Instagram is one of the most rapidly growing social media platforms around and can help to deliver waves of traffic to your website or landing page.
The platform is so powerful that some of the brands we work with are finding that at least 50 percent of their overall traffic is coming straight from Instagram.
No matter what type of business you run, whether you are in e-commerce, an artist, an entrepreneur, a B2B or SaaS, Instagram is the place to be.
As one of the most rapidly growing social media platforms out there, Instagram holds a treasure chest of opportunities that are just waiting to be explored. To access these treasures however, you need to have a strong following.
Instagram has an estimated 600 million active monthly users, so there is no excuse for not being able to grow your following by the hundreds, if not thousands every single week.
There is also no excuse for not getting some of the 600 million monthly active users over to your landing page, website or onto your email list.
When you boost your Instagram following, it not only helps to build your brand but it also helps to grow your leads, sales and profits.
In this article, we are going to share with you some fail proof ways to build close to 9,000 active Instagram followers every single month.
This is not just about getting followers fast using shady tactics, this is about getting followers who are genuinely interested in your content and are likely to become loyal, paying customers over time.
So let’s get started….
Instagram’s Latest Features
Instagram has been around since 2010, so most marketers are familiar with how it works. You snap a picture, pick a cool filter and write a witty caption. This is the foundation to Instagram and what allowed it rise to fame.
But since 2010, a lot has changed and even though the foundation is still there, Instagram has introduced many interesting features, including video sharing, advertising, Instagram Stories, Live Video feeds and so much more.
While Instagram is likely to keep updating and tweaking things as time goes on, here is a brief understanding of the major feature changes to Instagram in the last year-
Instagram Stories were introduced in 2016 and work in a very similar way to Snapchat. They are are not part of the regular Instagram feed and instead, appear at the top of people’s “home pages”.
Instagram stories involve taking several images or short videos in order to create a “story”. These images and videos can also be edited to include text, hand drawings, emoji and stickers.
For verified Instagram accounts, you can also insert links into your stories so users can go straight to your content.
Like Snapchat, the stories are only available for 24 hours and disappear after this time frame. Currently, unless the user takes a screen shot, there is no way to save the image or video.
Instagram Stories are a great way to share glimpses of your day or to paint a picture over a period of time. For example, you may share a story of a product launch from start to finish or a piece of artwork from start to finish.
The images and videos used in Instagram Stories are much more casual and have a more “realistic”, down to earth feel. This is different to the average Instagram feed, which often includes highly curated photos that are edited and tweaked to perfection.
The idea with an Instagram Story is to give people a snapshot into your life or into the life of your brand and what happens on a day to day level.
Instagram’s Live Video
Another new feature on Instagram is their Live Video option. This is still very new and is just starting to catch on.
Similarly to Facebook Live, Instagram Live allows users to post live videos as part of their story. You can only watch live videos as they are being filmed however, so once the user stops streaming the video vanishes.
These new features are definitely something to pay attention to when it comes to building your following on Instagram and it will be valuable if you can get comfortable with how to use them.
Boosting Your Following
Now that you have a basic understanding of the features, it is time to turn your attention to creating an Instagram account that gets you 9,000 active followers every single month.
This may not happen overnight, but by following these steps you will be well on your way to consistently gaining 9,000 followers every single month.
Here are the seven simple steps to making it happen-
Step 1: Optimise Your Profile and Biography
Before you can even consider gaining 9k followers a month, you first need to get your profile in tip-top shape. Creating an Instagram profile is all well and good, but you have to learn how to optimise it for maximum engagement.
Your profile needs to be interesting and captivating from the start, so you need to think about every little detail and work out what message you want your account to send.
Start off by reviewing your name, profile picture and description- do these things match the vision that you are trying to create?
When it comes to choosing the perfect profile picture, your brand’s logo is often a good choice. If you are the brand, a nice headshot will also work as well.
For your biography, consider something short and witty that paints a picture as to what your brand is all about. You may also want to include some emoticons as these have been shown to draw more attention to a profile.
You can include one link in your profile; generally your website’s homepage is a good link to share, but you can also change this link to direct your followers to a specific landing page as well.
Step 2: Choose Your Images Wisely
Instagram is all about sharing stunning, inspirational, quirky and beautiful images. If you scroll through some of the most popular Instagram feeds, you will see that hours have been spent trying to capture the perfect photo.
The Instagram accounts that do the best often have some kind of theme when it comes to their images. This could be a theme in the colours used, the style of photography or the filters that are used.
Whatever you decide, you need to ensure that your that your images grab your audience’s attention and appeal to their desires, sense of humour, attitudes, beliefs and so on.
Here are some other pointers to keep in mind-
1.) Post Original Images
While it is fine to occasionally share other people’s images, creating your own images gives your visitors a reason to follow you and a reason to keep coming back to your feed. It also helps to get your followers invested in you and your brand.
2.) Add a Location Tag
Instagram has a feature that allows you to tag the location of your image. When you do this it not only helps to create a sense of connection with your audience, but it also allows your image to be searchable under that location as well. It has also been found that images with a location attached gain more “likes” than an image without.
3.) Be Consistent
If you look at some of the most popular Instagram accounts around, there is always consistency with the images that they choose to share. Nike for example, which has 68 million followers, is always sharing inspirational messages along with a combination of famous athletes and every day people looking to stay fit. This consistency makes sense for Nike’s brand, so be sure to think about this as part of your strategy as well.
3.) Don’t Just Post to Sell
If you have an e-commerce store it can be easy to fall into the trap of posting pictures of just your products. While this may be a great promotional tool, it is not really going to help build proper engagement. If you want to share images of your products, try to give them some context. Make them part of a scene or shoot the “lifestyle” effect of your products, rather than just the product itself.
Step 3: Create Clever Captions
Your caption is just as important as the photo and gives you an opportunity to share your voice with your followers.
Instagram allows you to write 2,200 characters for one post caption, which is more than the average blog post! While this may seem a lot for a social media post, it is a great way to share your message and connect with your fans.
For best results, your caption should aim to be several (at least 4-6) sentences of information that connects and supports your photo.
It should also be broken up with spaces and even emoticons in order to make it easy to read and engaging.
The first three lines of your caption should be the most engaging, as this is the only part of your caption that will be visible while people are scrolling through their feeds.
Instagram does not allow you to put links in your captions, but one way you can get around this is by referring people to the link in your biography. You can change the link in your biography to send people to a specific landing page or your home page.
For example, the end of your caption may read “for more information on this click link in bio”.
Step 4: Choose the Perfect Hashtags
Hashtags are the fastest way to grow your Instagram following. This is because hashtags make your images searchable, which means that your account can reach more people and gain more followers.
Choosing appropriate hashtags is super important and will help you to attract an engaged and active audience. Sure, the hashtag #love, which was the most popular hashtag on Instagram in 2016, appeals to many people, but if you want to gain specific followers, you need to create specific hashtags.
The more specific your hashtags are to your audience, the more likely you are going to gain followers that are relevant and become life long customers.
Let’s break this down into actionable steps-
1.) Choose a hashtag that is relevant to your image and audience and enter it into your Instagram caption, when you do this, Instagram will automatically reveal a drop down list of popular hashtags. Scroll through the list and choose the most appropriate for your niche. This is a simple and easy way to discover new hashtags and to choose hashtags that are specific and appropriate.
2.) When it comes to the magic number of hashtags, the recommended amount is around 20. The general rule of thumb when it comes to effective Instagram marketing is no less than five and no more than 30 hashtags per post.
3.) No one wants to read all of your hashtags, they are simply there to help people find your image. One way to keep your captions clean and not filled with hashtags, is to post your hashtags as a comment rather than in the caption itself. You can also space your hashtags so they appear further down in your caption.
4.) Using trending hashtags is also a great way to find followers, especially if the trending hashtags match your business or industry. You can find trending hashtags on Facebook and Twitter, and use them in your Instagram posts as well.
Step 5: Create an Instagram Schedule
We already mentioned how important consistency is when it comes to the type of images that you share. Consistency is also important however, when it comes to how often you post.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out that if you are not posting on Instagram frequently, it is going to be very difficult to build up a following.
If you really want to gain more followers, we have found that the best recipe is-
- 1-2 photos or videos every day
- 5-10 Instagram stories every day
You may have to adjust this recipe according to what is going to work for your brand, but this should be a good place to start.
Instagram offers analytics for business accounts so you can see how your posts are performing and your engagement rates. You can also view the time of day that your account is receiving the most activity as well as the location and demographics that your account is attracting.
This provides valuable insight so you can see what is working and what is not working. From these analytics, you may also be able to adjust and tweak the type of content and the frequency of your posts.
If you want to experiment with using Instagram’s Live Video feature, it is also a good idea to create a schedule. Try filming at the same time every day, or at the same time every week so your followers know exactly what time you will be online.
To help attract followers to your Live Videos, you can even post an image in your feed or share a story letting people know what time you will be broadcasting live.
Step 6: Follow Your Audience
Now that you have a well constructed Instagram account that has a regular stream of images being uploaded daily, you should be gaining around 300 to 600 followers every month. But what about taking it to that next level?
If you want to gain more and more followers, you have to start following people as well. These people need to be part of your tribe and here is how to find them-
- Visit the Instagram page of one of your main competitors or someone who has many followers in your field. Celebrities or influencers are a good place to start, just make sure they are relevant to your industry.
- Click on their followers and begin following them.
- Keep repeating this process daily until you start to gain more followers.
How many people should you follow? If you really want to reach 9,000 monthly followers we recommend following around 50 different accounts every single hour. Yes, you read that right, 50 people followed every single hour.
This may seem like a lot and it may seem very time consuming too, but it will help you to reach 9,000 followers a month in no time.
While it may be tempting to follow a large chunk of people all in one go, it is important to break it up by the hour. This is because Instagram may flag you for spamming if you follow too many people too quickly.
From what we have found, Instagram will only block you from following more people if you exceed over 7,000 followers a day. By following around 50 per hour, you should be flying well under Instagram’s spam radar.
There are programs out there that can automatically follow people for you, but these programs can easily get you flagged as a spammer and are not supported by Instagram.
Manual following may take some extra effort, but it is the only sure way that you will be able to consistently grow your following without running into issues.
It also allows you to have more control over who you are following and ensures that you are finding users that are actually relevant and interested in your brand.
Step 7: Be an Active Community Member
Instagram is not just a place for you to broadcast and show off your brand, it is also a place where you can give back as well.
What makes Instagram so popular is the fact that it is inspiring and being a part of this inspiration is important for your long term success.
Being an active member of the community means that you comment and like your viewers posts. It also means that you offer valuable feedback in the form of advice, suggestions and support.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind that will help you to become an active member of Instagram-
1.) If someone follows you, follow them back – this is good social media etiquette and is a good rule to follow across all social platforms.
2.) If someone mentions you or tags you in a photo, reply by liking the image and commenting back, you can also exchange the favour with a “@mention” as well.
3.) Start liking all the photos under the particular hashtags you are interested in. Aim to like at least 20-30 images every single day, this will help to get your name out there.
4.) Send direct messages to people who interest you or to people in your niche that offer a lot of value. Don’t be afraid to compliment them on their work or thank them- everyone appreciates that and who knows what it may lead to. In fact, many people use this as a networking tool.
5.) When posting your own content, ask questions and write back to any comments you receive. Try to engage and interact with your audience rather than making it just one sided.
By following these steps, it will help you to become an actual participant in the Instagram community and not just another brand looking for a quick fix on social media.
Gaining more Instagram followers is not hard, but it does take some time. Once you have all of these steps in place, you will begin noticing your Instagram following increasing more and more each week.
Once you have your strategy in place, keep tweaking and adjusting things depending on your analytics and audience. In fact, keeping track of your own personal analytics is really going to help you increase your followers dramatically and will help you to optimise everything that you are doing.
By following these steps, it should take you no more than 3 months to start gaining around 9,000 followers every single month. Just keep being consistent and you will start to see results.
Instagram is a great place to market and promote your business and is a sure way to get traffic back to your landing pages or websites.
With more Instagram followers, you will not only increase your traffic, leads and sales but you will also enhance the value and reputation of your brand, and that can be worth its weight in gold.