Many people and small businesses sadly think they must have a certain amount of followers to be taken seriously. If you’re trying to expedite getting your brand or business up and running, you may be tempted to buy bots or followers. After all, even famous people have been caught buying them. But be cautious with vanity metrics – they are obviously only for appearance and do nothing for your brand.

As a matter of fact, getting caught purchasing followers can do a lot of damage to your brand. A simple glance of your followers will show that they aren’t real people and they don’t engage with you or your brand. Take that a step further – reputable brands will refuse to collaborate with you and Instagram might even suspend your account!

Long story short, don’t try to cheat the system. Put in the time and work and your brand or business will be rewarded. Here we’ll explain how to not only grow your followers but keep them as well. Below we’ve listed some proven methods of growing your followers organically. Enjoy!

  1. Actually have an Instagram Strategy – sounds silly, doesn’t it? Most people/brands don’t have any type of strategy. It begs the question: how do you plan to reach a goal you haven’t set? Do you want to sell more? Do you want to expand your brand awareness? Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Having a strategy aligned with your goals will not only help you remain consistent in branding but also will help you build a loyal following.
  2. Who are you targeting? One of the most sound pieces of advice we can offer is to create your ideal target. How old is this person? Male or Female? Where do they live? What do they do for fun? For work? What do they complain about? What do they love? Etc. By doing this, you’ll know exactly who to target, instead of pushing content you hope catches someone’s attention.
  3. Make a great profile. With only 5 key components in the Instagram profile, you have to make yours pop. Your name, username, website, bio, and profile picture are all you have to convince people to click the ‘follow’ button. So make sure your look and feel are consistent. Your profile needs to be clear and appealing. Make sure your handle is the same on all of your social profiles. Your bio should be eye-catching and concise. Make it an easy decision for someone to follow you.
  4. Make sure your content is engaging. You want people to not only like your posts but also to comment on and share them. By having engaging content, Instagram’s algorithms will boost you to the top of newsfeeds and you’ll be able to reach more people and therefore gain new followers.
  5. Use your other accounts to promote your Instagram. It might seem obvious, but many people don’t think to promote their Instagram accounts cross-channel. Use your website, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to shine a light on your Instagram. Oftentimes, users who follow you on other platforms will find it easy to click ‘follow’ on your Instagram as well.
  6. Hashtags! We all know what hashtags are, but do you know the importance? The short version – hashtags make your brand visible to others who follow the same/similar hashtags. People searching for related content will be able to find your page. Research trending hashtags and create your own brand-specific ones. However, be wary of making your content look like spam, no one likes that. Try to limit your hashtags to between 5 and 11 at most.
  7. Location, location, location! If you can, always tag your location. It will help others find your content on Instagram. If your business has a physical location, the more people who tag themselves there – the better! When people click on your location, all of those photos will pop up. This will help expose you to more people. And followers are more likely to trust ‘real’ people than a business trying to sell itself.
  8. Follow similar users. Generally, when someone follows you, you check out their profile. The same works in reverse. If you follow people who will genuinely be interested in your brand, when they check your profile out, there’s a greater chance they will follow you back. A side benefit to this the ability to find more trending hashtags for your use on future posts.
  9. Take some time and engage with the community. It will make you look more credible and involved. People will see your thoughtful comments and might just check your profile out and follow you. If anyone responds to your comments, it’ll show up on their Activity tab, exposing you to their (and potentially yours!) followers. Lastly, Instagram, like Facebook, loves engagement. More engagement = more reward.
  10. Tags. Make sure to tag relevant users. They might just share the post, giving you more exposure. Do not tag random, irrelevant people, that’s a good way to get unfollowed or even blocked. Go one step further with tags and ask your followers to tag their friends. You can even run a contest, requiring followers to tag a friend to be entered to win. This is a great way to gain more exposure to people you otherwise wouldn’t have reached.
  11. Instagram Stories. You NEED to be using stories if you want more followers. Almost half of the most viewed stories are from businesses. Stories are a great way to boost engagement. In fact, nearly 20% of stories result in direct messages. Don’t forget to use hashtags, interactive features, and locations in your story as well.
  12. Go Live – don’t be shy! Going live is proving to have a great impression on followers. It shows them a real and relatable side of you or your brand. Users will be alerted when you go live and even if they don’t tune in, it will remain on your story for 24 hours after. TIP – try going live with a friend, it’s a great way to reach each other’s audiences and gain great exposure!
  13. Use Highlights Wisely – have a great strategy for your highlighted content. Make sure the content is organized and concise. This prime real estate on your profile is basically a showcase, use it wisely!

Instagram is a great tool for your brand and business. Be consistent, post often and post quality content. You’ll have more followers in no time. If you need additional help, reach out – Stade Marketing is here for you!