There’s no denying social media marketing has become an effective tool for businesses everywhere (73% of marketers agree). Yet getting your socials working for your brand isn’t a one-size fits all deal, particularly between platforms.
Instagram is an engaging visual channel that presents solid opportunities to garner a loyal audience that grows alongside your company. With over one billion active users, growing your Instagram audience is a social media strategy with a global reach. Yes, that even goes for small businesses.
But first, you need to know ways to utilise Instagram marketing to see that account grow. There’s no legitimate way to garner a large, engaged audience overnight. Gaining a dedicated following takes time.
So keeping that in mind, here are seven tips to consider when building an effective plan to boost your band’s following.
1. Make a Consistent Content Calendar
Don’t damage your business by posting at random. Keep it consistent! You can build your schedule around when users are most likely to engage. According to studies, the best posting time for max engagement falls between Tuesday and Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM. This period is the peak time people tend to check social media, just before and after working hours.
If you’re catering to a global audience, you can post multiple times for multiple time zones. But try to refrain from posting on your feed more than a few times a day or you’ll risk coming across as too spammy.
If you’re busy with your brand, you may not always be around during your typical posting times. If that’s the case, use a scheduling tool and plan your posts in advance. There are plenty of platforms you can use for free when you’re getting started.
2. Create a Cohesive Image
Your image needs to be as consistent as your posting schedule. A sound social media strategy that you can use across all channels: form your brand identity and don’t mess with it. People like knowing what to expect (and in turn, you may see a 33% increase in revenue).
As you create the brand image, try to adopt an appealing aesthetic. Instagram is a visual app, after all. In product photo or video shoots, keep your backgrounds and lighting consistent. For every post, go with your theme. The goal is for consumers to recognise a post as yours immediately.
For example, if you’re a bathing suit company, maybe you’ll pick a tropical look. Have bathing suit pics against a solid background, model pics on the beach or a boat, surrounded by exotic island plant life, or with a fun, fruity drink. You decide your vibe.
3. Form Partnerships with Influencers and Other Brands
Don’t just exist on your feed. For maximum growth, exist on any niche-relevant feed you can.
Having broad exposure with people or companies with an established reputation will increase your followers organically as more consumers grow interested in your products. It also helps newcomers trust you when they hear about you from familiar sources.
Influencers aren’t called that for no reason. They’re influential, and 49% of consumers state they depend on an influencer’s recommendations. You can offer niche-relevant influencers free products in exchange for a review on their feed.
Reaching out to a similar, but bigger, business is great too. Pitch a fun collab, like a joint user contest or giveaway.
When reaching out, avoid a sales-y tone and show both influencers and brands that you provide a product of value.
4. Don’t Just Post — Become a Digital Storyteller
Since its 2016 launch, Instagram stories has been a social media marketing game-changer. You should make it your best friend, especially considering 500 million people view Instagram stories.
Every. Single. Day.
And guess what?
One-third of the most viewed stories are from business accounts. That’s the power of Instagram marketing right there.
Instagram stories are the perfect place to interact with your audience. You can ask questions, share music, vlog your work process, announce a drop, create polls, and so much more.
Remember, too, that stories disappear after 24 hours. It means while they should remain “on brand”, they’re relatively low risk. If you do want them to stick around a little longer, you can also add them to your “highlights” on your profile for continued exposure.
Ultimately, Instagram stories can give you the chance to show off that you’re so much more than a beautiful business page. Show that you’re a person!
5. Find Unique Ways to Engage with Your Instagram Audience
Engagement is so much more than liking and commenting (but do that, too). Something as simple as showing followers you care is a basic social media strategy.
The best way to give back the love you get is by hosting a giveaway. For one, people love free stuff. Plus, with giveaways, you can set requirements like tag two friends or share your story to enter or, hey, why not both? When people share and tag others on your post, their Instagram algorithm takes notice, and you’ll appear on user feeds more often.
You can also get creative by promoting user-generated content (UGC) on your page.
Start with asking your followers to share their favorite experiences and pics with your merchandise. You can do this by:
- Putting a call-to-action in your Instagram bio
- Creating a brand hashtag for customers to use when posting
- Running a themed contest based on your product
Since an authentic look at your products is the goal of this Instagram marketing tactic, don’t shy away from sharing lower-quality pics — as long as they showcase your product’s best features!
6. Don’t Be Shy, Go Live!
Sometimes people don’t want to scroll and click. They want to watch and react. In fact, over 80% of people preferred a live video to a post.
Give the people what they want and go live. It prioritises your account on your follower’s story feed and gives them a push notification you’re live. Instagram loves organic interaction from business accounts, so going live helps the algorithm work in your favor.
You can offer a Q&A, “bring” your followers to a product or store launch, or show them a day in the life. You can even feature other accounts and go live at the same time. Let a follower interview you or stream a conversation with a partnered influencer. You can do it as a surprise or, better yet, hype it up and ask your followers to amplify it on their pages too.
7. Don’t Forget #hashtags
Strategically using hashtags is an easy (and free!) social media marketing tactic for Instagram audience growth. Keyword: strategically.
Instagram allows 30 hashtags in one post. Social media strategy 101: all of them need to relate to your brand.
Don’t just choose from the list of “top hashtags” and throw those under your post. Sure, you’ll see a few likes and temporarily boosted engagement, but you’re not likely to see conversion.
You’ll have to research hashtags relevant to your business. There are online tools out there, but you can also check out the posts of leading competitors. See what hashtags they’re using and bring those to your page.
Have hashtags for your overall brand, including #yourbrandname and your niche. If you’re a women’s clothing store, use broad terms, like #womensfashion and #instafashion.
Include category keywords hashtags for the product you’re advertising. If you’re posting a new shirt, use something like #yourbrandshirt or #shirtoftheday.
Finally, have a few location-based hashtags there too. If your shop is out of Miami, FL, you could include #MiamiFashion or, simply, #Miami.
Researching what’s relevant may feel time-consuming, but strategic hash-tagging is a tried and true social media strategy that’ll maximise your Instagram following.
Wrapping Up — Instagram Marketing is About More than Numbers
As you can see, organically increasing your Instagram audience is not just about analytics and compiling data. You have to engage, learn about your followers, and get creative. Focus on those aspects, not just your numbers, and you’ll start to see a steady flow of growth.
Across all channels, the best social media marketing tactic really is authenticity. Let your followers in on your world and become a part of theirs.
Looking for more insights into social media marketing?
Have a chat with the Soak Creative team today and see how we can help you make the most of your online presence.