by Jessica Heimerl
Instagram’s popularity has dramatically increased over the years, especially with mobile phones getting higher pixel cameras. It has turned into a great tool that uses pictures to communicate with one another. The more users you have to communicate with, the better your popularity will be.
Here are six tips for being successful at authentically boosting your Insta following:
1. Have a Certain Theme/Aesthetic For Your Feed
Look at some of the popular Instagram accounts you follow. Do they have a certain look to them? A specific theme going on? You’ll notice that they do if they know what’s up, and probably have the followers to back it. Developing your own look for your feed can involve the way you edit with the color tone of the picture, the composition of it, and/or the lighting. You may choose to only take pictures of certain subjects or in specific places or on certain backgrounds. Your vibe on Insta is an extension of your brand’s creative style. Choose something to stick with that will make your feed inherently yours, and make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
The same way your feed should be a visual extension of your brand, the content of each caption is an extension of your brand voice. It should be positive and cheerful with your own flare thrown in. Some Instagram users tell a story with each picture they upload, some give behind-the-scenes descriptions, while some simply caption in emoji. Setting a tone in your Insta captions is helpful for businesses to reel in followers and provide an inside look at your company’s personality, leaving them wanting more, thus new follows for you for well,.. just being you!
3. Hashtags + Mentions
Hashtags are popular across all social platforms and there is a correct way to use them. For Instagram, using a good handful of strategically targeted hashtags is a great way to get your photos noticed. However, it’s important that you don’t use too many hashtags or even worse, use off-topic hashtags. If you do this, you will get an abundance of the wrong types of followers, benefitting no one. In addition, there are a lot of spam accounts out there that will throw off your follower count because of off-target hashtags. This can be avoided by creating and using brand-specific, strategic keyword-based hashtags instead of general, broad hashtags. For example, our agency Instagram account created a specific set of brand hashtags including #howwework and #wherewework, while leveraging specific hashtags within our industry such as #mycreativebiz, #agencylife and #startuplife.
Other than hashtags, it’s also important to incorporate mentions in your caption when appropriate. For example, if you’re at a certain restaurant and they have an Instagram account, tag their account in the caption. As a bonus, you can also tag them in the picture and check in there. This encourages interaction between you and the restaurant, as well as the restaurant’s followers. These interactions have the potential to increase your following, and at the very least shout out to your favorites on Insta and help them increase theirs.
4. Engaging Your Followers
Once you’ve gained a following, it’s important to keep them around by giving them some love in return. When they comment on your picture, reply back. If they like your pictures, check out their feed and like some of theirs (if they’re any good). You’re not a robot, show that there is a real genuine person behind the account who cares because, well, it’s the truth! Form a relationship with your followers and acknowledge and appreciate each other’s talent.
5. Who You Choose To Follow
When you choose to follow another account or if someone else chooses to follow you, it should be to support the user and not in hopes to blow up your following. Many users out there ask “follow for a follow?” and it’s not an authentic way to use Instagram. For companies, this isn’t something you want to be known for because it makes your brand seem like a huge gimmick. It’s best to have positive interactions with other users and genuinely follow them only if you have an interest in them. A good tool to find quality users to follow is mentioned in the next point.
A great way to find quality followers related to a topic of interest is to use the explore tool within the Instagram app. Here you can find trending hashtags to explore, it allows you to search for something specific, and provides a feed of suggested images along the same aesthetic you enjoy. As a brand on Instagram, this tool is especially useful because it provides the carrot at the end of the stick. If you focus on gaining significant interactions per post, Instagram will notice your popularity and make sure you get suggested in the explore tool to relevant followers. This is why having proper engagement with other users is so important, it all adds up in the end!