Did you know the co-founder of INSTAGRAM, Kevin Systrom, attributes his success with the social sharing app to ‘luck’?
His theory however has a catch to it; he says, “Everyone gets lucky for some amount in their life. And the question is, are you alert enough to know you’re being lucky or you’re becoming lucky?”
Guess Kevin’s alertness paid off as he didn’t leave any stone unturned, when he got ‘lucky’ with his idea for the ‘photo sharing’ app, Instagram – a massive success, which is still soaring to greater heights, even though he sold it to Facebook in 2012 for $1Billion!
However, it wasn’t just the photo-sharing feature that caught on with the masses – only when, along with his fellow co-founder Mike Krieger, Kevin came up with the ingenuity of adding flattering photo filters, the App's popularity took a massive surge.
Today 95 million photos are uploaded to Instagram per day by 400 million daily active users; whereas its monthly active users have reached a whopping 700 million.
Along with its incredible features like the ‘Instagram Stories’, the app has also recently announced its tools for business professionals, including new business profiles, analytics and the ability to create ads from posts directly within the app.
With the ad revenues expected to spike well over $2.8 billion, it’s no wonder that 70% of brands are expected to have their presence on Instagram by 2017. With that being said, you may now be wondering - how can marketers ramp up their followers to stand out from their competition and build a lucrative brand presence?
Here are five sure-fire ways to increase your following and become an Instagram success story:1. Sharing Engaging Videos
One of the quickest ways to attract new audiences and build trust with your existing following is to constantly post videos through your feed. It’s estimated that 65% of all ad impressions in Instagram comes from video content.
The example above is from a popular Instagram account, Tastemade, which is dedicated to sharing unique food recipes via short videos showcasing the process. Such videos provide immediate value to the users, and given its concise version of the actual cooking/preparing process, there’s a higher level of engagement from the audiences.
As and when your post starts to collect more likes and comments, the new Instagram algorithm is designed to prioritise it even more – i.e. the more engagement you generate with your post, the more people will see it. The rise in engagement of a particular post gives a signal to Instagram Algorithm that the post is of higher quality and importance, thus your post is moved to the top of your followers feed, making it visible to more users.
An additional bonus you can get with highly engaged content is that, your post could also land onto the ‘explore’ page, a unique opportunity to attract new followers.2. ‘Strategic’Commenting
A common way of getting new followers would be – you follow an account, like their posts, and maybe leave a comment, this might get you a follow back, but it could take longer. On the other hand, you can do the same, but as expert instagrammer Sue B Zimmerman says, ‘be more strategic with your comment’.
Sue suggests you start by listing 10-20 people or brands that have a similar pool of audience. Keep that list in your phone somewhere to refer back to, and when the right time comes to engage, jump into the most recent posts of each of these accounts and leave a genuine comment on each of them.
However, the trick is to be the last person to comment on the post. This increases the chances of the next person who lands on the post to comment – to see your username and your comment, and if your comment is interesting enough, they might as well click over to your account to take a peek at you.
The comments need to be genuine and crafted with a story of your own that entices the users to delve deeper. Generic comments like ‘nice pic’ will not build the ‘traction’ you’re after, it’s much better if you let a bit of your personality shine through – a bit of a fun with emojis to engage with is also absolutely recommended.3. Using #Hashtags
Hashtags take an important role in Instagram Marketing world, as right hashtags or combination of hashtags, can drastically improve your chances of exposing your images to a wider target audience.
Instagram allows you to insert 30 hashtags per post and it’s estimated that the interactions are highest on posts with 11+ hashtags. You can start off by searching out those hashtags your audience use mostly and then search for posts that use these hashtags. After you’ve found some highly popular ones, write/comment on these posts to engage with your targeted community.
The post above is an example of a power user using up to 30 hashtags per update. Though it’s proven that more hashtags you use, the more likes you’ll get on your images; you do run the risk of making it look spammy and could mean a bad experience for your followers.
Tools like Hashtagify can also help you find relevant and related hashtags to your business. All you need to do is type in the major hashtag from a popular post to see which of the resulting
‘related’ hashtags you can use to reel in new followers.4. The ‘Share for Shares’ offer
This is one trick you can use several times in a day – to forge connections with similar businesses on Instagram and reach out to their followers.
Basically you partner with other instagrammers and businesses and offer to share their account or a product post which is relevant to your brand, and in return you expect your partner to do the same for you.
In the post above, KKfashions is cross promoting the brands mirandaclothes, msthrashersthings and sharklescloset and their products like the cactus necklace, skirts and sandals. This way you’ll be sending your followers to your partners’ posts and your partners will reciprocate.5. Sharing User Generated Content (UGC)
Creating great, professional-looking photography and images on a consistent basis can be highly time-consuming; and especially considering the short half-life of the posts, you need to produce several posts per day to keep up.
A better alternative is to share the workload with bloggers and customers who are willing to take photos of your products/services and re-promote their content for your own followers.
Walls Need Love, a wall décor store partners with bloggers/photographers by giving them products or signing them for revenue sharing agreement, in exchange for using their product shots:
Above is an amazing shot of their wall mural is displayed with relevant hashtags – this way they are able to give the due credit, along with increasing their following simultaneously.
Another way of using User Generated Content for brands is to take the best UGC they can find in the web and feature it on their posts, giving the credit to the original creator.
The example above is from Buffer, who claims to have used similar UGC Strategy for Instagram to gain 60% of followers in less than 3 months.
To Sum It Up…
As you can see, with growing numbers of monthly active users (over 700 million) and with high engagement rates - increasing more followers is undoubtedly a huge priority for businesses that plan to make it big with social media, however it’s a strategic and consistent effort of putting out quality content day in and day out, which leads to growing a sincere Instagram following!
If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.
Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email email@example.com
Our Website is element7digital.com.au