Many businesses are creating social media accounts to advertise and get more sales. It’s the perfect place to inform followers about the business and any promotions that are going on.

Since social media has become mainstream, some companies make an Instagram account and use email promotions to advertise their social media accounts. However, does this increase their number of followers?

Remember that everyone has to start somewhere. This article is here give you ideas and tips on how to grow an Instagram account. There are an assortment of ways to increase your followers on Instagram, but here are seven different ways that will help you plan and stand out from the rest.

1. Identify Your Audience & Niche

This may seem obvious, but it’s something that people forget to do. Some people may think it’s not worth using social media if their target audience is adults, but that’s not the case. Even though Oberlo shows that 71% of Instagram’s 1 billion users are under 35 years old, 29% of those 1 billion users are over 35 years old.

Source: Oberlo

By doing some quick math, we can tell that 290 million of those users are over 35 years old.

So even if your target audience is older, there’s still plenty of people to follow you on Instagram.

Identify who you want to follow you and post videos, stories, or photos based on your target audience. If you can identify your target audience, you can cater your Instagram to that audience and increase your followers.

Think of it this way: if your target audience is young adults, then they will be friends with other young adults. If they like posts on your Instagram or re-gram those posts, then others in your target audience will see it, which will increase the odds of others following your Instagram.

It’s easy to fall into the rabbit hole and post whatever content goes viral and is trendy. Sure you’ll gain followers – probably not the type of followers you want. It may seem time consuming to figure out your audience, but the payoff is there.

Make sure to spend some time with your company and determine who your target audience is, then adjust your profile and posts based on that information. This may appear to be the standard answer, but that’s because it works. If you want certain people to follow you, you need to present your profile in a way that attracts them.

2. Interact with Others on Instagram

While this one seems simple, it provides exposure to your Instagram profile and it will get people to follow you. Liking or commenting on other people’s profiles will send them a notification. If they get a notification, then they might check your profile.

.. and start following ideally.

Thing is.

People use social media to interact with others. It’s a two-way-street.

If you’re just posting content and not interacting, you’re not going to do well in terms of growing an audience.

If you comment and interact with the community, people will remember that there’s a real person behind that profile and they are more likely to follow you.

Walmart’s Instagram Profile is a good example of interacting with fans. Looking at their profile on December 2019, I can see that they have over 2 million followers and nearly 2000 posts.

Not only do they have millions of followers, but they interact with people on Instagram, giving them more of a presence.

Walmart goes out of their way to comment on other people’s replies to their posts.

They show that they are interested in interacting, and because of this, people respond to their posts.

They take the time to respond to multiple people on each post, showing that they interact with their followers.

The simple act of interacting adds so much to the profile, because it shows people that you value what they say and you think that they are important.

Not to mention people commenting getting a reply makes them comment again in the future.

And what happens when people keep constantly commenting on your posts?

Bingo!

Instagram starts pushing the content into more and more feeds.

This is how you get your account discovered by new people and gain a lot of new followers on a constant basis.

If a company with 2 million followers can regularly reply to their followers, so can you.

3. Chose Your Driver Strategy

Sometimes, the best strategy for growing your audience isn’t clear.

So what the heck is a Driver Strategy?

Yeah, I just made that up.

In short, all accounts are different and what works best for me doesn’t necessary mean it works best for you.

It may take some experimenting to see what works best. For example, you could post some pictures and only get a few views, likes, and comments, but you could post a 1 minute video and get even more traffic on your profile.

It’s important to remember that Instagram provides a variety of ways to interact with your followers – stories, photos, live, IGTV, videos, comments, likes and direct messages.

Because of this, test the waters with different approaches to see what works best for your audience. It may seem intimidating to try different approaches, but that’s the best way to find out what will work.

It’s not only what gives the best results, but what you’re most comfortable of doing and gives more outcome with less effort.

In my opinion, the best way to track your Instagram success is through profile views.

This gives you an understanding how much traffic your Instagram profile gets. Sure, likes and comments show that people are interacting, but there are plenty of people who lurk on Instagram.

Lurkers are people that view profiles and information but don’t interact. These people (your potential followers and customers) are as important as the ones that like and comment.

Because profile views include people that lurk, it can provide more accurate information on profile traffic than engagement on posts.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does profile traffic change based on when I post a photo of my breakfast?
  • Do I get more profile views when I comment or like accounts based on certain hashtag?
  • Do I get more traffic when I post videos, stories, or photos?
  • Are the comments on my posts positive or meaningless?

By keeping these questions in mind, it will be easier to focus on activities that work and grow your audience the fastest.

4. Spend Some Time Brainstorming and Innovating

One of the most valuable tools a person has is time: it’s one of the few resources in life that cannot be replenished.

Ok so what?

Think of your Instagram account as your business (if it actually isn’t).

If a company is willing to spend time thinking of ideas and solutions that will put them ahead of competition why shouldn’t you?

I used to lead a variety of clubs at my college, so we would meet at least once a week to train and discuss creative ways to solve problems and advance ourselves.

Since there were always many people involved with different backgrounds, everyone had different ideas and solutions that helped each other out. It was common that new ideas that weren’t thought of or done before were born on the spot.

You might be wondering: “This is applicable to Instagram how?”

Well in marketing and business you’re more likely to win if you’re doing something unexpected and new. To get these ideas either brainstorm among yourself or seek out communities, forums, Facebook groups where people discuss about the very same thing.

And if you can’t find any that you like or feel like is the right now, then why not start your own group.

We have also put together a private Facebook Instagram coaching group where we share tips and tricks and come up with new creative ways to grow our presence on Instagram.

If you’re interested come and join! (here’s more information)

Maybe you’ll find an idea or an approach for your Instagram profile that hasn’t been suggested yet.

What is the innovation that will lead to your Instagram growth?

5. Host an Instagram Contest or a Giveaway

People love having the opportunity to win stuff, especially if there’s nothing for them to lose.

Think about it: when people visit restaurants, sometimes those restaurants will let people leave their business cards to enter into a drawing. They don’t lose anything by doing it, so of course they’re going take their chances.

This is why Instagram giveaways are popular.

According to Tailwind, profiles see a 70% increase in Instagram followers whenever a company has a contest. Why does something as simple as a contest increase followers?

Source: Tailwind

It’s simple: following and liking an account in exchange of a chance to win doesn’t seem that big of a commitment.

After all, they can always unfollow the account once the contest or giveaway has ended.

Giveaways especially work well if you’re partnering up with someone. You can promote each other heavily and also pool resources to have even more desirable prizes. This leads to getting a lot of new followers for both of your accounts.

With giveaways it’s always important to have a desirable prize and do avoid simple monetary prizes like Amazon giftcard as this is how you end up with quite random people who just want the money.

It might work if you’re just building your personal account and you just want to boost up your follower count with any sort of followers.

As a business always think what your ideal followers want. What problems they have what extra equipment you could giveaway that will bring home the sale of the main product later on.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the more you share your giveaway the more successful you’ll be. I recommend promote your offer everywhere. To add even more power behind it, run ads to your ideal followers.

For example, if you’re giving away a camera – target people interested in photography.

Try this out!

6. Leverage Your Competition Ad Spend

Wait.. what? How do we do that?

It’s actually not that complicated strategy, but definitely something I don’t see too many people doing.

The idea is to find competitors or accounts that promote their posts heavily to the audience the you’re after as well.

The easiest way is to start by making a list of account that you know are your direct competitors. Then think of accounts that are followed by people who might be interested in your content, products and services as well.

For example if you’re selling fitness supplements then brands that sell fitness cloths are a good match as well.

Now the next step would be to go to Facebook Ad Library and figure out which one of these brands run promotions and how many promotions at the same time.

Facebook Ads LibraryIf someone is constantly running something, then it’s very likely they are making good profits and spending a lot of money.

Take Nike for example. In US they have ~12 000 ads live at the same time.

What the f….?

Nike Ads Library

So what can we do with this knowledge? Well firstly you can filter out and see just the Instagram ads.

Now, unfortunately there’s no good way (yet) to visit the ad on your Instagram app or web.

But luckily a lot of brands do remarketing these days which means if you visit their ad destination (the website they are promoting) and browse around a second or two, then it’s very likely you see the ad on your Instagram when you open the app.

Okay cool – you might be wondering.

Now comes the best part.

If you see the ad you can open up the comments and start interacting with other people that have commented and you can leave comments on your own.

“Why is this important again?”

It’s because…

Nike is spending a lot of money promoting that post and when people see the ad some of them will go a check the comments. What will they find there?

Correct!

This is your chance to sell yourself in a non salesy and spammy way (otherwise Nike ads specialist will likely remove your comments) why anyone should come check out your profile.

Here’s an example how I interacted with one the accounts that was selling the idea of getting a lot of followers.

leverage your competition on instagramThe only way you can track if what you’re doing is working or not by simply monitoring your profile visits carefully and not doing other activities at the same time on a larger scale.

7. Use (the Right) Hashtags

Okay so are hashtags even relevant anymore?

Hashtags are a way to connect a post to a specific topic. If enough people use a specific hashtag, it will start trending and will appear in the trending pages of social media.

On Instagram, people can use the search bar to search for new content they are interested. If your post is not tagged with a hashtag you’re seriously limiting your reach.

Moreover, people can actually follow certain hashtags to get new content to their feed every time they go on a scrolling fest.

In short, if you use a popular or trending hashtag, then it could increase the amount of people who see your posts with that hashtag.

Good rule of thumb is to use RELEVANT hashtags and good mix of less popular ones to very popular ones. So start from hashtags that have 20.000 – 100.000 post shares and add in some extremely popular ones that have tens of millions of post shares.

Do you need to use 30 hastags as that’s the limit?

No, not necessarily, but it helps. 10 relevant hashtags are better than 10 relevant + 20 generic ones.

So don’t think you can get away by posting a photo of your cat while using #dogslover.

It’s a silly example, but Instagram knows what your posting, so don’t try to trick it.

Definitely use hashtags and don’t let anyone tell you, “oh hashtags don’t work you shouldn’t use them at all” – that’s crazy talk.

Conclusion

Instagram stands out as a versatile way to communicate and share content with others.

Because of all of the different options, it’s a great way to promote and advertise your business and brand.

Keep in mind, it takes a lot of work to grow a presence on Instagram and online in general.

So instead of being worried about the growth of your followers, track your business growth instead and see what you can do to make your current followers more engaged with your content.

That’s even true if you’re an influencer and your business is selling your reach and followers. Nowadays more and more businesses want to work with micro influencers and the ones that have strong healthy engagement rate rather accounts that have 100k+ followers with low engagement rate.

Instagram gives you different ways to interact with your fans and customers, so make sure to take advantage of those features. By showing that you’re involved and there’s a real person behind your account is what makes it grow.

Let me know what the strategy that you’re planning to use from this post!

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Johannes holds a Masters degree in Business IT. He has more than 7 years of experience in online marketing and holds certifications from Google. Additionally, has helped to develop several start-ups. He enjoys good food and feels slightly awkward talking about himself in third person.