More followers means more growth opportunities, which is why an ever-expanding audience is crucial to any brand. Getting that growth organically isn’t always easy, but it’s possible…
There are countless programs that will offer you “genius hacks” for getting new followers by the thousands. But in reality, those followers probably won’t do you much good. Though your numbers may jump at first, chances are it will be a short-lived spike.
This is because no one cares about your content until they know you care about them. And if they don’t care, they’re not likely to engage or share it with others.
Putting in the work to grow your Instagram account organically takes time, but it’s worth it. And at the end of the day, it’s the only thing that will establish a loyal, engaged following long-term.
Strategies for a Following That Sticks
Implementing these social media strategies is a great way to help build a following that lasts:
As usual, know your audience.
Who needs to see your brand for you to be successful? Define that group. Research that group. Then, engage with the type of Instagram accounts you want to follow you as much as possible. Yes, it can be time-consuming, but the more you interact with these accounts, the higher the platform’s algorithm will put you in their feed.
Have information easily accessible. Linktree, anyone?
If you aren’t using a social media tool like Linktree, you better have a good reason! Tools like this give your audience concise, well-organized information about your brand and its value to them.
Giving viewers the opportunity to get to know your brand and have their questions answered without having to research or navigate away from Instagram is valuable. The deeper someone has to dig to find out about your products/services, the less legitimate your brand feels.
Distribute content strategically to bring people back to your account.
When sharing your content on other platforms, showcase your Instagram account and link back to it so people who found you elsewhere are encouraged to connect with you there, too. It’s more tempting to check back in later when they already know where to find you.
Don’t give away your value for free.
In the age of social media, you need to provide value to be worth a follow, but that doesn’t mean all of your content should be accessible to anyone who happens upon your account.
For brand exclusive content you know your followers will want—like unique sales codes, giveaway/contest details, or an ebook—require an action from them to participate. Think: tagging friends, leaving comments, sharing to Stories, saving your post… Use your audience’s desire for the content to create a wider net for new followers.
Pro tip: Requiring an email or phone number on any form fields you link to can help increase your Instagram remarketing ROI.
The smoother you make the user experience, the further down the sales funnel your audience will tumble before you have to take next steps. Direct messaging (aka DMs or PMs) is an ideal option for implementing handy bots—keyword triggers, automated quick-replies, and 24-hour follow-up are all features your brand’s social media manager should look into.
If a follower or potential follower takes the time to DM you, having a messaging strategy in place will ensure that you’re making the most of each opportunity to please your customers.
Take advantage of user-generated content.
If users tag you in a post or story and you don’t engage with and repost it, you’re choosing not to publish a free endorsement of your brand. Take the referrals and run! Show off the fact that real, unpaid, satisfied customers are bragging about your brand—and do it authentically. Instagram users know when they’re getting a standard response. Be genuine in your response to them and you’ll see it drive more activity in your account.
Make your content interactive.
Use question boxes, polls, quizzes, links… anything followers can click on to interact with you. Host a Q&A, offer a workshop, go live, make reels, use trending audio… These trends are popular now, so building content around them will help your brand thrive naturally.
Consider partnering with an influencer or two.
It doesn’t even have to be a massive Instagram star with 500K+ followers. Micro-influencers (users with a small, but loyal following) are good for dipping your toes in the influencer water. Just make sure to establish processes around your brand, content creation, and public interaction. It will make for a smoother, more successful influencer campaign.
Hashtags: Are we still talking about them?
The answer is yes. Finding the right hashtags is an art. The following behind them should be small enough to avoid your content getting lost, but large enough to be seen in a related search. Additionally, you can come up with unique, branded tags for your company and build on them. The trick with these? Be consistent. Use them on every post to increase organic recognition.
Don’t overlook the insights.
Last but not least, study insights carefully and adjust your strategy accordingly. Track what you’re doing and how Instagram’s algorithm is responding. Note the kind of posts your audience engages with and what they tend to scroll past. Assess, adjust, adapt, analyze. No one likes spending a ton of time on this part, but it’s an easy way to organically set your brand apart.
Instagram’s best practices are always changing, but there are a few key principles that you can always count on to help up your ‘gram game: accessible value, authentic engagement, and brand consistency. Executing these three things successfully is the ultimate Instagram trifecta.
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