How To Get More Instagram Followers

on June 23 at 12:39 PM
Instagram has more than one billion monthly active users (and 500M DAU). This creates huge potential for brands looking to get their content out to some of the most engaged audiences in the world.

Whether your brand's Instagram content and engagement aren't as successful as you'd like them to be, or you're looking to learn new strategies around how to get more Instagram followers, you've come to the right place see his response.

Today we're exploring 8 proven growth strategies to get more Instagram followers that actually work. We'll spare you the hacks and tricks and focus on the real tactics utilized by some of today's most prominent brands on Instagram.

1. Use the Instagram Algorithm to Your Advantage
Understanding how the Instagram algorithm works is the first step in improving your Instagram content and growth.

Brands can expect a mere 2-10% of your audience to see your organic posts within the Instagram Feed. This has resulted in countless marketers scratching their heads wondering where they went wrong. There are a few reasons for this decline, including:

More content than ever before: There are more pictures, videos, Instagram Stories and GIFs for audiences to scroll through than ever before
Removal of the chronological Feed: The Feed is no longer chronological. This means that users are shown what they’re most likely to engage with first, which doesn't necessarily include brand content
The 10% Rule: Did you know that as soon as you publish a new post, the Instagram algorithm will only show the content to 10% of your followers as a test? This helps the algorithm to gauge the quality of your post and content – the more interactions it gets within the first ten minutes, the more likely it is to then be shown to the other 90%
Luckily for brands, there is a way to use this knowledge to your advantage. In order to do so, you'll need to capitalize on the following algorithm ranking factors:

Engagement: Likes, comments, shares, views of videos, live videos, Stories, and saved posts are all critical forms of engagement
Direct shares: Instagram counts direct shares as high-quality engagement
Relationships: Instagram wants to show content that they are most likely to engage with, therefore increasing time on the platform. Content from friends and family will always rank well
Relevance: Simply put, this is post relevancy per person
Time: Time has more to do with consistency than it does the time of the day
Searches: Frequency and total volume of search terms factors into content that is displayed
Time spent on post: Instagram measures how long someone spends reading, watching, or engaging with individual content
In the following strategies, we'll explain exactly how to take what you now know about the Instagram algorithm and turn that into engaging content (and new followers).

If you want to learn more about Instagram marketing, then check out our Marketer's Guide to Instagram or our recent webinar on how the Instagram algorithm works.

2. Leverage Popular Hashtags (They Still Work)
One of the most time-tested ways to get more Instagram followers is through the use of hashtags. For years hashtags on social media have served as an essential tool for discovery and have allowed brands to extend their social reach.

But using hashtags in your Instagram posts is one thing, using the right hashtags is a completely different story.

Huge brands such as Shopify use popular and branded hashtags in nearly every single one of their Instagram posts to increase their exposure and follower count:

But which hashtags should your brand use? Similar to Twitter and other social media sites, Instagram users choose certain hashtags over others. If you use the most popular Instagram hashtags within your photos, videos, and Stories, you’re much more likely to reach new followers and be discovered.

One of our favorite free tools is AllHashtag, which shows the most popular hashtags on Instagram at any given moment. We also keep a close eye on peers and competitor Instagram accounts using the Meltwater platform to analyze which hashtags they are using and which ones are getting the most traction. This provides brands with invaluable insights that you can only get firsthand.

Finally, keep in mind that Instagram allows for a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, but we recommend using anywhere between 3-15 hashtags in order to maintain authenticity (non-spammy) and maximize follower engagement. We also keep an ongoing list of the most popular hashtags of the month/year so that our team can easily schedule them with our Instagram content.

3. Share User-Generated Content (UGC)
Have you ever stumbled across a brand's Instagram account and wondered how they have so many followers and where they got all of those amazing images from? Great content and user engagement is certainly something that all brands strive for, but it remains one of the biggest challenges in marketing.

That's where user-generated content - or UGC - comes in handy.

The easiest way to think about user-generated content is this: brands taking the best-of-the-best influencer content from around the web and featuring it on their own social channels or other platforms while giving credit to the original creator (user/influencer).

Arguably one of the best brands to ever utilize UGC is REI. They've been featuring influencers in their community for years and now boast more than 2.3 million followers on Instagram alone. In tandem with their hashtag campaigns #OptOutside and #REIPartner, REI makes their content fun, relatable, and engaging with UGC.

First and foremost, you’ll want to decide what you would like the content to reflect on your brand. Of course, this can and will change over time as you discover new things about what your audience loves.

Here's a list of questions to get you started on what types of user-generated content to feature:

What compelling stories do our users have to tell?
What makes your brand or product unique?
What is the ideal way that I would like others to see our brand or product?
What does our community love to do the most - personally or professionally?
From there it's as easy as reaching out to Instagram users and influencers for permission to use their content for cross-posting on your account. You'll be surprised at how often they say "yes"!

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