Instagram Marketing - How to Grow your Following on Instagram
This post is the second in a new series on the Strutta Blog meant to help your brand to improve your Instagram Marketing. If you missed our first post, check out how to Optimize your Instagram Profile for Marketing
With over 600 million unique monthly users, Instagram is the fastest growing social network in the world.
By now most brands see the value of Instagram as a sales and marketing tool, however many businesses are not yet engaging the platform at its full potential. An effective Instagram strategy can provide insight into customer demographics, highlight their wants and most importantly, drive traffic to your business. The important thing to remember is that only real people can truly interact with your brand; while there are companies out there promising a huge increase in follower-bots for a few dollars, there is no substitute for actual human engagement.
Below are just a few strategies that you can implement today to start growing your following organically on Instagram:
1. Engage your audience
Use social media for its intended purpose – socialize! Interact with Instagram users by sending likes and comments their way. Respond diligently to questions and comments on your own posts to build relationships with your audience – you can even automate some of these actions using social media management platforms.
It all comes down to people wanting to feel like they are being heard and appreciated and when they are, they often become not only customers, but loyal brand advocates.
2. Tell the Visual Story of your Brand
Humans are natural storytellers that thrive on knowledge and our natural response when we learn something of interest is to share it with those close to us. Tell your story in a way that is visually compelling and invokes an emotional reaction so that when users come across your feed, they are immediately aware of what you stand for.
Successful Instagrammers accomplish this by using cohesive color themes, pleasing image layouts, and by moving the story through their feed chronologically.
Example: A travel company creates a series of posts showcasing a particular destination, taking the audience along the trip from landing at the airport through savoring a delicious meal to relaxing on the beach. Each post has the ability to tell its own story but together they take followers along virtually as part of the experience.
3. Include Social Buttons Everywhere Your Business Lives
Wherever people see your business they should see your social media handles. Websites, email signatures, and even print material should all point your audience to where you can be found online.
4. Encourage User Generated Content
User-generated content is created by contributors (users) that relates to your brand, and is shared publicly on the platform. UGC is one of the most effective ways to spread your brand message through social media by expanding your reach beyond your own audience, to that of other users. Like the influencers discussed in our next point, these creators are essentially recommending your business to their own circles, however they are unpaid and therefore their promotions can appear more sincere.
Contests are a great way to inspire users to create content around your brand and encourage shares, enabling a wider, more authentic reach.
@leisurevans used Strutta to create an Instagram photo contest.
5. Engage Influencers
In this age of social media, consumers look to their online networks to inform purchasing decisions now more than ever. New research claims that 40% of people trust social media as much as a friend or acquaintance when it comes to product recommendations.
Influencers are Instagram users with large, highly engaged followings who use their influence to promote products and services. These users can be approached directly which may save you some money, however influencer platforms are gaining popularity and will, for a fee (usually a percentage of the influencer’s own fee) match your business up with a creator whose content is most in line with your own brand. These influencers then create their own content featuring your product or service and share it with their large audiences, vastly expanding your own reach in the process.
The power of a large social media following to achieve business goals is easy to see, and experts predict that the user base for these platforms will continue to grow as the internet generation become the consumers of tomorrow.