Someone once said, “What is better than money” and another replied, “More money.”
In the same manner, the only thing better than a huge audience on Instagram is more followers.
You can employ some strategies to grow your following organically.
Use relevant hashtags
Knowing the right way to use hashtags can help you to astronomically increase exposure for your page. Constantly posting in related hashtags can help you double the number of your followers in no time.
I have witnessed this – there was this particular hashtag that was trending in 2017 – even though the hashtag had nothing to do with my niche, I quickly jumped in and creatively created a post using the hashtag. That single action helped me gain more than 150 followers in one day.
In this game, creatively is required – you must be creative and think outside the box. Because everybody is posting a picture of them and their dogs using #DogLovers does not mean you must post a picture of you and your dog in the same hashtag.
You can post in the hashtag, but make sure you are saying something unique, this way, your post will not get buried in the ocean of other posts being made using the hashtag.
When you click on Instagram’s search box and type a particular seed word or keyword and precede it with the # sign, you will see thousands of posts made using the hashtag or keyword.
When users are looking for a particular thing, they simply type the hashtag into the search box, and Instagram will return thousands of posts made using the hashtag for the interested user to find what they are looking for.
Hashtags are used the same you type in search queries when you want to find something on Google. You type in the keyword or phrase you are looking for, and Google returns many results for you to select the ones that appeal to you.
Hashtags just like Google keywords can be used in two ways – someone searching for content can use hashtags to find what they are looking.
Making posts using niche relevant hashtag is one of the excellent ways to reach a wider audience and increase the number of your followers.
People who are following hashtags are individuals who are highly interested in a particular niche.
If you are able to capture their interest and make them follow your page, then you have some targeted followers already, and you may not find it hard to convert them into willing buyers.
You can use up to 30 hashtags in a post, which is the maximum that Instagram allows.
However, you might consider using only 10 or even lesser – it is not the number of hashtags you use that counts, what matters more is: are the hashtags relevant to your niche? How many posts have been made using the hashtag?
A lot of Instagram marketers are naturally drawn to making posts using hashtags that have more than a million posts already. They normally think that the higher the number of posts a hashtag has, the better; however, that is not entirely true.
You should be targeting hashtags with longerterm keywords and less than 50,000 posts. Such hashtags are more targeted, and users who follow them or search for them are more targeted than those that follow general hashtags.
You are on Instagram to build a business and a brand, so, you need to niche down a lot to find the ideal customer you are looking for. That perfect customer you are searching for may not be those searching for general hashtags, but hashtags with long term keywords.
The key is to find hashtags where your posts can maintain the top spot for some time. Once your post can comfortably keep the top spot in a niche relevant hashtag for some time, you are sure to get engagements and new targeted followers.
Post consistently at least once a day at the right time
To always keep your audience engaged, you need to post at least, 2 times a day. Minimum of two posts a day and a maximum of 3 posts.
Anything more than 3 posts a day will come across as spamming, and social media users hate spam.
Depending on where the majority of your followers live, you would want to make your first post between 8:00 am and 9:00 am while your second post should be made around 2:00 pm.
It has been proven countless times that Instagram posts record a higher level of engagement during these mentioned hours.
This is not an absolute fact though; you have to do some trial and error until you arrive at what works for you and your audience.
If you cannot keep up with creating two original posts every day, you could consider curating useful posts from other sources and sharing with your followers, this you must do sparingly, and always give credit to owners of the post when necessary.
The folks at Ingramer analyzed 258,956 pics of the top 20 marks from 11 businesses to find the best time to post on Instagram.
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- Tourism and travel – Friday from 9:00 to 13:00
- Media and entertainment – Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00 to 15:00
- Food and Drink – Friday 12:00
- Retail – Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 12:00
- Technologies – Monday and Tuesday at 14:00
To make the job of posting consistently easy for you, consider using instagram automation. With a post scheduler, you can prepare many posts in advance, and the app will publish the post at specified times of the day. Using a post scheduler is a great way to free up time.
Tag your location
Instagram, just like the other social media platforms allows you to tag people and location in your posts. The same way that using hashtags helps interested users to find your post when they search, tagging your location will help those who are interested in businesses within a particular location to locate and interact with your page.
In addition to helping improve the visibility of your business on Instagram, location tagging also enables you to send a message to your prospective followers or customers; it reminds them that your business is active within your local community.
When looking for companies to follow, Instagram users often look out for those businesses that are active within their community. So, always use location tagging to improve your visibility.
Run simple contests for your followers
Let’s face it, we all love freebies, and we are often on the lookout for free stuff, even though many of us have been warned to despise free meals. Organizing contests and giveaways serve two purposes – it could serve as your own way of giving back to your loyal community. Secondly, you can use it to increase your audience.
When you offer freebies to people, it serves to influence their behavior, albeit unconsciously. If an individual receives a gift from you, typically the person would appreciate the present and look for ways of paying you back.
For your followers, their own way of paying you back may be to remain committed to your brand. It works almost all the time, like a charm, give people something, and you have them in your palms because they are going to feel morally obligated to you.
Contests could include asking your followers to recreate one of your posts, post it on their page with a hashtag, invite others to like the post and follow your page, then the post with the highest number of likes wins the contest.
Another contest idea is to ask them to share your post, and the person that receives the highest number of likes on the shared post wins. This second contest idea is more practical, and many people would love to take part in it.
You must not limit yourself to just the two contest ideas mentioned above. Creatively come up with more, while putting your niche and the type of audience you have into consideration.
As for the giveaway to present to the winners, it does not have to be something expensive – there are no perfect giveaways. Think creatively, put your audience and niche into consideration and come up with an appropriate giveaway that the winners of your contest will appreciate.
Document your business with IG stories
These days, people are only comfortable doing business with those they trust – you cannot just push a product or service to people and expect them to buy.
First, you have to break the wall that buyers have built around them, and you can only do this by getting them to trust you and your brand.
When it comes to getting prospects to trust you, you can only do it by appealing to their emotional side.
Today’s buyers follow their emotions when buying and justify logically. If you want to appeal to their feelings and get them to trust you; you must come across to them as a friend.
Now, what do friends do?
Friends share things with others; they discuss, care about the welfare of each other. They don’t just walk up to each other and tell them, “I have this product; buy it.” Instead, they engage each other in a discussion and explore the benefits of something together.
So, if you want your followers to see you as a friend and trust you more, you have to show them behind the scenes part of your business.
You can do this using Instagram stories. If you show people the processes your products go through before it gets to them, they are going to feel that you are keeping them in the know, and they would want to reciprocate this gesture by actually buying your product.
Also, they will get to appreciate the hard work that goes into your business – this way; they will also appreciate the final product.
So, use Instagram stories to document your business processes, it does not only help to build trust, but it also helps you retain your loyal followers.
Start conversations with Instagram stories and questions
Your activities on Instagram should not be a one-way street – you should not just post content that appears on the newsfeed of your followers where they could just comment and scroll to the next post.
Sometimes, you need to start conversations – this is one of the things that help you to build a loyal cult-like following.
In the past, it was easier to keep Instagram users engaged using normal posts, but these days, you have to do more, because unlike in the past, an average Instagram user now follows many other pages, and if you are not ready to keep them engaged, another account is ready to do it, and they will leave you for those who are ready to put in some effort.
So, it is necessary for you to, once in a while, start up conversations with your followers using Instagram stories.
You can use the polls feature in Instagram stories to improve engagement and let your followers ask questions about your business as well as state what they like about your business and what they don’t like.
The responses you gather from the polls can go a long way in helping you to improve your business and your activities on Instagram.