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How to build up your business following on Instagram

Posted on 16th November, 2017 by Lucy Markillie

Social Media

Many businesses think that Instagram is just a platform for people to share pretty pictures and show off their impossibly white teeth, but it’s actually one of the easiest platforms to engage with users and gain new followers. Like most social media platforms the key to Instagram is building a strong brand identity. Here are the strategies you’ll need to grow your follower base using Instagram.

Use hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to reach new followers with your posts and target the right audience. While simply using the most popular Instagram hashtags could get you more likes and engagement it’s unlikely to result in long-term follower growth and more importantly loyal customers for your business. What you need are targeted hashtags that will resonate with your audience and inspire them.

For example if you’re business is an online shop that sells Adidas footwear then you may want to use hashtags such as #threestripes, #adidas as well as any product-specific tags in your post such as #adidasstockholm which will help those who are interested in these products to search and find your images as well as engaging with them. Don’t forget to also add location-based tags if you have a bricks and mortar store as this can also help with engagement and letting people know where they can find your business.

You can find popular hashtags for your industry using tools such as Webstagram which offer an easy way to search for trending hashtags and see how many posts have been created under different hashtags. On Instagram, the hashtag limit is 30 but we’d recommend sticking below that. Somewhere between 5 and 15 hashtags is probably about right for most businesses.

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Caption effectively

Captions are your way of adding a call to action to your posts. Your images need a purpose, posting lots of pretty photos may get your business more followers but you’ll also want to funnel these followers to your online store or website. With Instagram, the only link your allowed is in your bio so your comments will need to give people a reason to visit your site.

Competitions, asking people to use your hashtag or tag your account are all effective ways that you can caption your images and ask people to engage with your brand. Don’t forget to tag followers and give them a shoutout if you boost their posts as this will help show them that you’re listening to them. This will also encourage user-generated posts which will help market your business for free.

Post at the right time

There are many surveys that show the best times of the day to post on Instagram but much of this depends on your business’s sector and audience. Generally speaking Monday to Thursday excluding the hours of 3 to 4 pm should work well for your business. As with anything else we’d recommend that you test different posting times and record the results in a spreadsheet. You’ll want to record comments and likes on the posts and when they were created and after a few weeks you should be able to work out when the best posting times are for your business.

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Approach influencers

When we say influencers we don’t mean Taylor Swift of Justin Bieber, we’re thinking smaller scale and much more focused. There are plenty of bloggers and vloggers with followings into the tens and hundreds of thousands who would be a great match for your business. What you need is plenty of research to find the ones that best represent your target audience.

To start off you’ll need to make a list of large Instagram accounts in your business niche, so if you sell men’s fashion trainers you’ll want to look out for all fashion bloggers. A great place to look for these accounts is using the hashtags that you’ve already researched to see which accounts are using them. You’re looking out for profiles that have a large following and also include an email address in the profile, as this generally means they’re open to offering sponsored posts.

Depending on the influencer you should expect to pay between £20 and £50 for a sponsored post or product placement. By concentrating on influencers in your target market you can help get your brand in front of potential customers which will increase your following as well as boosting the traffic to your website.

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