Just a couple years ago Instagram was this new photo sharing app that people were using.
Fast forward to 2018, and now you are seeing full-time “Instagram” models making top tier money through Instagram sponsorships. And not just that, thousands of brands are now considering Instagram as a serious content marketing, networking, and an insanely powerful audience building tool. I’m assuming that you are one of those brands. Or at least you like the idea of being a full-time Instagram model who gets to travel the world for free J
Why wouldn’t you want to be famous on Instagram? There are more than 200 million people active every day. They share more than 60 million images and drop over 1.6 billion likes per day.
You will probably get more engagement with your audience through Instagram than through any other social media network out there. According to Forrester Research, engagement rates on Instagram is a whopping 58 times higher than Facebook.
Even if you get a small piece of that pie, you will be able to reach heights that you have never dreamed of.
But here’s what I want you to set your eyes to – anything but average. Anyone can achieve an average level of followers on Instagram and get average engagement. You want to strive for the best. The unicorn that is seen once every millennia and blows everyone’s mind with what they can achieve.
I want you to be a unicorn that can outperform not just their competitors, but everyone by a magnitude.
And if you apply these 14 attention-grabbing techniques that I mention in this article, you will be on your way to do that.
These include everything, from getting the right pictures to post on Instagram to hashtags, captions, setting up your profile the right way, etc.
So without any further ado, let’s jump right into the Insta-famous elixir and get your share.
14 Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram
Create a Dedicated Hashtag and Promote It
It’s great that you just created a dedicated hashtag for your company.
But how will people know they should use it when sharing content about you?
They don’t. So you have to tell them that you have a hashtag that they can use.
So, make sure that it is in your profile, on the back of your business card, on your receipts, print ads, etc.
Even better, add an incentive for people to post pictures with your product and have your hashtag in the caption. I recently went to Comic-Con and saw Mountain Dew giving out free drinks to people who could do 10 push-ups and would post a picture with their hashtag in.
Obviously, if you’re in a different niche you might want to just go for the posting the picture part with an incentive, but you get the idea.
Get Creative With Your Hashtags
You know that hashtags allow your content to be found by people who don’t follow you. But when it comes to Instagram, you also want to make sure that you are not boring. Remember, the attention span of people on this social network is very low. You want to grab that attention not only with a great picture but also with exciting hashtags.
I’m sure that the first thing that comes to your mind would be those one-word hashtags. And you should definitely use them. But also dig in and see if you can use some ironic, funny or just mind-blowing hashtags that you can find.
I have seen people just talk about the hashtags a person used in the comments.
Use websites like Webstagram to find hashtags that are popular and relevant to what you are posting. While you want to use hashtags and often creative hashtags, you also don’t want to overdo this. People don’t like seeing a paragraph of hashtags below the pictures.
A good rule of thumb is to post a minimum of 3 hashtags and a maximum of 5.
Take Part In Popular Conversations
You’re on social media my friend, time to get rid of shyness and start participating in conversations that everyone is talking about. But I’m not talking about the way you are thinking.
You want to participate through your posts, by adding in hashtags that are being used in popular conversations.
For instance, #ThanosDemandsYourSilence is a very popular hashtag right now because the movie Avengers: Infinity War is about to be released.
And if you are catching up on the movies from Marvel Studios, you could post a relevant picture with that hashtag and join in on the conversation that others are having about the movie.
Think of these hashtags as long-tail keywords. They make the pictures/conversations more personal. But you also want to include other universally trending hashtags like #OOTD, #instagood, etc. as well.
This way you will be able to get in front of more people in general, but you also would be able to engage in much more personal conversations.
Take Advantage of Your Bio URL
Most people post the URL of their website in the bio and just forget about it. That could be the most boring thing ever.
Remember, you do not want to be boring on Instagram. And people really get tired very soon. So you need to keep things fresh and keep providing them with eye-catching photos and information.
My recommendation would be to change up your bio URL at least twice a week. You could link to your latest blog posts on your website. Or maybe just popular content that is evergreen and people love reading it.
You just want to make sure that you are rotating links and keeping things fresh.
Describe Your Captions. Use Storytelling.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But that doesn’t mean you should skip the whole using the words thing. You would still need to describe a picture in order to have an engaged audience.
I have seen hundreds of traditional media companies get this wrong. And the result of getting captions wrong has ended up with them struggling to get viewership on their networks.
But that is not the case with NatGeo and NASA. They have successfully thrived through the digital transformation. But by amassing millions of followers, they have more than just thrived on Instagram.
I’m sure that all these Instagram techniques look like a lot of work to you. But it is better if you get on the right track from the beginning and work it into your overall strategy. This will not only help you mold yourself into an Instagram star, it will also be loved by your audience. Because who doesn’t want to know the full story about a picture that you took?
Use Influencer Marketing to Its Full Extent
Never have it been easier to get in touch with influencers. And once you have identified someone as an influencer in your niche, you want to interact with them on a regular basis.
This means that you want to get notified every time they post a new picture. This will give you the opportunity to be one of the first people they notice. And soon you will become one of their favorite person or brand.
This will take some time, but with consistent effort, you will get there.
Get Rid of Tagged Photos You Don’t Like from Your Profile
Let’s be honest, there might be some pictures that you might’ve clicked that you don’t like. And they definitely have tagged you in those pictures.
This is the time to visit the tagged photos area of your profile and see if you have some pictures that you don’t like. If you don’t like them, it is possible that there is someone who doesn’t like them either.
By using the Edit Tags option, you can choose with pictures you want to stay and which pictures you want to hide from your profile. You will need to confirm that you want to hide them, and so you should say yes to that.
Obviously, that wouldn’t get rid of the picture from Instagram entirely. It will just hide it from being shown on your profile.
Manually Approve Which Tagged Photos Shows On Your Profile
I love this feature because it gives you more control over what other people see on your profile.
And if someone tags you in their picture, you will have to manually approve it in order for it to show in the tagged pictures section.
Where will you find this option?
It is under Options -> Photos of You -> Add Manually
I know this can mean that fewer people will be able to see how cool your brand is. But trust me, this is a good thing to control. You do not want to end up with a ton of tagged photos and find yourself or your brand in a potentially embarrassing situation that could be completely avoided by using this setting.
Your Account, Your Style
I understand that you might want to follow the same tried and true technique. If other brands can have success with a particular style, you could have success as well thing.
And while that might be true, it is better if you develop your own style.
Because people love to follow brands that are doing something unique. Or at least posting pictures that look like they are doing something unique. Even if they are doing the same thing as the other brands, with their own style, they make it unique and likable for their audience.
This will not only set you apart from your competitors on a profile level, your audience will also be able to recognize your picture as soon as it pops up in their feed. Your brand would just click in their mind and they would be more interested in reading your caption rather than just scrolling past it.
Narrow It Down. Get Local.
Check out what’s going on in your city, a specific area that you might be interested in, or maybe even your neighborhood.
You can do this by going to the search page and choosing the Places tab. Then type in the name of the place that you would like to see all the geotagged posts for that particular location.
This can be helpful in a ton of ways.
You can use this information to decide on what things you would post next. Or if you are traveling, you can check out those particular spots and see what’s so interesting about them (obviously if other people post interesting pictures of that place).
But not just that, you also want to know what other people in your city/ neighborhood are posting about. This will help you connect with them on a more personal level and spark conversations that you never thought would happen.
Calls to Actions Are Still Very Important
Remember, Instagram is similar to every other social network out there. You are basically having a conversation with your audience. Here, you’re having it through pictures.
So you always want to have a call to action on your post. But what should people do when they see your post? Are you always confused on what you think would be a good call to action?
If that is something you’re facing, then you should go back and think why you are posting that picture in the first place.
But while doing the research for this post, I found that Staples are very good at these calls to actions. They let people know exactly what they want them to do after they see their posts and that drives a ton of engagement.
The best call to action one can have is if they are taking something mundane like liking and commenting and making it fun.
Remember, calls to actions are the very things that often get people to share your posts and potentially make them go viral.
- Posting at the Right Time
This is very important. Because you want as many people viewing your photos as possible.
So before you post anything on Instagram, make sure that you know the time zone of the where the majority of your audience lives. And more importantly, at what time they are scrolling through Instagram.
Different people use Instagram at different times, but usually, the engagements are at their peak during Wednesdays between 5-6 PM. This doesn’t mean that you should only post at that time.
Most people use Instagram whenever they are free like while commuting home from work or school, the first thing in the morning, or on Sundays.
A good rule of thumb here is to remember that your photo has a good 4 hours to maximize its visibility before it gets lost in the news feed with other pictures. This is the reason why you should post when you know your audience will be having their downtime.
Like for instance, if the majority of your audience is adults, it is better to post between 6 – 9 AM or 6 – 10 PM.
- Asking Questions in Your Captions
If you’re looking to get more comments on your photos, this is the best way to go about it. The best thing about asking a question is that it has a dual effect:
- You get more likes, and
- You get more comments
And remember, the more you engage with your audience, the more followers you will have.
- Post Frequently. But Don’t Post Too Much
This is something that you will need to hone in. Because once you start getting more followers, the immediate thing you will have to deal with, is how you can keep up with their interest.
Once the best and the easiest ways to keep up is to post photos that are relevant and attractive. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you constantly have to be on a photoshoot. Well, that will depend on what niche you are in.
But let’s say that you have a couple hundred photos that you can post on Instagram right now. The best thing to do would be to post 2-3 photos per day instead of flooding all the pictures like a madman.
People won’t like that and they will probably end up unfollowing you because of that. Plus, your profile won’t be as attractive to new followers as well.
So, are you using any of these strategies to increase your followers on Instagram? Do you have a particular technique that you absolutely love and it always delivers you results? Let me know in the comments below.