A website isn’t enough. And a handful of ad-hoc selfies with your product range on an Instagram page with 150 followers (most of which are friends and family, right?) aren’t going to help. In fact, a poorly thought-out Instagram presence can actually be doing your brand a disservice.
But hey, the good news is that there’s a handful of industry-loved tricks and tips that can help you scale your brand, catapult your follower count, and make your page an enjoyable and engaging experience for your audience – as well as a curated cog in your online sales machine!
And even if you’re already gaining momentum on the snap-happy app, there’s always room for a bigger and more interactive audience.
So, how do we increase our Instagram followers and our engagement? In this jam-packed piece, we cover how to extend your follower net organically. And the best part? These 10 steps can be included in your holistic and omnichannel social media marketing strategy to, ultimately, bring in more revenue!
OPTIMIZE YOUR PROFILE
Any of the following tidbits will be time and energy wasted if your page isn’t set up in its most effective way from the outset. With that in mind, step one is to optimize your profile! Okay, so what does that actually mean?
Page optimization is about ensuring your Instagram profile contains the key information people need to know about your business or personal brand, and what type of content you share (or what you’re selling).
Another important part of optimizing your profile is including a link to your website or other important pages.
“But we’re only allowed one link!”. We hear you — a popular way of doing exactly this is using a Linktree setup and customised landing page that directs the audience to your website, socials, or store!
CHOOSE AN AESTHETIC AND MAINTAIN A CONSISTENT LOOK
When starting or re-branding your Instagram page, it’s important to work out what aesthetic you want to go for.
This will usually be determined by what your Instagram page aims to achieve. For example, if you are creating an Instagram page for a clothing brand, you would consider posting garments or street style images. If you’re trying to level-up your travel agency, you might post different cities, showing off their beauty and appeal – it’s subtle, but it promotes a desire for the viewer to travel. And the first name they see after that thought pops up? Yours.
Back to the aesthetic though — it’s important to consider a colour scheme or particular filter to ensure your content looks consistent. Make sure your content is relevant to what your followers expect to see from your page and comes across as authentic. Because, as we all know, in 2022, whether you’re posting videos or statics, authenticity is key.
Posting quality content regularly is the key to building and growing a following on Instagram.
The ideal frequency for posting to your Instagram grid is at least once a day or every second day, while stories can be more frequent.
Data shows that the best times to post on Instagram for engagement are weekdays between 10am to midday and ideally no later than 6pm in the evenings (per Sprout Social). Using niche hashtags on your posts can also be a good way to drive audiences to your page (you’re never going to rank on page 1 for “#instagramphoto”, so your efforts are best spent on tailored hashtags relevant to your business and audience).
Remember to consider your overarching social media strategy as you scale your business – while daily posts have a slew of benefits, if you end up spreading your resources too thin in order to light up the social feed with comments and likes (e.g. if the CEO / Founder is posting themselves), then you might need to consider a strategy session to focus on what will move the needle for your brand.
COLLABORATE WITH OTHER BRANDS
Wondering how to instantly increase Instagram followers? Reaching out to brands in your relevant industry and collaborating for a competition or giveaway is a surefire way to promote your brand and increase your followers.
If your brand sells drinks, then partnering with a glassware brand could be the perfect product bundle giveaway. Look for complementary products that make the partnership giveaway a win-win!
By encouraging people to follow and share both your page and your partner page to enter the competition, you’ll tap into new markets that already have an interest in the drink space.
Reaching out for collaborations isn’t rocket science either. Shoot ‘em an email or an Instagram DM to get the ball rolling.
INTERACT WITH EXISTING FOLLOWERS
Not replying to comments is just as bad (scratch that – worse) than not receiving comments in the first place. While it usually seems lighthearted, it all falls under the customer service umbrella.
Engagement is imperative on Instagram and it’s important to respond to comments and messages from your audience.
Answering questions might reassure someone and lead them to purchase, while responding to positive messages or comments shows the audience that they’re appreciated! (and who doesn’t love being appreciated, right?)
And remember, it’s not just the response that matters, but the tone and the messaging too. If you’re a cheeky brand, throw down a touch of humour when replying online. A comment on someone’s question is far more personal than most of the content you’re producing, which means your audience will feel the impact of your customer service that little bit extra!
EXPERIMENT WITH CONTENT TYPES
These days, posting to Instagram is not as simple as just sharing a photo from your camera roll – there are also carousels, reels and video posts. In fact, video is making a mighty surge toward being the beating heart of the ‘Gram after their latest algorithm changes.
Some social media managers will argue that a carousel post gets more engagement than a photo, as it captures the attention of your audience for longer. The same can often be said for videos. Text posts or captions are also a great way to engage with your audience and provide value, through product information, research or a personal anecdote.
There are surefire trends — video being the standout — but it’s important to look at your Instagram analytics and determine which posts are most popular with your audience, and then base your strategy around incorporating those content types.
Instagram can seem confronting initially, but it can be a great way to connect with your audience in real-time – and followers that may not always see your posts. Plus, tapping into human psychology, going live also creates FOMO.
Live stories on Instagram appear at the front of all the other stories on the home page, so your followers who are online will see you are going live.
Using the live feature lets you connect with your audience or customers in a RELATABLE way, showcase a particular product or allow them to give feedback or ask questions. There’s nothing behind the curtain – what they see is what they get. On a platform that’s all about dolling things up with filters and effects, it’s a refreshing way to stand out.
Before planning to go live, it’s important to plan what time works best for your followers, let them know when the live session will be happening – and, of course, have a rough idea of what you want to say.
Instagram stories posted by business pages make up one third of the most viewed stories (per Instagram).
Stories are the perfect tool for promoting new posts and reaching a wider audience than your grid alone. And – because we love data – analytics show that customers regularly click links to products seen in stories posted by brands.
Pro tip: You can also use stories to engage with your followers through question boxes or polls.
COLLABORATE THROUGH PARTNERSHIP OR INFLUENCER CAMPAIGNS
Partnering with influencers or brands with a large audience gives you an opportunity to build brand awareness and access new potential followers. Like any social collab, it’s important to do your research before partnering with influencers or other businesses. We want to make sure they align with your brand, and their audience has a need or a want for your product or service! It’s no use preaching to a choir that doesn’t want to listen.
What exactly does a partnership look like? Well, that depends on your goals. You might work together to develop user-generated content, you might bring them on as an ambassador with an affiliate link for a discount code, or it could be as simple as sharing each other’s pages and content for a little win-win.
CURATE CONTENT THAT MAINTAINS A SIMILAR VIBE AND EMBODIES YOUR BRAND
Don’t go in blind. Decide early on in your social media marketing strategy what message or look and feel you are trying to get across to your audience.
From there, ensure the content you are posting aligns with your vision. Going old-school, you might even want to print out a moodboard and a vision statement for your profile (or Pinterest, for the digital angle) — refer back to it whenever you’re not sure if something is ‘on-brand’.
Your aesthetic needs to be authentic to your brand. Why? Because having contrasting looks or ‘feels’ on one platform versus your website can be contradictory and might impact your conversion rate. And, of course, because it helps make your brand more recognisable on a holistic level.
So, choose a colour palette and fonts for posts or stories – that align with your existing branding – to ensure the content looks consistent.
Nailing these ten steps will without a doubt help you to build your following.
Take your social presence to the next level
Want to get ahead of your competition? Megaphone can help! As Australia’s #1 Digital Marketing Agency, we have the tools to help grow your Instagram presence and drive sales as part of a broader strategy that scales your businesses for the long term.
Get in touch now to claim your FREE strategy session valued at $1,200.