After almost a decade of being present, Instagram has changed its algorithm many times, making it more challenging for business profiles to gain followers. It often becomes tempting to employ short cuts such as buying followers, using bots to generate like, and automating engagement using a third-party app - which ultimately would be detrimental in the long-run.
We understand that growing your followers can be a frustrating journey, but acquiring fake followers can bring more negative consequences than good. Instagram does regular “clean-ups” to rid accounts from bots and suspiciously inactive followers. This practice could result in the restriction of the visibility of your content, or even limit and disable your Instagram business profile. If you are an influencer, this may also result in fewer brand partnership deals as Instagram profile analytics are now able to analyze the authenticity of your followers.
Fortunately, there are tools and practices that can boost your efforts to gain more followers organically. Here are some of the best practices we recommend:
1. Research Your Audience
Content should be at the forefront of your strategy, but not every content can gain the traction you desire. Therefore, your content should respond to the demands and interests of the audience that you want to attract. This is where research comes in.
The accounts that currently follow and engage with you are a good point of departure. Take a look at the contents they like, their active time, and the accounts they follow. Then, take a look at accounts with high followers and engagements. These can be accounts that you aspire to be, your competitors, or influencers. Instagram profile analytics can give you a hand in finding the top posts, locations, hashtags, and other metrics that will guide you to gain more engagements and followers.
2. Interact with Instagram Profiles that Share Similar Brand Personalities
Chances are, you are not the only account on Instagram that adopts a certain style in speaking and posting, or targeting a certain market. These other accounts can be your competitors, but some of them can also be your partners. Do not be afraid of reposting artists that embody your brand and mentioning them for credits. Like and post clever comments on celebrities that post content you think your followers would also like. This small effort is a good way to get discovered by people who would like your content as they like these other accounts’ content that is similar to yours.
3. Use a Variety of Hashtags
Hashtags are an important element of discovery. The more impressions you receive from hashtags, the better your hashtags are at reaching new people. You can take advantage of Instagram hashtag analytics to analyze the performance of hashtags you want to choose and optimize your hashtag usage. However, do not stumble with common hashtag mistakes that raise your impressions without gaining followers or engagement. A mix of different hashtags can help you reach more audiences, especially those who are searching for content like yours.
4. Select Best Time to Post on Instagram
To amplify the impact of your content creation efforts, you should strategically select the best posting times to maximize reach and engagement. However, there is no one size fits all answer to that conundrum since it is usually industry-specific. The best way to find out the best posting time for you is a combination of analyzing your own, your competitors, and your industry’s activities. To do this, utilize Instagram profile analytics to find and cross-reference the best times to post and the best time for engagement. This way, you can have an edge over knowing when to capture the most attention from the audience you are targeting.
The easiest way to gain traction on your Instagram is by collaborating with other Instagrammers with larger audiences. This could be influencers, celebrities, experts, or other brands that do not directly compete against you. The method most often explored is by way of endorsements or social media campaigns, but this is not the only way. You can also collaborate by experimenting on other Instagram features, such as creating Instagram Live talk shows or co-creating content that focuses more on entertaining and educating the followers rather than promoting your Instagram Business.
6. Create Visually Compelling Content
This is going to differ for each account but it's important that your content is visually appealing to your audience. WIthout great content your profile will struggle to grow organically. To get an idea of what works and what doesn't look at your competitor's pages. You can scroll back to their older photos and see what they used to post vs. what they post today. Look for any changes in the visual style of the posts and how many likes each post got. You are likely to note their photos probably continue to look more "professional" this could be the combination of using pro editing tools like Photoshop [best Adobe price] better composition, or an increase in camera quality (hello new iPhone).