Instagram is no doubt one of the most popular social platforms on the Internet. It’s not only a place for people to connect with friends and family, but also to follow their favorite brands. In fact, 80% of Instagram users follow businesses on Instagram!
This makes it vital for brands to create an Instagram profile to connect with their audience. However, it can be disheartening when you put time, money and countless resources into a social channel that just won’t grow.
Many accounts opt to take the easy route and buy Instagram followers, but we must advise against it. Sure, your number jumps up drastically, but you’re just paying for a number. They are essentially robots, ghost followers and fake. They aren’t going to like your photos, buy your products or engage with the question you asked on your latest post. It’s better to have 100 authentic and engaged followers than 1 million fake followers.
Instead of buying them, you must learn how to organically grow your account! It takes a little (ok, a lot) more time, but it’s incredibly rewarding to reach a goal the correct way. Here are a few tips to organically grow your Instagram account.
How Do You Grow Your Instagram The Organic Way?
1. Post Consistently
In order for users to connect with your account, you must give them something to connect to! People admire brands that are consistent and timely. Utilize a scheduling tool and map out your week ahead of time. This allows you to ensure you have content publishing no matter how busy your week may get.
It’s also important to note that you also must consider what time of the day you are posting for your indicated audience. For example, if your target audience is college students, it’s probably not ideal to schedule an Instagram post for 7:30 AM on Saturday morning.
Instagram offers great information on your audience in the Insights section of your profile on the mobile app. It tells you what day and time your audience is most active – and least active! Be sure to consider this information when scheduling and publishing content for more info on post scheduling you can read one of my previous posts here.
If your audience doesn’t have a clear optimal time, here are a few general times that seem to have the highest Instagram engagement overall:
Wednesday at 3 PM
Thursday at 11 AM, 3 PM and 4 PM
Friday at 5 AM
2. Watch Competition
You can post at the perfect time on the perfect day of the week, but if the content isn’t great, users still will not like it or follow your account to see more. Keep an eye on accounts that have a similar audience target as you. What is working for them? What isn’t? What type of posts generate the most engagement for them? Asking yourself questions like these is a great way to learn what content is performing best for your audience set without having to test it out yourself.
3. Add Variety
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the different options Instagram has to offer! Photo posts are great, but it’s important to give a video a try if resources allow it. In fact, 65% of all ad impressions on Instagram come from videos.
If you don’t have the resources to create videos for Instagram just yet, there are plenty of different options to explore. Instagram Stories has countless ways to customization options including polls, music, question boxes, GIFs and
Snapchat-style video. Instagram users can follow hashtags in Stories just as they can in posts – be sure to use them on each story!
Additionally, IGTV offers the ability to share long-form content on your accounts such as product demos, Q&A sessions and behind-the-scenes tours.
4. Engage With Your Audience
Once you nail down what to post, when and how, chances are you’ll find that users are suddenly engaging with your content through likes and comments. Turn these users into loyal followers by acknowledging their comments! It can seem daunting to respond to every single comment, and if you don’t have time, that’s ok. However, try to be as active as possible. Answering consumer questions on social media drives 49% of fans to purchase, according to Sprout Social. In other words, not answering a simple product question on Instagram can mean a lost sale.
If they ask a question about a product, for example, a missed answer can mean a missed sale!
5. Hashtag, Hashtag, Hashtag
Hashtags are arguably the most important part of achieving organic Instagram growth. It is essentially the way users will find your content if they do not follow you already. A mistake made too often is selecting a handful of hashtags and repeating them post after post. Big mistake! You need to find the best combination of hashtags for each post by selecting a few from each of these four categories:
Branded Hashtags: These should include your company name to generate engagement directly related to your brand.
Trending Tags: If hashtags appearing on the Instagram Explore page are relevant to your brand, incorporate a few on your post to expand reach.
Popular Tags: Think of these as extremely broad hashtags such as #Nature #Detroit and #Food.
Location Tags: Did you know posts with geotags earn up to 79% more engagement? Always, always use hashtags relevant to a location in addition to tagging the actual location in the upper left-hand corner of the post (if applies).
6. Don’t Just Create, Curate!
If you are only posting advertisements for your company and graphics you created, you’re doing it all wrong! Re-gram posts relevant to your brand, post photos of your products that customers have shared and incorporate a few beautiful images into the mix. Over-advertising is one of the most irritating habits a brand can have on social media – and it can often lead to unfollows.
7. Give Something Away
Let your current followers help you out! Consumers are 7 times more likely to buy from a brand that their peers tell them about. Create a giveaway that requires users to like your account and tag friends in the comments to enter. Your existing followers will tag friends that they think will like your brand, who will then most likely enter your contest by liking the page and tagging a few friends as well!
Let the advertisement train continue to motor by asking the winner to share photos of your product (share, share, share). This educates and motivates friends of friends who may not have been entered in the contest how to spread the word, gain visuality about your product or brand and gain momentum for you organically.
Learning how to organically grow followers on your Instagram account isn’t easy it is all about consistency and time. There is no one size fits all strategy as every audience is different – and it takes countless hours of work. However, don’t be tempted by buying followers. Utilize these simple tips to grow your account and follow the steps from the pros. It may be a bit slower, growing your Instagram account organically only costs time, but remember, a few new authentic followers are better than one million fake ones.