So you want to grow your Instagram following eh? Well guess what? There is no secret or magic formula to gain lots of followers. If you want to gain followers the right way and keep them, you’re going to need a plan and a clear idea of what you’re supposed to do.
And let me first state that buying followers is a total waste of time. For one, they’re not going to engage with your content. They’ll be just a number on your profile that means nothing at all.
Don’t get me wrong, followers are kind of a big deal. But the important things are how many people your reaching and how many of those people you can convert into paying customers, because that’s the ultimate goal.
Before we get started, let me just hit you with some stats real quick!
- Instagram has 1 Billion users 80% of which are outside of the US
- 59% of Instagram users are under 30
- 95% of Instagrammers use Youtube
Here’s a chart to give you an idea of the users on Instagram:
So, here’s what you need to do to grow your following organically with real people and not robots.
Identify your Audience – Before you can even begin to grow a following on Instagram, you should know who you’re talking to. It’s like talking to a group of people about a topic they’re not interested in; you won’t get the results you’re looking for. Start by defining your target audience. Questions you should ask yourself are:
- What is the age range of your audience?
- What gender are you speaking to?
- What the location?
- Marital status?
- Income Range?
- Education Level?
- Political Stance? (if it matters)
- Personality traits?
- Hobbies and Interests?
- Who are they following?
- What kind of content do they post?
- Where do they shop?
- Are they tech savvy?
- What influences their decision to buy?
- What struggles do they have?
- What are their career goals?
- What are their overall life goals?
Once you know the answer to these questions, you have got yourself a defined audience! Now you’ll know exactly what you need to post, what not to post, who you’re speaking to, how you can reach the right people.
Give your profile a Makeover – So before you begin to start attracting new followers, its important to make sure you’re profile is set up correctly. First of all, your profile cannot be generic, meaning having vague descriptions and not being specific about who you are and what you do.
A great and attractive Instagram bio will include the following things:
- A brand name
- A headline
- A description of what you do
- A call to action (like a link to your newsletter or freebies)
- Some emoji’s relevant to the subject (this is optional)
- A picture that shows your entire face or logo (depending on your business industry)
If you don’t already have a business profile and you’re a business, what are you doing??
Having a business profile solidifies you and makes you appear more professional and shows your audience that you’re a serious business owner. You’re not playing games! J
So go check your IG profile and see if it’s up to par for your audience, if you haven’t already.
Use a Call to Action – Your audience needs you to tell them what to do. People respond to being told what to do (believe it or not). No one’s just going to wander over to your website just because the link is there. You have to tell them what you want them to do.
Tell your audience (with clear instructions) that you want them to sign up for your newsletter or that you have freebies that they just absolutely need! Show them that you’re the solution to the problems that they’re facing.
If you don’t show them how they need you, then they won’t feel like they need you. So use that call to action!
Post very often – To grow your following, (and this sounds obvious), you’re going to need to post to your Instagram very often. Some people post 1-3 times per day, some a few times throughout the week. You kind of have to follow what works best for your business.
Hashtags – Hashtags are one of the most important things you can do to utilize your Instagram and build a unique and organic following. Hashtags are how users will find your brand and decide whether or not they’ll like your posts and follow you.
Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags on each post! Therefore, you should utilize each and every hashtag. Each hashtag is another opportunity for someone new to find you. It’s also important to keep in mind that you should switch up your hashtags with each post. Using the same hashtags won’t allow new people to find you.
Instagram Stories - Instagram has changed up the way users see your content and find you. Therefore it’s a little harder to get engagement of posts than it was before. Instagram stories has added Geo Location stories to the IG stories feature where you can post your location and other users who are searching for that location can find you through your geo tag location.
Maximize your use of IG stories by utilizing the Geo location feature as well as the hashtag feature. Sometimes, I get a lot more views on my IG stories using tags and Geo filters. Plus, using these features allows new people who aren’t following you to view your story.
And hey, who knows. Maybe your story will be interesting enough to get a profile visit and even a follow! So work hard on your content!
Engage your audience – When someone leaves a comment on your post, respond to them. When someone likes your content, talk to them. Engage them! It’s important to build a relationship with your audience so that later on, when you’re asking them to buy something, they’ll trust you enough to buy from you.
And people can tell when you’re faking so be authentic and genuine.
What you want to get, you should put out. What you give is what you get. So if you’re expecting everyone to just flock to you commenting on your posts, liking your posts without you reciprocating, you’re in for a rude awakening. You should comment on others’ posts and like others’ posts; but not in a scammy way.
You should be genuine in this way as well. So find yourself a community of people that you want to follow and genuinely build a community with them. Like their posts, comment, engage!
Captions – Captions are also an important part of growing an authentic following. If you’re just posting pretty pictures with no meaning or substance behind them, then you’re just kind of posting pretty pictures.
It’s like being in a relationship with a pretty or handsome person and that is all they have to offer. Eventually, their looks will get old and you’ll be looking for the substance part of them. The same goes for social media. You should have substance behind your posts. Post a quote, a story or something deep. Perhaps, a poem.
Just make sure you’re adding value to the audiences’ life. If people don’t find value in what you post, they won’t stick around.
Put Yourself Out There – I know! It can be very scary. It’s easy to hide behind the computer screen and just post pictures you found on Pinterest and other people’s profiles. But at some point, people are going to want to see the face behind the posts and stories.
So you’re going to have to put yourself out there. After all, people buy you first, then your brand. And if they don’t like you, then chances are they won’t like your brand!
I know, I know, not helping! But you got this! Just be your authentic self and you will attract the right people. But keep in mind, not everyone is going to like you. And that’s ok. You are not for everyone! Even the most successful people out there have their fair share of haters. Just keep doing you!
Have a Plan – You need to know exactly what you want to accomplish with this Instagram profile, or else you’re just shooting shots in the dark with no direction. You have to have a target. Some things you need to think about in your plan are:
- What’s your ideal follower count?
- How many times a day will you post?
- What hashtags are you going to start with?
- How many IG stories will you add per day?
- What’s your goal? Followers ? Profile Visits? Website Visits?
- Are you selling something eventually? If so, what?
- Are you trying to gain new email subscribers?
Set a daily goals for how many times you’ll post and on which days. And I know we all get busy throughout the day. So if you know you might not have time during the day, use a post scheduler like Planoly or Hootsuite. That way you can focus on other things without missing peak times to post during the day or week.
So write out your plan, and make it good. And stick to it!
Analyze your posts with Insights – Instagram has a feature called insights. It allows you to see the stats about specific Instagram posts. For instance, it allows you to see how many profile visits you got from the post, how many people you reached, how many likes it got and how many people saved it.
Use Instagram insights to determine which posts are reaching more people, what posts are leading to more profile visits and which posts are engaging your audience the most. That way, you’ll know what’s working and engaging your audience and what’s not.
So now you know what you need to do, get started! And remember, you got this!