Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms right now. It has grown significantly over the past few years to become a behemoth in its own right. The app has also contributed immensely to the development of the influencer marketing ecosystem, providing brands with access to high curated audiences.
Therefore, Instagram should definitely be a tool that all online marketers should use for their campaigns. The stats more than back up its suitability for your ad dollars. As of 2021, Instagram has more than 1 billion active users across the globe.
Hashtag usage is a quintessential part of the content discovery journey on Instagram. The average post on Instagram contains as many as 10 hashtags. Creative hashtags tend to perform well and can lead to significant ROI for campaigns that aim for user generated content.
It’s important to have a substantial following on Instagram to take advantage of the incredible organic reach that it can offer. However, for many brands, building this following can be a challenge. These tips can help your efforts to increase your Instagram following organically.
Why you should be using Instagram for your business
Instagram has proven itself to be an important social platform for businesses. While some businesses might have had apprehensions about maintaining a presence on the Facebook-owned network a few years ago, the fact that the vast majority of businesses now consider Instagram a vital component of their online branding speaks to the platform's power.
The engagement rates on Instagram are significantly higher compared to other platforms. It's actually 10 times higher than Facebook, over 50 times than Pinterest and over 80 times than Twitter. Visual content is king on Instagram and that already tends to draw higher engagement online overall.
Instagram actively empowers its users to discover new content. Since user generated content dominates its platform, any customer who might be considering your product would likely search for it on Instagram to see the experiences of your existing customers. This also provides opportunities for brands to capitalize on word of mouth marketing.
Your customers are on Instagram, so why aren’t you?
The sheer number of users that it has across the globe confirms that Instagram is a staple in the social media diet of your customers. They likely check it multiple times a day, as they check other platforms like Facebook or Twitter.
Your customers would expect you to be on Instagram. If they hear about you from a friend or see someone wearing your product, chances are they'll immediately look you up on Instagram.
So even if you’re not super active on your brand’s official account, at least maintaining a presence will go a long way in improving customer trust. An Instagram account now serves as a trust signal for brands, even more so if it's a verified account and has a decent number of followers. It shows customers that yours is a legitimate business so they'll be more likely to purchase what you’re offering.
5 top tips to grow your Instagram following organically in 2021
- Use Instagram Reels
2021 is all about Instagram Reels. It's one of the newest features that the social network has to offer. You can share an up to 30-second video clip that's set to music in a fun and creative way to get your message across.
Instagram is prioritizing this feature and actually pushing its users to browse and share Reels more. Reels have their own tab on the Explore page and even on individual Instagram profiles. Creative Reels can go viral, resulting in immense ROI.
With more users interested in Reels, the content you share will play a significant role in helping you grow your Instagram following.
- Micro-influencers are your friends
Instagram users want to discover new things on the platform. That can either happen through the Explore page or a shoutout on their favorite influencer's post. However, influencer marketing requires a great deal of diligence. Look beyond the number of followers and see who has the more engaged audience.
That’s why micro-influencers prove to be so powerful for brands looking to engage with a highly invested audience. These are influencers with 10K to 100K followers. They may not necessarily have verified accounts or follower counts in the millions, but their audience is as good as any.
Micro-influencers also tend to have less sponsored posts which results in more engagement and reach since their audience isn't fatigued by a constant stream of sponsored posts.
- Launch campaigns that reward user generated content
User generated content dominates Instagram and that presents brands with an incredible opportunity to grow their followers. Launch campaigns that reward Instagram users for sharing content featuring your product and with your account tagged in the post.
Their followers will see what they’re sharing, be intrigued and might even get in on the action. A successful user generated content campaign will not only increase the visibility of your brand but also bring more people to your account who just might end up following it.
- Use Instagram Stories to your advantage
Instagram Stories generate a sense of urgency since they disappear after 24 hours. This leads to higher levels of engagement even from people who may not be following your account. Instagram Stories also sit at the top of the main screen in the app.
Someone who just landed on your Instagram page will likely see the story first. Use the feature to share valuable information about your business, this will nudge people to follow your account for future updates.
- Optimize your profile for search
Instagram profile optimization for search is very important for 2021. A change went into effect late last year that allowed users in select markets to search Instagram by using keywords.
Previously when users searched with a keyword like "top t-shirts," they'd only see hashtags or accounts that had those keywords. Now, Instagram will show them posts with captions, names or even account bios that have the keyword.
Create a keyword optimization strategy for your account and posts so that more people are able to organically discover it.
Don’t forget to have fun with it!
Instagram has a very different vibe compared to the other social networks. It's youthful, trendy and thrives on pop culture. Use all of that to your advantage by creating content that resonates with your audience. Soon enough, they'll be lining up to follow your account.