Are you marketing your brand in Instagram?
A recent study showed that brands experienced a 25% increase in engagement just from marketing in this platform. It works for any type of business especially eCommerce.
But how should you use it?
Once you sign up for an account, you’ll see that it is a community of images. It is an avenue for artists and creatives alike to share their photos with other people.
But more than just a social network for images, it is also a place to share inspiration for lifestyle. I think that this is the main reason why selling on Instagram has been more effective than before.
Today, I’ll show you some ways to effectively use Instagram for your business. With it, you’ll learn how to increase your followers as well as get more likes and comments to your images. This will power your profile so that you can drive traffic and sales into your website.
Also, check out this article on Social Media Management Tips that will give you more ideas on marketing with Instagram.
How to Naturally Increase Followers In Your Instagram Account
One of the best ways to find and attract new following is by seeking out your closest competitors’ Instagram accounts and engaging with their audience. These people have already shown some level of interest in the products you carry simply by following your competitors’ account.
The easiest way to get followers on Instagram is to engage in the accounts of your competitor’s followers.
You can do this in three ways: by liking their images, by commenting on their images and by following their profile.
Out of the three, I find that commenting is the most effective if it is done on a personal level. This means that you will go out of your way to really befriend the potential follower. Commenting is the most effective but it can take up a lot of time.
If you don’t have a lot of time in your hands, you can opt to like their images instead. I found that you have to like at least 10 images for them to notice your efforts. Liking 1 to 3 images will not cut it. You have to go to an account and go on a liking spree if you want them to be curious enough to check out your account.
You can also choose to go on a follow-spree instead. I advise that you do this manually for automatic follow tools are against Instagram’s terms of service.
I did an experiment on this and found that for every 100 people I follow, I get around 30+ follow back. That’s not a bad turnaround if you’ll ask me.
Since this cannot be done automatically, you can just ask someone to do it for you. You can easily hire someone for an hour or two to follow people on a daily basis.
NOTE: Instagram will disallow you to follow people once you reach a certain threshold. When that happens, wait it out for around 30 minutes to an hour. After that, you’ll be able to follow more people again.
Followers on Steroids – The Secret to Growing Your Instagram Account
Now that you are familiar with the basic tactic of growing followers on Instagram, you may be wondering about those accounts that suddenly have a huge amount of followers in a short period of time. When I saw this, I would often wonder if they are using some sort of bot or if they are cheating their way to more followers. It turns out that I was mistaken.
A trick that they are using is quite common in the Instagram community. It is simple and legit.
This method is known as the Shout-for-Shout or SFS.
What is Shout-for-Shout?
Shout-for-shout is the process where one Instagram user shares another Instagram profile in their account in exchange for the same gesture in another account. It is the same as sharing users with the method of just posting an image of another user’s profile.
Why does this work?
If it is done in the right market, users will be really happy to find other online stores or similar profiles. If they liked it, they will instantly follow the profile that has been promoted. So it’s win-win for both users.
An Even Better Follower Solution – Sponsored Posts or Reviews
If you think that shout-for-shout is not for you, you can just pay for your promotions through sponsored posts and reviews. All you need to do is find an Instagram account with a decent amount of relevant followers. Then, you can direct message them to ask if they are selling ads in their account. If not, you can make an offer.
NOTE: Some Instagram users don’t like to do sponsored posts or reviews. It may be helpful to nudge them in the right direction by telling them that you don’t like them to post their profile but an image or your product or service instead. They would be more open to posting things like this.
ANOTHER NOTE: Instagram is a creative social network. Don’t just look for random images to post. All images should be created in good taste and has the aesthetic of the target market in mind. Else, it will not work.
The Best Follower Solution – Influencer Reviews
If you have been on Instagram long enough, you’ll find that it is teeming with influencers. And I am not only pertaining to celebrities but also mini-influencers in a variety of niches. Influencers are the best promoters for any product and service because their followers are more responsive to what they have to say.
The good news is that you can also promote your products and services to their market by simply asking them to do a review for you. This can be as simple as asking them their address over direct message so you can send your product samples or you can invite them to an exclusive event so that they can experience your services. The key is to make it easy for them to say ‘Yes’ to your offer.
The result of an influencer review may surprise you. Out of the bunch, this is really the most effective way to get more followers. One recommendation can cause a multitude of followers in just a day’s time. That’s how powerful these reviews can be.
How to Increase Likes and Comments
More than followers, your images also need to have its likes and comments. Without these, your account will look like a desert wasteland with no engagement whatsoever.
Unfortunately, it seems that new Instagram users just can’t seem to crack the code on why users comment on and like some images more than others. This is where you see business owners trying to create business accounts only to see their images hardly getting any views, likes or comments.
But the secrets are not really that hard to discover.
SECRET #1: Hashtags
The first secret is hashtags.
Ever wonder why some images have a sea of hashtags under it?
While hashtags are very useful in describing an image, it is also used for search. Once an image has a relevant hashtag that is constantly searched on a daily basis, that particular image has a higher likelihood of getting more likes and comments.
Hashtags are crucial for discovery. It is only through hashtags (and non-private accounts, of course) that an Instagram account gets discovered. As more people learn about your profile, the more engagement you get.
Now that you know that hashtags are important, you may be ready to append them into your images. It is important to take a look at some of the most common hashtags used by people such as #instagood, #instadaily and #picoftheday. It may take some immersion in the Instagram culture to figure out the right hashtags to use. But don’t get discouraged. Using some random hashtags here and there are always useful if your goal is just to increase engagement.
Here is a reason why immersion is crucial – hashtags are more effective if they are relevant. That said, this means that you should strive to look for the hashtags that your customers are more likely to search for and use them. How will you know the right hashtag? Immersion is the key.
Another option is to use some tools such as Websta and Iconosquare. What these does is that it uncovers all the relevant hashtags in a particular industry.
Then I will collect all the hashtags that I found and record them in a note file (Evernote or Simple Notepad will do).
When I am ready to post an image on Instagram, all I have to do is access the note file and copy the hashtags.
NOTE: If you run an eCommerce website, you may want to hire someone who can do all the hashtag searching for you. It may seem like it is too much of a hassle, but trust me. All the hashtagging will get you more customers in the end.
SECRET #2: Consistent Filter
Another secret is filters.
Again, I have to reiterate that Instagram is a creative platform. People are more drawn to accounts that have their image spreads with crisp images, done with a single filter and are creatively planned.
For this, I use an app called VSCO that helps me in adjusting the color of the image as well as creating an Instagram image plan.
Downloading VSCO is easy. You can download it from the Google Play Store or in the Apple Store.
Then, just add the images.
And click on the wrench to edit it.
In here, you have tons of options. You can change the brightness, saturation and other highlights of the images. As for me, I always like to make images a bit brighter but I make it a point to retain the colors of the images.
I am also a fan of adjusting temperature and highlights.
The right way to edit the image can vary from person to person as this is a creative process. Just keep the filters consistent all throughout your account.
SECRET #3: Consistent Posting
Nothing is more depressing than an inactive account. When you see a good-looking account but found that their images are quite old, you’ll find it hard to support them. So you should make it a point to post consistently in your account or people will start looking elsewhere.
This is true for eCommerce websites or so-called ‘Instagram stores’. The frequency of updates is important because it shows that the store owner is actively selling. Think about it. Will you buy from a store owner whose last update was a month ago? You may think that the person may not be interested in selling anything anymore. And if he is, he may not be as reliable for he cannot even update his Instagram account on a consistent basis.
For this, you can use some tools. One of the tools that I love to use is Buffer. This allows you to set images as well as their descriptions on a schedule and just ask you to post it when the scheduled time comes.
Another tool is Schedugram. This automatically posts images for you but it comes with a fee.
NOTE: You can also try to know the best times for posting using Iconosquare. This has a tool that shows you your account activity in the past. It will show you all of your posting history as well as how your audience interacted with your account. You can now tweak your approach from here.
There are three types of activity on Instagram: following, liking and commenting. If you managed to get more of these into your account, the more effective your profile will be in driving traffic and sales to your website.
In this article, you learned about the different ways to drive followers, likes and comments to your Instagram profile. Some of them are free and the others are paid. The key is to keep the level of activity in your account in a level that encourages other users to engage more. Social proof is essential to get more people to click on your website’s URL and buy from you. The more followers, the better.