This year, Instagram has surpassed 700 million users. Out of them, 400 million use the app on a daily basis. That’s enough potential to make any marketer’s heart beat faster.
In fact, Instagram has had quite an impressive rise. It is now the third most used social network in the world. In its brief existence, it managed to surpass veterans like Twitter, Reddit and LinkedIn.
image via DreamGrow
So, what can a marketer do to tap into this amazing potential? Aside from paid ads, of course.
Well, the good news is that, unlike Facebook, where the organic reach is very, very low and businesses are forced to pay for ads if they want to boost their reach, Instagram can offer your brand quite a lot of visibility even without ads.
Of course, as I always advise my clients, ads are the best way to make an impact and make it quickly. But whether you pay for ads or not, there are a few things that you can do to boost your reach and grow your follower base.
Let’s take a look at what you can do with a brand new account in order to get it past first 1k followers.
Here Are 7 Tips to Get Your First 1000 Instagram Followers:
1. Connect Your Facebook and Instagram Accounts
This way, your Facebook fans can follow you on Instagram, too. You can always go the extra mile and ask your Facebook community to check out your Instagram profile.
The best thing about this strategy is that it will get you exactly the type of followers you need: loyal brand advocates that want to see more of your content. Thus, you won’t just get new followers; you will also get a high engagement rate.
2. Join the Conversation
Remember that Instagram is a social network. If all you do is post your own content and wait for the followers to start pouring in, you won’t get too far.
Start liking others’ posts and commenting on them. Aim for engaging with 100 posts from other accounts every day. For optimal results, comment on photos and videos that are no older than two days.
3. Mention Relevant People or Brands
Use “@” to mention other people in your captions and comments. If it’s relevant, you can even tag them in your photo.
This is a strategy that I successfully used for a beauty brand’s account I manage. I noticed that mentioning popular Instagram accounts and influencers got us a lot of traction and roughly 5 to 10 new followers for each post that mentioned other people.
Please note: Mentioning irrelevant people or influencers that haven’t even heard of your brand will get you labeled as a spammer. You may attract a couple of followers in the short run, but you may also be reported by the people that you tag abusively. Make sure that everyone you mention or tag is relevant for the post and open to such interaction.
4. Add Your Location to Every Post
You can do this easily by connecting your Instagram account with Foursquare. How does it help, you ask?
Well, it’s quite easy: Instagram’s search results are location-specific. For instance, if someone searches for #restaurants or #dinner, the first results that appear are those closer to them.
This is especially advisable for local businesses who want to attract a very specific audience. For even better results, you can also add hashtags with your location.
5. Make Sure Your Profile Is Complete and Accurate
Add your location, a relevant profile photo, a thorough description and a website address. This will make your profile more credible.
Consequently, people will be more inclined to follow you.
Much like it happens on any other social network, Instagram, too, is ridden with fake profiles of celebrities or spammy accounts. Naturally, people want to stay away from those. The best way to make yours credible is to give as much information as possible.
6. Add Relevant Hashtags
You should never add a hashtag without a bit of research. Don’t worry, it’s not too complicated. Simply start typing your hashtag in the Instagram search bar and you will receive suggestions.
The first suggestions are the most popular hashtags related to your search. You can see the number of public posts associated with each of them. Choose the ones with the highest number and add them to your post.
Speaking of hashtags, a lot of my clients ask about how many a post should have.
There is no magic, all-encompassing formula here. Instagram allows up to thirty hashtags. You can even add more than thirty in the comments section. According to Track Maven, the right number is nine. Their research found that Instagram posts with nine hashtags got the most engagement.
In my experience, it all depends on industry. If your company is in a very small niche, then less than nine hashtags will work great because you won’t have a lot of competition. However, if your brand is in a highly-competitive industry (like beauty or skin care, for instance), you should add more than nine hashtags.
7. Create a Competition or a Giveaway
There is no better way to attract crowds to your profile than to offer something for free or create a fun contents. One of the brands I worked with managed to get 2,000 followers thanks to a small giveaway.
You can ask people to comment and mention someone they would share the prize with, post something on their own profile and mention you in it or use a specific hashtag to enter the competition.
The sky is the limit here, you just have to be a bit creative. And, of course, make sure you abide by Instagram’s Terms and Conditions related to contests and giveaways.
Whether you hire a social media expert or implement these tips on your own, make sure to be flexible and versatile. As previously stated, there is no magic bullet when it comes to social media. You will have to mix and match, test, measure and then tweak your strategy to find the formula that works best for you.
Adriana Tica is an expert marketer and social media consultant, with 10 years in the field, most of which were spent marketing tech companies. She is the CEO of Idunn, a digital marketing agency that helps clients all over the world with copywriting, social media marketing and marketing strategy. Follow her blog here.