For whatever unfounded reason, most companies still completely ignore Instagram when building their social media strategy. With over 400 million monthly users and by far the highest per-follower engagement rate, it’s about time we start considering Instagram, a vital part of the corporate ‘social media bundle’.
With that in mind, here are 4 foolproof ways to quickly grow your Instagram followers, and turn your idle community into raving fans of your brand.
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1. Overuse your #’s
Instagram hashtags are a content marketer’s dream come true, times 30. When it comes to how many hashtags you should use, the more, the merrier always seems to be the answer. Instagram allows up to 30 tags per image or video. According to various studies, posts with 11 or more hashtags have repeatedly shown the highest per-follower interaction rate.
Unlike Twitter, Instagram users simply aren’t as bothered by excessive tagging, allowing you to experiment and oversaturate without annoying your followers. But how do you know which hashtags to use?
2. Avoid ‘hashtag roulette’
Properly using hashtags is everything in the Instagram game: get them right, and your audience will not only be larger but also uniquely relevant to your brand. Proper hashtag research, then, is the first step to getting Insta-noticed (I’m so sorry). Ironically, it’s also the one most people decide to skip altogether.
There are several ways to identify the best hashtags for your post. Start by researching the main influencers within your niche. What type of hashtags are they using? Are there any industry-wide tagging patterns that you can identify?
Once you have a workable hashtag list, it’s time to probe further. Sites like Hashtagify.me help you find related tags that might also be worth your while, along with their relative popularity. RiteTag, on the other hand, tells you which of the tags you’ve chosen are likely to work well, and which are already painfully overworked.
Another thing to consider as part of your long-term Instagram strategy is creating a branded hashtag for your business. Your company’s name, motto or one of your campaign slogans can all work great as unique hashtags for your followers to use and multiply your reach.
3. Know your filters
With over 60 million photos uploaded daily, several best practices for using Instagram filters have emerged over the last year. According to one of these studies, filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed at all, and almost 50% as likely to be commented on compared to filterless pics. But which filters perform best?
Photos with higher exposure generally have more views, and warmer filters translate to more comments on average, the study finds. On the other hand, saturation and age effects were both related to lower follower engagement.
In other words, consider favouring filters such as Slumber and Hefe to cooler tones of Reyes and Claredon. It’s also worth noting that images with a single dominant colour tend to work better, especially if the dominant colour is blue. Still, due to Instagram’s preference for heavily filtered images, it’s probably wise to take these findings with a grain of salt when posting on other platforms.
4. Don’t be afraid to cross the streams
Instagram makes it easy for anyone to share their images and videos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. If you already have an established fan base on any of these channels, cross-promoting your Instagram content is an easy way to boost your following.
But don’t stop at just sharing. Adding an Instagram feed to your Facebook page makes your fans constantly aware of your (hopefully active) Instagram account. In terms of leveraging your Facebook community, this works much better than asking your fans to follow you on Instagram every now and again.
If you own a website or a blog, consider also going beyond mere social media buttons. Adding a hashtagged Instagram feed to your blog is an excellent way to organically grow your Instagram followers. It’s a win-win, as long as the feed doesn’t interfere with your site’s UI.
Do you often use images in your blog posts? If so, why not upload those photos to Instagram first, and embed them in your blog instead? That way, the readers of your blog get to directly engage with your Instagram activity, in a way that actually makes sense rather than feeling forced.