How to get more (quality) followers on Instagram | SMMSUMO

Looking to boost your follower numbers on Instagram? For this to be effective for your overall business goals, you’ll need to ensure you’re reaching the right people.

Our Content Manager, Beth, explains how to get more high-quality, relevant Instagram followers who are more likely to convert to customers in the future.

Instagram has over 800,000 users sharing over 250 million pieces of content every single day.

70% of users say they’ve looked up a brand on the platform, and brands enjoy regular engagement with 4% of their total followers, compared to an engagement rate of less than 0.1% on Twitter and Facebook. It’s no wonder Instagram is becoming increasingly popular among brands!

But to maintain high engagement rates, it’s important to be connected with the right people on Instagram. Having thousands of followers is all well and good, but if they aren’t genuinely interested accounts (or worse, if they’re mostly bought), there’s very little to be gained from the platform.

There are plenty of tools out there that can do the legwork for you, following and unfollowing accounts to grow your follower numbers. Lots of brands and individuals use this approach, but ultimately if you want authentic, genuinely engaged followers who are actually going to be interested in your brand and your Instagram content, this method won’t best serve your business goals.

In fact, we’ve previously taken over Instagram accounts from people who have used these tools, and we saw plenty of complaints from frustrated followers because the account had followed and then unfollowed them. Even worse, following tools can automatically unfollow accounts that you want to stay connected to, so it can be frustrating for you, too!

When it comes to using Instagram for business, better quality followers = better quality leads. Let us show you how to gain more followers that are relevant to your brand, in an authentic, genuine way…

Post consistently

Quite simply, the more you post, the more people you’ll reach. Posting regular content will show potential followers that your account is worth following, and it’ll ensure your existing followers stay engaged, and therefore continue to follow you, too.

We know it can be tricky to find the time to take pictures every single day for Instagram. Keeping a high quality, genuinely interesting feed can be hard if you haven’t left the office in a while! Here’s a few tips to help:

  • Build up a bank of images, which you can share when times are a little busier.
  • Take more pictures. For example, if you’re out and about, rather than just taking one picture of where you are, what you’re eating or who you’re with, do all of these! Always look for opportunities to take plenty of pictures throughout the day, as these can then be added to your image bank for future posts.
  • Create graphics – if you’re struggling to find photographs to share, there are plenty of free online tools to make your own graphics. We love Canva!
  • Use a scheduling tool like Schedugram to schedule several posts to go out throughout the week, which saves manually posting each time. Hootsuite have recently added an Instagram scheduling function too.

Post a mix of content

It’s important to think beyond the grid when posting on Instagram. Regularly uploading images to the feed is of course Instagram’s main, and original, function, but you can also make use of Stories and Highlights to help reach more people.

Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, but you can pin the best ones to the top of your feed as Highlights. It’s a good idea to make the most of these features, as it means that anyone visiting your page will see that it’s populated with great content, meaning they’re more likely to give you a follow.

Try experimenting with a mix of images and video content in order to capture the interest of as many relevant people as possible. For example, an image of your product may not necessarily be that interesting to potential new followers, but a video of it being used, or a video of someone talking about or reviewing it, could be.

On that note, your Instagram account shouldn’t only be a means to promote your products or services. Use your page to show off your brand’s personality, a bit of what goes on behind the scenes, places you’re visiting and anything else you’re up to.

Tip: Make sure your images stand out from the crowd! Beautiful, bold, high-quality images are far more likely to attract new followers than generic shots. Experiment with close ups, rather than trying to fit everything in, as people mostly scroll through Instagram on smaller smartphone phone screens.

Do your hashtag research

Are you making the most out of hashtags? These are key to reaching more people on Instagram, and so often brands neglect the power of the hashtag on Instagram. (Sidenote: hashtags won’t reach new followers if your account is private).

Researching the best, most searched for hashtags which are relevant to your business is essential if you are to encourage the right people to follow your page. These are likely to be the people who are actually going to be interested in the products or services your business has to offer.

But how do you do hashtag research on Instagram? You can do some it directly on the platform, or alternatively there are plenty of tools out there to help with this.

When typing hashtags into Instagram, the search bar will bring up lots of related hashtags, telling you how many posts this keyword has. This will give you an idea of how popular these hashtags are, but it’s important to note that the hashtags with the most posts aren’t necessarily the ones which will bring in the most new likers or followers to your post. You’ll need to rummage around a bit to see what other pages similar to yours are using.

Often, it’s the more niche keywords which will bring in the most relevant, and therefore the highest quality, engagement and followers. For example, if you sell vintage items on Etsy, #etsysellersofinstagram or #etsyvintage may bring in a more specific set of followers than simply using #etsy. And #vintagelife or #vintageinspired might help you get more relevant engagement and followers than just #vintage.

Find your best times to post

When are the sort of people who’d be interested in your brand, blog, product or service typically scrolling through Instagram?

Working this out can often be a case of trial and error – try posting at various times, and see which times your posts receive the most engagement.

A poll by Later discovered that in 2017, over 50% of social media managers said that the best time to post on Instagram was in the evening between 7-9pm. In 2018, the majority said that lunch time, from 11am-1pm, was the best time.

It’s important to remember that these times will differ according to the nature of your business and its audience though, so it’s best to experiment and work out what times are best for you. For example, if you’re based in the UK but have a big customer base in the US, you’ll need to post from 3pm onwards when they’re awake! 

Share user-generated posts

Are your customers talking about you? If so, make the most of the (hopefully) kind things they’re saying and share them on your own feed!

Not only will this provide you with more positive content which is likely to interest others in your product or service, but it’ll show potential new followers that you care about what your customers are saying, too.

To share (or ‘regram’) someone else’s image, simply screenshot it on their feed, then upload to your own, cropping out the surrounding area. It’s good to credit the person who’s image it is, and perhaps mention that it’s a regram – you could even hashtag it #regram.

There are also plenty of regram apps out there to help you repost someone else’s content on your own feed. Repost is a popular one.

Share on other platforms

If you’re also on other social media platforms, you could share your Instagram posts on those too. This will not only provide you with more content to share on Twitter and Facebook, but it might encourage people who follow you on your other channels to follow your Instagram account too.

If This Then That (IFTT) is a tool we like to use to automatically share our Instagram posts on Facebook and Twitter. It saves a lot of time, and has a lot of other app integrations available too.

You can also embed your Instagram posts on your website, in blog posts or other pages on the website. As well as helping to make your website more visually appealing, embedding your posts could also encourage your site or blog visitors to follow your Instagram page.

Make sure to tag people!

This might seem like an obvious one, but make sure you’re tagging any other accounts which are relevant to the picture you’re posting, as well as the location at which the picture was taken. You might get a follow from the accounts!

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