Let’s just dive straight in with a hard-hitting fact; around 80% of Instagram’s one billion active users follow a business account. It’s no secret that Instagram is an absolute goldmine of potential fans and customers, so if you’re not already tapping into this extensive user base, then you really need to start. Don’t panic, we’re here to help you out.
We’re going to skip a few steps here and assume that you’ve already got the bare bones of an Instagram account set up. We’ll just get straight to the point.
1. Have a dedicated content creator
Depending on the size of your business, you should have one or even two people solely dedicated to managing all of your social media accounts. Get yourself someone who really knows Instagram; a good sign would be them having a good personal Instagram account, or if you could see evidence of their platform management of past companies. That way they’ll have a good grasp of all the fab little features it has to offer.
2. Have a process in place
If you work as part of a larger marketing department or a big company, then chances are there are a lot of hoops you have to jump through in order to get anything posted on social media. That’s why we’d fully recommend having two documents in place: a set of guidelines, and a formal approval process.
The latter of these should detail who you need to pass your draft posts onto and the edits it needs to go through in order for approval to be granted. Trust us, it’ll help streamline and quicken the whole process.
3. Take a good photo
Sounds obvious, right? But you’d be surprised at how many people, and businesses, think that’s enough to just point an old camera phone and snap a pic or two. There’s a lot more to it than that.
Here’s what our own happy snappers recommend:
- Have one subject per image
- Don’t be afraid of negative space; it helps your subject stand out more
- Embrace different angles and perspectives. Get up on a chair and down on the ground
- Look for symmetry in your image. People love an even image, even if it’s subconsciously
- Zoom in on small details. The bigger picture is great, but people love tiny features even more
4. Edit like a pro
We’re not saying you need to become an expert in Photoshop overnight. But we’re also not saying slap on the most outrageous filter in the app and be done with it. Don’t worry, there is a middle ground.
Apps such as VSCO cam and Lightroom mobile are easy to download (and free!) are quick and easy to use and perfect for Instagram.
5. Have a posting schedule
Before you start really focusing on growing your following, we’d recommend already having a solid grid of photos. That way when people head to your profile to click that all important ‘follow’ button, they’ll see that you’re a regular user as opposed to just the occasional and forgetful poster.
Next we’d recommend creating a content calendar and start planning when and what you are going to post. We’d also recommend having a backlog of photos stored on a drive somewhere that can be easily accessed in times of need, such as if you decide to post at weekends or if you jet off on holiday and leave someone else in charge.
Finally, figure out the best times to post and get your content seen and engaged with. There’s no point posting at midnight in the UK when your target audience is asleep, now is there?
Here’s what we think about the best times to post on Insta…
- Wednesday is the best day to post overall. While this doesn’t account for individual industries, think about it; the start of the week rush is over and people are starting to look forward to the weekend
- The best time for Wednesday is 11am
- Friday is also a great day. Aim for 10 to 11am
- A safe time to post and get seen is Tuesday to Friday between 10am and 3pm. You won’t be competing with weekend posters or the Monday scramble
- Sunday is a day to avoid as it receives the lowest amount of engagement
- The times that get the least amount of engagement are late at night and early morning between 11pm and 3am
These are just our recommendations but remember none of these are set in stone. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works for you and your business.
6. Get input from others
A business is all about its people. While it’s more efficient to have one or two people in charge of posting on your Instagram account, don’t be afraid to get others involved when it comes to collecting and curating the content. You can’t be everywhere at once.
Create a shared drive where people can upload pictures that they take in different areas and departments around the business. Maybe one team had a fantastic meeting in another city, or perhaps the warehouse crew treated themselves to a lunchtime game of football. Not everything has to get posted, but having pictures taken from all over that aren’t staged or posed will show you’re a real company with real people, and that’s what your audience loves to see.
7. Find your voice
Of course, photos and videos are the most important part of your Instagram account, but don’t overlook the power of a well-written caption. Think about your business and how you want to be portrayed to your audience. While it’s important to come across as professional, you want to connect with people and you’re not going to do that if your caption reads as stiff.
Don’t hesitate to inject a little bit of humour and personality into your posts. Even go for emojis if your brand image will allow for it. Captions are the icing on the cake of your photos, they win over followers and humanise your brand. If you’re just starting out with Insta, why not play around with a few caption options and take the time to find your true online voice.
8. Optimise with hashtags
Now you’ve built the perfect image and caption, it’s time to get your handiwork seen by as many people as possible. By using relevant hashtags your content will be exposed to people who don’t follow your account and who otherwise wouldn’t see your posts.
When it comes to hashtags, more is not the best way to go. In fact, the key to using hashtags is to use them cleverly and sparingly. We’d even go so far as to say limit the number per caption to between three and five. Make sure they’re relevant to your photo and caption, and absolutely avoid “like for like” hashtags. Sure, it may work to boost your followers, but they’ll be low quality and it’s considered a bit of a shady tactic.
There are tools online where you can type in a relevant keyword and it’ll show you others that you can use as well. And if your post is a little more personal, hop on a few trends like #ThrowbackThursday or #MotivationMonday for something a little different than usual.
9. Get involved
Instagram is very much a community of people, so you can’t just post a photo, sit back and wait for the likes and followers to roll in. Instead you need to take a deep dive into your relevant hashtags and find similar accounts to yours, follow and start engaging with their own content. It’s the most natural way to grow your account.
As you start to bring in the followers, don’t forget to celebrate the people who are joining you and show that you appreciate them taking the time to comment on your photos, drop them a thank you!
And there you have it; our top nine tips to growing your Instagram following. Of course, there’s more you can do in between and after these steps but we’ll cover that later on. For now, get out there and get snapping some good pictures. If you do things naturally it’ll take some time, but put in the graft and you’ll soon see that follower count start to creep up.
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