While making business resolutions for the new year, don’t forget about your Instagram presence. This platform may very well be your most important profile in the entire social realm, thanks to its rapid growth and ability to connect with more than a billion monthly active users.
If predictions are correct, Instagram could one day usurp Facebook as the most used social media platform, and those who recognized it for what it was, to begin with, and put their best Instagram marketing foot forward will be the most competitive and thriving accounts in the business.
Use 2019 to make major strides in boosting your Instagram followers. Here are nine steps you can take to make your follower count goals a reality.
- Set a Goal
Before you take steps to grow your following, set a measurable goal that you can reach. If you’re just starting out, you might shoot for just 100 followers. If you’ve been around for a while, your goal might be 5,000.
Keep the goal realistic, but don’t be afraid to stretch yourself. Although it might seem like an insurmountable goal, Instagrammers rise from 500 to 10,000 followers in a single month all the time. They use engagement tactics, automation, and constant effort to reach that point, and their efforts pay off.
- Post at Least Once Per Day
Based on recent research, the Instagram accounts that see the most engagement post about once per day, but no more than twice. It’s just enough to keep your account relevant without letting it appear spammy.
However, results may differ depending on your specific account. Some Instagrammers swear that posting several times per day will bring the best results while others say it’s best to post only a few times per month.
“Here’s a simple experiment you can do to see what works best for you,” suggests an article from BloggingwithFunnels. “Start by posting once a day, and track how much engagement you get for each post. It’s also important to track your corresponding follower growth. Gradually move up, trying different posting frequencies. Go as high as you’re comfortable with!”
- Host Instagram Contests
Tailwind recently ran a survey to determine the effectiveness of using contests to grow their following. They found that on average, Instagrammers that used contests to grow their followers saw a growth 70 percent faster than those who never used contests.
To make the most of any strategy, whether it’s a photo contest or a giveaway, be sure to require entrants to follow your account, like your post, and use a specific branded hashtag. This will increase exposure to your brand and instantly create a greater following.
- Be Smart with Hashtags
Another tried and true tactic for increasing growth is using hashtags wisely. The best strategy for growth is using hashtags that are already trending in your industry. This will allow you to piggyback on the popularity of other posts to bring more attention to your brand.
You can use smaller, more specialized hashtags as well as clever hashtags that enhance the meaning of your post. Avoid putting too many hashtags in the actual post, however. It’s better to put a few relevant hashtags in your post and place the rest in the comments for optimum searchability without looking spammy.
- Write Great Captions
Although Instagram is all about the photos and videos, the captions often reel in a captive audience.
“Paint a picture of what it was like to personally experience the content of your post,” recommends a Tagscout article. “If it’s a vintage piece of clothing, what was the feeling you had when you found it? If it’s a location, what did it smell like? If you’re a photography page, what camera did you use to capture the post? What were the settings on your camera? The more detail you can give, the better.”
- Spend Some Money
When they say you have to spend money to make money, that’s often true of your Instagram account. Whether you use an Instagram growth service, or you spend it all on advertising, you’ll often get more bang for your buck when your marketing dollars are pinpointed on Instagram.
One Instagrammer, @petehalvorsen, a photographer with more than 202,000 followers on Instagram, says that his $30 spent on a two-day campaign for a video he shot in Hong Kong resulted in fantastic results. “I ended up picking up 600 new followers in 3 days,” he told USAToday.
For maximum exposure, put your targeted advertisements and paid content in Instagram Stories. The engagement in this section of the platform is unprecedented, and you’ll win big points with the Instagram algorithm as well.
- Use Influencer Marketing
Instagram is a hub of influencer marketing, a strategy that involves using the popularity of other Instagram accounts to further your own brand exposure. Account owners might endorse your product/service or simply mention you in one of their own posts. It’s a fantastic way to further the reach of your brand and get almost instantaneous followers.
Start by targeting influencers with 10,000 followers or less. These are known as micro-influencers and they tend to have an extremely loyal following. If you can offer complementary content to this audience, you’ll have no trouble rapidly growing your following from an influencer campaign.
- Use Links on Instagram Stories
You should already recognize the power of Instagram Stories in connecting with your audience and reaching a wider one. If you want to enhance that reach even further, put a link in each story you post. Users can access that link by swiping up. A caption encouraging users to check out the link is also appreciated.
“That might seem like a simple option, but it’s an essential one for driving even more Instagram traffic to your website,” suggests Adam Phillips of Falcon.io.
This is only available to those with 10,000 followers or more, so you’ll need to reach that point first if you haven’t already. All the more reason to grow your following quickly!
- Connect with YouTube
Cross-promotion is a powerful tool for growing your following, and not enough Instagrammers take advantage of it. It makes perfect sense for you to connect with the other highly popular visual account, YouTube.
Coordinate these two accounts to promote your brand. Let your videos on YouTube take the lead, and program them on Instagram.
“One of the keys to this technique is to take some time to do some research on hashtags on Instagram,” says Zac Johnson in a Blogging.org article. “The key is to scour the web to find the most trending and popular posts on Instagram and look at the hashtags they used to promote them.”
Once you’ve created strong content to use on both platforms, you’ll see an increased following that sticks around all through 2019.