Building followers to an Instagram account can be a long hard process. You may feel that you are putting in a lot of work and not getting much back. With that in mind, here are a few basic tips to help you ensure that your Instagram traffic building efforts are not in vain.
Identify Your Audience
Running an Instagram account without knowing what qualities and content your potential audience will look for in you is about as effective as running an ad campaign without any targeting. You need to have a clear idea of who you are trying to attract and what they want from you.
Your audience will have problems that your Instagram content should set out to offer a solution for. These problems might be as simple as “I’m bored and need entertainment”, or they may be more complex and substantiative. You first need to identify which problems you are solving for your audience, and also how that ultimately helps you.
For example, if you are trying to attract an audience to a blog about dieting, then the problem you are solving is the need for diet advice. This means that your audience will be people who are thinking about dieting and your Instagram content needs to be focussed on diet solutions and information.
You should also get a good idea of the age, gender, language, and location of the target audience you want to appeal to. You may not want to drill down too much depending on what your Instagram account and the business website you are promoting is about, but you should at least focus on a particular demographic to avoid spreading your promotional efforts too thin.
Your competition can tell you a lot about your audience too. Look at the more successful competitors in your niche and see what they are focusing on. Also, take a look at your less successful competitors and try to work out what they are doing wrong. This can help you to decide where to focus your attention when trying to appeal to your audience.
Optimize Your Profile Page
If people want to know more about you and what you have to offer them, then they’ll head on over to your profile page. When they get there they will expect to find some useful information which will tell them if you are someone that they want to follow.
You need to ensure that the info they are expecting to see is what is actually on the profile page. They shouldn’t find the fluff and nonsense that will tell them nothing and put them off following you. Your profile page is prime real estate, so make sure that you don’t waste it.
Take a look at all the components of your profile page and try to view them as your potential audience will see them when they visit for the first time. Are they seeing useful information that helps them, and helps you as a result? If not, then you’ll need to tweak the page until you think visitors will be seeing what they need to.
Optimize Your Content
Each piece of content you post on your Instagram account is an argument for a viewer to follow you. You need to present those arguments so that they convince the viewer that you have something that they want.
Take the time to color-correct your images. Make use of filters that make those images more enticing. Edit your videos to trim out any irrelevant and boring parts. Add sound effects, informative or amusing text, and anything else that increases the value of the video.
You can also use features such as Instagram galleries to have your content tell a story of some kind. This doesn’t need to be an actual story, just a progression of connected content pieces that entice the viewer to want to view the entire gallery to get the full context. The more time they spend viewing your content the more likely they are to follow your account.
Seed Your Instagram Traffic
Once you have your audience identity, profile page, and content locked down it is time to start generating organic traffic for your Instagram account. There are many elaborate ways that you can do this, but you should start with the basics.
The simplest way to start building followers for your account is to follow and comment on the accounts of other users with similar content. This should seed organic Instagram growth for your account as the people you follow check out your profile page and occasionally follow you back. Make sure that you are not being spammy in your approach here though. Don’t overdo the follows and make sure your comments have actual merit of them in the post you are commenting on.
You should also join any Instagram Engagement Group or Pods that are relevant to your content. Get involved in discussions on the platform that are related to your niche. Work towards becoming an authority in your niche in these discussions by making useful and well-thought-out posts.
People follow your Instagram because they expect more of the content that attracted them initially. Make sure that they continue to get what they are expecting. Work out a content update schedule and stick to it as much as possible.
Many social media sites will favor accounts that post content on a regular schedule. The reason for this is that viewers are more engaged with those accounts as they have a steady supply of new content to entertain or inform them. Engaged viewers are good for the social media platform, so they tend to recommend the account more frequently in search results and suggested content channels.
Make Use of Hashtags
Use hashtags in your Instagram posts so that search engines know what your content is about. You need these hashtags to be popular enough with searchers that people actually search for them, but not so popular that there is a large number of competing accounts all using the same hashtags. Try to find the middle ground, or try to find hashtags that are underutilized for the number of searches that they get.
First, make a list of hashtags that are relevant to your content niche. This list can be as large as you like since you will not be using all of it. Then do some research to see which of these hashtags are actually being searched for and pare your list down to about ten that you think will give you the best value relative to the competition. You can actually use more than ten hashtags in a post, but it’s best to cap the number at ten so that you don’t dilute the search relevance of the post.
Post Your Instagram Links on Your Other Social Media Channels
You may have a lot of different social media channels, so use these channels to seed growth for your Instagram account. Ideally, you want to do this in a way that entices people viewing your other accounts to go to your Instagram account though. You can do this in a few different ways, such as posting the first few images from a set of your other accounts and mentioning that the full set is on Instagram. Provide a link to the gallery for the rest of the posted content along with a link to your profile page.
Collaborate With Other Instagram Content Creators
Collaboration is probably the most powerful way of growing your social media traffic. It works with most types of social media platforms, including Instagram. Basically, you just need to find a few people who post content in the same niche as you and arrange to make some collaborative content together that helps promote each of your channels in the process.
This is a great approach to take for more reasons than just promotion. By working with other content creators you can build up professional relationships with them that may benefit you in a variety of ways. You can also make some new friends in the process.
Attract the Notice of Aggregator/Compilation Poster
While most social media accounts create original content, some of the larger accounts actually post or link to other people’s content. Ideally, they do this with the permission of the original content creator where appropriate, but as long as they are linking back to your account, you should be getting value from their mentioning or reposting your content. If they are reposting your content and fail to link back then they are basically stealing your content and you should ask them to remove it or report them as needed.
Some of these compilation accounts can build up a huge following as a result of them being a prime place for people to discover new content. This means that getting listed by them can give you a huge boost in traffic and followers. So it can be well worth your while creating content that is targeted at attracting the notice of these accounts.
You’ll want to do your homework here. Take the time to study these compilation accounts and see what sort of content they prefer. Also, try to get a feel for the discovery process that these accounts use to find new content to list. Once you think that you have a good handle on what content to create and how to attract the notice of these accounts, start making that content and promoting it to them.
Something to bear in mind with social media sites like Instagram is that you can often get the bulk of your traffic and followers from a small number of media posts. Identifying which pieces of content will take off and which ones will achieve nothing is nearly impossible as there are too many factors in play. So make sure that you post regularly and that your content is engaging and diverse within your niche. Your success will happen if you give it the proper help.