With a reported number of 300 million users and 70 million photos shared each day, Instagram has become a key marketing and social engagement tool for businesses. It is also a great platform for testing out new business ideas.
To leverage Instagram as a marketing tool, some marketers have turned to buying fake followers and using automated liking or commenting programs to increase their reach. Gaining fake followers might make your page and product look popular however, you will have no real insight as to who is actually interested in your brand and you risk getting banned by Instagram for violating its Terms of Service.
In this quick guide, I will show you how to get real followers that are part of your target audience by walking you through the steps I used to grow my Instagram page @MakeupforMelaninGirls from 500 followers to more than 30,000 followers in a few months without buying fake followers.
Here are some tips for engaging real people that are part of your target audience:
Upload Quality Photos
Instagram is a photo-sharing app after all and people want to be inspired by or be in awe of the photos you share. Plan and think ahead of a colour scheme and/or theme for your photos. White is a popular background colour and for good reason, it helps to keep focus on your image and is less distracting. If your products are in fashion or beauty, consider showcasing your products with the flat-lay style.
Use Web Apps that make managing your account a breeze
Since Instagram is primarily an app for mobile phones, it can be tricky managing all your tasks on a small screen. Crowdfire is a social media management desktop app that grows your Instagram by letting you copy followers of accounts in a similar niche as you, see who unfollows you and know who follows you back. You can perform following & unfollowing tasks very quickly via desktop without violating Instagram’s terms of service.
Crowdfire allows you to perform similar tasks for your twitter account and is available in both paid and free options.
Iconosquare is another great app that gives you full visibility to your Instagram page on your computer. Although its popular Optimization feature (shows you the best time to interact with your followers) is now a paid feature, you can see several statistics about your page and engage quickly with your audience without being limited to a small screen.
Overview of the Crowdfire HomePage
Use hashtags relevant to your target audience
Most people are already aware that using hashtags attracts more likes and interest however, using hashtags that are often used and searched by your target audience is the difference between getting engaged followers and just getting likes. You can use an online viewer like Websta to see the popularity rank of Instagram hashtags.
How to see popular hashtag in order of popularity using Websta
Post at the Right Times and Days
Putting some thought into the days of the week and times of the week will also help your follower base and visibility. Although, Iconosquare’s popular Optimization feature which displays a graph of the best times for you to post is now a paid feature, you can still use some common knowledge tips. Lunch time and 5pm when people are getting off work are examples of optimal times to post. Keep in mind these will be more impactful if your audience is in the same timezone.
As you complete the steps above, you will start to build a group of connected and engaged people. Do not forget to have fun with your followers by liking and commenting on their photos, sending them messages if need be and answering their questions if they have any. Instagram is a social media page after all, so connect with your followers! They want to know that there are real people behind the brand and that you care about the same things they care about.
Many people log into Instagram to take a break or pass the time so make sure browsing your page is an enjoyable experience.
Comment below if you learnt something new and will put these steps into practice to grow your followers!