How to Boost Your Instagram Following

10 May 2021

Instagram has gone from strength to strength since its launch back in 2010. Most social media platforms have a shelf life, ultimately losing relevance and getting nudged out of the spotlight by a newer, more in-touch competitor. But Instagram has demonstrated impressive staying power, enjoying steady growth year after year that doesn’t show signs of stopping. Of course, Instagram has had to be highly strategic and proactive in order to maintain its prominent position. By consistently updating its software and integrating new, trendy features (such as IGTV and Reels), Instagram has continued to feed users’ ever-changing appetites over the years. Today, approximately 910 million people have an Instagram account.

With all of these users, it’s no wonder many businesses have turned to Instagram as a means of promotion. It is a powerful medium for communication with audiences all over the world, allowing you to leverage images and videos in plenty of formats to establish your brand’s identity in an authentic and engaging way. Nowadays, many internet users will search for a business on social media before Googling its website. For this reason among others, it is crucial that you have a shining presence on Instagram, and dedicate time and resources towards its upkeep.

If you’re new to the gram and need to get some momentum going, stay tuned. While there is no one-size-fits-all formula for growing your follower base, there are most certainly some best practices and key trends that will help to get you noticed. Let’s dive in.

Use Reels

Reels are the perfect example of Instagram’s unwavering ingenuity in its crusade against obsolescence. TikTok’s popularity had been soaring last year, in particular among Generation Zers. And as the old saying goes: if you can’t beat em, join em. Instagram, picking up on the growing appeal of short form content, “borrowed” the idea from its competitor and came up with its own version to ensure its users had a reason to stick around. And Reels have been quite the success so far; their short format and entertaining content is immersive and addictive. They are designed to keep users on the app for longer, scrolling through clip after clip as they might on TikTok.

Given the demand for Reels, it makes sense for businesses to get involved. Reels give brands an opportunity to be in the spotlight, especially in these relatively early days when your competitors may not have caught on to the trend yet. Their potential reach is huge, given that people don’t need to be following you to be fed your content on their dedicated explore page for Reels. What’s really significant is that Reels seem to generate more engagement than traditional videos on Instagram. For example, the Patriots, a leading NFL team in the states, have a follower count of 4.3 million. Their Reels generate 67% more engagement than their regular video posts. Reels give businesses an opportunity to show their fun and creative side. There are plenty of trends to get on board with, positioning your brand as relevant and light-hearted. Another angle is to use Reels to demonstrate your authenticity, perhaps with a behind the scenes look at your business, or introductions to your team members. The possibilities are endless – if you want more tips on how to master Reels, check out this blog.

Optimise your profile for search

Back in the day, Instagram users would load their captions with hashtags in a bid to be seen by more accounts. Hashtags allowed Instagram to determine the nature of the post, so that when users searched for hashtags in which they were interested, they would be shown related content. But Instagram recently made a game-changing move that allows English-speaking users in select territories to search for topics simply using keywords. This means that, for instance, if you search for ‘Japanese restaurant’ on the app, the results will display the highest quality matches for these keywords. So, how can you work this update to your advantage? Make sure your page’s user name, bio and content are focused on the keywords for which you want to be found. Adopt the same approach as you would on Google, and earn some new followers.  

Use IGTV

IGTV is another video content format on Instagram that is more suited to longer videos. IGTVs are usually informative or educational, e.g. tutorials, storytelling etc. These are a great way to demonstrate knowledge and value. Consider the industry you are in, and how you can use IGTV to share unique insights that viewers may find interesting. If you own a restaurant, you might use this feature to teach them how to recreate a popular dish at home. If you run a recruitment agency, you could make an IGTV about your top tips for interview success.  It’s all about giving your audience a taste of what you can offer and building credibility in your niche. And make sure to tailor your content towards your target customers and their needs - this is how you win them over.

Go live

Instagram offers users an opportunity to live stream to their followers and beyond. When done correctly, this can be highly engaging and entertaining. Viewers can write comments in real time with which you can interact. You even have the option to allow viewers to join your broadcast on their camera. How best to utilise Instagram Live will depend on your business offering. Q and A sessions or interviews are a good fit, as viewers can leave their questions in the comment section. This is another brand building tactic and can add a real layer of legitimacy to your business.

Be authentic

Social media isn’t the place for salesy, traditional advertising. Nowadays, consumers are less receptive to promotional material. They value authenticity above all else, and Instagram provides the perfect gateway to show your business’s human side. Use the platform to tell your brand’s story – and make sure to share the downs as well as the ups. People are looking for something they can relate to, and failure unites us all. Lift the corporate veil by using Instagram to introduce followers to the people behind the business. A faceless business is hard to build a genuine rapport with. Get to know your followers in the comment section as well as your DMs. Communicating with your audience in this way helps to build trust and loyalty.

Promote your Instagram content on other platforms

Most businesses will have a holistic marketing strategy that includes more social networks than one. Make sure to be consistent across all accounts, using other apps to promote your best content. For example, you can share your Instagram posts on Facebook and Twitter very easily. This allows you to leverage your combined following, prompting them to check out your content on other platforms and hopefully clicking that follow button.

Write longer captions

While it’s true that pictures speak a thousand words, sometimes it pays off to back them up with some actual ones. Captions add context, show off your brand’s personality and compel viewers to take action. Make sure that they are engaging and well-thought out, and most importantly, that they speak your target audience’s language. Captions are also a great opportunity for jokes and humour, which can make your brand super likeable when done well.

Instagram is easy to use, but making an impact takes effort and strategy. Our advice is to use the many tools at your disposal, paying close attention to the latest trends and seeing how you can get involved. Use Instagram to curate your brand’s image and communicate it to the world with original, authentic content. Viewers should immediately get a sense of who you are from your feed, and the more you stand out, the more likely they are to follow you.

If you need help dominating the Instagram feed, reach out to the experts. Our Melbourne-based digital marketing agency can elevate your business online, getting you the results you’ve always wanted. Whether you need some likeable social media content, a bespoke website or a brilliant blog, the team of creatives at Elephant can do it all. We take the time to understand your business and its unique needs, creating a unique strategy tailored to you. Talk to us today at www.elephantintheboardroom.com.au.