By Mitch Rice
Everyone loves Instagram.
Knowing about the picture-based social media platform’s current supreme popularity is incredible, considering it was only about a decade ago when teenage girls started using Instagram filters to make themselves look more attractive on Facebook. Since then, the company has connected a huge social network of people, brands, and information…And they’ve done it all through pictures.
The influence of Instagram over pop-culture means that brands must embrace the platform. Here are some of the best ways for businesses to organically grow on Instagram.
Focusing your Instagram efforts on organic growth
When you are building your brand on Instagram, you’ve really got to keep your eyes on the prize. Some of the most popular Instagrammers, like Taylor Swift, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and Jennifer Lopez, enjoy following of millions!
This kind of influence is massive, and while you can ‘buy’ followers online, that sort of strategy is not going to get you the kind of marketing heft or influencer presence that you need. Here are some things to remember if you want to grow your brand organically so that you can have something solid and long-lasting:
- Followers need a leader
- Earning your brand recognition
- Use hashtags, not keywords
- Consider using caption hacks
- Maximize your profile’s draw-potential
Followers need a Leader
People are following you for a reason. Do you know what it is? What are their age ranges, likes, or dislikes? Do you know what kind of work they do? Understanding your audience is the key to your success.
Take advantage of the tools that you have to get started on being proactive.
The ‘Followers’ stats screen can give you a breakdown of some useful information, such as the gender, age, and countries of your followers. Use this information to your advantage. You can find out what is trending in countries where you have a high following, for instance, and if certain topics are close to your heart, then you can integrate them into your feed.
Earning your Brand recognition
Brand recognition is your bread and butter. Your writing style, chosen topics, the photos you choose… all these little things come together in a unique, appealing way that is earning you those followers. Make sure that you are posting every day and that what you are posting isn’t fluff. Use the statistics information to help you to choose topics that go well with your Brand.
Don’t deviate, either. While someone might make you an offer to endorse something if you are starting to build a little success, you should be very picky about it. If it’s something you wouldn’t have truck with if someone wasn’t paying you, then leave it out of your feed.
Contrast is another way to help to solidify your brand. Look for other causes or personalities that you can quote or bring up in order to present your own point of view. This generates contention, which can get your attention and more followers, and gives you a chance to ‘prove your merit’ by remaining solid in your Brand expression.
Use hashtags, not keywords
Before people can add you, they need to be able to find you. With a webpage, that’s done through keywords, but Instagram doesn’t work like that. Sure, people can search out your name and username, but other than that, it’s all about the hashtags.
You can use up to 30 hashtags per Instagram post, but you don’t want to get anywhere near that. It is better to use thoughtfully-chosen hashtags. A Google search on ‘trending hashtags’ and ‘trending hashtags by country’ can help you to find some clever ones that are statistically appealing to your current follower-base.
Finally, beware of adding hashtags such as #tagsforlikes or other hashtags designed to give you a quick boost in followers. You don’t want to get lost in the crowd, and that temporary boost isn’t worth it. Select your hashtags carefully using Task Ant, and your brand will grow.
Caption hacks will get you more hits
Strategic use of your captions is a must. If a caption is too long, for instance, then someone has to want to click it badly enough, and that can cost you a potential follower. Try adding a little strategy into the mix by keeping these things in mind:
- Emoji draws the eyes – Those friendly little smiley faces were drawing attention even before they became cartoons. Don’t overdo it but don’t neglect it either unless that’s part of your Brand.
- Good questions compel a response – A question that makes people think or which evokes an emotional response can get you replies and new followers. People love it when you make them think.
- Less is always more – Short, powerful captions are always better than wordy ones. Decide what you want to say and then trim off as much ‘fat’ as possible because a short caption can’t be ignored – they’ve already read it.
- If it’s long, keep the ‘bait’ visible – If you absolutely need a long caption, but lots of ‘bait’ in the front. Remember, you are luring them into clicking to see the rest, so the first part of your caption needs to make people want to see more.
Maximize your profile’s draw-potential
You might not realize it, but about 2/3rds of the visitors to your brand’s social media profile come from non-followers. This is a chance to market your brand, and it shouldn’t be neglected. You’ve got 150 characters in which to describe your brand in-brief, so it needs to be perfect. Experiment a bit, exercise patience, and if you still aren’t confident, consider hiring a professional to help.
A good writer or social media expert can make all the difference, and if your Instagram is just getting started, you can accomplish this quite cheaply. Just shop around, take your time, and surf the portfolios of pros that you are considering. When you see examples that make you want to click them, you’ve found the pro that you need.
As you can see, Instagram is all about building your brand with the proper focus. Get to know your audience, make your style instantly recognizable, and choose those hashtags wisely. Mastery of captions and a good bio will complete the seeding of the fertile internet-soil, and before you know it, your Instagram Brand is going to grow.
The rest is up to you!