If you’re not growing your Instagram following in 2019, you’re missing out.
Instagram is an enormous opportunity for brands that can maintain and grow an active following:
• It now has over 1 billion monthly active, highly-engaged users
• These users create over 95 million posts per day
• 400 million users are now actively creating and sharing Stories daily
Like any other social media platform, Instagram follows a specific algorithm that helps connect users with brands they’re interested in. However, there’s a small problem — this algorithm is always changing.
This means you constantly need to stay on top of new ways to connect with your followers on the platform.
Here’s a list of 15 tactics — from hashtag best practices to stories — to engage with users and grow your Instagram following organically in 2019.
1. Create a #hashtag
Instagram uses hashtags as a way for users to find the content they’re interested in. All you have to do is add a hashtag in front of a word or phrase and users can use Instagram’s search function to find content related to that tag.
When creating a hashtag, it’s usually a good idea to use something fun and catchy. Many brands use a play on their name as a hashtag–check out Coca Cola’s #shareacoke campaign, which saw enormous success when it went viral.
2. Promote Your #hashtag on Other Channels
It’s not enough to simply have a hashtag, you also need to promote it outside of Instagram. While people will be able to find your brand on Instagram with it, they can’t search for it if they don’t know it exists.
If you’re promoting a new hashtag, take your marketing to other platforms outside of Instagram.
Promote your hashtag on:
• Your company website
• Social media profiles like Facebook or Twitter
• On physical products like business cards
The more people that know about it, the better.
3. Create Consistent Instagram Stories
Similar to Snapchat, Instagram’s Stories feature lets you post content for 24 hours before it disappears.
Many users prefer watching their Stories to scrolling through their feed because of how much more authentic they are.
Use your Stories feature to give your followers access to the behind the scenes action and bonus content.
This is even more important when you consider stories have seen daily active user count rise from 250 million in mid-2017 to 500 million in January 2019.
“Stories is still an under-utilized placement on Facebook and Instagram, and often ads aren’t properly fitted to a vertical ratio. Stories will continue dominating social media behavior in 2019 and brands should focus on meeting consumers where they’re spending their time.”
-Sarah Sanchez, Manager of Performance Social at CPC Strategy
4. Connect With Influencers & Ambassadors In Your Industry
With so much content floating around these days, users are extremely picky about who they follow and many of them look to influencers to show them brands and products that they’ll like.
“Many brands are seeing top-of-the-funnel value by getting more eyeballs on their brand’s offering by teaming up with influencers. There’s power in putting the right products in front of the right audience — with an authentic voice.”
– Nii Ahene, COO of CPC Strategy
5. Hold an Instagram Giveaway
Still having trouble growing your Instagram following?
Then give them a reason to follow you with a giveaway contest!
View this post on Instagram
?GIVEAWAY CLOSED?To get you started on your holiday shopping, we’ve got four $200 gift cards to give away! To enter, LIKE this post and TAG the friend(s) you want to spoil this year. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Be sure to follow our Stories for gift ideas for everyone on your list!⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ We’ll randomly select the winners on December 7th. Open to Canadian and US residents. Contest rules link in bio. • ?CONCOURS TERMINÉ? Nous allons faire tirer quatre cartes-cadeaux de 200 $ pour vous permettre de commencer votre magasinage des fêtes ! Pour participer, AIMEZ cette publication et TAGUEZ un ami que vous voulez gâter cette année. ⠀ ⠀ Suivez nos Stories pour des suggestions cadeaux pour chaque personne sur votre liste. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Nous sélectionnerons au hasard les gagnants le 7 décembre. Le concours s’adresse à tous les résidents du Canada et des États-Unis. Règlements officiels dans la bio.
Many Instagrammers use giveaways to encourage users to follow them, share their photos, and like their content.
6. Use Universally Trending Hashtags
Hashtags like #love, #mcm, and #tbt are popular and will put your content in front of more eyes than specific long-tail keywords. This will gain you more followers in general who will interact with your brand simply because they recognize your hashtag.
However, followers like these tend to be casual fans, at least in the beginning, so you need to give them something to love. Pair universally trending hashtags with eye-catching content that sparks their interest.
7. …But Also Long-tail Hashtags
If you want to know how to organically grow your Instagram, long-tail hashtags are the way to go.
Similar to long-tail keywords, long-tail hashtags are very specific search terms that will help you target more qualified leads.
Using long-tail hashtags won’t put you in front of as many users as universal hashtags, but the followers you do get tend to be more dedicated because they are more interested in your brand than users who just found you through a #tbt search.
8. Use Your Captions Wisely
Almost as important as your actual content are your captions.
View this post on Instagram
Photo of the Day: It’s always worth the trek. ? @hiroki_takasu knew his hard work up Mount Tanigawa would pay off. • Hands busy? Just say one of 16 commands + let your #GoProHERO7 Black handle the rest. Save $50 today. Link in bio. • • • @GoProJP #GoProJP #GoProSnow #GoPro #Japan #Snowboard #OptOutside
Use them to tell a story about your content and give your fans an insiders view at what’s going on with your photos.
9. Engage With Others In Your Industry
Want to know how to grow your Instagram followers? Well, Instagram’s all about reciprocation–that’s why hashtags for certain categories have grown popular.
A great way to grow your following is to follow a relevant hashtag and like the posts that come up.
10. Don’t Stop At Just One Photo
Once you’ve found a relevant hashtag to follow, don’t stop at just liking posts with that tag.
Take the time to go through the accounts of Instagrammers using that tag and throw a comment or like on additional photos that resonate with your brand.
11. Use #Geotags
Geotagging is when Instagrammers tag their photos with the location they were at when they took that picture.
Geotagging is a great way to show your followers what you’re up to while catching the eye of other Instagrammers who spend their time in that location.
12. Be Social & Exchange Comments
Instagram is a communal platform, so you’ll have to be social to get your name out there.
Don’t just like photos–you should also be commenting on your fan’s photos, encouraging discussions, and providing commentary on current events that are trending on the platform.
13. Create a Theme and Stick With It
A jack of all trades is a master of none. When creating content, find a theme that matches your brand and then stick with it.
If your content varies too much, your fans will get confused and lose interest which can lead to you losing followers.
Instead, find a few keywords or phrases that convey your business’s mission and aesthetic and then create content centered around it.
This will help attract users who like what they do and keep them interested.
14. Get The Most Out Of Your Bio
Your Instagram bio is the first thing users see when they visit your page, so make sure you’re getting all that you can out of it!
Since it’s prime real estate, use it to let users know what your business is about and link them to new or popular content.
15. Include a Call-to-Action
It’s not enough to simply post content–you have to post content with a purpose.
When posting photos or videos, ask your followers to do whatever it is you’re hoping the post will accomplish, whether it’s getting more likes or driving fans to a landing page.
Ask and you shall receive.
Consistency is Key For Growth
If you want to know how to use Instagram to grow your business, these tactics should be part of your organic growth strategy.
Just remember that when it comes to building an Instagram following, consistency in both your content and engagement is key.
Want to learn more?