Want to grow your Instagram presence?
Any business on Instagram knows that this is more than just a powerful platform for showing off product pictures. Instagram cultivates connections with your audience through visual impact, authentic content, and strategic aesthetics.
With millions of competitors active every day, and an increasingly clever algorithm to deal with, learning how to generate growth for your profile can be tough. The good news? There are a few best practices proven to deliver genuine results.
Here’s how you can start making progress this year.
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Marketing for Small Business
1. Use an Instagram growth service
Instagram can be the perfect tool for growing your business, but it takes work to master. The initial stages of building your reputation and generating credibility often take a while. To speed things up (and reduce the weight on your shoulders), it’s easier to hand some responsibility to a growth service.
Instagram growth services can support you in developing the kind of Insta reputation your business needs. However, you’ll need to be cautious about the service you use. Some spammy “growth” companies try to sell you followers that are just bots – incapable of engaging with your content.
As you may already know, quality counts just as much as quantity when collecting followers and growing your Instagram. Look for a company like Kicksta, which targets real followers with a genuine interest in what you have to share. This way, you begin to build a natural following that you can preserve over time.
A growth service will give you the head-start you need. Once you’re ready, you can use the momentum you get from these solutions to enhance your results from our other tips.
2. Plan and schedule content
A well-populated Instagram feed full of fresh content will help to attract followers who love your brand. To get the best results and grow your Instagram, you’ll need to publish the right content, at the best time.
Scheduling your content in advance means that you can take advantage of national holidays, generate buzz for upcoming events, and keep your feed from growing stale. A well-planned content calendar also means you don’t have to worry if you have a day without much inspiration.
Use your Instagram Insights to determine when your customers are most likely to be active. From there, plan your schedule (and post frequency) to suit your followers. Software solutions make this much easier, such as:
- Later: One of the most popular Instagram scheduling tools around Later calculates the best posting times for you based on historical performance. You can build visual calendars in the dashboard, save posts for later, and even track the results of your social campaigns.
- Buffer: With a free tier for beginners, Buffer makes it easy to start scheduling your social strategy. You can decide exactly when you’re going to publish content and track your calendar across various social pages and websites at once.
- Sprout Social: A comprehensive social media marketing solution, Sprout Social lets you schedule your posts for Instagram and also has a range of other features. With Sprout, you can follow brand mentions, create employee advocates, and analyze your social relationships too.
Follow a Consistent Theme
One major benefit of planning your content in advance is the ability to design a consistent aesthetic across all your online assets. When you can see your content schedule for Instagram, you can easily move posts around to see what’s going to look best for your feed.
A strong theme is a must-have on Instagram, because your followers are looking for something beautiful to browse through. This trend of checking out the most aesthetically pleasing feeds is only growing more prominent in 2021. Look at this example from @Aww.Sam, the retro style of her pictures, grid, and even the Highlights she saves all match her brand perfectly.
Your theme will help to strengthen your brand’s appeal when you’re posting and remind followers what you’re all about. It’s also an opportunity to make yourself more memorable. As Instagram becomes more popular, everything you do needs to stand out from the crowd.
It’s up to you to decide how simple or complex you want your theme to be. @WildHousePaper, creates a very minimalist aesthetic with soft greys, creams, and whites.
3. Optimize your profile
While you’re sprucing up your theme and making your grid look great, why not optimize other parts of your Insta profile? Your profile is the first thing that your potential followers are going to see after clicking on your account. Everything on this page needs to be optimized to deliver results.
To create the perfect profile, start by considering:
- Your Profile Picture: If you’re representing a company, the ideal profile picture might be a snap of your logo, or even an image of your product, like Oreo uses below. For the most part, however, people like to see other human beings on Instagram. A picture of a smiling human is much more compelling than an artistic shot of your office building.
- Your Bio: The Bio is where you inform your audience of the most important things they need to know about you. You only have 150 characters here, so stay concise and to the point. Highlight what you do and think about using #branded hashtags to generate engagement. Unique fonts and emojis could help your bio stand out.
- The Link: The link in your bio is one of the most valuable tools you have on Instagram. It encourages people to visit your website and other online assets. Constantly changing your single link to drive the best outcomes is exhausting. A link-in-bio tool like url.bio helps you get the most out of that single link, by creating a hub for traffic from one URL.
- Highlights: Your highlights are a wonderful way to save valuable information that your customers need to see. They’re also fantastic for finishing off your profile. Make sure the colors you choose are consistent with your theme and ensure that the little pictures make sense alongside the caption or descriptor word you use like @Nadia_Rachel92 does here.
4. Create more video content
Video is quickly becoming one of the most valuable tools on Instagram. Ever since the social media site introduced IGTV, it’s also been rolling out more excuses for users to begin recording. These days, you’ve got plenty of video options to choose from, including:
- Instagram Reels: The most recent addition to Instagram videos, Reels are short snippets of content like what you’d find on TikTok. @Shutthekaleup uses Reels to share mini cooking and recipe tips that only take a few seconds. It’s a great way for the creator to engage her audience, plus these videos work well alongside her IGTV campaign as bonus tips.
- IGTV: IGTV is a fantastic tool to grow your Instagram with, because it gives you access to another section of the Insta app. National Geographic was one of the first companies to begin using IGTV to make information about nature more accessible. These NatGeo videos further establish the company as a thought leader in its space and include collaborations with other leading icons.
- Instagram Live: The best time to use Instagram Live is when you want to demonstrate humanity and authenticity. It’s a way to show your customers what’s happening behind the scenes. @GlobalCitizen, a non-profit organization, uses Live to connect with donors and demonstrate the hard work they’re doing.
5. Work with influencers
Influencer marketing isn’t a new concept for Instagram users, but it’s just as valuable in 2021 as ever. Working with influencers and other brands in your niche is one of the best ways to build credibility through association.
If you can get the people that your customers already respect to advocate for your business, you’ll build a bigger following in no time.
The influencers you work with will often offer advice on which techniques to use, but some of the best options include:
- Takeovers: Allow an Instagram user to take over your business account for a day and post their own content. This will pull more followers to your profile as people try to track what their favorite influencers are doing.
- Giveaways: We all love a chance to win something. Running a giveaway where your customers need to @mention a friend to enter is a great way to generate engagement. With an influencer, you can create a branded hashtag that drives people back to your account and increases the number of entrants you receive.
- Contests: Competitions are just as fun as giveaways sometimes. As a fashion company, you could ask people to share a picture of them wearing their favorite item from you and share it with your brand hashtag for a chance to win something.
Working with influencers gives your brand image a much-needed boost, but it can also help in another way, by generating user-generated content (UGC). User-generated content makes your profile look more authentic while showing your audience that you value their input. It’s a great way to push engagement.
6. Be authentic
If you want to grow your Instagram, you need to commit to an authentic presence.
While educational and promotional posts have been popular on Instagram before, users (particularly younger ones), just want to see real content. This is a trend that exploded when the rise of TikTok began. Users are no longer interested in what products or services you can offer, as much as who you are, and what the people behind your business are like.
Think about how you can make your content look more authentic with behind-the-scenes videos, emotional captions, and glimpses into real people. You could answer common follower questions with videos, pictures, and how-to guides.
You could also share a picture with a caption that reminds you of how you’ve grown and developed your brand over the years. Everyone loves a good story.
Speaking of which, don’t forget to use your Instagram Stories too. These tools are great for combining various images, clips, and captions into a more engaging experience for your audience. Because they’re only temporary, your customers expect them to be a little less edited.
7. Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags!
Anyone on Instagram should be familiar with the power of hashtags.
Unfortunately, not all users use these tools effectively. To make sure that you’re using the appropriate hashtags for your content, you’ll need to do your research. Pay attention to the tags trending on the “Explore” page for Instagram.
If you’re running low on ideas, look at other accounts similar to yours for inspiration, or tap into a hashtag generator for additional support. Stay clear of any banned tags and remember to mix things up. It’s important that your tags don’t end up looking spammy.
For the best results, remember to use branded hashtags regularly. They’re a great way to spread the word about your company, cultivate user-generated content, and boost brand awareness. Nike’s #JustDoIt hashtag has already generated millions of posts!
Remember that your branded hashtag should be short, memorable, and relevant to your brand, so your customers can use it regularly.
Grow your Instagram
Deciding to grow your Instagram profile is one of the best things you can do in 2021. It’s a chance to strengthen your relationship with your customers and show followers what your business is all about.
However, don’t forget that every brand development strategy requires prior planning and strategy. Follow the tips above and you’ll be raking in the followers by the end of 2021.
Guest author: Samantha Hackett is a Marketing Coordinator at Kicksta with expertise in all things Instagram and social media marketing.