcuts, and tricks no longer yield valuable followers.
If you want to grow your Instagram account with real followers who can actually drive engagement, here are 12 ways that you can accomplish this without having to resort to tricks or paid ads:
1. Define Your Target Audience
Before you can even begin to plan your marketing strategy, you need to first define your target audience. Knowing who you’re trying to reach will serve as your guide when planning your marketing strategies.
When defining your target audience, try to determine the following information about them:
- Pain points and challenges
- Purpose for using Instagram
When you’ve figured these out, you can then decide whether to work with a local SEO company or a digital marketing company that can help you reach a broader audience.
2. Outline a Marketing Strategy
Getting followers should only be part of your goal. When planning your marketing strategy, you need to have a larger objective. For instance, a social media marketing agency might want to boost their sales, increase brand awareness, and drive traffic to their website.
When you know your intended destination, you can then outline a marketing strategy that will allow you to be consistent in your posts and brand story, which can ultimately build your following.
3. Decide on Your Brand Story and Look
To further outline your marketing strategy, you need to decide on your brand aesthetic and story. Having a recognizable personality and appearance for your brand is what catches the attention of followers.
Some simple ways you can apply consistency to your brand story and look is by using brand-related colors or posting photos that apply consistent angles and framing. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can consult digital marketing services to help you come up with a memorable brand story and look.
4. Take Advantage of Keywords and Hashtags
People can’t follow you on Instagram if they can’t find you. This is where keywords and hashtags come in. One way you can take advantage of keywords is by using the same name and username in your Instagram handle as that of your other social media accounts. This allows you to be easily discoverable, even outside of Instagram’s limited search function.
Instagram users can also follow hashtagged content, which will allow your posts to appear on their feed even if they don’t follow your account. Avoid gimmicky hashtags and instead use highly targeted ones specific to your brand or business.
5. Maximize Proper Tagging
Adding a location tag or tagging relevant users in your posts is another way followers can find your account. Expose your brand by tagging your business’ physical location. Similarly, mention relevant users if they appear on your post. This drives engagement and encourages the featured account to also share your post to others.
6. Make Use of Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is a feature on the site wherein you can post something that would last for only 24 hours. Usually, Stories is used for posts that you feel don’t fit in your main feed. For instance, if you want to feature a limited edition product or have a teaser for an even bigger post, you can post it in your Stories. Your followers can share it if you use relevant keywords and hashtags.
7. Engage and Collaborate
Engaging and collaborating with other brands, communities, and influencers can also gain you more followers. By working together with these accounts, your own account can be exposed to their existing follower base. If you’re not sure how to do this, a marketing agency can help you decide which accounts to collaborate with, as well as come up with a collaboration strategy that can be a win-win for both you and the other party.
8. Post Shareable Content
Unlike other social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, Instagram’s posts focus on images. So, when planning what kind of content you want to post, think about how they look and whether they’re shareable. Since Instagram is all about images, infographics are a good way to pique followers’ interests since they’re more likely to share informative and aesthetically appealing content. To maximize the content shareability, working with an SEO agency will help you design a post that reaches wider audiences.
9. Optimize Your Bio and Profile
Your Instagram bio and profile is a great way to let followers have an idea of what your brand is all about. Fill in all the fields to complete your bio, especially the clickable link to your website. In 150 characters, you should be able to convey your brand identity and let followers know what to expect from your content.
10. Write Attention-Grabbing Captions
While a picture is worth a thousand words, captions still play a big role in helping you engage with and reach a broader following. Long captions that can explain the context of a photo can grab the attention of new and existing followers alike. This also helps you insert relevant keywords that can boost your account’s searchability.
11. Consistently Schedule Your Posts
Aside from knowing what to post, knowing when to post is also crucial in maintaining consistency and increasing follower engagement. Knowing your target audience can be the best guide for this. For example, if your target audience is composed of housewives, it’s more likely that they’ll check their Instagram accounts during downtimes at home, such as after dinner or before bedtime.
12. Run Contests and Giveaways
Running contests and giveaways can help get you more followers if you ask people to follow your account or encourage user-generated content. If you’re keeping this within a local area, local SEO services can help you organize the contest and drive better engagement.
Instagram is a great platform that can help boost and cement your brand through actual, valuable followers. Using organic strategies to grow your account not only saves you money on ads, but it can also result in more meaningful engagement that can have great returns in the long run.