There’s no quick and straightforward way to get more followers on Instagram. It takes time, effort and continuous improvement to see what works for your audience. However, there is a proven formula for success that can accelerate the progress.
Here are seven steps that will accelerate your growth on Instagram.
1. Pick a Niche:
You can’t try to target everyone. You want to find a small group of people that share the interests and are super passionate about your content. Building an Instagram account is very similar to building a community. To be successful, you need first to gain the trust of the “super users,” who are the micro-influencers in the niche you have chosen.
These micro-influencers will not only be highly engaged and active but will have the added benefit of the likelihood of reposting and sharing your content with their communities.
Instagram Influencers: You need to research influencers that are currently doing well in your industry. The idea is to follow in their footsteps. Note what tags they are using, the captions that are driving the most engagement, and what kind of content strategy they are executing. All this information will help you set the blueprints for your account.
Forums/Other Communities: Find other areas your target audience is engaging. Starting an Instagram is just the beginning. You need to understand places outside of Instagram to engage with your target audience and create a funnel to convert them to a follower.
3. Update your Profile
Username: This is probably the most challenging part when creating an Instagram account. Your username has to be memorable, easy to pronounce and spell, be associated with your content, and lastly, it has to be unique.
Profile Photo: Spend some time picking a high-quality photo as your profile. Depending on your strategy, this might be a professional photo of yourself, your company logo, or a photo that represents your content strategy.
Bio: Keep it short. Write a short sentence to answers the question “Why should I follow you?” We would highly recommend you watch this TedTalk featuring Simon Sinek on his famous strategy “Start with why.” Video:
4. Create a Quality Content Strategy
Photo: It’s a no-brainer that the higher the quality, the more engagement you will have. Few tricks you can use is find out what filters works best for you. Instagram filters can quickly turn your low-resolution blurry pictures, into works of art.
Canva conducted an excellent study on the best filters to use on Instagram, which we covered in detail here: The Most Popular Filters for Your Instagram Photos
Caption: The key focus in your caption aside from putting a story behind your photo is to ask your users for action. By simply asking the users to like, comment, or follow you, this can raise your engagement rates by 20-30%. Also, don’t forget to include hashtags either in the caption in the caption or the comments. You have a limit of 30, and we advise you to use them all.
Layout: A significant factor is understanding how your profile fits together. Your Instagram layout is a critical factor for a user deciding to follow you or not. To understand it in more detail, we put together an article on ways to Supercharge your Instagram Layout to Gain Followers
Story/Live: Instagram isn’t just about sharing photos now, it’s about sharing moments similar to Snapchat. Though it’s not critical to have a story/live strategy to gain new followers on Instagram, it does put you on a significant advantage to your competitors when done correctly.
Respond to DM: When someone takes the time to message you privately, really make an effort to message them back as soon as you can. This relationship will last forever, and if you can provide enough value, you will have gained yourself a follower forever.
Comment/Like/Follow other People: Remember, Instagram is a community. To get noticed, you need to engage with others by either liking, commenting and following other users, or responding to each comment on your posts. Stay active, and you will see your followers’ number grow.
If you have the money, you can leverage Instagram ads to get your account noticed. By converting to a business account, you get access to more features such as promoting your posts. Promoted posts get automatically pushed to your target audience feeds, and includes a call to action button. The more money you invest, the more users you will reach.
7. Reporting and Analyze
Reporting on your progress and analyzing what works is critical to accelerating your Instagram growth. Key metrics you want to look for is engagement % which is calculated by (comments + likes)/total followers and also the change in followers on a daily basis.
Instagram has its free analytical platform when you convert to a business account. We would also highly recommend you check out the Command of IG app for iPhones. It’s a fantastic free app that’s packed with features and tools, and really everything you need for reporting and analyzing your Instagram account.
As a closing thought, it’s easy to cheat the system and just buy followers, but we highly advise against it. Buying followers is not a sustainable way to grow your Instagram account and will end up doing more damage to your account. We covered the reasons why here: 5 Reasons Why Buying Fake Followers Will Kill Your Account