One of the most asked questions in the digital marketing industry is how to gain Instagram followers. We all know how important it is to have a solid Instagram with a professional looking business feed, but what use is that if there is no one looking?
Gain Instagram Followers By… ?
While there are many methods and techniques to gain Instagram followers, there are also a lot of bad practices that can negatively affect your account to watch out for. Companies that emphasize how to gain instagram followers FAST with ads claiming overnight growth. My typical rule of thumb is, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
With that said, the path to gaining Instagram followers is not a walk in the park. Just like any business, be prepared to put in the work to reach your goals.
Here are the most common techniques used to gain Instagram followers in the digital marketing industry.
Optimize Your Instagram Page
Before you start driving traffic to your Instagram, you need to make sure your profile is set up for success, or the audience you’re targeting won’t stick.
Your HANDLE and your NAME are both searchable in Instagram, which means you have two opportunities to add keywords that help potential followers find you in search.
The biggest mistake I see here is people using their name for a handle AND putting the same thing in the searchable name field. This makes it really hard for people to find you who don’t already know you and your name.
Instead, put your name (if you want to be known for your name) as your handle, and your niche or specialty in the searchable name field.
Just like any other social media platform, there are ways to optimize your bio.
When it comes to Instagram, you have 150 characters to tell people who you are and why they should follow you, as well as any handles you are associated with. Because of the nature of Instagram’s profile setup, it usually looks best to do a bulleted list of your brand. It makes it easy for people to skim down your bio quickly and get a grasp on what they should expect from your account. Emojis help break this text up as well and give a visual for your brand!
If you are associated with any partners or brands, you can also add them in your bio for people to click on. This is a newer feature and is really helpful if you have a podcast or auxiliary brand account!
Provide Value To Your Followers
Now that your account is set up for success, next comes planning what content you are publishing on your Instagram page.
If you’ve already narrowed down your niche, that will be your guide to content creation for your brand. It’s critical to take time to think about your content instead of just posting frivolously. There is a lot of competition on Instagram, and you’re competing for eyeballs (read my full post on how to plan your brand content HERE).
Your target audience should be coming across your account and getting EXCITED because your content is exactly what they need to solve XYZ problems. This is a long-term strategy, but ultimately, the followers that you capture from executing your content with them in mind will be the ones who stay with you forever.
Take Quality Photos
This goes in tandem with the last point. You have a lot of competition when it comes to great content creators on Instagram, but that doesn’t mean you need a professional photographer and major budget to accomplish a quality image!
A quality image goes farther than simply the technology behind it. Think about the message you’re sending and how you can portray that messaging creatively. This can be done with an iPhone! It just requires creative thinking and relatability to your audience, and most of all – consistency.
Engage In Your Community
You are not alone in your niche, but don’t look at other accounts as competition! They are your community and something you can utilize to grow your brand. Repost them, comment on their work, and encourage support among each other.
Additionally, accounts in your niche are a great place to go looking for your target audience. If you find an Instagram page that has the same kind of followers you’re wanting to gain, start interacting with the people active on their page.
Look at the comment sections and start conversation with other commenters. Go to their page and interact with their posts. You can even go as far as sending them a private message to say hi and introduce yourself! A nice message goes a long way in building a valuable community on your Instagram page.
Lastly, don’t forget about the people who are already following you. Comment back to the people commenting on your posts with genuine responses and an effort to keep the conversation going. Ask questions to your audience and let them know you’re happy to have them on your page.
Join Niche Facebook Groups
This tip has had a huge effect on my web traffic, and it works for gaining Instagram followers too! There are SO many good groups in any niche you can think of where your target audience is hanging out. Go to them, provide them value, and support each other within those groups.
Some of the groups I utilize are small business owner / blogger websites where you can participate in support threads in which people drop their Instagram accounts for others to view and see if they want to follow.
You can also utilize the search function within groups and answer questions related to your niche. What I usually do is try to find mentions of Instagram, Branding, etc. and spark conversation on comment threads that relate to my brand. If / when it makes sense, I’ll drop my Instagram link. Because a rapport has already been made, the people I’m commenting with are more likely to follow me and stay following.
Partner With Industry Friends & Brands
One of the best ways to quickly gain Instagram followers is to partner with other accounts that have your target audience. This looks different by industry, but applies to all!
The most common demonstration of this is fashion bloggers with clothing brands. Bloggers will tag the brands they are wearing in hopes of catching their attention and using the photo for their own account’s content.
Another common example is restaurants utilizing food bloggers and general customers to leverage tags and user-generated content. A lot of this happens naturally as people LOVE to take pictures of their food, but a restaurant can take it a step further by running a photo contest and interacting with foodies in their area.
This can also look like a shoutout on your stories of another brand, who will then either share your shoutout or post your page in return.
Be Consistent & Patient
Like I started this post off with, it takes a long-term commitment and hard work to truly gain Instagram followers. Don’t expect to see growth in a day, a week, or even a month! But more importantly, don’t give up.
I usually tell clients that they will start to see true growth and an engaged community after 6 months to 1 year of consistent, branded posting. This means posting at least 3-5 times a week on their feed and staying active on Instagram stories, while providing value and maintaining a strong sense of brand.
Start by making small goals for yourself. But instead of focusing on vanity metrics like follower count and likes, think about what you’re trying to accomplish from your Instagram.
For example, if you provide an online service, your goal could be to get 3 new leads a month from your Instagram. If you have a retail or restaurant business, it could be to get 5 tagged photos from your Instagram for user-generated content use and reach. As a blogger, it could be to get mentioned on a brand account or landing a new paid campaign.
Ultimately, Instagram is meant to be a support of your brand growth. So setting goals that help grow your BRAND rather than just your Instagram makes a big difference in the long-term growth for your business on and off the platform.
One of the services I offer is Instagram account audits and custom strategy plans. If you’re interested in having your Instagram looked at and a content plan optimized for growth, shoot me a message and I’ll send you more info!