Instagram for Businesses – Hacks to Get More Followers
With more than 400 million monthly active users and an average of 80 million photos being posted every day, Instagram is a force in the social media world that would be unwise to ignore. Although the potential reach of this unique social platform is absolutely massive, many businesses struggle with establishing their presence on Instagram, especially when it comes to getting more followers. If you’re looking to increase your Instagram follower count without resorting to short-lived gimmicks or questionable tactics (e.g., “Pay $20 for 2,000 followers”), try these simple hacks to grow your Instagram follower base while keeping the integrity of your brand intact.
1. Link your Instagram account to your Facebook timeline.
Instagram features an app that allows users to connect to Facebook directly through the Instagram platform, enabling them to link their Instagram posts to their Facebook timeline. Research published by Inside Network suggests that more than 20% of Instagram users connect to Facebook through this feature, which means quite a few of your Facebook followers may notice your Instagram activity and follow you on that platform as well. If you’re not sure how to link your Instagram and Facebook accounts together, the instructions can be found here.
2. Make sure to use the right hashtags.
Hashtags are definitely one of the most effective ways for users to discover your Instagram account, because they allow people to search for and discover images based on topics that they’re specifically interested in. Even though hashtags are a powerful tool, not all hashtags are created equal; some hashtags almost always garner more traffic than others, and savvy businesses know how to leverage the most popular Instagram hashtags to gain more exposure for their brand. You can use Instagram metrics tracking site Websta for ideas on which hashtags will resonate with your followers.
And don’t forget to take advantage of “Throwback Thursday” by posting pictures that date back to the early days of your business, and then tag them with the #tbt hashtag. Use a little creativity and find ways to create visual themes that can integrate these popular hashtags into the images you post to your account.
It’s also important to do a little homework to gauge the audience size for the hashtags that relate to the products or services you’re offering. You can do this by using Instagram’s “explore” feature, which can be accessed by way of this URL: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/YOURTAGHERE. Simply substitute whatever word you want to research by putting it behind the slash after “tags” in the URL.
For example, if you want to find out how many posts on Instagram are tagged with the word “soccer,” type https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/soccer into your browser’s address bar, and Instagram will show you a feed of all the images that have been tagged with #soccer (over 13 million as of this writing).
Perform this search for any words that relate to what your business is all about; for example, if you’re a personal trainer, try looking up the number of photos that have been tagged #fitness or #workout. You might be surprised to discover that millions of images are being posted using hashtags that directly relate to what your business has to offer.
3. Become an active participant.
A brand that constantly posts one-way communications on Instagram without ever interacting with other users on the platform can come across as self-centered or insincere. Take time to like and comment on other users’ posts; this will attract new followers in an organic and authentic way. Also, don’t forget to like and comment on your current followers’ posts as well, as you may attract the interest of the users who follow them.
3. Engage with your competitors’ Instagram followers.
You can expand your audience in a “tactical” manner by engaging with the Instagram followers of your closest competitors. This type of audience has already demonstrated that they’re interested in products or services that are similar to what you offer, so it’s highly likely that they would be interested in your business. Like their photos, follow their accounts and comment on their photos. The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.
4. Publish your posts at the right times.
Like most other social platforms, there are peak traffic times on Instagram that you would definitely do well to pay attention to when scheduling your posts. Research shows that Mondays at 8 p.m. EST and Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST are the best times to post your photos.
Instagram is also very popular with the night owls; several studies have revealed that traffic also surges in the wee hours of the morning, with 2 a.m. being one of the key times for publishing new posts. In addition, keep in mind that your photos receive the most engagement within the first three hours of being published, with nearly 70% of all comments happening within that time frame. If you’re going to respond to comments on your images (which you definitely should), it would be a good idea to keep a close eye on your account’s activity during that initial three-hour span of time.
5. Consider running an Instagram contest.
One of the most effective ways to attract new followers is to run a contest on Instagram. For example, you could ask users to submit a photo showing how they use your product in their day-to-day life, and then award prizes to the entrants with the best or most creative photos. Make sure to use a specific hashtag for the contest so that you can keep track of all entries. Contests can drive new followers and encourage participation on Instagram like few other methods can.
Instagram offers businesses an unprecedented opportunity to leverage a highly visual medium in order to gain brand exposure. When you combine the above tips with authentic and genuine interaction, you will position your business to grow a larger following on this important social platform.