Conversations Media’s Instagram guru, Colleen Vizents, shares insider tips on how she builds Instagram brand followings into the tens of thousands (and counting)…
Building an Instagram following can be not only daunting but frustrating. It takes time, a strategy, and a good amount of effort to get your brand out there. If you are new to Instagram or just need a little help figuring out how to build a significant following, here are a few tips for success:
MAKE THAT PIC PRETTY:
Unlike Facebook, Instagram is completely visual, designed for people to react to what they see; so it makes sense that a pretty photo would fetch more likes and engagement. Create a portfolio of visually appealing pictures that represents your brand. If you are taking pictures with your phone, don’t over edit. Make sure that you are using the same or similar filters so that your pictures are cohesive and tell the same story. If you are using graphics (i.e. text-based images), it is important that your colors stay true to your branding and fit in with “real life” pictures. Once you have created a portfolio of posts, the next step is to create a consistent posting schedule.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY:
Instead of displaying the most recent images posted, Instagram will now show the photos most relevant to users based on an algorithm. Facebook made the same change several years ago in how it shares posts on the news feed. This means it’s now even harder to get your picture in front of your target audience. So in turn things you to keep in mind…
- Set a goal to post at least twice a day starting out. This will allow you to target two variations of people and figure out when the best time to post is.
You’re goal is consistency. If your audience can’t rely on you to post regularly, you’re not going to find many people willing to follow you on the off chance that you’re going to post something every now and then.
- However, if I don’t have any quality content to post, it’s better NOT to post. One average picture can cause you to lose followers, while posting nothing, only doesn’t gain you any followers typically.
Fortunately, you can schedule your content if you use a tool like OnlyPult. This will allow you to pre schedule content and write posts for the month so you can build a consistent and interesting collection of photos that people will want to engage with.
GET A LITTLE PERSONAL
Be real. Be you. Be authentic. This is the hardest part for a lot of people. Every now and then show the users who you are. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time for a selfie but a picture of you interacting with your brand or business. This gives personality to your brand.
If you don’t like pictures of yourself or you don’t want your face out on the Interweb have someone take a picture of you, doing what you do, from the back. I would suggest posting a “personal” photo once a week so people feel like they are getting to know you.
NOT ALL HASHTAGS ARE CREATED EQUAL
Using the most popular hashtags are great but it will not create long-term engagement or growth. If you want to tag your photos properly, you’ll need to find and use the most relevant hashtags. This means doing the appropriate keyword research to make sure you’re using the most relevant hashtags that not only describes your brand, but is also being searched for on Instagram. There are several popular sites that we use to check for top hashtags and engagement.
We use https://websta.me/search for the up todate most popular hashtags and also Sprout Social’s analytics for which hashtags are getting the most engagement.
If you are unsure of how to use hashtags properly start by using one hashtag for your overall brand, one for the category and one for the location.
Example hashtag structure:
- (Brand Keyword Hashtags)
- #mybrandname #socialmedia #socialmediamarketing #socialmediaagency
- (Product Category Keyword Hashtags)
- #socialmediatips #tipoftheday #wisdomwednesday
- (Location Specific Keyword Hashtags)
- #nolasocialmedia #nolablogger #nolamedia
STALK YOUR COMPETITORS AND STEAL THEIR FOLLOWERS:
One way to build your following is to search Instagram for similar brands to your own and follow / engage with their followers.
How does one go about finding the competitions follower you ask? Simple…go to the competitors IG account click on their followers and simply scroll through and follow all noteable followers, those who have a lot of followers or could be a possible influencer. Once a week go through and follow 10-20 of the competitions followers and like their photos.
LEVERAGE LARGE AUDIENCES OF OTHERS
By far the hardest but the most rewarding of the Instagram tricks is to get yourself featured by bigger profiles. This will get you a lot of followers quickly, but you need to get featured by RELEVANT profile so it matches your niche.
Try and get featured by whatever “Big Fish” is in your pond by participating with their hashtags and interacting with them. Tag them in your photo as a picture of themselves as well, don’t tag them in a comment as they likely won’t see that. That’s a great way to get a brand’s attention, again, as long as it’s very relevant to what you’re posting.
REPOST, REPOST…and REPOST SOME MORE
Engagement is key. People want to be noticed and appreciated for their “InstaArt.” Once a week repost a photo that is aesthetically pleasing and integrates with your brand. This will help build a following that might not have already seen you. To do this search one of your Instagram hashtags, #photooftheday, for a picture that not only fits in with your portfolio, has a lot of likes, and the user has a lot of followers. Use a tool such as Onlypult to schedule and repost once a week.
MAKE EM’ SMILE
While doing your daily scrolling and liking of your news feed, if a photo makes you smile and stop for a second to look at it, leave a comment. It doesn’t matter how many followers or likes the account has it’s just a nice way to spread the love and give credit where credit is due.