Instagram can be a really effective channel to build a loyal group of followers that you can turn into customers.
It’s now a major sales channel for many businesses, due to Instagram’s highly engaged user base.
Before you can start selling to your audience though, you need to actually have an audience! This post will show you how to build that audience with some of the most popular and proven tactics.
There are no magic recipes for getting subscribers on Instagram, but these tactics can get you well on your way.
1. Ask people to follow you
Ask and you shall receive. It sounds basic, but if you don’t ask your customers to follow you, then they probably won’t.
You have many customer touchpoints where you can ask your customers to follow you. Your brick-and-mortar store, product packaging, newsletters, social media. All of these touchpoints can be great ways to ask your customers to follow you.
Just because you’re putting out great content, it doesn’t mean people will naturally find you. Everyone needs a little push in the right direction. So if you;re investing in your Instagram channel, make sure people know where to find it.
2. Express yourself
Instagram audiences appreciate authenticity and posts that lean towards the personal. Brands that find success on Instagram are expressing emotions and feelings as a business.
If you’re not being authentic on Instagram, people will see right through it and unfollow. People are very protective of their timelines now, and they’re always curating them. So make sure your posts fit in well with the other content they might be seeing.
Interest, entertain, and engage. If your post does all 3, then you’ll be getting more Instagram followers in no time.
Neil Patel’s excellent article on how to create posts that do all 3 and more, is worth reading.
3. Use hashtags that fit your business
We can’t talk about Instagram without mentioning hashtags. Hashtags are to Instagram, what keywords are to Google. They’re the SEO of the platform, and when done right it can bring you a whole new audience.
Hashtags allow you to categorize content and give your photos better visibility. By using popular hashtags, you’ll have a better chance of attracting new followers. But using the right hashtags for your business is a whole different ball game.
Don’t abuse popular hashtags and try to latch onto something that’s trending. The content you;ve posted still has to match the hashtags you’re using.
For example, if you use the top hashtags like #love, #instagood, or #fashion, your post will get drowned in the sea of other posts.
Don’t make the mistake of using these hashtags because they’re popular. Use the hashtags that fit your business.
Best Hashtags is a tool where you can generate keywords related to your own core business. Let’s say that your business sells wine. This software can give you about 20 hashtag ideas to use in your posts:
Save these hashtags to a list or document that you can refer to when creating your next post. As long as your content is relevant to the wine category, you should start picking up more followers by using these hashtags.
You can also create your own hashtag. This creates a community of your own audience within the social platform. You could then encourage people to post or share using the hashtag for an incentive to build your hashtag’s popularity.
4. Geotag your posts to build a local audience
Besides hashtags, another way to encourage discovery is by tagging locations on your posts. This could be the town that your store is located in, or where a specific event is taking place.
Locations have their own feed, Story, and hashtags, so it’s easy to start appearing on that fee straight away. If you’re a local store in a small town, there’s an even bigger opportunity to own the local conversation.
Post regularly using your town’s local hashtag and you’ll start picking up followers in your local area. Your followers are more likely to engage with what’s local to them so make sure you’re getting your share of the local conversation.
5. Use Instagram’s many video options
There are many video formats available on Instagram. While you may not be able to use all of them, you should consider picking a few that make sense for your business.
If you have a post that could be expressed as a video, go for it. It varies your content and brings in another new audience.
- Insta Stories & IGTV
Stories are another way to get new followers as you can drag hashtags into them, just like your classic posts. Using stories is also an additional way for you to appear in the “explorer” section of Instagram, as we saw with geotagging.
Video content is probably the most dominant social media format now. Unlike stories, IGTV lets you post one-hour videos on Instagram TV, and these videos are not ephemeral like stories.
Instagram Reels is a short video format in which you can add different audio tracks and songs of your favorite artists. It’s inspired by TikTok, so it’s designed for people to create their own playback versions of their favorite content.
Not for everyone, and this kind of content skews towards the younger generations.
- Instagram Live
Going live is a great way to get in direct contact with your followers and answer their questions directly. If you do that regularly, you’ll increase your chances of developing a community.
The best publicity you can expect from your followers is to be recommended.
💡 Tip: Don’t forget to use “highlights” which allows you to save your story for unlimited viewing on the front page of your profile. This is an ideal technique when you have an important message to convey to your community and to the users who visit your page.
6. Engage with your competitors’ followers
One of the best ways to get more followers quickly is to engage with the followers for your competitors. If you want to win their attention though, you’ll have to engage with them.
You can either follow them, like one of their posts, or comment on a post.
However, be careful to choose accounts very similar to your usual customers. Following random accounts that don’t look like your target audience can be a pointless task.
There’s also a limit to the amount of people you can follow in a day, so work at it over time and avoid using an automated service to get you more followers. This can get your profile into trouble.
7. Strive for consistency
It’s important to have a regular posting strategy on Instagram. Followers will follow you based on what they think they will get from you. Showing evidence of a consistent posting strategy will help you win over your new audience.
- Publishing regularly reminds your subscribers that you’re here.
- When you publish, the hashtags integrated into your posts allows your account to be visible to new audiences who view those same hashtags.
- The content you post may be likely to be repartitioned into private messages, giving your account an even greater chance to win new followers.
If you notice some of your posts not working as well as previous ones then it’s time to analyze. Take the time to see the times when your audience is online most often.
Your posts have a lifespan of a few hours, so it’s important to choose the right time to post. Go to the “Insights” section of your professional account, then in the “Your Audience” section, you will get the main days and hours that your followers are online.
Otherwise, we invite you to consult this article which will be able to enlighten you as to when you should post.
Whatever time you decide to go with, stay consistent and schedule regular content.
8. Use strong visuals
Getting a good Instagram feed requires a lot of work and good visuals. In addition to making beautiful pictures, you also need to know how to harmonize your feed so that the whole page has a nice and coherent look.
Your Instagram profile is an extension of your store, and by having a nice feed, you will entice people who discover you to want to follow you.
Here are some examples of Instagram accounts below that have a consistent thematic feel. You can go with minimalism, pastel colors, black and white, or even an all pink feed.
The goal is to really express the personality of your brand and show this through strong visuals.
9. Use the right tools
You could manage your whole Instagram feed using just your phone, but tools will make your life a lot easier.
We recommend these three amazing tools that will allow you to save time, analyze, and visualize your Instagram feed:
- Later is one of the best marketing tools for Instagram. Later lets you visually plan and schedule your posts.
- Instasize helps you to edit and publish photos or videos on your profile. If you don’t have a graphic designer on hand, this is a great tool.
- Combin offers techniques for managing various Instagram accounts at the same time and offers scheduling and auto-publishing features.
These are some of the best ways to grow your business’ Instagram following. To succeed on Insta, be authentic, post regularly, and know your target audience.
To further turn your Instagram profile into an extension of your business, you should integrate your website with Instagram Shopping. You’ll then be able to tag your products and allow your products to be discovered online.
For more insights on how to sell more on Instagram, check out our post 17 tactics for increasing sales on Instagram.