The success of the image-sharing networks, Pinterest and Instagram, shows the significant marketing potential of social media. Since their launch in 2010, the two platforms have established themselves as big players in both the British market and worldwide. However, business owners considering these platforms for marketing campaigns should be aware of their differences in order to assess whether...
In 2010, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger released a free service for online photo sharing, which they then sold just two years later to the social media giant Facebook, for the record-breaking sum of one billion US dollars. We’re talking of course about Instagram, the social network that focuses on image sharing. Back then, there were just 12 employees working on a site that has since broken 500 million active users as of June 2016.
Celebrities like sports stars, actors, and models have discovered the potential of this service. They use Instagram as a marketing tool, which has increased since 2013, when Instagram introduced the option of publishing short video clips. These celebrities post regular selfies from their private or working life, giving the general public an insight into their everyday activities and surroundings. By doing so, they increase interest and in turn get more Instagram followers. Companies, on the other hand, tend to be quite restrained in their Instagram use, particularly since the Facebook-owned social network doesn’t currently offer a specific corporate user profile. This means that no legal information can be displayed on user profiles. But, provided you have the right strategy, Instagram can prove to be a very useful tool for companies when it comes to online marketing. The same applies to businesses as does to celebrities: The more followers on Instagram you have, the more effective your activity will be.
The best tips for more followers on Instagram
Getting lots of Instagram followers in a short space of time seems like a walk in the park if you believe the numerous articles and tutorials dedicated to this topic online. They make promises such as “500 new followers in an hour, 10,000 in a week – all with the help of ‘one simple trick’”. And just like Facebook and other social media services, there are plenty of suspicious offers to buy an amount of followers for a price, too.
The big problem with these methods is the lack of sustainability. By buying followers, you’re actually missing the very purpose of a large following: you don’t just need more followers on Instagram, you need real people – active, interested followers. This is because the only way you’re going to increase your reach and generate new followers is by having your original followers ‘like’ your photos and leave comments on your posts. It’s also important to consider that users don’t automatically receive all posts from a profile they follow: they instead get a filtered selection based on relevance, which is calculated by Instagram’s algorithms. This means that users who follow you will not see any of your new updates on their news feeds in the long run if they are not engaged with your posts, because this gives Instagram an impression of disinterest.
So the goal for anyone active on Instagram should be to get Instagram followers who will actually see your posts. In the best case scenario, they will also post a comment and share your content with their friends and followers. We’ve collected a list of Instagram tips for you to consider in your aims to succeed in this.
Optimise your profile and content
To get more followers on Instagram, your content and concept have to be well defined and set in stone. Remember that all entries you post will represent both your company and your brand, so they should be focused on the most distinctive features that set you apart. We recommend that you take the time to decide on a suitable motif or theme. If you’re in doubt about something, it’s best not to post, particularly if there’s no clear reason for doing so. Since Instagram is predominantly focused on photos and videos, it goes without saying that the quality of your images, graphics, and video clips is very important. Unlike selfie-posting celebrities and entertainers, you should aim to make sure your content is uploaded in the highest possible quality (up to 2048 x 2048 pixels). By doing so, you can also avoid using one of the typical Instagram filters, which regular users can spot a mile off.
Like all social media pages you run, your Instagram account should be thought of as a flagship. Choose a suitable user name and a meaningful profile picture to arouse the interest of users and create a brand identity. Provided it fits to what your company offers, it can be worthwhile to make use of a thematic Instagram account topic like food, photography, animals, or fashion for your own account. Specialist profiles that are focused on a specific topic - and stick to it - tend to have the most followers. If you can ensure a harmonious blend of concept and posts, you’ll build up a trust with your fans, leading to more likes, comments, shares, and ultimately more Instagram followers.
Use the right hashtags
Hashtags are the central means of organisation on Instagram. By including these keywords, you can organise your posts thematically on the platform. More important still is to find hashtags that fit well to you and your image or video posts. Don’t be afraid to have a look around for some inspiration from your competition – particularly if they’ve been active on Instagram for much longer than you have. But it’s also essential to carry out your own research. The website top-hashtags.com is great for revealing usage figures for the top trending hashtags, updated daily. Top hashtags include:
- #tbt (Throwback Thursday)
You should bear in mind that the most popular hashtags also have the highest competition, meaning that a good mix between common, popular hashtags and your own creative ideas is the best balance. Although you can choose up to 30 different tags per post, using this many isn’t recommended. For most images and video clips, 5-10 terms will be enough to add to your reach without annoying users. To keep track of your hashtags and avoid having to type them in manually every time you go to post, apps like TagsForLikes [Homepage of the TagsForLikes app] (http://tagsforlikes.com/) can be very useful. These apps allow you to save your choices and simply copy-and-paste them in later for other posts.
Just as on any social network, sharing and exchanging information with your followers on a daily basis is one of the most important tasks. This is also the easiest way to increase your Instagram followers. By including questions and call-to-actions with your photos or videos, you can motivate users to comment on your post. The more original you can be with this, the better. And if you can do so by using a hashtag too, you might manage to create a brand identity or even start off a new trend.
There’s another central key to success when it comes to publishing material on Instagram: timing. You could have the best photo ever, complete with excellent and original hashtags to prompt a great debate, but if you post at the wrong time (i.e. when most of your target group are offline), your results will reflect that. Until Instagram unveils their company profile with user statistics (planning and development is underway for this), it’s recommended to take advantage of analysis tools like Iconosquare. Services like this offer a wide range of statistics about the activity of your followers and the success of your individual posts. Exploring these statistics can help you to optimise your Instagram strategy.
The following Instagram tips are also worth considering when it comes to networking:
- React to comments and likes: you should show interest in your followers, replying to their comments when it makes sense to and thanking them for their likes if a post receives a particularly high number.
- Make contacts: interaction with other Instagrammers is actually the founding philosophy of the image network. If you comment on or like the posts of other users that you follow, you’ll give yourself the best chance of having it reciprocated. An alternative strategy would be to cooperate with influencers.
- Geotagging: listing where a photo or video was captured isn’t relevant for every company. But if you operate internationally, or if you’re actually specifically localized, providing a location for posts can help you command more respect from your followers and reach your regional target group more easily.
- Link your Instagram account to other social media accounts: if you’re also present on other platforms, it’s worthwhile to link them to your Instagram profile. But make sure you also offer exclusive content for each network individually, rather than only posting the same image across several social networks.
Things to avoid when searching for followers
There are certain things that are best avoided by anyone trying to get more Instagram followers. As previously mentioned, this includes buying followers. While this strategy isn’t actually banned under the Instagram guidelines, tools or scripts that enable you to publish posts from your profile automatically are strictly forbidden. The details of this and other restrictions can be found in Instagram’s terms and conditions.
Rules and regulations aside, there are other things to avoid. Poorly thought-out posts, bad hashtag strategies, and excessive uploads can all have negative impacts on your Instagram page. Even though it’s possible to delete posts later, you should plan in advance to make sure your content and keywords are positive with a clear effect in mind. This is especially true of hashtags, which can go very wrong very quickly if not properly thought out. You should also avoid using popular hashtags on your posts that are out of context. Needless to say, automatically generated hashtag groups very rarely achieve anything.
How to get Instagram followers: a summary
The Instagram tips below will increase your chances of raising your company’s status on the platform. Don’t panic if your follower count only grows very slowly at first – it’s highly unusual to see a massive and sudden increase in followers for serious, long-term projects. Pay attention to the following basic rules at all times:
- Specialise in a particular topic
- Create high-quality and interesting content
- Use a good mix of popular and original hashtags
- Only post when you have something meaningful to post
- Only post when your followers are actually online
- Connect with your followers through questions and call-to-actions
- Network with other Instagrammers and popular influencers
- Link your Instagram account to other social media accounts your company operates