If you are using Instagram for your business it can be a bit overwhelming as to where to start, what to post and how to grow your audience.

In this post, we explore six ways to grow your followers on Instagram.

First and foremost, you need to think about why you want to be on Instagram.  What are your goals? Is it to drive traffic to your website; is it to drive traffic to your online or retail store?  Have a compelling reason.  Don’t have an Instagram page because you think you should.

Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks: they have grown from a community of zero to over one billion in just nine years.  So it makes sense to explore how this medium can be used to drive traffic, subscribers and sales to your business.

Here are six tips to grow your followers on Instagram:

1. Use scroll-stopping images

As you know, Instagram is all about visuals.  So creating a feed that is inspiring and high quality is really important.  You don’t need to be a professional photographer but you do want to be somewhat savvy with a camera or a design application.  If you don’t feel confident taking the photos then look at getting someone to take the photos for you.  Otherwise, you can use photos from other accounts as long as you ask permission and credit the people for the photo.

Oak & Ink has a feed inspired by people and Pantone colours which is unique and stands out. It also leaves you wanting to know what the next colour palette will be.

Ways to grow your followers on Instagram - post compelling content

Sarah Fennel is a food photographer, blogger and founder of the Food Photography School.  Her account @bromabakery features mouth-watering images which leave you drooling for a treat.

Ways to grow your followers on Instagram - Broma Bakery

2. Create a consistent feed

Think about how you want your brand to look.  Do you want to just post product shots or lifestyle shots, or do you want to include quotes and graphics that link back to your blog? Consistency is key! 

You can achieve consistency through the colours you use, the use of similar typography on your shots, or even through editing filters on your phone (Instagram has filters available in their camera app as do VSCO).

Fête Magazine uses beautiful, consistent monochrome tones to create an inspiring feed.

Compelling Instagram images - Fete Magazine

Luke Hope’s feed, @hopeinthewoods, is like going to a beautifully curated museum.

Consistent Instagram images - @hopeinthewood

3. Use hashtags & geotags

This is where a lot of people get bamboozled.  What is a hashtag? How do I use them?  Where do I put them? Which ones do I use?  Don’t worry – you are not alone!

Essentially, a hashtag is a way to categorise your image on Instagram. Put simply, it means you can look for anything you need by searching for the hashtag.  If you are interested in jewellery, then you would look up tags such as #armcandy, #jewellery, and #jewelleryaddict.

If you are a travel writer or photographer then you would use tags specific to travel, such as: #travel, #travelwriter, #travelblogger #travelphotography, #wanderlust #beautifuldestinations, #liveauthentic, #passionpassport and #bestvacations.  You may want to tag companies or brands that may be interested in sharing your photo.  For example, Cathay Pacific encourages its followers to use the tag #lifewelltravelled so that you have a chance to be featured on their page.

You need to think about your target audience and what their interests are.  Then apply those tags to your images so that you can attract the right audience.

Try not to use generic tags like #amazing, #love, #cool – they are not specific enough. These tags have over 100 million images and so your image gets pushed down the ranks very quickly (hashtag love has over 1.6B posts alone).

At the end of the day, you want to maximise the number of people that see your image so you are better off targeting hashtags with a smaller amount of images. For example, #food has over 300 million images but #foodstylist has only 1.4 million posts. Try and be more specific in order to attract the best audience.

A geotag is a location tag added to your Instagram photo. Adding a geotag to your photo increases your visibility because the tagged photo will always be listed in the tagged location.

Tip: You can only add up to 30 hashtags per photo so think carefully about which ones you want to use.

4. Engage with your audience

Always reply to the people who take the time to comment on your images.  It’s also a great place to ask questions and opinions. I also like to have a look at their accounts – it tells you a bit about their interests and you may even find you have some things in common! This will lead to stronger engagement and connection overall.

5. Use Instagram Stories

More and more people are using Instagram Stories to build their brand and interact with their audience. It’s easy to upload, and you are more likely to post “instantly” which was the original premise of Instagram. You can highlight the content so that it stays in your profile constantly. And, when you post a story, you appear at the top of your follower’s feed. If you use hashtags in your Stories you are also broadening your audience.

There are also lots of cool features that you can utilise within Stories such as:

  • uploading music
  • running a poll
  • asking questions
  • running a quiz
  • having a countdown timer
  • chat feature
  • adding GIFs
  • … and more.

6. Promote your Instagram account

Utilise your other channels to promote your Instagram account whether it be on your website, Facebook Page, email newsletter, or in your store.  The more you promote it the more people you will attract.

There are many ways to grow your Instagram followers. Following these six easy steps will definitely help you on your way. To read Ten Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Increase Engagement, click here.

What Instagram strategies do you use to grow your followers? Let me know in the comments below.

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 Six ways to grow your followers on Instagram

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If you struggle with capturing images for your brand, then let’s chat. I’m here to help.