So you want to start gaining more followers for Instagram? Just got an account with a few followers or want to grow an established following?
Read more for this extensive guide which gives you an in depth guide of how you can start building up a following. How to create engaging content on a regular basis. Even though Instagram is a mobile based app, thanks to the introduction of their web service, using both a mobile and desktop based computer with access to the desktop version of Instagram will provide you with the best results! So read on to discover how you can get more followers for Instagram.
Start with the research
The basis of any successful marketing campaign is getting the initial research down to begin with. This creates a foundation on which you can build.
The main priorities of a successful Instagram marketing campaign, is finding the relevant users to your profile that have high engagement rates. The benefit of communicating with users with high engagement rates is one of two fold, firstly they will more likely click through when you post a comment and secondly more likely to follow you as well.
Engagement rate of your posts is a measure to see how well an Instagram profile is doing – but don’t really fret about this metric on your own personal profile – it’s just a metric to help you find people to target – it doesn’t really give a good indication of how well you’re performing on the platform for a profile and is just a basic formula to gauge roughly how well it is doing.
This metric is better used to analyse individual posts to discover which content you should be creating. Finding out which content creates great engagement rates is something you should be copying and emulating in to your own style.
Calculating Engagement Rates
The engagement rate is calculated by taking the number of likes + comments and dividing that number by the number of followers your account had at the time of posting. Bearing in mind a recent post less than a week won’t have the full optimum likes and comments as it takes a while for people to see. Normally try this metric on posts that are 1w-2w old. Here’s an example:
This post has 8322 likes and 94 comments.
As a rough guess they had 250k followers at the time of posting this content. So you add the likes and the comments together = 8416. Divide this by 250k = 0.03364 times this by 100 = 3.36% – not bad for such a huge following!
There are other key metrics to measure in your quest to becoming an Instragram guru. Such as: growth, click through rates, reach and exposure to your demographic audience but for now, we can stick with engagement rate as the basic principle on how to grow your Instagram following.
Create Database of Hashtags and Profiles Relevant to your Niche
Continuing on with our idea of researching profiles to target. Instagram offers hashtags as a way for brands and top influencers to tap in to a wider audience which you can use as well. I’m not going in to detail as to what hash tags are about and what they’re for, just understand that they will help you in your quest to find engaging profiles.
The main premise here is to keep track of certain hashtags and who posts to them try and engage with these users. You can use this great free tool to get you started, it’s all you pretty much need to get started – http://hashtagify.me/
This will give you an idea of common hashtags used and allow you to dig deep in to the hashtag hierarchy and structure. The more hashtags you find, the more things you will be able to follow and keep track of which is relevant to your profile and your niche. By monitoring hash tags you can find what people are using to get on the front page and get consistent promotion free on behalf of instagram. using this technique you will get free traffic to your profile and increase your followers
Start off with something simple related to your content you wish to promote.
Music, Pets, Skateboarding, Makeup
Researching your HashTags
As an example: using a common hashtag with music and especially hip-hop producers is the tag #beats
Put this tag in to the Instagram search bar to bring up a grid of Instagram images.
I found a post with 8833 likes of a girl who plays drums using the tag #beats. You want to find the posts with more than 1500 likes, this ensures a good following and engagement rate.
When you click on the post, there are other hash tags used in the promotion of it. Take a note of these hashtags for later in a separate spreadsheet.
These are your keywords for your research. You can also use these words as an added benefit to your SEO keyword strategy.
Try and keep a journal or database / spreadsheet of the users which get the most likes and shares on certain hashtags that are loosely relevant to your profile or you think could be useful. The benefit of doing this versus following them is that you don’t increase your following numbers, yet you increase the amount of profiles you are actually keeping track of 😉
Sometimes there are links to other people, in this example there is to a profile. In this instance you see it in the image blurb with the @ on his Instagram username. For optimum results they should be tagging his username in the picture – this is what you should be asking for if you get an image re-posted by another profile.
Creating a database
You want to create a spreadsheet or resource sheet so that you can follow users without actually following them, it also ensures that things don’t get lost in your pursuit to engage with the people and brands that matter, it’s about leverage. Following lots of people makes it hard for you to engage with users as Instagram will filter stuff on your newsfeed. It’s better to have a spreadsheet with stats that help you to target precisely – plus you will forget the users if you only use following.
Essentially what you’re doing is competitive analysis.
Build up a spreadsheet file that shows as follows from the above technique to find a list of user profiles.
user id, followers, likes, comments, category, shares photos, hashtag?
By researching hashtags you can find regular content posters that have high followings. you will begin to understand who is popular and in what niche.
For instance, make up.
Types of User Profiles
There are different types of profiles listed on Instagram.
3)Shareable (Repurposed Content)
Personal is a profile that typically takes all their own photos via their smartphone and uploads them to the site.
Typically a commercial or not profit enterprise that is communicating a brand message to their audience and customers.
(Shareable user profiles) – these can be mixed with personal and brands
Certain profiles will share content created by others and give a link back to the username that created or helped in the process of creating it. In the spreadsheet there is a column “Shareable User Profile” – column D.
For this column it is a yes or no answer. You will need to check the images on the profile if the content posted by the profile gives a link back to a different user. It should be obvious if an account creates shareable content. Normally they will promote others instead of relying on self generated content all the time.
A make-up company may promote their models with a link back to their profiles – https://www.instagram.com/maccosmetics/
A record will promote their artists – https://www.instagram.com/defectedrecords/
Getting exposure on these high following, high engaging user profiles is obviously good for you too. And you should look to build relationships with such accounts. Posting something original that fits in with their brand message might get you the chance to be featured. If you feel that you have a piece of original content or a photo that is relevant to their profile it doesn’t hurt to send them a message asking if they can post up your image or a video with a link back to you!
Beauty: Asking a make-up company to post a photo of your eye or face with make-up that you have used by them.
Fitness: Asking a fitness profile or brand to post a photo of you using their product.
Music: Asking a studio user profile to post a picture of your home studio (only post good ones or you will get laughed at)
So be original, help them out. Do something that catches their attention, this will make them HAVE to post your content up 🙂
When you start to follow users on your Instagram profile, you will start to receive updates from the users on the home button.
But did you know? On the desktop based version of Instagram the SUGGESTED followers box has more suggestions. It also allows you to open up each suggestion in to a new tab.
Utilising this approach will accelerate your discovery of new profiles.
Not only that, once you start looking at the comments and digging further in to who writes relevant replies to the topic as well funny stuff or that connects to the vibe and messages you typically give yourself, you’ll end up checking them out too. It is this very thing which helps others find your profile!
So hopefully now that with the discovery tools I have given above you will have a collection of around 50+ users (you can expand this list as far as you want) on the spreadsheet that have a similarity with your brand message. Finding ideas that gel with your Instagram profile you’re trying to promote will help you increase the list further.
Remember it’s better to be picky and focus on high following, high engagement rate users. Choose your targets wisely of the people you follow!
Once you have got a list of targets, potential usernames and hashtags it’s time to start engaging with these high profile users. You want to find the users that have a consistent promotion strategy and that receive upwards of 1500 likes (as a guide) and around 10+ comments on their posts. What happens is that when you start commenting and liking these high profile users you will get trickle traffic.
Building a collection of user profiles and names act as a reference point.
When you multiply this over hundreds/thousands of users, users of Instagram will naturally start to take notice of who you are. You will start to leverage their audience on to yours. It spreads if you post on the correct user profiles!
Once you start to comment on these user profiles, you will naturally find recurring usernames. If these people are active on Instagram, is a good idea to also add these users to your list or comment and like on their own photos. You may also add them to your spreadsheet of usernames.
Content to post
You want to try and post engaging replies and comments to the topic of the content posted.
Ideas like above will receive more attention and click throughs than emojis and “cool” “nice” etc etc. Your comments need to be thought through and relevant. Although, I am guilty of saying rubbish like “very cool” – but it was still engaging with the topic!
Liking and posting above to the accounts that relate to your user profile will trickle traffic to your profile. If you do this daily across multiple profiles you will start to see a following and likes/comments on your photos! Yay 🙂
So that’s it for researching and building your database of profiles to target. Now it’s time to focus on your own profile and your own content.
You can do all the liking and commenting you like, but unless you’ve got the content – no one is going to follow you and engage with your content either!
Creating consistent strategy
Have a consistent content and promotion strategy. The platform is primarily about sharing photos but now thanks to 3rd party apps and Instagram self developed plugins there are more ways to create content for the platform than just taking a selfie and adding filters on top of it.
If you want to achieve maximum exposure though, you will need a constant promotion strategy that helps you to manage your content uploads – creativity doesn’t strike all the time and it’s good to have a strategy in place for your content uploads.
It is an excellent method to have a whole set of photos to publish in a timed sequence at correct timings for optimum results and enhanced visibility. This is especially true if you have a good active following.
Often you will see that the users with the highest followers have thousands of posts.
It’s not likely you’ll be able to do a ZachKing and post a minimal amount of posts and get mils of subs, unless you’re some sort of comic genius, but hey ho.
That’s not to say you can’t manually add on top of the existing content. Part of the fun is uploading content as and when you feel like. However, scheduling content will achieve better results. Sprinkling in manual content will add to the flavour of your profile and make it exciting for your followers 🙂
Scheduling Content Achieving the best timings for your posts / Using Analytics
The best timings to share posts can be had below as a rough example. Thanks to the guys at CoSchedule and their Best Time to Post on Social Media Post. Here is an excerpt from their Instagram findings:
Another key thing to note is don’t follow this to the letter, it’s a rough guide. You will find the best times relevant to your own audience.
Example: You aren’t going to drop a hip-hop track at 4am in the morning LA time and expect people to see it and get shared much. It will probably be around 8pm their time in order for them to see it. So post that time. You will discover your own trends for your own audience.
Usually this is when they have a bit of free time to check their phone.
Different posts will have more engagement dependant on the target market. The content used and the timing of the post.
It’s a good idea if you’re serious about learning your audiences trends once you start to receive likes and comments on your posts to start using an analytics tool.
The best tool for understanding your instagram followers for $9/month:
This tool will help you to identify the key top performing times of your OWN content.This is the time you want to post your photos and videos up on Instagram https://pro.iconosquare.com/analyze/engagement
Being able to filter profiles in to lists is a great way to keep on top of current trends and get access to user generated content. What’s more, if you’re the first person to notice this and reply/comment/interact on a key influencers post, you will be on their social radar more (hard to do).
Having this pre-awareness of them knowing your name when you pitch to them asking to share your content helps a great deal in getting another person to share his/her audience with you – and likewise you should be willing to do the same if you feel it’s relevant your topic.
You will know this naturally, what content to share and re-share the more time you spend promoting your account on the platform.
A user who shows a huge portfolio of unique posts and other cool digital content on their Instagram profile will get more opportunities to get their content featured on another profile and thus a link back due to the diversity of posts that might engage with their audience.
Quick guide to iconosquare.com
That’s why it’s good to have scheduled snippets of your content ready to be promoted over the course of the week at times that suit your target audience. You can obviously try promoting the same piece of content over the course of a week at various times daily, to see what the most effective time is.
It’s often good to repost your content to your social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. This is due to their algorithms not showing your followers your article or tweet 100% of the time. It’s just not feasible to people who follow lots of users and engaged – your target.
Scheduling your posts
Co-schedule is a great plugin that can handle timed sequencing of upload to your social channels and to other various social media channels as well as your website.
This will handle the upload of photos you have pre-generated to be shared on Instagram.
Vary your schedules from week to week.
Try and post something at least 3-4 times during the week relevant to your profile and your niche.
If you have researched content ideas properly you should be able to do this.
Brainstorm creative ideas you can use for your Instagram profile that are related to your niche.
CONTESTS AND GIVEAWAYS
I would probably give a while until you start to understand what posts you share get the most engagement and to what audience. Recording times of most active engagement is another metric you want to keep track of when launching a contest to your audience.
Giveaways – giving something for free as a way of connecting your users to your Instagram profile that is relevant to your niche. You will need to have contact with key influencers in order to be able to promote your giveaway.
You want maximum exposure for this sort of thing in a short space of time, it creates the urge to do it – a powerful marketing technique. You can leverage your existing social media bases to interact on a different platform via this method also.
Once you have an established following, doing giveaways and contests with your readers is a great way to increase engagement and build a great awareness of your brand.
Unique ideas for users to generate and provide their own content to your social contests and giveaways and websites provides an endless stream of shareable content which you don’t have to work for.
Your job is to make it fun. The more engagement you can create the better brand impression you will create.
PAYING FOR SOCIAL PROOF
If you want to fake social proof, you can purchase Instagram followers for a nominal fee from certain providers.
This will make your profile appear more legitimate and by human nature of going with the group psyche, you will naturally attain more organic followers quicker – but don’t overdo it and buy thousands. If you’re starting out, around 200-300 followers will buy you enough social proof to start approaching influencers.
If you see an account yourself with lots of subscribers and little engagement on posts, or has little updates or good content, you’re not really going to be interested in following them.
That’s why you shouldn’t buy thousands of followers, eventually Instagram is going to catch up to this sort of thing so having thousands of fake followers isn’t going to help get your content seen by more people – in fact it will likely damage your maximum exposure and reach.
This is because their algorithms which put content on the news feeds of users is designed in a way to show users with the most engagement of their posts first, compared to the one with least (at leas this is the thing that makes most sense).
If you follow my above techniques above on a daily basis, you shouldn’t have to buy any followers to your accounts. Building an established base from scratch is a much better feeling that buying thousands of followers. People are not stupid and when they see someone with thousands of followers and they’re getting less than 100 likes per post they ain’t going to believe you! This will make it harder to leverage your marketing efforts to your audience. So my tip is build real relationships with people and keep engaging on a consistent basis.
USING TOOLS such as imgur.com and pinterest.com
You can use these sites as inspiration for finding images to share on your profile. You don’t need to completely re-invent the wheel all the time.
If you own a blog you can utilise this tool to create a graphic for your latest blog post and have high impact writing that grabs attention and looks pretty pro.
You can grab the attention of your Instagram audience by incorporating a link along with lots of hashtags relevant when you post to Instagram(insert image of a post with lots of hashtags and a link to some content).
This can help in the discovery and introduce other digital content that you have made.
If you do this enough times with relevant content relating to those hashtags, you will attract more comments, likes and follows.
Creating an Instagram profile that constantly creates a variety of pictures/memes/videos and not just about pictures of family /selfies, nights out with friends (however cute) isn’t going to attract a massive audience.
An app you can download to your phone. This app helps you to create a video with a great stabilisation bit of tech.
Not only that, but you can speed up videos.
Ideal for lifestyle shoots and scenery.
Another good tool to have in your Instagram content creation process and is entirely FREE.
Great for layering up images.
Ideal for makeup and beauty niches to show before and after pictures. Great for starting up conversations.
So that about rounds up the ideas on your quest to getting more followers for your Instagram profile. Good luck in dominating the platform with these in-depth techniques.