Hi there, nice to see you! Let us ask you something – you clicked on this article because of the title, right? Because you want to know how to get followers on Instagram, of course! Well, this is what we marketers called a true clickbait. A title, claim, phrase, theme, image, video, etc, so appealing that it is impossible not to click on it.
And yes, we know, that the clickbait thing doesn’t particularly interest you, and what you really want to know is how you can get followers on Instagram (as fast as possible!). Well, interestingly enough, this is how!
I mean, it’s more or less this – the truth is that you’ll only get them with content. Good content. There are no magic formulas – and this is the honest truth. But wait, don’t go just yet, as there is more to this than what meets the eye.
Let’s start with a ‘difficult’ question: yes, these days, and in most cases, businesses need to have a social media presence; but, do they need to be on ALL social media? And if your answer was yes, then here’s another one: and can you generate enough content suitable for each one of them? Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Today we’re looking at Instagram, so we’re going to focus exclusively on it. Maybe we should begin by remembering that this social media was born in 2010 as a photo sharing app, and just that. Only over time and to keep up with the market trends and competition (such as Snapchat, for instance) did it evolve into what we know today. But it is still a social media profoundly based on visual content. If your company, given its line of business, cannot generate this visual content (images, videos, etc.), should you have an Instagram profile, just for the sake of it?
But OK, we said we were going to explain how to get followers on Instagram, so let’s assume your business ‘has what it takes’ to have a profile there.
Surely you’ve read on a number of places that you have to make X posts per day or per week to get noticed. But if you do make that ‘countless number of posts’, will each one give something of value, something useful to your followers, to your target audience? Something that helps them, informs them, makes them happier, solves a problem, teaches them something?
And speaking of your target audience, have you ‘zoomed in on them’ yet? Or are you ‘aiming in all directions’ and ‘anything with a bounce is fair game’? I bet you’ve even heard that “there are some apps out there, or some guys in India, or whatever, that grow a profile’s number of followers for next to nothing”. And there is always the advertising on the app itself – the more money you put in it, the more followers you get, right?
Well… no. Actually, it’s completely wrong.
You have to understand that at the heart of all that is social media (for businesses) there are two essential things – visuals and (even more important) content (i.e. copy, text).
It is with content that you’re going to be able to really get followers on Instagram.
“Ah, but that might take a bit of time, right?”. Yes, it does, it doesn’t happen overnight. But if you use one of those ‘shortcuts’ we talked about earlier, you will most likely end up with a profile loaded with followers, but ‘dead’, with no likes, comments, interaction and, most of all, without generating any leads or business for your company. Remind us, please – isn’t that why you created your business profile on Instagram?! (emoji raising its eyebrows, Mr. Bean-like, feeling really smart!)
Let’s look at the content, then. You have most certainly also heard that on Instagram you want ‘fancy’ images and that one or two short sentences are enough, right? Well, again, wrong. Posting ‘one great picture’ (and no, we’re not talking about size!) is what everyone already does (and has done since the beginning) on Instagram. The problem is that we humans get bored easily and ‘same old, same old’ isn’t going to grab us. This social media gives you 2200 characters to use in each post. “Oh man! That’s a lot…”, we can hear you say. So if the idea is just to put a ‘great image’ there, why are all these characters available? Have they got it wrong, made a mistake? No (again!). For (quite) some time now, what is noticeable is that the profiles that work best and that get more followers on this platform are those with longer photo captions (the text that goes with the image on the post). There are even those that exhaust all the 2200 characters of the captions and use the comments to continue the text. We’re not saying you have to do the same, but don’t limit yourself because ‘it has to be one or two lines long’.
But (and there is always a but!) do not hide what you want to talk about in the middle of the 2200 characters. In fact, before a user clicks on your post to read it to the end, what they will see is only one or two lines of content, so give them ‘a clue’ (the idea) of the post’s theme is at the beginning of your text. Always end with a call-to-action – tell the person reading the post what you want them to do next: ask for likes and/ or shares, ask a question, invite them to do something, in short, stimulate further interaction! And be ‘appealing’ from the get-go (that clickbait we started this article with, remember?!) so that they will want to click on ‘see more’ to begin with.
“What about hashtags, don’t I have to put that on every post too?”. You do. But please don’t use pounds (or kilos, if you prefer!) as your measurement for this. Choose the right hashtags for your business and the product, service, etc you’re talking about in that specific post, and forget about all the others. Besides looking ugly as hell to have four or five lines of hashtags in each post, it’s not those 30 hashtags that will make a gigantic difference in terms of exposure. Be picky and strategic, and that will be decisive.
Now, let’s go back to images. As we saw before, the content (copy) is very important, however, this is a very visual social media and you cannot neglect the images (and no, we are not contradicting ourselves, believe us!). The photos you post have to be eye-catching, they have to ‘immediately grab’ the user. But it is absolutely essential that your profile ‘makes sense’; that it has a kind of graphic editorial line. Remember that those who go there start by seeing only a series of little squares. If you have a mishmash of photos that have nothing to do with each other (and no, they don’t all have to be the same, nor all about the same thing) it’s (once again!) not appealing – it is just confusing and we users won’t be tempted to follow you.
Create a coherent visual identity. And if you don’t believe us, do a simple exercise – just go take a look at the profiles of the big brands in this world. Yes, the really big ones, that, in all truth, hardly even need the Instagrams and Facebooks of this life, given their size and the way they are already established in the market, but who still invest a lot of money in graphic designers (and copywriters, and social media managers, and digital marketers, etc, etc, etc) to maintain and boost their social media profiles. Have you seen them? Do you now see what we mean by visual coherence? By an identity?
‘Design’ your profile to generate as much engagement as possible. Interact on its behalf with other users. Create partnerships and build them up on Instagram with mutual tags, shares, and so on. Follow other profiles, commercial and private, be part of the ‘community’. Invest in good images and use them, not in a ‘single tree’ perspective, but rather on a ‘forest’ one. Post only when you really have something relevant or interesting to say (‘only a few, but good ones’ is quite valid in this case, and don’t forget the stories!). You shouldn’t have some ‘European posting quota’ to fulfil, but you should create a well-structured post plan (it will save you time and ensure that your profile ‘makes sense’). A poll, a competition or a giveaway here and there are always welcome! And do some advertising, of course – it won’t buy you followers, but it will help you reach those who don’t know you yet (so your profile can do the rest!).
When we started this article, we promised that we would tell you how to (really) get followers on Instagram and that’s what we did (whether you like it or not…!).
But before you start putting into practice everything we told you before, please, by all means, do yourself and your business a favour – clearly determine/ define the overall purpose of your business Instagram account. What do you want to achieve with it for your business and who is it aimed at. Without this, no social media content strategy will do you any good, and you’ll continue to see those coveted followers ‘from a distance’.