We’ve been talking lately about how to boost your business marketing with Instagram. Contrary to what many people still believe, Instagram isn’t just a fun app where you can post food, holiday and family pics.
Instagram has become a powerful brand-building, audience-building and content-marketing tool for businesses. It has over 200 million active monthly members sharing 60 million images and 1.6 billion likes per day.
A note of caution: there are plenty of people out there who promise to grow your Instagram followers by the thousands, but beware. Most of them use fake accounts created by bots to inflate your numbers.
These types of followers have zero value. In fact, they can even be dangerous, wanting to steal your password or photos or infect you with a virus.
According to the data security company Imperva, these bad bots account for 28.9 percent of bots on Instagram.
The best way to build your Instagram followers is by being authentic to your brand and your audience.
Here are three tips to help you get real Instagram followers:
1. Tell a story with hashtags
It’s great to use your business name as a hashtag, but you need to think beyond that.
If you want to use your Instagram posts to get followers, use other hashtags that tell the story of the image you’re sharing. You want to start a conversation when you’re sharing posts for things like:
- Product launches
A good example of a brand who does this well is @Tostitos. They use the hashtag #GetTogetherAlready to encourage people to get together and share their chips, and also to use the hashtag when they share photos of their meetups.
By using engaging, relevant hashtags, you can be discovered in Instagram searches and hopefully build up followers on Instagram.
2. Get creative
Instagram is all about photos, so many people think of the caption as an afterthought.
Don’t neglect the image caption! You can generate engagement and promote sharing by using descriptive words that will engage, inspire and entertain your followers.
Here are some ideas to help you build up followers on Instagram with your posts:
- Use questions in your caption. Write your question at the beginning of the post so that people see it first.
- Get personal with your post. Tell a story about yourself, or how your product helped or inspired someone else.
- Ask people to tag others. Asking people to tag three of their best friends or tagging someone they are grateful for brings other potential followers into the equation.
A great example of a brand that does personal posts well is the @NatGeo Instagram account.
They create breathtaking Instagram Stories with informative captions to educate the user on the plight of animals around the world. (Note this one is about our mascot here at eVision Media, the Emperor Penguin!)
Remember when it comes to using Instagram posts to get followers, it’s all about being authentic. Don’t use questions in every single post or tell a personal story that isn’t genuine.
3. Go local
One of the best ways to build your Instagram followers is to get to know your neighbors.
Whether you’re creating Instagram ads or want to promote your event in a specific area, you can see what’s going on near you by going to the search page and clicking on the Places tab.
Type in the location to see the geotagged posts for that area. Then visit relevant and recent tagged posts—not those of competing businesses, obviously—and leave a comment or even an emoji and follow the person if you like what you see. Hopefully, this will be the start of an organic interaction.
For example, if you offer life coaching services, you could type in your location followed by “entrepreneurs.” Local entrepreneurs may be looking for more work and life balance or help with life goals or career challenges.
Similarly, if you have a physical location that people have checked into on Instagram, comment on those posters’ pictures to make sure they’re aware of your Instagram presence, and then follow them.
These are some of the best ways to build Instagram followers the right way: no bots, no shortcuts, just tried and true ways to engage with your audience and turn them into followers.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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