Once you’ve launched your business’s Instagram, it’s time to start raking in the followers. The good news is that Instagram boasts an engagement rating that is 58 times that of Facebook. The bad news is that there’s a lot of competition battling it out for the attention of the 1 billion daily active users.
Look at it this way: Instagram is your high school prom, your followers are the prom queen, and you’re the kid who accidentally ripped one in the middle of math class last week. Bigger, well-established brands are the debonair, suave bad boys who have motorcycles.
When you first walk in the room, no one even looks at you. You’re invisible. But, once you turn into the dancing superstar you always knew you were, it’s going to start turning heads… Except in this metaphor, the dance moves are your Instagram posts. You get the picture.
So, to get you started with growing your business’s Instagram following, we’re going to give you 5 “hacks” that will get you real followers with real interest in your brand. Think of us as your freestyle dance teacher.
#1: Post At Least Once a Day
In 2017, the social media scheduling app Tailwind released an original study that detailed engagement trends for over 100,000 individual Instagram posts over a 3-month period.
Accounts that posted 7+ times a week saw more than 3x the amount of likes than those that posted less.
This data is further supported by their findings for follower growth. Accounts that post at least once a week grow 4x faster than those that post less than once a week.
Your Next Move
If you want to grow your business’s Instagram following, you need to set aside dedicated time each day to post something that reflects the story that your brand is trying to tell. If appropriate, you could also choose one day a week to plan out your content and schedule it to publish. However you manage it, increasing your posts to 7x or more per week is an easy way to increase engagement.
#2: Use Stories To Tell Your Story
Instagram Stories are like tasty little morsels of the most exciting stuff happening on your feed. Businesses pick and choose their Stories content, selecting ads and content that are going to tantalize viewers to swipe for more information.
So, just what can you do with your Stories? Hopper put together a list of fun and engaging ways to get more followers to swipe your sales pitch.
You can host polls, offer fun mini-quizzes, or give followers a chance to ask you their burning questions. There are so many options, it’s hard decide what new way you want to post next.
Your Next Move
Start taking pictures of anything and everything you think represents your brand. Whether you saw a cute dog walking on your way to work or someone is on their 4th cup of coffee, you can find ways to make even the most mundane experiences relatable and interesting with Instagram Stories tools. This level of engagement can lead to you successfully growing your business’s instagram following and snagging you a few sales.
#3: Host Contests and Giveaways
You know how in cartoons, characters follow the smell-waves to an unsuspecting pie on some humming lady’s windowsill? That’s kind of what the word “giveaway” does to our ears.
Running a giveaway, even if it’s just for a Chipotle gift card on National Burrito Day, puts you in the unique position of being able to ask people to tag other people in their comments. In most cases, pleading like someone holding a petition on a street corner isn’t going to get you very far. But, throw in the prospect of scoring a warm, cheesy dinner, and you’re in business.
Your Next Move
This one’s pretty easy… Just hot a giveaway! Post a picture or video of whatever is up for grabs, ask your followers to tag their friends, moms, aunts, uncles, dads, grandmas, cousins, local cryptids… whatever. Giveaways are a great way to grow your business’s Instagram followers and create opportunities for the winner to tag you in a post about winning the contest. It’s a win-win-win.
#4: Reach Out to "Influencers"
If you have the budget for it, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to Instagram influencers. These uber popular social media stars will talk up your product to their hordes of followers, generating content, sales, and interest in your brand.
Since influencer marketing has blown up, data proves that it’s one of the most successful means of growing brand recognition out there. Ninety-two percent of consumers say that they trust influencers more than brands themselves, echoing the trend of consumers to seek out opinions of their friends and families before making a purchase. It also boasts a $6 ROI for very $1 spent and increases conversions by up to 10x.
Your Next Move
Before you put the money in, you need to figure out which type of influencer– mega, macro, or micr0– fits your needs and your budget.
Mega Influencers, like celebrities and athletes, can reach over a million followers, but they tend to have the least ability to drive a particular action (like purchasing a product). They are best for building brand awareness.
Macro Influencers are much more topical than mega influencers. Think people who work in the specific field you are marketing in. They are well-known in specialized communities, like beauty, fashion, or journalism, but may not be known to the rest of the world. Their reach is anywhere from 10,000 to 1M followers, and they have a higher success rate than mega influencers at encouraging followers to do a specific task.
Micro Influencers are typically someone already involved in the brand, like family members or friends of people who are within the company. While their reach is smaller, anywhere from 500-10,000 followers, it comes with the highest conversion ratio.
#5: Time Your Posts Right
Timing your social media posts is an art and a science. Every platform has its own set of rules that can change based on the day of the week, the product being marketed, or the demographic you’re marketing to. There are many nuances that play into the equation that can only be discovered through self-reflection and data collection.
Overall, the best day for posting on Instagram is Thursday, especially around 5am, 11am, 3pm, and 4pm, but that doesn’t mean you should only focus your strategy on overloading the feed on the penultimate day of the week.
Your Next Move
Some good rules of thumb:
- 5am from Tuesday to Friday sees high engagement as people wake up and check their phones
- Lunchtime is popular, as is the tail end of the day. As mental power decreases, the urge to check out on social media increases
- The weekends aren’t the best times for Instagram marketing, but you might have some success (depending on your product) around brunch-time.
- Change your strategy based on industry.
- Travel & Tourism: Friday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
- Media & Entertainment: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 to 3 p.m.
- Food & Beverage: Fridays at 12 p.m.
- Retail: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 12 p.m.
- Professional Services: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.
- Non-profits: Tuesday at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Is It Worth Growing Your Business’s Instagram Following?
Instagram offers an absolute cornucopia of marketing opportunity, with a variety of media, demographics, and tools to help you grow awareness about your product or service. The question of whether or not Instagram marketing is worth your time and resources is really a question of whether or not you’re going to put the time in. It is an investment that will give as much as it gets, at least in the beginning.
Take the time to research what works and what doesn’t work, change your variables, and be creative. If you need a little help, you can always give us a call.