With more than 500 million daily active users, you’ve probably recognized the benefits of having a presence on Instagram.
The problem is, to get the most out of Instagram, you need to be smart about what you post and whom you’re targeting. But how do you know what’s a “smart” post for your business?
And if you’re a newbie to Instagram, how do you get started? More Importantly, how do you grow and maintain followers? Let’s tackle first things first…
Types of Instagram Accounts
When you create an account on Instagram, you’ll have the option to choose either a personal or business account. Business accounts are far more beneficial if you’re looking to build a brand or want to have a sizeable following on the platform with whom you can share your content.
Choosing to set up a business or creator account, opens you up more opportunities to gain more followers, although you’ll lose the ability to make your post private and link to multiple Facebook profiles (you’ll connect instead to your Facebook business page).
“In reality, although these features may be of value to a personal account, they would have little if any use for a business account, wanting to market, which is probably why Instagram removed them,” points out Influencer Marketing Hub. The company goes on to say:
“The reasons for operating an Instagram account are usually very different for a business than they are for an individual – even a soletrepreneur. You use your personal Instagram account to show aspects of your life to your friends and family. A business runs its Instagram account to help build an audience, and hopefully gain customers. If you are in business, you might still want to operate a personal account for your non-business activities.”
Top 3 Tips to Gain and Maintain Followers on Instagram
A social platform with 500 million daily active users means it won’t be tough getting enough people to follow you, right? Well, not quite.
People today are more conscious of whom they follow, what they want to see on their feeds, how interesting they find the content being posted, and so on. As easy as it is to click on the “follow” button, it is just as easy to “unfollow”.
To give Instagram users a reason to follow you, follow the three tips below:
1. Keep your content fresh and consistent
On a platform like Instagram, there’s little to no room for laziness. The more frequently you post, the more you appear on your followers’ feeds, and the more relevant you are to them. When you drop off the grid for a while or stop posting because of lack of content, that space is probably being taken up by another account that’s dedicated to consistency.
Keep in mind, too, that like Google, Instagram has an algorithm to consider. Think of Instagram as a code that you need to crack, and one of the most important metrics to master, is to stay fresh in the minds—and on the screens—of followers, which will give you a higher chance of appearing on potential followers’ feeds, as well as the “explore” tab.
2. Use hashtags
Hashtags are the “holy grail” of fuel for traffic on Instagram. And it’s not just about taking a bunch of seemingly relevant hashtags and dumping them into a caption—there’s a method to it.
First, you’ll need to do some research. Do a keyword search for the most used and relevant hashtags for the content that you’re trying to post. But remember, using several hashtags won’t guarantee that more people will be directed to your profile. Rather, Instagram has a feature that will allow people to actually “follow” hashtags like they follow accounts, so using popular hashtags does increase your visibility by a mile.
Use the right tags and stay up to date on the newest trending hashtags in your niche. Sometimes, even the use of hashtags that aren’t directly related to your content can help if you’re trying to reach another segment of your audience.
3. Invest in Engagement
People don’t just want to follow an account with great content. They also want to follow an account that is responsive and values them as a follower. Through comments, mentions on stories, reposts, and also Direct Messenger responses, you can take that extra step to engage with your audience.
As your following grows, engaging with each and every member will not be simple or even possible. In such a case, you need to use a broadcast form of communication to let people know that you notice them, you appreciate their support, and you care for their opinion. Post about followers you’d like to thank and why you’re acknowledging them. You can also Tag them and share them to Stories.
Through contests and posts that require interaction, you can give people an incentive to engage with your content. For example, using captions like “Which is your dream travel destination?” or “What do you think I should do?” you’re asking them to share their opinion. And no, it doesn’t always have to be related to the image or video you’re posting. It’s more about grabbing their attention and compelling them to respond.
Yes, building followers on Instagram can often seem like a numbers game, and, to a large extent, it is. However, there will be many instances where quality will matter more than quantity, and that’s where your efforts will be required. The challenge doesn’t end with just gaining more followers—you also need to look into retaining followers as well.
Great content, consistent posts, constant improvements, taking notice of feedback and implementing it are just some of the ways that will help you boost the overall appeal of your profile.
Keep it up and you’ll eventually notice that your followers are helping to reach out to other accounts through shout-outs and mentions, and that’s when you’ll really start winning on Instagram!
**Many thanks to Eddy Stevens for his contribution to this article.
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