There are two ways to get followers on Instagram: the fast way and the smart way. Let me explain how each works:
The Fast Way to Get Followers on Instagram
The Google Keyword Planner tool tells us what kind of topics users are looking for when searching for “Instagram”. This reveals that they are either looking for the Kardashian/Jenner account, or how to get more followers on Instagram.
The Fast Way. If you are like most users, you will soon find several resources and tips that will tell you the quickest ways to get more followers on this social network. For example:
- Use the hashtag #f4f (follow for follow) or #followme (follow me) in the comments of popular users.
- Follow, and moments later, stop following popular users (?)
- Give “Like” to at least 1000 pictures that include a popular hashtag.
The Faster Way. Still, sounds like a lot of work? Then try an app that automates this process. If you’re looking for these apps from your mobile device, you’ll find several options with solutions for getting followers on Instagram quickly.
If no apps suit you, the fastest option is to pay for followers. Go to a service provider’s website, choose the number of followers you want, and VOILA! you have many followers.
Sounds too easy to be true, what’s the catch?
There’s nothing wrong with this kind of method, as long as you only want thousands of followers. BUT, if your boss or client soon asks for the ROI of your Instagram efforts and you decide to apply this method… you’ll be in trouble! Why?
Well… In all the articles, videos and websites that offer this kind of service, they leave out one very important word in any marketing strategy: SEGMENTED followers. What they don’t tell you is:
- WHO are your followers.
- WHERE your followers live.
- WHY they would be interested in your business.
- WHAT value will these followers bring to your business.
In other words, these schemes focus on the quantity and not the quality of the followers.
If you earn 10,000 Instagram followers overnight using the “quantity” methods… how many of them would be interested in your Japanese food restaurant, your vintage clothing store, your interior decorating company? Very few. I assure you, almost none.
There is very little chance that these users will interact with you, leaving comments and likes in your photos or sharing your content with their friends. If someone decided to snoop around on your behalf, for example, your boss or client, the logical question would be “why does an account with so many followers only get 3 or 4 likes in their photos?
If so, your credibility will be minimized.
The Smart Way to Get Followers on Instagram
Now let’s talk about how to get a better following on Instagram. Although these methods will take longer – compared to “quantity” – the promise is that you will get followers who are more relevant to your business and who will stay with you for the long term. These users are more likely to increase your ROI on your marketing efforts. And in this method, there are 5 ways to get more followers on Instagram:
1. Monitor a hashtag in your niche to find your target audience If you do this daily, you will not only know the trends within your industry, but you will also find the people who want to know about you if they follow you on Instagram.
So, if you’re that Japanese food restaurant in Chicago, you might want to follow these hashtags closely:
If you find a post that grabs your attention, look for more information in that user’s profile to see if it deserves to be “followed”. If they have common interests, they’ll probably follow you back.
If you can, go further. Leave a comment on that post. Just make sure the comment is about the photo – and not about you. (If a user wants to know about you, they can see your profile.) A positive comment about a common interest may be enough to get them to follow you back.
Repeat this method when possible. There are many free search tools on Instagram, both in mobile and desktop versions.
2. Monitor a hashtag in your niche to discover user-generated content This is similar to the previous method, but on a different level. You’ll be surprised to learn that there are already users publishing content about your business, your products or services. And these users will be happy to let you share these photos with your followers… as long as you ask for their permission nicely.
Users are flattered if a brand thinks their photo is worthy of being shared with more people. And, they are more likely to follow you to see their photo on your account. They may even share your account with their followers. This happened to Pantone, look at what happened.
3. Sponsor a contest on Instagram with another brand. Partner with another Instagram user in your niche to run an Instagram contest where the condition of participation is to follow both accounts. See the example of the RiseNY sports store and SneakerWatch website.
This method is a win-win, but small brands can benefit more. In this example, RiseNY has over 7,300 Instagram followers; SneakerWatch has over 337,000. This contest can help them have more segmented followers because both brands are in the sportswear and accessory industry.
4. Publish on Instagram regularly. It may be too obvious, but we can’t skip this step. As charming as you may be, leave lots of comments, and give away lots of prizes, it’s very important that your brand value is reflected in your Instagram account. The only way to do this is to post photos and videos regularly. Be sure to include hashtags that are relevant to your industry (like #chicagofoodscene, for example). This makes it easier for users to find you, as they share a common interest.
5. Promote your Instagram account on various channels. The first people to know you have an Instagram account are your regular customers, employees, and vendors – the people you contact most often! Or are they? If you have a database of their emails, you can design a message that invites them to follow you. Constant Contact and Mailchimp have integration with Instagram so you can clearly show what your Instagram account looks like.
The next people to know are the visitors to your website. They may have come to your website through organic searches or paid advertisements. Include a widget to give them a taste of what they can expect if they follow you on Instagram.
Do you have a space available in your store or office? It can be a whiteboard, a wall, even a mirror. Check out this example. This restaurant used the menu board to announce their Instagram contest. (Very generous, right?)
If you have a tangible product, consider adding more information about your Instagram account on the packaging. In this case, Domino’s used the packaging box to invite customers to upload photos of their pizzas and tag them with the user @dominos. It is very likely that these users also follow Domino’s out of curiosity and find your picture in the Instagram account of Domino’s, which currently has over 73 thousand followers.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide which method to use to get more followers on Instagram. Remember, this goes beyond social networking and, at the end of the day, you want to see results in your business.
If you’re the owner of that Japanese restaurant in Chicago (or any business of your own), which sentence do you like best?
“Thanks to my fans, I’m the best sushi restaurant on Instagram” or “Thanks to my fans, I’m the best sushi restaurant in Chicago”.
The answer you choose depends on the strategy you are going to implement.