Using authenticity to grow your Instagram following

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Instagram is one of the most engaged social communities on the web. It has 200 million active users and is well known for being able to boost brand engagement and sales for businesses that have a large following. This article will show you 11 simple ways to grow your following to help you achieve your marketing and sales goals.

Like photos in your niche
One of the best ways to increase your following is to discover users that post a lot of photos related to your industry. Then spend at least 20 minutes every day liking photos of those people and leaving personal comments telling them what you like. Authentic social interaction will get you noticed. Don’t leave a comment on someone else’s photos promoting yourself, your hashtags or asking them to do you a favour. Once you have built a relationship with users that may be appropriate but don’t start with that or you’ll get yourself blacklisted as a spammer.

Run a contest
Got a product to giveaway? Create a hashtag and get users to repost your image, tag you in the caption and follow your account to gain an entry into the prize draw.

Geotag your photos
Geotagging your photos simply means tagging them with a location. This is helpful as it shows other users where you are based and encourages them to follow you since you will likely have stuff in common. You can geotag all your business posts with the location of your suburb and city and you can also geotag photos of a restaurant that you visit at the weekend or a hotel that you stay in for a work conference. 

Use hashtags and emojis
Every Instagram post should contain multiple hashtags. Popular small business hashtags include #smallbusiness, #entrepreneur, #business and #news. But there will also be ones more specific to your industry as well. #instagood and #photooftheday are great hashtags to use when sharing a visually stunning photo. Online tool Hashtagify.me allows you to enter a hashtag you are considering using and find other popular hashtags related to the one you are already using. On most social media platforms using multiple hashtags is frowned upon but on Instagram the rules are different. Many popular Instagram accounts will use anywhere between 3 and 7 hashtags per post.

Instagram users also use emojis. According to reports by Instagram, 50 per cent of all captions and comments on Instagram now have an emoji or two and people can even search by emoji. So this is a great way to boost your discoverability. 

Click play (above): Why using the right tech can help your business

Link your Instagram account to your other networks
Instagram accounts embed very seamlessly into a lot of other social and blogging platforms especially Facebook and WordPress so if you use either of these platforms make sure you connect and link them. Add your Instagram account details into your bio on any other channels you use e.g. YouTube, Twitter or your website to make it easy for people to follow you on Instagram. 

Collaborate
Increasing your following is often best achieved bypairing up with another business or influencer. If you know another Instagrammer in a similar niche to you, ask if you can take over their account for a day and have them manage yours. Promote this in advance and you could both double your following. Other fun, creative ways to work with others include running a joint giveaway. Get 10 local businesses in your area to donate one product each and run a competition. Or start an Instagram photo challenge with daily prompts – this suggestion will cost you nothing except the time it takes to dream up ideas for daily prompts.

Pair up with another business or influencer

Regram your followers’ best content
Regramming is Instagram’s version of sharing a follower’s post. Find something one of your followers has posted that is on-brand for your company, then reach out to the person who posted it and ask if they would mind if you shared it. Then use a third party app like Repost for Instagram to share the content. Come up with your own unique caption for it and tag the original person who posted it to give them credit. Most people will be delighted to let you share their work if you give credit as it boosts their exposure. It’s a nice way to pay it forward, reward people who already follow you and gain new followers.

Use a professional design theme
It’s extremely helpful to have a consistent design and photo theme so that users always know that it’s your content that pops up in their feed. If they see content of yours regularly that they really like and that looks professional, people will be encouraged to check out what business it is associated with and follow your account.

Analyse audience preferences
Use tools like Iconosquare to go back through your photos periodically and see which posts got the most likes and comments. By analyzing trends you’ll get smarter at delivering the type of content your audience and new followers like and steer clear of other posts that don’t get much traction.

Watch this video (above) about Facebook and your small business

Create quote graphics
Quote graphics have a very high share/regram rate on Instagram. It’s a good strategy if used well – just make sure you use high quality images that your audience won’t have already seen hundreds of time and choose quotes that are meaningful to the type of work you do, rather than more general inspirational quotes.

Carefully craft your bio
Finally, think carefully about your bio. Make it short and succinct but be very clear about who you are, what you do, why people should follow you and what type of content they can expect from you.


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Utilising Instagram for engagement

Luke Chaffey
Luke Chaffey is a senior member of the KBB Digital team, and heads up the search marketing division. With a keen eye on innovation and developing digital trends, Luke regularly attends the Google Partners Masterclass, and is also a prolific writer for websites such as Yahoo, The Australian Government (Digital Business sector), Kochie’s Business Builders, Smarter.Digital, KBB Digital.

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