How To Really Grow A Huge Following On Instagram
Do you want to know how to grow your Instagram account into something big?
Do you want to become an influencer on Instagram?
Or maybe you just want to promote your business and reach more ideal consumers?
Instagram boasts more than 400 million active monthly users and 75 million every day.
That’s a lot of people!
So, it’s a powerful platform to reach potential customers as I’ve written before.
And the best part?
All of these tips will help you grow your following organically and authentically without paying for fake followers (which won’t do you much good anyway).
What you will learn
How to set up your Instagram account for success.
How to grow your audience free of charge.
How to focus on your target audience.
How to improve your content so it connects with your ideal audience.
Examples of successful IG influencers to model your account after so you can see what success looks like.
Set up your account so others can find you
When you setup your account, make sure it is set to public.
Private accounts don’t normally gain many followers because only people you are friends with can find you.
Other people (your ideal audience) will be unable to view your photos, making your profile appear empty of followers and dull.
Here’s what you need to do to make an account public:
- Click on the Profile button in the bottom right corner of the Instagram App.
- Click “Edit My Profile.”
- Uncheck “Posts are Private.” If you see the green button, then your post is private. Click this to set your account to public.
Make your bio, headline and CTA clear
Be sure your bio is clear and concise but also descriptive. Think about keywords that you want people to associate you with and include those if you can.
Remember, you only have 150 characters so you must be concise yet descriptive.
Also, be sure you have a clear CTA (call to action). Make sure your CTA is one thing. Don’t give your visitors more than one action to take. Keep them focused. Offer too many decisions to make and they’ll likely leave your account and go elsewhere.
Here’s an example from an Instagram influencer who has an excellent description and CTA:
Notice how she directs people to her free online course?
Here’s another example from a completely different niche, a tactical gear supplier:
Here’s my own martial art’s group account (small but growing):
We direct visitors to our website to get the free tips and tricks and it has been successful in helping us build our email list.
The biggest fault of my own IG account is the name — it’s not readily apparent to someone who is not familiar with historical European martial arts (talk about a niche!).
However, we make up for it in the description.
We also have a very clear CTA.
Know your ideal audience
Before you start posting some cool photos to your account, you need to think about your ideal audience and what will interest and benefit them.
This will help you post content they want to see – and attract more followers to you.
Be sure to focus on them rather than yourself.
If you have questions about this, take a close look at accounts that are already well established and reach your ideal audience.
Take careful note of what they post, how often they post and what they say in their posts.
Also, spend time reading what responses they get from followers.
Do the followers ask questions?
If so, take note of those as they are telling you what they want more of.
Be sure to offer advice, tips, quick how-tos with your images.
It should not be about you, but about them, your ideal customers.
You’ll elicit more responses: likes, comments and reposts.
More followers will also come your way.
Choose a theme for your account and post high quality images
Instagram is all about visuals, right?
Establish a “theme” for your IG account and stay focused on it. Don’t deviate. Focus is key.
Some accounts like to post images with text overlays. If you do so, do it consistently.
Ensure a consistent look and use the same filter all the time if you choose to use one.
This FoxHanx account is a nice example:
Notice the consistent dark wood background with a simple hanky displayed?
Once you have your theme established, you can play little variations like the center image above. In this case they included a pocket knife.
FoxHanx didn’t do this randomly. They did this because they want to appeal to a larger segment of the #edc (every day carry) community.
You see? It is deliberate.
Now, let’s talk about filters:
There are a number of popular ones. Juno and Clarendon are a couple.
Some filters are more popular in some niches than others.
Be sure to investigate what seems to work best in your chosen niche.
It never hurts to have that data.
However, don’t simply be a follower. Be sure to stay true to what you like.
Or you can use an external app like VSCO which offers more choices.
If you prefer to use no filter, that works too. In fact that choice has its own hashtag: #nofilter.
No matter what, be consistent.
Make sure you post quality images.
Remember, high quality images make your account appear put together, attractive, successful, even luxurious. And this in turn, attracts luxury oriented customers.
Also, some images will garner the more attention via likes and comments than others.
Be sure to keep track of that so you can produce more of images that your audience reacts favorably too.
Check out Caroline Harper’s House of Harper account:
She includes more than just fashion, but there is a theme to her account that is suggestive of a fashionable, luxurious lifestyle.
She achieves this by the use of subject matter, careful choice of color and perhaps a filter.
What if you are looking to sell products?
If you are looking to sell products, showcase the product in “lifestyle” photos where it is being worn or used by someone, like Caroline does above.
Remember, you want your audience to CHOOSE to buy your product by suggesting how nice it is and how nice it will be to have one.
Simply setting up shots of the product and expecting people to buy is not going to work.
When and how often to post
Be sure to set a schedule for your posts. This way your followers will see that you post regularly and consistently.
There are a number of apps that can help you including Apphi.
Post at least 1X per day and up to 3X per day.
I’ve experimented with both and didn’t find any appreciable difference in attracting followers by posting 3X per day, but every niche is different. What works for one, may not work for another.
You should therefore experiment and see what works for you and your followers.
What about the best time of day to post?
You’ll find variations on this,but Hootsuite offers some advice. They say to post between 12p.m. and 1p.m. monday through friday but this time frame also works on the weekend.
Others say the best times are in the early morning and after work hours.
Every Instagram account has a different audience. Work out what times get you the most amount of interactions and post regularly at those times
The reason this is important?
An Instagram photo has a lifespan of three to four hours before it disappears into the Instagram community.
If you post while the largest number of people are on, you are more likely to get random viewers and potential followers than you would at other times of the day.
One thing you might do is take note of when your competitors post and do the same.
Hashtags … what you need to know
Hashtags are important because they help your content get discovered by other users on Instagram.
Go to the “explore” tab and enter some keywords, Instagram will come back with a list of hashtags. You’ll be able to research the keywords relevant to you.
Be sure to use hashtags specific to your account and interests.
Avoid overused hashtags like #love because millions of others use them and your content will never get seen.
Instead, I recommend following this general rule: look for hashtags that have between 1000 and 300K posts. These are much more likely to find you interested visitors and followers.
Also, don’t waste your time using hashtags with low numbers as they are not popular enough for you to get discovered (anything under 1000).
Remember, you can use up to 30 hashtags per post, so be selective but make sure you take advantage of that.
And one more thing:
Place your hashtags in the comments section so your posts don’t appear spammy.
Engage other accounts and get into the mix
Engage with popular users that post similar things to you – post intelligent comments on their photos, they may follow you but all all their followers will see your content there.
Don’t rely on bots to handle this for you.
Comments left by bots are easy to spot by others and immediately signal that the account holder is relying on an app to handle their interactions.
People want to engage with other people, not bots.
Be genuine. Be authentic.
When you leave a comment provide insights and be complimentary.
Try to provide value with all of your comments when you can.
This will encourage others to visit your account and follow you.
And don’t forget to have some fun along the way!
Instagram is a fun platform and once you get going, you’ll find it’s fun to connect with your audience.