Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms today. From posting pics of your food, to sharing memories with your friends, to taking people on any kind of life journey, to building a business— you can do it all.
However, it’s not as easy to start your Instagram journey as some people would have you believe. Gaining your first one thousand followers is the hardest part, but thankfully everything is possible with the right techniques and some elbow grease.
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Think About Your Audience
When trying to attract followers, it’s always better to think about what kind of people you want to attract than to try to appeal to everyone. Your audience will surely widen once you gain some traction, but focusing on a small number of people is essential when you’re starting out.
Think about the kind of content you want to create and what kind of people it could attract. For example, if you want to build a business around baking, find ways to market towards other bakers, cooks, artists, and foodies. These people might not have the same approach to baking but they’ll be able to appreciate your business from different perspectives.
Optimize Your Profile
One mistake beginners make is that they don’t pay much attention to the optimization of their Instagram profile. First of all, you have to choose a name that can be easily searched and found. Secondly, make sure that the name you have chosen is the same across all social media that you use.
Finally, ensure that your Instagram profile isn’t empty and that you have filled out all the information regarding your company. All of this will help boost your rankings in Google searches, as Instagram profiles organically show up on Google, too.
The profile picture you choose will represent your business, so make sure it’s something that captures your aesthetic and brand voice. This is the first impression your audience will get of your business, so make sure it’s a good one.
To ensure your profile gets more traffic, include keywords into your Instagram bio. That way, even if people don’t search for your business in particular, they will still find it. This is particularly important for reaching your target audience.
If we go back to the baking example, it’s much more likely people will search for terms related to baking and pastries than they are for the name of your business, especially since you’re just starting out.
These keywords help put your Instagram profile at the top of the search results on the platform itself, but also boost organic SEO on Google. If you do a good enough job, your business is likely to become associated with the specific terms you used in your bio.
One way the Instagram algorithm works is with hashtags. They categorize content on the whole platform and they’re perfect for growing your account and attracting new followers. Don’t try to make up a new hashtag to set yourself apart, though.
Your goal, for the time being, is to attract as many new people as possible, so be sure to use the most popular hashtags your target audience already uses. The best way to do this is to follow the hashtags related to your business. You can look at how much engagement similar posts to your generate and then use the same hashtags for your post.
However, don’t aim for hashtags that generate too much or too little traffic and engagement. In the first scenario, a small business like yours is likely to get drowned out. In the second, you won’t get a lot of benefits from using the hashtags and you won’t attract many new people. It’s best to stick to the middle ground.
Collaborate with Others
Another way to boost traffic on your account is to piggyback on accounts that already have a decent number of followers. In other words, don’t be afraid to reach out to influencers in the same business. You might have to pay them for the collaboration but look at this as an investment. They are already working with the same target audience you’re after, so it will be much easier to direct people to your business.
Maybe you would like to promote your Instagram account but lack the necessary number of Instagram followers? Collaborate with the team at MegaFamous to help you boost your engagement and drive more Instagram likes, comments and followers with their reliable Instagram growth services.
These collaborations usually work by the influencer sharing your post or including your content into their own.
On top of that, don’t be afraid to reach out to people who aren’t directly involved in your line of work but have a diverse audience. Going with the same example as before, you could perhaps bake a small type of cake for an influencer and have them praise it in one of their posts, videos, or lives. Even Instagram stories work great for this purpose.
Work with a Professional
A lot of SEO agencies today also include social media marketing in their list of services. If you want to build your business online but are too busy leading it in real life, or you simply don’t know much about SEO, going with a professional is always a good idea.
You can entrust your Instagram profile with a team of marketing professionals who will work on your goals for you. The hardest part is getting your account off the ground, so why not let someone else do it?
While some people avoid companies because they’re afraid of the costs, you should keep in mind that this is an investment in your future. Aside from helping you reach those first one thousand followers sooner, hiring a professional will also leave you with more time to learn more about social media marketing.
Then, once your profile gets off the ground, you can more easily maintain it by yourself.
Set Engagement Goals
Instagram is notorious for its high engagement rate in general. An audience that reacts well to your posts is essential for your business, so this is very good news. What that fact means, though, is that you can set engagement goals and reward your audience for interacting with your account.
The easiest way to do this is to reply to their posts, follow them back, and react to their posts. Generic comments aren’t advised, as they’ll be seen as an obvious ploy to sell something to your followers. Instead, try to take a genuine interest in their posts and come up with something original and friendly to comment on.
As your follower count grows, you won’t have to leave as many comments and reactions, but still, try to continue making the effort.
Make Use of Instagram Live
Another way you can encourage engagement and attract new people is with Instagram live. It will allow your followers to ask you questions in real-time and you can show them how charming and approachable you are.
As well as that, starting a Live video will put you at the top of your follower’s newsfeed and encourage engagement. Once Live is over, you can save it and post it so even those who weren’t able to attend can see it and interact with you in the comments. Posting it on your account is also a great way to show people why they should join next time.
Keep a Content Calendar
Consistency is key when building a good follower base. You should come up with a content calendar that will help you keep track of your posts and stay on top of your account. This way, you’ll continually engage the people who follow you and are more likely to attract new people.
Once your account starts gaining some traction, you can announce when you’ll be posting next. For example, your followers can expect new videos every Thursday. Make sure to keep your end of the deal and reward them for their patience with quality content on each day you say you’ll post. If your posts are good, you’re likely to generate buzz and get people talking about what you’ll do next. This also helps attract a wider audience that will sub to you.
Celebrate the Milestone
Once you reach your first one thousand followers, don’t let it go unnoticed. Organize some kind of event or giveaway and promote it on your account. You can build up the suspense by telling your followers you’re just planning a surprise.
This can make people excited and even encourage them to share your content with their friends. In turn, you’ll reach those first one thousand much more quickly.
Remember to stay grateful to the people who support you and make a post thanking them for being there for you once you reach your goal. This is a great way to foster a nurturing relationship between you and your follower base, as people respond well to humble creators.
As you can see, gaining the first one thousand Instagram followers doesn’t have to be impossible. The most important thing is to remember that this is a process that might take time. Be patient and persistent, and you’ll become an Instagram star in no time.
Mark is a marketing professional with over 5 years of experience. He closely collaborates with quality SEO companies in the field of digital marketing. He is also a co-author on several technology websites.