September 6, 2017

14 Ways to Increase Your Business’ Followers on Instagram

Published: 6 September 2017 

If you run a business, it’s common knowledge that a presence on social media is vital for your marketing strategy. But are some ways more effective than others? Here are 14 simple ways to grow your audience and draw people toward your business.


1. Use hashtags that are popular, but not spammy.
Did you know that posts with at least one Instagram hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag? All hashtags are not created equal. Using hashtags that get too much attention usually results in your photo being lost in a flurry of unrelated posts. A good rule of thumb is this: If a hashtag has more than 150,000 posts on it, you should probably choose another one.


2. Collaborate with other influencers or pages (giveaways, shoutouts etc).
Pages that work with others tend to succeed because they are reaching a wide range of people that are guaranteed to be already interested in their product. For example, if you initiate a fitness based giveaway with a fitness model or gym ambassador, those followers are very likely to convert well to your page. Additionally, giveaways and shoutouts that require users to follow your page and tag other accounts are a good way to get people excited about your product and spread knowledge about your business.


3. Use bright, light photos
Photos that are bright and “happy” tend to get more likes than those that are dark- additionally, photos that have a blue base tend to perform better than those with mainly red. Photos that use humor are also effective because you are giving followers a reason to smile, and who doesn’t love doing that?


4. Ask questions in your captions
Asking a question in the caption is a great way to encourage your followers to engage and connect with your content on a deeper level. Typing a response back to an account makes you much more likely to remember that post after leaving the app, and you’ll also get a good idea of what your customers want more of!


5. Quality of content always beats quantity of content.
Don’t post a low quality photo just because it is semi-relatable to your brand, and be careful to put a lot of time into the actual shooting of the photos. Blurry photos and hard to understand captions are a great way to lose the attention of  your customer base. Photos should be clear, easy to understand, and not too posed... Photos that feel overly staged can seem disingenuous.


6. Promote your IG on all of your other media outlets
Each of your social media accounts should link back to the other components of your marketing strategy. Not only should the web reflect the connection between media outlets, but you should promote them in your actual place of business as well. Encouraging people that enter your store to visit your instagram is a great way to make them follow you… You’ve already created an in person connection and they are more likely to follow you because of it. Better Buzz Coffee in San Diego  is very good at this, with hashtags decorating the storefront and a link to their social media clearly available on the site.


7. Create a dedicated hashtag for your brand, and encourage people to post to it
This should be in your bio and used in your giveaways. This will encourage your followers to engage with your brand and share it with their own followers as well. Offering an incentive for posting, such as a free sample or a discount code is also a good way to encourage user generated content for your page, and get low-cost advertising simultaneously.


8. Build an ambassador program
Ambassador programs are a great way to spread your photos across a lot of pages. Ambassadors with required posts will up your engagement with their own followers, and they have a greater chance of getting reposted by their followers which benefits your business as well. While they can be complicated, there are several options to outsource an ambassador program and allow a third party to help you along the way.


9. Engage with your target audience.
Neil Patel ran an experiment and found out that for every 100 photos he liked on Instagram, he gained 6 followers.
This is a great, but time consuming method to raise the amount of followers you have. If you don’t have 6 hours a day to invest in liking, commenting, and following other pages, a good option is to hire a specialist to do it for you.


10. Use Insights to determine the best time to post
The Insights portion of your IG page can be extremely helpful in figuring out what time of the day your followers are most active. Especially with businesses, your followers may not be in the same time zone as you- which means that they aren’t getting optimal engagement. Here are a few of the important things to look at and how to interpret them.


11. Use geotagging, especially if you are a small business or a travel blogger
Geotags are especially important now with the added feature of story locations. Story locations gather all of the posts within an area and display them publicly, which makes it easier to discover your restaurant or business when they are visiting a new place. Gone are the days of walking into a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with no sense of what lies inside… People like to know what to expect before they enter a business, and Stories can help you build an online reputation without investing a fortune.


12. Post relevant, attractive photos that will garner attention from your target audience
No one likes to scroll through a profile and have to search for what your company does- if it’s unclear what you offer to the customer, they’ll lose interest quickly. Social Media is a very flighty quadrant of advertising, and if you don’t offer clear differences between you and the coffee shop next door, you’ll likely miss out on business.


13. Check your insights often to see which posts are performing well and which aren’t
Insights can also tell you which posts have received the greatest amount of likes, reach and engagement- which helps you to continue doing those things. You can find how many accounts have access to your story, how many of them view the entirety of it, and even see if they have saved it to their phone. Check these often, and tailor your media strategy accordingly.


14. Tell a story with your photos
Making a cohesive and connected profile is a great way to encourage people to continue engaging with your page over time- leave them wanting more and you’ll have more loyal followers that want to see your updates. There are many pages that do this well, one of which is @humansofny. It’s hard not to click that follow button when you are eagerly awaiting the next post!

These techniques are great for businesses that has potential but lack growth and desire a strong presence on social media. Instagram is one of the leading spaces for business marketing, and with these tips in tow, you’ll be able to see and track the positive results!


Bio: Kaley Hart is a San Diego based digital strategist and writes for Jumper Media social media marketing column. She loves working with small businesses, and telling their stories through social media. Kaley is very talented, but her most impressive quality is the ability to identify any dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. Go Bruins! You can connect with her on Twitter @kaleyhearts

Ben Maden

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