With Instagram quickly establishing itself as the top social media platform in terms of engagement—especially among those oh-so-coveted millennials—it’s little wonder that brands nationwide are constantly trying to get more followers. After all, those followers quite often results in sales, which at the end of the day, is what marketing is all about.
So what can you do to build a huge Instagram following? It turns out crafting that elusive “perfect post” with the right combination of hashtags, witty text and memorable imagery to create an engaging, high-quality post is actually only the first step.
And knowing to post consistently and at the right times is only the second. If you’re really serious about making your Instagram following incredible, there are quite a few other things you should be doing. Here are three of them:
Spread the Word
You’ve probably taken plenty of time to think about what kind of marketing you’ll do on Instagram, but have you thought of what marketing you’ll do for it? You would think this idea could go without saying, but an astonishing number of brands will create their Instagram feed with little to no fanfare whatsoever.
This doesn’t mean you need to be devoting your entire marketing budget to promoting your Instagram account—though with Instagram advertising now officially a thing, sponsored posts are probably worth a little bit of your marketing budget.
More likely than not, you’ve already established at least some sort of presence on Facebook or Twitter. And unless you’re approaching this whole marketing thing backwards, you already have a website set up.
Here’s the good news—it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to share the link to your Instagram profile on your other social media accounts or even on your website. While neither Facebook nor Twitter boast the engagement rates that Instagram does, there’s still more than enough crossover between social networks that simply letting your Facebook followers know you have an Instagram account is bound to bring in a few extra fans.
Don’t stop there, though. If you’ve got an email list, be sure to tell your subscribers about your new Instagram account. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, you could even write an entire blog post for your website detailing the launch of your new social platform and what followers can expect from it.
Leverage Influencers to Your Advantage
The idea of connecting with and using digital influencers is most frequently associated with Twitter, but it’s just as applicable on Instagram. After all, with Kim Kardashian and others boasting millions of Instagram followers, it’s clear that there are some names that hold an impressive sway over their social media followers—for better or worse.
But you don’t need to get the Kardashians posting about you to build your Instagram following. There are plenty of relevant influencers out there that could connect with your brand.
Naturally, if one of these influential users was to share or otherwise engage with content from your Instagram feed, it could mean a serious boost in your number of followers. But to get that, you typically are going to have to do some engagement of your own, first.
While it may seem counterintuitive, building a meaningful relationship with a digital influencer requires a lot of patience. You can’t just follow an influencer and then favorite one of her photos, assuming that she will notice you and share your content in return.
Consistently engage with chosen influencers by regularly favoriting, commenting on or sharing their content. Just don’t get creepy or spammy with your comments — always keep them genuine and worth responding to.
As you consistently interact in authentic ways, your targeted influencers become more likely to notice you—in a positive way, mind you—and then engage with and share your content. And sometimes, your product could even be featured in an influencer’s post. This in turn exposes your brand to new followers, bringing plenty of fresh viewers to your account.
Of course, when it comes to social media, there are few things more beloved than incentivizing. Whether it’s a contest, a product giveaway or some other type of promotion, incentivizing your Instagram account is a sure-fire way to both boost your engagement and draw in new followers.
This is especially true of contests. Many successful Instagram contests require social media users to upload a photo, one that typically features the brand or a particular product in some way, accompanied by a branded hashtag. This gives the user a chance to win whatever prize you’re offering. But ultimately, you’re the real winner, here.
Not only do contests generate buzz among your current followers, they also spread a massive number of posts related to your brand across users’ Instagram feeds, reaching many new potential followers. And the more popular a contest becomes, the more likely you are to gain new followers—especially if there’s the promise of another equally appealing contest coming in the near future.
As you can see, there’s much more to building your Instagram following than posting beautiful photos at the right time of day. By taking advantage of your pre-existing marketing channels, leveraging the power of influencers and incentivizing your feed with contests and promotions, you can ensure that you’ll have the followers needed to make your Instagram efforts well worth the investment.