We all want to grow our Instagram following.
And it's not strange, really, because having a large audience on Instagram has lots of benefits.
Firstly, buy acquiring a large following, you'll have an audience of engaged people who are interested in the industry you're in.
This means that if you decide to, you can start monetising your followers by selling something related to your industry that they'll find appealing.
Secondly, by growing a large audience on Instagram, you'll look more authoritative and established, and what this does is that it helps you portray yourself as a thought leader in your space, something that can open ups lot of doors for you - from guest posts opportunities to job openings.
Lastly, by having a large following on Instagram, you already have an audience to begin with.
What does this mean?
For instance, if you're starting a new business, you're starting it from scratch.
But if you already have an audience of people who look up to you, they'll follow you wherever you go, and whatever you may come up with.
Without further ado, let's look at 7 of the most popular methods you can use to grow your Instagram followers.
1. Stick to your niche
The Instagram accounts that become successful are normally focusing on one or two specific niches and only post content that is related to it. The bottom line? Find the area you are an expert in and have a passion for, and focus on it. When you're focusing on one niche, you'll automatically attract the people who are interested in it.
If you're just posting content that isn't coherent and consistent, you won't be serving your target audience, but instead, you'll be posting content that serves too many people at once, which also means that you won't be serving anyone.
If people are interested in the tennis industry, then that's the content they want to see. If you're just sharing random content, people won't know what you're about, and therefore shy away from following you, because they won't know what to expect.
2. Post frequently
Just publishing randomly once a week does not work on Instagram. If you want a large number of followers, you should publish at least 1-2 times every day. But just because you have to post daily doesn't mean you should post a bunch of spammy posts, every post should of course be relevant and of high quality.
If you infrequently, people will forget you by the time you're back again, but posting frequently and regularly ensures that you are always on top of their mind and never forgotten.
3. Do not forget the caption
With the correct caption, your post can go far, so it's important to realize that the text is at least as important as the image. Your caption should do four things; imprison, motivate, inspire and give followers an experience through your photo or video. Some write long captions other shorter - find what works for you and keep it concise.
Just because Instagram is a visually driven platform doesn't mean you shouldn't completely ignore the caption. Your caption helps bring context to your image and engage your audience, thus making them more loyal.
4. Use emojis
For those who do not know what emojis is, it's the small figures or pictures some use to reinforce their text in social media. Some love emojis, other hate them, but it is a good idea to use them because they have become a popular form of expression, they allow you to mediate feelings, and humanise yourself, as well as resonate better with your audience. The key to using emojis is to replace words in the text, elicit reactions and describe emotions in a more visual way. But whatever you do, make sure not to exaggerate the number of emojis you use. Before you use them, though, you want to look at your target audience to see if they are using them.
If they are, you're good to go. If not, you might want to stay away from it.
5. Increase your number of posts
The most common mistake on Instagram is not posting often enough. But there is a fierce boundary between not posting enough to posting too often and instead scare away followers. The important thing is to find your frequency and then keep it consistent. As mentioned in the tip above, 1-2 posts a day are a good recommendation to start with, such as one share in the morning and one in the evening. But when your account begins to grow, you can successively try to increase the number of posts. Here's a formula that can be a good guideline:
1-1000 followers: 1-2 posts per day
1,000-10,000 followers: 2-3 posts per day
10,000-50,000 followers: 3-4 posts per day
100 000-500 000: 5-6 posts per day
500,000 to 1,000,000: 8-10 posts per day
Remember that the ideal number of posts depends on your target audience, so you just have to learn what your audience wants. One way to do this is to ask your audience!
Now that Instagram Stories support polls, you can set up a poll in Instagram Stories and ask your audience to vote on how many posts you should be sharing.
Because obviously, it is for your audience you are sharing posts, and therefore, they are the ones that should decide how many you should post.
6. Use hashtags (#)
Studies and statistics show that three to five hashtags per post is optimal on Instagram. The important thing is that your hashtags are descriptive and actually represent the image or video you publish. That is, avoid adding irrelevant hashtags just to reach more people. Contrary to what many believe, hashtags already having millions of posts will reduce your chances of getting more followers. One recommendation is to use two-word hashtags. To get the best results, you want to use specific hashtags related to your niche that doesn't have a lot of posts, ideally 10K to 100K.
Instagram is the social platform where hashtags has proven to be the most effective, so if you aren't using hashtags, you're missing out on a tremendous opportunity.
7. Engage your followers
Try to create personal relationships with your followers by engaging them. Ask questions in your captions and make sure to respond to all the comments you receive. Another tip is to go into someone else's accounts whose follower you want to attract to your page and leave positive comments on their posts to get them to pay attention to your account and hopefully also start following you.
The more you engage with your audience, the more loyal they become.
And loyalty, as you know, can lead to them becoming ambassadors for your brand and going out and promoting your brand completely for free - which leads to more followers.
Ola Wirdenius is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Veloce - All You Need for Social Media, Business & Marketing Blog and the influencer directory Veloce Influencer Network. He is a social media and marketing mogul, sharing his passion for business & entrepreneurship.