There are no two ways about it—a solid presence on Instagram is a necessity for businesses of all sizes. Home to over 800 million active users, Instagram is one of the best ways to reach a broad audience. Of course, to do this, you must have followers. Luckily, there are ways to grow your Instagram followers for free.
While the success or failure of your Instagram marketing efforts will ultimately depend on the quality of your posts, you should do as much as you can to make sure that quality is seen by as many eyes as possible. The following are the three best ways you can go about organically growing a massive Instagram following.
1) Start a Campaign
If you’re trying to build an audience, you need to give them something by which they can recognize you. This is just a long way of saying that you need a brand. A great way to go about forming the image you want to be associated with your brand is to start a hashtag campaign.
Take, for example, Adidas Originals’ #HereToCreate campaign. Starting with a series of videos in the early spring of 2017 featuring the hashtag alongside world-class athletes, the campaign was a massive success.
#HereToCreate became a lasting staple for Adidas and its athletes, with many of them continuing to use the hashtag to this day.
If you can come up with an engaging campaign, you’ll pique interest and inspire user-generated posts as well. Encourage your followers to post with your hashtag. This gets them involved and is an organic way to get your name out to potential new followers and customers.
2) Do Your Research
One of the best (and cheapest) things you can do is to just spend a bit of time researching. Start with your own posts—which ones did well? If they did well, why? When did you post? Were you using hashtags? How was your product featured?
Take note of the various aspects of your successful posts, and then put them to the test again. As you continue to post, you’ll hone in on the types of posts that are successful. This improves the overall quality of your feed, gives you a coherent brand and style, and gives potential new followers an accurate idea of who you are.
As you research, make it a point to check out your competition. What are they doing better than you, and how can you replicate their strategies in a way that is unique to your own brand?
3) Partner Within Your Niche
Instagram is a great place to team up with like-minded companies and individuals. If you make hammocks, for example, it makes sense to team up with a company that makes outdoor apparel. This gives you both exposure as well as credibility within your niche.
When you’ve established yourself as a bona fide part of your community or niche, you’ll find it will be much easier to gain followers. You’ll be recognizable and can gain the respect of community insiders.
A well-known example of this is timepiece-maker Breitling’s long-standing partnership with luxury automaker, Bentley. This is an obviously extreme example, but it does demonstrate the purpose of partnerships such as these—quality associates with quality.
Ultimately, this is what your Instagram marketing strategy should be about—integrating yourself into your niche and having your brand become part of the community of products that the people in your niche use and trust.
Your principal goal with Instagram, as in all aspects of your business, should be to cultivate high quality and useful content. Any strategy that concerns how to grow your Instagram followers should start and finish with top-notch content.
As your work to hone your content to its most effective form, engage with your followers, and integrate yourself into your niche, you’ll be able to use Instagram as an incredibly powerful tool for your brand.