How to grow an Instagram following
The highly curated visual nature of Instagram makes it the perfect platform to master if you’re hoping to transform your interiors or design brand into a covetable lifestyle brand. It’s daunting first setting up an account and staring at your zero-follower count, so here are a few tips to supercharge your (organic!) follower growth!
1. Post consistently (at least once a day)
According to a study from Union Metrics, what matters for Instagram is posting consistency.
Let me explain. If you want to maximize engagement and generate followers, you can start posting on Instagram 10, 15, even 20 times a day. This will not negatively affect your Instagram account.
That is, until you change the frequency. If you make a habit of posting several times a day and then transition to only a few times a week, you will start to lose followers and generate less engagement per post.
This means that the best posting frequency for Instagram is the posting frequency that you can consistently maintain for the rest of your natural life. Or at least until you sell your business or retire to a beach somewhere.
2. Get the hang of hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to help new followers find you, so it would be worthwhile spending a bit of time researching and recording hashtags relevant to your brand. Check out a few blogger’s posts; what hashtags are they using?
Another way to discover hashtags is to check out the top 100 hashtags from Websta here. (You can also use Websta to search relevant keywords and find popular accounts.)
What you really want are community-oriented, specific hashtags that will drive more engagement and help you build a brand. INK361 is a free tool you can use to find less popular hashtags. Simply search for a term (e.g. ‘Nordic’) and choose a hashtag to see the search volume.
3. Share user generated content
When it comes to making a purchase, who are you more likely to trust: a brand, or a fellow consumer who uses the product? We’re more likely to take recommendations from friends and family members than brands when it comes time to make buying decisions - and that's the logic behind user-generated content on social media.
If your customers tag you in a post, you can use an app such as Instarepost to share their image with your followers. If the image features one of your products – hey presto: it’s a ready-made marketing shot!
Once you’ve built up an initial following, why not experiment with asking your customers and followers to post a themed image using a specific hashtag, perhaps offering a prize for the best entry. This can be particularly effective for building up a sense of community.
4. Ask users to “tag a friend”
This is a great form of viral marketing for once you’ve already built up an engaged audience, and works especially well if you are hosting an Instagram competition, or an actual event! For interior and lifestyle brands, it can work (in a cute kind of way) to post an image of delectable interiors, or an amazing vista, and ask followers to tag someone they’d most like to enjoy it with.
5. Share the love <3
Instagram isn’t a self-promotion tool; sorry, let me rephrase: Instagram shouldn’t be considered a self-promotion tool for brands (plenty of humans may see it that way!). It is, a community, and successful brands will need to be willing to dedicate a significant amount of time to just ‘hanging out’ on the site, taking inspiration and engaging with other users. You’ll learn to understand, what you give, you will get in return.
One last tactic: How to drive traffic from Instagram?
One of the challenges of marketing on Instagram (and possibly a part of its joy for users) is that you can’t quite add links for your viewers to click.
If you want to send your followers to a specific link, though, it seems that it’s becoming common practice to change the link in your Instagram profile and add the comment “link in bio” to a corresponding photo or video.