You don’t need green fingers to make your Instagram following blossom, but you will need some savvy type, click and like your way into social media stardom.
There are plenty of digital fertilisers you can use to give your Instagram a growth spurt, but you can start with these four to do a lot of the groundwork.
1. Go on a following spree
As contradictory as it may seem, one of the best and easiest ways to boost your followers is to do some following of your own.
Ideally, you’ll follow accounts within your niche, or in similar niches. Instagram makes this pretty easy by offering suggestions of accounts you might like, but you can also follow those who follow you, and search some of your favourite hashtags to see who’s sharing content in your field.
As you go, be sure to like a few photos, leave some genuine messages here and there, and generally interact with these accounts to show your interest. Often, these accounts will follow you back.
If you do use this strategy, remember to occasionally go on an “unfollowing” spree, as any growth in followers will also result in fake accounts following you—eliminate these as you go to keep your feed nice and clean.
2. Regram your followers’ best content
Regramming is Insta’s version of sharing a post on your own page, although this social media platform does make you work for it.
Start by keeping an eye out for awesome images that best fit your brand. You can do this by creating your own company-specific hashtag and encouraging your followers to use it, or by scrolling through your favourite tags. Once you’ve found an image you’d like to use, you must get permission from the original poster to regram it. You can send direct messages in Instagram to ask, comment on the post asking for permission, or you might find contact details on their profile.
Once they’ve given you permission, they can either send you the original image/video, or you can screenshot their post (photos only), or you can use a third-party app like ‘Repost for Instagram’ to share the content. Be sure to make it clear in your caption that it’s someone else’s post, and tag them to give them credit.
Regramming works because your followers can see that you care about them and are engaged with what they’re posting. You may even be able to find a post of a happy customer reviewing your product and regram that, which is a great way to build trust amongst other followers. Imitation is indeed the highest form of flattery, so don’
3. Make each post beautiful, useful, or entertaining
There’s an old saying in advertising circles that suggests anything you share with your audience should be beautiful, useful, or entertaining (or a mix of all three).
While it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, it is something to keep in mind any time you post. Is the image or video aesthetically pleasing? Are you offering your audience some helpful information such as a tip? Does the post have any entertainment value?
Take a look at successful Instagram accounts in your niche and scroll through their feed to check these boxes on their images and videos. It can be a good indicator of what will work well for your business, too.
If you manage to hit one or more of these broad goals with each thing you post on Instagram, you may well be rewarded with a veritable forest of followers.
4. Use the right hashtags in the right way
It’s a no-brainer that using hashtags helps users find your content on Instagram, but slapping any old hashtag onto your posts won’t be very effective. For hashtagging to work, you need to use tags that are frequently searched.
There are a few ways you can be sure the hashtags you’re using are the best ones. For starters, Instagram suggests hashtags as you begin to type them in, showing you the number of times said hashtag has been used—the bigger the number, the better the tag.
There are also online tools out there that can help you figure out what hashtags might work best. Hashtagify.me, for example, allows you to search for any hashtag you are considering using and presents you with a visualization of other popular hashtags related to your initial query.
There are some hashtags out there that are specifically used to drive followers. Putting #instagood or #photooftheday on your best posts can work wonders for growing your following—just be sure to only do this when you are truly proud of a post.
When putting hashtags on your profile, remember that it can be annoying to users if you try to shoehorn them in where they don’t below. If you want to list a number of hashtags on a post, put them after the caption you want people to read. Consider using a line break between your caption and the hashtags so your tags won’t distract from the content itself.