2018 Instagram Marketing Guide: How to get more Instagram followers?
In 2018, if you are not using Instagram to promote your business, you are losing a lot more than just money. Instagram has now become a major platform for customer engagement, brand reputation, lead generation, and sales. Instagram marketing can help your business grow at a much lesser cost and time.
You can be an individual trying to find clients for you fitness business or a multi-million dollar company, having an Instagram profile is a must in 2018 if you want to grow your business.
Before we begin with how to get more followers on Instagram, let's look at some of the things you must do before you even publish your first Instagram post.
Set Your Instagram Goals
Before you start posting on Instagram to get more followers, have a clear purpose in your mind. Why do you want to be on Instagram. What ROI are you hoping to get out of your Instagram account. There can be many answers to this question and all are fine. Here are a few examples:
• To get customer feedback
• To get new leads and drive sales
• To Promote your personal brand as an expert
• To become an influencer in your business domain
• To engage with customers to increase brand awareness Come up with a content strategy
Next step is to decide the kind of content you want to put out on Instagram. Your content should appeal to your target audience. Different people prefer different content. There can be many variables to divide your target audience. Age of your target audience is one such powerful metric.
According to one survey by HubSpot, video is the most preferred type of content among all age groups. You can go even deeper to find out what your target audience wants to consume.
Use this small checklist to make your content exciting and relevant.
What are you trying to convey with your content?
Who are you targeting?
Why is it important to you?
How can your audience join you?
Now, let's talk about how you can get more Instagram followers?
The road to get 10,000 Instagram followers in 6 months
Now you know why you want to be on Instagram and what kind of content you must publish, here are 10 content strategies to help you gain more followers on Instagram.
1. Optimise Your Instagram Account
You must properly optimise your Instagram account before you start posting content. What does optimising your account mean? Use a DP which best describes your brand and is catchy. Stay away from boring. Don't waste any space in the bio. Write who you are and what you do. Also, make sure to mention your website or your latest blog. Recently, Instagram allowed using hashtags in bio. Use it to your advantage and put you business related hashtags in your bio. This will make your profile more searchable.
Look at this how Bhuvan Bam uses his Instagram bio to instantly tell you what all he does in just few words. He also gave a YouTube link to his latest video. This is the right way to do it.
2. Publish More Content
This one sounds too obvious. But this is where most brands and marketers fail. The inability of creating and putting out more content is what's crippling your Instagram growth. Create more content than what you created last year, last month, last week.
Out of all the advice we give you on growing your Instagram account, listen to this, and you can forget the rest. Nothing will help you if you are not putting new content day in and day out. Keep in mind that your followers want to see your posts and that’s why they started following your page in the very first place.
But if you are looking for the right number to post every day or every week, then there is no one answer. It all depends on your brand and your audience.
Take HubSpot as an example. One of the leading experts on all things marketing, HubSpot post almost every other day. Their almost daily posting schedule is predictable for followers and increases their engagement rate. HubSpot really pulls out the engagement from their followers by making them click on a link or check out their Instagram story.
While on the other hand, AIB, having the follower base of 2.1 million on Instagram, publishes 2-3 post in one day. They usually share memes, funny videos or commentary on ongoing issues and they get a pretty good response on every post.
3. Posting Consistency
Whatever is your magical formula to keep your account happening, consistency has to be one of its ingredients. If you want to keep it groovin, make sure you post consistently. You can’t vanish for a month or so, and one day you bombard your Instagram account with 10 pictures in a row to make it more active. That’s not how it works. You have to build your followers base brick by brick and consistently posting is the thing that holds the entire thing up!
What should you do then?
Maintain a weekly or monthly posts schedule and follow it religiously. You can try paid or free scheduler apps like Later, HootSuite, Tailwind, etc. to make it easier for you to post on a daily basis. Mind you, it is not only about the consistency in posting on a daily basis, it is also about the aesthetics. Don’t post pictures for the sake of it. Try to give your best shot in every post you publish.
And even if you do vanish for days, your track record of posting regularly will help you to gain your audience back.
4. Keep it Personal
Why do you think people should follow your account? For your amazing products or services or really interesting content? Maybe yes. But is it enough? The key to keeping people engaged to your account is by sharing your life with them. Add that humane touch to your daily content. Let your followers know what have you been up to. Tell your life problems, your favourite brands, your favourite vacation place and all that stuff.
Believe it or not, people do like to know what your day was like. By just posting ads or promotional content on your account, you are shooing away your audience. Don’t make it an advertising account. Keep it real!
And the same goes for brands. Many big agencies make this common mistake of keeping their Instagram page very commercial and impersonal. Instead what they should be doing is sharing their inside stories. Instagram page of a marketing automation platform, MailChimp is one good example of employee driven branding! Their Instagram feed is full of their employees’ stories, making it more relatable for an average user.
5. Write some kickass captions
Be as creative as you can while writing your captions. With a great picture, a well-crafted caption can do wonders. The reason is pretty simple. As per the new algorithm of Instagram, post with more engagement will be considered as high-quality content that others might want to see. And that’s where your captions come into play.
Your captions can boost your likes, comments, tagging and basically whatever that is considered as real engagement. Having CTA (Call to Actions) captions are the best to encourage more people to involve in your content. Consider this post:
The caption is pretty simple but it works for 3 reasons First: encouraging people to tag their special someone, second: comment their tips for Greece Vacation and third: letting them know where they are heading next!
6. Relevant Hashtags
Fact check: Instagram post with at least one hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than a post with no hashtags. Hashtags are powerful tools that can help to grab the eyeballs of Instagram audience and can get you more followers. Hashtags are like a sorting tool. Out of 95 million posts being posted every day, Instagram suggests you only those having hashtags relevant to your niche.
But for an instagrammer, it is these hashtags that help to reach their target audience. The golden rule of using hashtags: narrow it down. Adding a common hashtag like #marketing or #advertising puts your content among the millions of others. But if you add #digitalmarketing or #influencermarketing, your post is most likely to be seen and get more engagement.
But how many hashtags you should use?
Again, there is no magic number. Almost 90% of the brands use 7 or fewer hashtags, while HubSpot has been successful with using more than 20 hashtags. Test it out is the only advice for you here. Figure out your magic number by experimenting with different numbers and tags. Of course, you should keep your hashtags organized, and it’s better not to create random hashtags!
Not only you should know what other relevant Instagrammers are doing, but make sure you appreciate their work (if you do like them). Take time out to like their pictures and maybe repost them. This will help you to get the attention of the people following your competitor. It’s easy to post a picture, write a good caption and get a few likes. But it’s difficult actually to build a rapport with people. Make some efforts and start a conversation with them. Ask them for their feedback or tips or suggestions.
This will also help you to get space in the suggestion section. People who liked your competitor might start following you too. Be humble and spare some time to go to someone else’s page and comment how amazing they are doing. Some people do return to your gesture either by commenting on your post or by start following you.
8. Instagram Stories
In 2018, it's all about Stories. With enormous popularity, Instagram stories have become one of the coolest way to engage with your followers 1 on 1. Features like Q & A, Polls, Tags, location, etc., have made it easier for Instagrammers to interact with their followers.
Of course, stories are not well-edited snaps with mind-blowing caption; it is just a moment and more real. One thing you should be using more in 2018 is hashtags and especially in your stories. Do remember to add a Location hashtag or a trending hashtag in your stories. This will help you to be even more discoverable!
Here is an example. If an Instagram user searches for #Foodgasm in Explore Tab, they will see relevant posts and popular STORIES!!
Story Highlight is another new feature that helps you save your best stories for more than a 24-hour limit. For Instagram celebrities or big brands, Stories are the best way to show ‘behind-the-scenes’ moments. You can be even more creative and can build a narrative out of your Insta Stories.
9. Live Videos and IGTV
Live streaming is another easy way to increase your following organically. With going live on Instagram, it becomes pretty easy to answer the question to your followers and connect with them. And you can go crazy on your content for this one. It could be anything: How to do demonstrations, Behind the scenes, event streaming, contest announcement, etc. There is another cool feature of live streaming which is Instagram Live with Friends Broadcast.
Do you remember this viral video of Priyanka Chopra having a live chat with Ranveer Singh on Women’s Day?
IGTV is the newest addition to this $100 billion worth app and has become an apparent competitor to the only long video-based platform, YouTube. To leverage the presence of 1 billion active users (by June 2018), Instagram launched their very own video hub for their Instagrammers. The great news is you can leverage them too! The future of this vertical video seems very bright according to many analysts. So don’t be too late to be on IGTV.
10. Ask your followers to share their stories!
What would be a better idea than letting your followers make your content? Make them part of your popularity. Why? Two advantages. One, it will help you to increase the engagement with them and eventually, their loyalty. Second, you have more original and creative content to share. You can start with a series of posts having a theme like ask them to share their most embarrassing pictures or an embarrassing story! And you kick start it!
Sharing your followers’ content makes them feel important, and that’s the whole point. They start believing more in you and your content. Building a relationship with your audience is the smartest way to stay in the game. You can ask them to tag the people in the picture, and you have more reach!
Instagram is becoming one of the biggest online marketing platforms. So if your business is not on Instagram, you are missing out on a huge customer base already. But as they say, it’s never too late to start!
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