Bizarrely enough, I find that most companies still completely ignore Instagram when building their social media strategy. It baffles me, although how are they to really know the power that Instagram can have when used properly. With over 400 million monthly users and by far the highest per-follower engagement rate, it’s about time businesses started considering Instagram in their social media strategy. Here are four ways to quickly grow your Instagram followers:
1. Research hashtags
By using hastags correctly, your audience will not only be larger but also uniquely relevant to your brand. Proper hashtag research is the first step to getting your Instagram profile noticed. Ironically it’s also the one most people decide to skip altogether.
There are several ways to identify the best hashtags for your post. Start by researching the main influencers within your niche. What type of hashtags are they using and are there any industry-wide tagging patterns that you can identify.
Once you have a workable hashtag list, it’s time to probe further. Take a look at websites like www.hashtagify.me to help you find related tags, along with their relative popularity. RiteTag however tells you which of the tags you’ve chosen will perform better, and which are already overused.
Another thing to consider as part of your long-term Instagram strategy is to create a branded hashtag for your actual business. Your company’s name, motto or one of your campaign slogans could all work well as unique hashtags for your followers to use and multiply your reach.
2. Overuse Hashtags
Instagram hashtags are a content marketers dream come true, many times over.
When it comes to how many hashtags you should actually use, the more the merrier is my answer. Instagram allows up to 30 tags per image or video. According to various studies, posts with 11 or more hashtags have often shown the highest per-follower interaction rate.
Unlike Twitter, Instagram users are not bothered by excessive tagging, allowing you to experiment without annoying your followers. But how do you know which hashtags you should use?
3. The right filters to use
With over 60 million photos uploaded daily, many best practices for using Instagram filters have emerged over the last year.
According to one of these studies, filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed, and almost 50% as likely to be commented on compared to other filterless pictures. But which filters perform best?
Photos with higher exposure generally have more views, and warmer filters translate to more comments on average. On the other hand, saturation and age effects were both related to lower follower engagement.
In other words, consider using filters such as Slumber and Hefe to cooler tones of Reyes and Claredon. It’s also worth noting that images with a single dominant colour tend to work better, especially if the dominant colour is blue.
Due to Instagram’s preference for heavily filtered images, it is probably wise to take these findings with a pinch of salt when posting pictures on other platforms.
4. Cross-promote your social content
Instagram makes it easy for anyone to share their images and videos to Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. If you already have an established audience on any of these channels, cross-promoting your Instagram content is an easy way to boost your following.
Adding an Instagram feed to your Facebook page makes your fans constantly aware of your Instagram account. In terms of leveraging your Facebook community, this works much better than asking your fans to follow you on Instagram every now and then. Facebook owns Instagram so is happy to help promote it.
If you have a website, consider going beyond mere social media buttons. Adding a hashtagged Instagram feed to your site is an excellent way to organically grow your Instagram followers.