The first step to increasing your reach on Instagram is to establish and grow your Instagram audience. This means you need to be reaching out to new followers on a regular basis. How does one grow an Instagram audience?
While it isn’t hard, it does take a some time and effort each week.
We’ll quickly cover some of the most successful ways to consistently grow your Instagram following.
Post Regularly With Your Target Instagram Audience In Mind
Your first and most important task is to post regularly and to post content your target audience is looking for. Instagram is at its core driven by content. Unlike some other platforms, the content here is images and to a lesser degree “stories” or short little video clips.
It’s a visual storytelling medium, and you need to use it as such to have a chance at gaining and attentive audience.
Yes, you can go online and find people who will promise to add 2,000 Instagram followers to your account. But is this really the kind of growth you’re looking for though You’re much better off with 20 people who are interested in what you do and what you can do for them, than having a following of 2,000 auto-generated Instagram accounts.
Remember, that at the end of the day it’s about connecting with real people that make up your target market.
What posting regularly means is up to you. For some people, it means a couple of image posts per week. For others, it’s multiple times per day.
Experiment to see what works for you. At the end of the day, the key is to be consistent and to put some thought into your posts.
Hashtags are a great tool to help other people find your Instagram posts and account.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say you write cookbooks and are marketing them through Instagram. You create some of your signature dishes from your cookbook and post the images of beautifully plated food on Instagram. Using a hashtag like #foodporn can help foodies find you and what you have to offer.
While general tags like #love, #funny, #summer and the likes get a lot of use and traction, they aren’t great at getting you in touch with your target audience.
Instead, get as accurate as possible by finding hashtags that are actively being used by your target audience.
For example, in addition to using tags like #instafood and #foodporn, you could use tags like #ketodiet or #cleaneating if your product focuses on eating a healthy, whole food based diet. While you may not have quite as many Instagram users find you, you will find the ones who would be truly interested in what your brand, and not just looking for the latest brownie recipe.
Think quality over quantity when it comes to the reach and use of Instagram hashtags.
Run Instagram Contests
Another great strategy for getting an almost instant boost in your follower numbers is to run a contest on Instagram. Contests are a proven way to gain attention and traction on this popular social media platform and are done by small business owners, like ourselves, right alongside major brands. It’s something anyone can do and benefit from.
All you need is:
✓ A concept for the contest
✓ A timeline
✓ A valuable prize for the winners
For example, you could use one of your products as the prize. This has the added advantage of getting more exposure for the items you’re selling, and, hopefully, more sales.
Let’s say you sell cups with motivational phrases or drawings on them. You could hold a contest where you ask people to follow you, like one of your posts, and post an image of their favorite mug to be entered to win.
You then draw a winner from among all participants and send them the cup of their choice. If you don’t have a product of your own, you can give away the occasional gift card as a contest prize and still benefit from this attention grabbing strategy.
Using a custom hashtag for your contest makes it easy to track participants and helps you reach even more people as your contests gain in popularity.
Play With Paid Advertising
Since Instagram is now part of the Facebook family, getting in front of a larger audience through paid advertising is easier than ever.
If you’re already running Facebook ads, consider expanding into Instagram. If you’re new to paid advertising, both Facebook and Instagram Ads are easy and inexpensive ways to advertise.
You can reach more people on Instagram and invite them to follow you, check out what you do, and click through to your website.
Start with a small daily budget and start to get some hands-on experience. Once you figure out an advertising strategy that works for you and your business, you can turn open the faucet and explode your growth through targeted ads.
Leverage Your Customers To Grow Your Instagram Audience
By far, the most valuable asset in your target audience is your existing clients.
Why not encourage them to share what they already love and use on Instagram? It’s the perfect way to generate social proof that will draw others to what you have to offer.
The easiest way to do this is to simply email your customers and ask them to share a picture and either tag you or use a branded hashtag. Let them know that you would love to see how they are using your products. This will get you quite a bit of social interaction and their friends will see.
If you want to kick it up a notch, you can offer them a special coupon code or a bonus in exchange for sharing your products on Instagram.
Collaborate With Other Instagram Marketers
It takes time and effort to build an Instagram following, and you’re not the only one doing it to market your business.
There are other savvy Instagram marketers out there who work just as hard to reach a similar target audience. Why not combine forces and collaborate with them?
You may have done something similar to grow your email list if you’ve been marketing your business for a while. If you haven’t, it’s something you should start to look into.
The idea is that you mail for another marketer and they return the favor. The result is that you both grow your list.
You repost one of their Instagram posts and invite your followers to check them out, and they do the same for you in return. You can make it a regular thing you do for each other every couple of months for continual growth. Then repeat with other marketers who are in your niche. This strategy works best if you can find people who market to the same target audience, but have a product that doesn’t compete directly with yours. If it complements what you’re selling, all the better.
Don’t Get Distracted – Stick To Your Niche
Since we’re on the topic of niches and audiences, we can’t stress enough how important it is when you’re using Instagram to market your business.
It’s easy to grow a following quickly with funny images and puny quotes that have nothing to do with what you have to offer. It’s easy to attract the general public to your Instagram feed, but that’s not what you want.
Instead, you want a small, but highly targeted following, and for that to happen, you need to stick to your niche. Don’t get side-tracked. Review your feed every couple of weeks and make sure you’re staying on message.
Remember: Quality Over Quantity
To sum it up, when it comes to Instagram followers, you want to go with quality over quantity. Sure it looks good and strokes your ego when you can add a couple of hundred new followers per week. If they aren’t a part of your target market, however, you’re wasting your time.
The wrong type of Instagram followers will add not a single dime to your bottom line.
Sure, you can head to sites like Fiverr.com and buy a bunch of followers to inflate your numbers. That’s all it will do though. It will not help you grow your reach or get your posts in front of any more people for that matter.
Go after high-quality followers who are interested in what you have to offer. The same goes for your posts. Focus on a well-thought-out post with quality images, instead of hitting an arbitrary daily number of posts. A few good images with great captions per week will do you more good than five mediocre ones per day.
Keep all these tips in mind and continue to work on your Instagram feed regularly. When you stick with it and use it as a tool to get out in front of more potential customers, your follower numbers and the results you see from your Instagram marketing will continue to improve.