With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram has the highest engagement rate out of all the social media platforms, including Facebook. In fact, Instagram’s engagement rate is 10x higher than Facebook. And with that statistic, it has convinced over 25 million businesses to sign up to Instagram.
To enable your brand to experience growth, in this article we share 10 Instagram growth strategies that work.
1. Switch Your Profile to a Professional Account
The first thing you need to do is to switch your default personal account to a professional account. There are a number of benefits to switching to a professional account.
The main benefit is that you get access to Instagram Insights (which we will go into detail in the next point). The other benefits to switching including making your contact information available to your followers so that they can contact you directly via the app, conduct paid campaigns and you can send quick replies.
There are two types of professional accounts; there is the business account and the creator account. The creator account is generally for online influencers, celebrities and other public figures, whereas the business account is directly related to the company or brand.
2. Use Instagram Insights
With Instagram Insights, you gain access to number of analytics information. Instagram Insights gives you information about your followers’ age range, location, gender and, more importantly, when they’re more likely to be active on the platform. The latter is extremely useful to know when you should post your content.
In addition, you can also see which of your recent story and feed posts that have been published in the past week is attracting the most engagement and reach. And, you can also gain insights into your sponsored post campaigns as well.
Accessing Instagram Insights is easy. All you need to do access your profile page, go to your main menu and tap on the Insight option.
3. Create Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts on Instagram has the capacity to expand your reach to a specific demographic that is largely based on age, location and their engagement activity (i.e. interest). This is perfect for targeting a specific niche.
There are a multitude of sponsored post campaigns you can do. You are able to do sponsored image posts, video posts, slideshows and carousels. You can even conduct sponsored post for Instagram Stories.
To start a sponsored post campaign, you have two options. The first is via Instagram itself, to which you would need to switch to a professional account. And the second, and the more popular way is to do it through Ads Manager on Facebook.
Instagram has been an attractive platform for brands thanks to it is high engagement rate. According to Market Realist, in 2018, Instagram ad revenue reached $9 billion in 2018.
4. Creating Content with Value
When it comes to uploading content on Instagra, it is all about providing value. Brands who provide “salesly” content, which include product photos, don’t get enough engagement, unless you are a well-established brand.
L’Oreal Men Expert was one brand that provided product photography on their Instagram profile. To improve their engagement rate, they switched their content strategy to provide more value. In their recent posts (from July 30th 2019 onwards), they focused on lifestyle and men’s fashion.
Here’s what L’Oreal Men Expert’s grid used to look like when it was more product focused:
Here’s how it looks like now with more fashion photos and tutorials (along with the odd product photo here and there).
5. Creating Captivating Instagram Story Content
Instagram stories provides you with a platform to engage with your followers in a more organic and authentic way. It is perfect for behind-the-scenes content, events and launch parties.
What’s more, Instagram Stories comes with a host of different features and stickers. One popular sticker is the poll feature where you can engage with your audience for an opinion while gathering invaluable audience research.
Airbnb utilises the poll sticker to gauge with their audience on a regular basis.
6. User Generated Content
By posting photos that have been submitted by your consumers, you stand a better chance of engaging and attracting new followers. This is because when you share their content, they’ll most likely let their followers know that you’ve featured their content, hence expanding your reach.
Also, user-generated content is most likely to generate more engagement since consumers prefer this type of content. According to BusinessWire, 85 per cent of consumers finds visual user-generated content more engaging than brand photos and videos.
There are many brands that take advantage of user-generated content. Cosmetic brand Huda Beauty uses user-generated content to show their followers how their consumers are using their products. When they do, they ensure that they tag the user who provided the content so that it encourages them to share it with their followers.
7. Partnering with influencers
If the brands want to increase their reach of prospective customers on Instagram, they need to partner with the influencers.
Influencers are people who have built a loyal following on social media. They are either well-known celebrities, Youtubers or someone who has built up a reputation within a specific niche market.
Sports brand Nike partners with a number of high-profile sports figures such as Rafael Nadal.
Another way to collaborate with influencers is to ask them to do a review or feature post on their profile and include a Shoutout back to your profile.
A Shoutout is where you mention another Instagram user on your profile, which encourages your follower to look at the account that you’ve mentioned.
Here’s an example of lifestyle influencer Sophie Stanbury doing a sponsored Shoutout posts for FabFitFun.
8. Set a Content Schedule and Create Consistent Content
Instagram has an algorithm that shows relevant posts to your followers’ feeds based on their previous engagement activity. What’s more, you can upload as many posts as you want and Instagram’s algorithm will choose the more appropriate post for your followers that will be uniquely relevant to them.
That said, it is not the case of how often you can post on Instagram. It is a case of knowing when to post, and posting consistently. To be successful Instagrammer, you need to get into the habit of generating content on a daily basis.
You need to take photos constantly, or create a library of custom graphics that you want to use on Instagram (see example of Dr Vegan’s Instagram account).
9. Use Hashtags
Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without.
Instagram allows you post you up 30 hashtags on a single post, and up to 10 on a single Instagram Story post.
Hashtags are used to expand your reach to different interests and niche markets. However, you need to make sure you use your hashtags wisely otherwise it will not be visually appealing. But luckily, there is a way around it.
For Instagram posts, you can place your hashtags in your comments. When doing so, create a note file that contains all the hashtags you want to include. Then when you upload your new post, add a comment directly underneath your post, add 5 “.” at the beginning of your comment, and then copy and paste your hashtags. Here’s an example of how a hashtag comment should look like.
#B2Bmarketing #digitalmarketing #marketing #instagrammarketing #socialmediamarketing #contentmarketing
When posting a hashtag comment, be sure you post it within the first minute of uploading your content. And, make sure you’re the first to post a comment.
As for Instagram Stories, you can add up 10 hashtags onto your post, reduce the size of the hashtags, and then place a sticker over it.
Grow Your Instagram Presence
Instagram can give your brand a lot of potential to expand your brand’s reach through the use of well-made visuals. By ensuring you follow the above strategies, you stand a better chance of growing your following.
If you like to remove the guesswork from your Instagram growth strategy, why don’t you enrol onto our Instagram course?
For more information, please visit our Instagram course page.