Tips for Building an Instagram Following

Instagram is a fairly straightforward social network. Users post creative images and can “like” and comment on images from others. But, Instagram can be used for marketing purposes when you use it to promote your brand and products and run ad campaigns.

However, these marketing strategies are most effective when you have an active Instagram following. Here are a few ways to build a following that will be interested in your business and engaged with your content.

Track and Use Popular Hashtags

Instagram hashtags can help you add your photo to search results when people view everything with a specific tag. Blindly choosing tags to include in your posts isn’t the most effective way to use them to gain a following.

Instead, pay attention to popular tags in your industry and that your target market uses, and then use those. Find the tags by following major accounts and people who are part of your target market.

Remember, you can also use hashtags that are used for events, pop culture trends and locations to draw attention to your business and get more followers.

Do more than Sell Yourself

Ultimately, your Instagram account should help you promote your products and attract customers. But, if your posts are overly self promotional or look too much like ads, you won’t gain very much traction on the site.

Instagram users like creative, fun images, and when you use them your account will be more popular and grow a larger following. Your photos can still promote your business, but when you use creative images and a more subtle approach, they won’t feel spammy. Consider posting images of your customers, behind-the-scenes glimpses into your business, pictures of your community and even just fun images that aren’t directly related to your business.

Don’t Stop with a Follow

Shopify ran a test to find the most effective form of engagement to attract followers to a company account. It targeted a competitor’s followers, or those who are likely to be interested in the first company’s account, and interacted with them on different levels.

The research found that simply following people resulted in a 14 percent follow back rate. By following users and “liking” one of their posts, the company saw a 22 percent follow back rate. And, by following users and “liking” and commenting on one of their posts, the company experienced a 34 percent follow back rate.

The results show that the best way to gain new followers through engagement is to follow users and then “like” and comment on one of their posts. The more engagement you participate in, the more followers you will attract.

Instagram is a very popular network, and with 300 million monthly active users, 2.5 billion daily “likes” and an average of 70 million photos shared each day, you can’t afford not to leverage your account. These tips will help you build a strong following, which will help you create an audience that is interested in your posts and likely to interact with your business.