I have had my fair share of struggle when it came to increasing Instagram followers. It took a lot of time, and I learned a couple of things that I’d like to share today. The idea is to help newbie level Instagram users, or small business owners who have just started with their account. This way, they won’t be making the same mistakes that I made, or miss some great opportunities to help grow a massive fan base etc.

  • Research target audience:

Everyone knows about their audience at Instagram. Let’s say for argument’s sake that you are affiliated with the weight loss industry, or any other product/ service category, you know that your updates are meant for people who are interested in that kind of thing. The tough part is not to locate these people, but to encourage them to follow you at Instagram or any other social media platform for that matter.

A few hours of Instagram market research will lead you straight to your target audience. In fact, here’s a plus one for you: use hashtags at Instagram whenever you are making a new update. The automatic suggestion tool will help you come up with best possible hashtags related to your target niche. However, for the love of God and all that’s Holy, please DO NOT SPAM hashtags in your post. It drives people away before you can say Tummy Tucks!

I dabbled in using 15 hashtags a month while researching for Instagram audience. I noticed that fewer hashtags bring in more people, as compared to spamming them constantly. The key is to use the most relevant and popular hashtags, so that whoever taps something, he finds out your Instagram update at the top of newsfeed.

  • Find your own voice at Instagram:

It is called creating a theme and then sticking to it. Every successful marketer at Instagram has a proper plan. They remain on track with updates that are relevant to the theme of the product. This is to ensure that whenever the target audience is looking for something, the most relevant newsfeed comes up first.

Several studies were conducted about consumer psychology at Instagram. It was concluded that people keep a visual diagram or a visual cue in their mind that helps them to remember a product or service easily. Therefore, if you have a consistent theme at Instagram, your audience can immediately relate a certain product to you without any hassle. It is like flicking a switch in their brain without asking them for it.

Also, while you are making updates, try using the same filter effect for your updates. Instagrammers have been known for developing a likeness towards any company products that uses same filter effect throughout several updates.

  • Ask them for a favor!

Regardless of whether it is Twitter, or Instagram, ask your audience for shoutouts and re-tweets. Marketers use these tactics to spread awareness about their ongoing products & campaigns. Initially, while this trend was not very common, product owners used to remain under the impression that they might scare the audience away. However, it turns out that by asking people for something can yield exponential results.

Brand owners are no longer afraid to reach out to the audience. But please keep in mind that while you are deploying updates at Instagram, with specifics to a certain request, don’t overdo it. The first two or three times is cool, but when you are asking daily for the same thing, even if it is a mere follow back or referral request, your audience won’t spend long before hitting the “unfollow” button.

  • Growth hacking 101 at Instagram:

Another great way of growing rapidly at Instagram is to join other communities on the internet. By joining forums, advice panels and experts at other websites, you will be netting 2x number of followers at Instagram.

Collaborate, instead of competing during the initial stages of your campaign. The idea is to bond with people who are related to your market, without emphasizing too much on the “me” factor. Eventually, your content at Instagram will start getting more comments, shares and followers.

Closing thoughts:

Obviously, the above changes or results will not occur overnight. Things will take time to reflect. The key ingredient to any successful Instagram campaign is consistency and proper execution of ideas. There are several other ways to grow your followers at Instagram, but they are mostly black hat techniques. The point is, if you are playing the game for keeps, don’t indulge in the “fast and easy” route.