It’s no secret that business opportunities on Instagram are growing rapidly.
Approximately 90% of Instagram’s 1 billion monthly active users follow a business account on the platform. And while Instagram hasn’t reported the current number of business users, the platform reportedly hosted more than 25 million of these accounts in late 2017.
As the platform continues to grow and develop more interactive features like Instagram Stories and Instagram Live, companies regularly use it as a tool to humanize brands, recruit future employees, showcase products and corporate culture, delight customers, and generate new business.
But here’s the deal: if you’re not famous, it’s really difficult to garner a huge following on Instagram without hard work.
For the average person or business, growing your fan base takes time and attention on a daily basis.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do right now to get at least 1,000 high quality followers for your personal or professional Instagram account. It’s about knowing where to put your time and effort.
Let’s discuss some strategies to help you get these followers, from creating an Instagram profile to using contests to maintaining your brand.
Read on whether you want to collect your first 1,000 followers or just 1,000 more.
This is how you gain your first 1,000 followers on Instagram
- Create and optimize your profile.
- Designate a content creator.
- Follow photography and editing best practices.
- Establish a regular booking schedule.
- Curate some of your content.
- Use a consistent, platform-specific brand voice.
- Write engaging, shareable subtitles.
- Optimize posts with relevant hashtags.
1. Create and optimize your profile.
First things first: customize your Instagram profile to make it look good. Tell your potential followers who you are and give them a reason to follow you.
How? First, make sure your username is recognizable and easily searchable – like your company name.
If your company name is already taken, try to keep your company name as the first part of your username so that people searching for your company are more likely to come across you. For example, the Australian activewear line Lorna Jane uses the username @lornajaneactive.
Set up your account
Step 1. Add your full company name in the Name field in the Options section. To find “Options,” tap the three lines in the top right corner of the iOS app, followed by “Settings,” which appears at the bottom of the screen next to a gear. If you’re on Android, tap the three dots in the corner. Your company or name will appear under your profile picture and username when you search.
step 2. Make your profile public. To make your profile public, open Instagram, open “Options” and make sure that “Private Account” is turned off.
step 3. Select a profile picture This corresponds to the brand of your other social networks, such as B. your company logo.
Step 4. Fill your bio with adorable, actionable, and informative information about your brand. Information like this lets people know what you’re up to and gives them a reason to follow you. State who you are and what you do and add a touch of personality.
Here are some examples for inspiration:
- @cheekbonebeauty: “Less waste. Ethical and safe ingredients.”
- @Oreo: “Playful moments from your favorite cookie.”
- @mrsbrittanyhennessy: “Helping influencers go beyond #sponcon and create sustainable businesses.”
- @CalifiaFarms: “Something different, something better. Let us show you what plants can do.”
- @coragedolls: “Uplifting, educating and encouraging girls in color to go unstoppable with dolls that finally look like them.”
Step 5. Add a link tree to your bio to make it easier for people to switch straight from Instagram to your other platforms if they want. The space allocated for URLs is valuable real estate. When you get 10,000 followers, you can add swipe-up links to your Instagram stories.
Until then, your bio is the only place within Instagram where you can post clickable links. So use them wisely. We recommend using a shortened, custom Bitly link for better clickability.
Step 6. Enable notifications So you can see when people are sharing or commenting on your photos. That way, you can get in touch with them faster – just like many companies on Twitter. To enable notifications, go to “Options” and then to “Push Notification Settings”. Select “From All” for each category.
A word on the wise, we don’t recommend linking your Instagram account to Twitter and Facebook (or any other social media platform) for automatic posting. Because each platform appeals to a different audience and requires different types of posts.
2. Designate a content creator.
Just as there should be one (maybe two) person managing your other social media accounts, there should only be one or two people managing your Instagram account.
If possible, choose someone with experience on the platform who “gets” it – and make sure they stay up to date on all of the new features Instagram has to offer.
If you work for a large organization, you may find that a lot of people want to have a say in what posts are published. Then an organized request or policy document comes into hand.
This document should let people know how to request a post on your Instagram account, when, what value the post is, and why.
3. Follow photography and editing best practices.
On Instagram, the quality of the posts is important. Much. Your Twitter followers may be forgiving of a few bad tweets, but a bad photo on Instagram is a big no-no.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take a photography class to be a good Instagram poster, nor do you have to practice weeks of practice before you begin. However, you should familiarize yourself with basic photography tips and photo editing apps.
Photography Best Practices
Since Instagram is a mobile app, some of the content you post on Instagram is likely to carry over to your mobile device. That is expected.
If your budget allows, invest in professional photography for your Instagram photos as it will add to your profile. Otherwise, a smartphone and some editing apps will do.
Focus on one topic at a time.
- Embrace the negative space.
- Find interesting perspectives.
- Pay attention to symmetry.
- Capture small details.
- Make your followers laugh.
Edit photos before posting.
Instagram has some basic editing features, but often they are not enough to make the graphics really great.
Most of your photos should go through at least one or two photo editing apps on your phone before opening them on Instagram.
Also, consider creating a cohesive Instagram topic in your feed so that everyone who visits your account for the first time can get a sense of your brand.
4. Establish a regular booking schedule.
Once you’ve created and tweaked your profile, let someone manage it, and have your creative resources ready, it’s time to start posting.
It’s a good idea to have a solid number of great posts – maybe 15 or so – before you start hiring people and working through this list. That way, people who visit your profile will see a full screen of photos and know that you’re posting great content on a regular basis.
First, download this social media content calendar template and schedule your posts to start posting on Instagram. It’s best to build up a content jam a few days or weeks before the release date.
This ensures that you always have content on vacation, on vacation, and even in creative blocks.
When planning your release schedule, keep your target person in mind, as this can drastically affect the timing and frequency of your release – especially if you’re targeting an audience in a different time zone. (Download this free buyer persona creation template if you don’t already have one.)
Optimizing your schedule for your specific audience can take time and experimentation.
Experiment with these times and days to see what works with your audience. You may find that your target users are most active and engaged at different times.
5. Allow outside contributors to curate your content.
While it’s best to only have one or two people on your account, one or two people can’t take photos everywhere at the same time. What about that fun sushi night the engineers had last night? Or the event your sales manager spoke at earlier this week?
There is quite a lot of content that you might want to post on Instagram and most of the time one person just can’t keep track of everything.
A solution? Create a system where you can curate photos and content from members of your team.
There are a few ways to do this. The first option is to create a specific email address that employees can use to send their photos, short videos, memes, hyper-lapses, etc.
Encourage users to add a descriptive subject line so that you can easily sort the content they send. While this might not seem like the smoothest way to curate photos, it is the easiest for the people sending you photos. The easier you can make sending content for them, the more content you will get.
If your team shares a Box or Dropbox account, you can also create a shared folder where users can automatically put their photos and videos.
6. Use a consistent, platform-specific brand voice.
Photos and videos may be the most important part of your Instagram posts, but captions, comments, and other text should never be an afterthought. If you manage a channel for a brand, or have more than one Instagram manager, you should develop a consistent voice that humanizes your brand.
This shows potential followers that you are credible and relatable, rather than being formal or intimidating.
When developing a voice, keep an eye on the platform and your audience.
For example, many influencers and celebrity accounts on Instagram have a very casual voice and style, but remain professional and brand-related. Having your voice low make sure it stays consistent and natural in your subtitles, comments, messages, and bio.
7. Write engaging, shareable subtitles.
Captions are an integral part of your post – the icing on the cake, if you will. Consistently good captions can do wonders to humanize your brand, gain followers, and better share your content – and get you more exposure.
Here are a few things you might see in a successful Instagram caption:
- Smart or funny comments
- Calls to action
- Relevant emojis
Clever or funny comments
Some brands and influencers have used clever or witty captions or even audience-appropriate jokes to further humanize themselves on Instagram.
My colleague Kelly Hendrickson, the manager of HubSpot’s social media team, says she loves the Netflix account and sub-accounts especially for the subtitles.
“You have such a clear brand voice and you laugh along. You’re joking, just like a friend of yours,” she says.
The voice of Netflix is casual, trendy, and humorous while maintaining the brand.
In the post above, the lettering is funny, authentic and relatable. Who hasn’t flipped through a friend’s Instagram story in hopes of getting featured?
Calls to action
Another way to increase the sharing ability of your captions and engage your followers is to ask questions or have some sort of call to action in the captions of your photos.
For example, you could write, “Double-tap if you find this funny” or “Share your story in the comments”.
In the example below, we asked the @HubSpot Instagram account followers to leave a comment with a book that had a positive impact on their work and tag the author:
Adding some relevant emojis can add even more personality to your posts. It could also make them even more apparent in an Instagram feed. In the following post, Danielle Gray, a beauty expert with over 50,000 followers (@Stylenbeautydoc), includes witty text with relevant emojis to make the post pop.
In addition to the three items listed above, you’ll also want to include hashtags.
8. Optimize posts with relevant hashtags.
On Instagram, a hashtag links conversations from different users that have not yet been connected to a single stream. Using relevant hashtags will make your posts more accessible to a wider audience and help you become discoverable for potential customers.
The key to using hashtags effectively is to be selective and use them sparingly. Try to limit the number of hashtags per label to around three. Also, do not use “like for like” hashtags such as # like4like or # like4likes.
This is a short cut tactic where you will only have low quality followers.
To find the hashtags your audience may be using, do a little research for relevant hashtags in your niche or industry. The easiest way to do this research is on the Explore tab (i.e. the magnifying glass icon) in the Instagram app itself.
When you search for a hashtag, you’ll see a list of its hashtags at the top of the screen.
For example, when I search for #digitalmarketingstrategy on Instagram, I see relevant hashtags like #digitalmarketingexpert, #digitalmarketing, etc.
To get in touch with your followers on a personal level, consider hashtag trends like #tbt (“Throwback Thursday”), #MotivationMonday, #TransformationTuesday, or other trending hashtags. Here’s a post from @fanmdjanm, a headwrap collection and lifestyle brand with over 150,000 followers on their Instagram account using the hashtag #HappyMothersDay:
Once you’ve built a certain fan base, you can try creating your own hashtags – like your company name or a slogan that applies to your content. This is a great way to build your brand on the platform and build a more coherent presence.
How to Get More Instagram Followers
- Engage with users through follow, likes, and comments.
- Cross-promotion with influencers and brands with a similar audience.
- Run Instagram contests to drive engagement.
- Use Instagram Stories and discover the interactive features.
- Use the live video function.
- Share your profile link and content on other channels.
- Publish user-generated content.
- Diversify your audience to resonate with different types of users.
- Apply for a confirmation ID.
1. Engage with users through following, likes, and comments.
Instagram is to a large extent a community. A great way to get involved in this community is to find people who post pictures that interest you, follow their accounts, and interact with their content. This is the most natural way to get noticed on your own Instagram account.
This does two things: First, there is a good chance that if they get the notification that you followed them, they will check your profile. This goes back to the importance of having great content on your account before you start reaching out to others.
Second, it means that you will see the most recent posts on your feed so that you can like them and interact with them if you choose to.
As you build a fan base, celebrate your followers by replying and pinning their comments and even republishing their posts for user-generated content.
2. Cross-promotion with influencers and brands with similar audiences.
Once you’ve established a relationship with the people behind accounts with similar audiences as you, you should consider working with them.
Partnering with influencers and brands helps with findability, reach, and social proof.
For example, influencer @sweetlikeoyin, who has around 60,000 followers, posted a sponsored picture of themselves on the beach wearing a Lulu dress. The clothing brand then posted the same picture.
With this partnership, both accounts can expand their reach and gain new followers. It’s a win-win situation. However, make sure you create content that appears natural and makes sense to your brands and collective audience.
3. Run Instagram contests to drive engagement.
Another great way to expand your reach while also increasing exposure to your photos is by running a contest or giveaway. As part of your contest, you can ask users to follow your account and / or comment on the post in order to qualify for the prize.
I mean come on Who doesn’t like to win free stuff?
You can also add a User Generated Content (UGC) element to the competition, where people post their own photo and use a specific hashtag.
Here is an example from @PlayaBowlsNortheastern where followers were asked to follow Playa Bowls as well as their brand partner Scoop and Sushi and tag a friend in the comments. In return, followers had the chance to win a free bowl:
4. Discover the interactive features of Instagram Stories.
Instagram has always given brands the platform to share beautiful, curated photos to represent their businesses.
However, with the introduction of short-lived Instagram Stories, brands can also take a spontaneous, 24-hour behind-the-scenes look that may not be as polished as a posted photo but gives your brand more personality on the platform.
Just look at how Snapchat exploded a few years ago. After platforms like Instagram and Facebook introduced similar functions, these apps became more valuable and interesting for users. While Snapchat pioneered this feature, Instagram Stories now has over 500 million users per day.
In addition to sharing video clips and static images through Instagram Stories, users can also use polls, event reminders, and the Ask a Question tool to get more engagement and learn more about their target audiences.
Once a user is verified or has more than 10,000 followers, they can even include a link to a website in a story.
How Brands Can Use Instagram Stories
Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours, unless they are marked as a “story highlight”.
Featured stories will appear at the top of your profile, between the photo feed and your bio.
Here are some other brands we recommend to see what they share:
Dana Shultz (@miniamlistbaker) publishes simple vegan and gluten-free recipes on her blog. Her stories include nice videos with instructions on how to make breakfast and try new recipes in her kitchen. The behind-the-scenes aspect of their stories provides plenty of human context to the brand of their blog, and everyone loves a good how-to video.
Kasper (@casper) publishes quirky Instagram content to promote their mattresses – without doing so openly. The main subject of their content? Staying is better than going out (because you can of course stay inside and lie on a comfortable Casper mattress).
They even created a gallery that followers can use as a backdrop for their Snapchat and Instagram stories to make it look like they are at a party when in reality they are in bed.
In one of her latest Instagram stories, someone was watching “The Sopranos” in bed, with the caption, “Who needs plans when you have five seasons left?”
This video supports Casper’s campaign to stay in bed with a very real-life look at what millions of people are doing when they hang out at home.
Here are our tips for using Instagram Stories for your brand:
- Be funny, sad or unique, be authentic. In your photo gallery, content can be perfect and polished. Instagram Stories are for the raw, unwritten, and pristine. Use stories to share the other side of your brand that followers may not be able to see elsewhere. Do you have a dog friendly office? Is your team trying the newest challenge? Start filming to showcase the more human side of your brand.
- Go behind the scenes. These are by far our preferred types of content for short-lived video sharing. Show followers what’s going into planning an event or launching a product and have fun. Your followers want to feel included and informed. You can also use Stories to develop a brand loyalty program that only rewards people who review your content.
5. Use the live video function.
Instagram also allows users to record and share live video, another content format that has proven extremely popular on other social networks. What is unique about live video on Instagram? They disappear when users stop filming.
This authentic, two-way experience enables brands to share unwritten, raw moments with their audience in order to incorporate human elements into a social media platform that is highly edited and polished in its traditional usage.
Since the start of the live feature, Instagram has added other features that can enable further engagement or interaction of viewers, such as:
- Request the feature to go live with the live account
- Pinned comment
- Q&A box
- Up to four live accounts at the same time
Live video is a growing trend across a wide variety of social media platforms. So if something interesting happens, you’re good to go. Whether it’s an event, team birthday party, or behind-the-scenes shooting, your loyal followers want to see what you’re up to.
6. Share your profile link on your website and on social media.
Do you have a website? Newsletter? Youtube channel? Make sure to include a link to your Instagram on every single platform.
The first place you want to make sure you add an Instagram badge is on your website, especially your footer and the About Us page.
This is what the badge could look like:
If your brand has brick and mortar locations, post a good ol ‘print call-to-action so people know you have an Instagram account and encourage them to follow you. You can also put them on your business cards. You can even offer a discount code for it.
Promote your Instagram account on your other digital platforms as well. The people who already follow you on Facebook and Twitter will likely also follow you on Instagram without nudging a lot.
Let these followers know you are on Instagram and encourage them to follow you there.
In this example, wine company The McBride Sisters encouraged their email subscribers to follow them on Instagram with a simple CTA: “Join the Community.”
7. Publish user-generated content.
Similar to cross-promotion, brands can post user-generated content to show the appreciation of existing customers while generating social evidence.
When I see a normal person endorsing a product on Instagram, I’m more likely to think that they really like the product.
The same goes for most consumers. This is why websites like Yelp are so popular.
Ultimately, user generated content can be a great strategy when trying to increase brand awareness and confidence in your product or service.
For example, @bevel reposted a video by blogger Rickey Scott using his products and recommending them to his 600+ followers.
Posting Scott with Bevel is a smart move.
First, the product is designed for black men. Scott, who is part of the brand’s target audience, recommends that the product serve as social evidence for the brand.
Darüber hinaus wird ein Teil von Scotts Publikum wahrscheinlich zu Bevels Zielgruppe gehören. Einfach ausgedrückt, die beiden Marken haben ein ähnliches Publikum und Marken, die gut zusammenpassen. Deshalb ist es für Bevel eine gute Gelegenheit, für Scotts Inhalte zu werben.
8. Diversifizieren Sie Ihr Publikum, um mit verschiedenen Benutzertypen in Resonanz zu treten.
Wenn Ihre Follower wachsen, kann es schwierig sein, festzustellen, welche Inhaltstypen mit ihnen in Resonanz stehen. Teilen Sie in diesem Sinne Ihr Publikum in Untergruppen auf und richten Sie Ihre Inhalte auf verschiedene demografische Merkmale aus.
Wenn Sie beispielsweise 200.000 Follower haben, kommen diese Follower wahrscheinlich aus verschiedenen Regionen der Welt, haben unterschiedliche Interessen und Hobbys und wahrscheinlich unterschiedliche Karrieren. Anstatt allumfassende Inhalte zu veröffentlichen, die alle Ihre Follower gleichzeitig zufrieden stellen, führen Sie einige analytische Untersuchungen durch, um sie in kleinere Untergruppen zu unterteilen.
Nehmen Sie Starbucks als gutes Beispiel dafür. @Starbucks hat fast 18 Millionen Follower. Die globale Kaffeemarke kann auf keinen Fall Inhalte veröffentlichen, um 18 Millionen Menschen gleichzeitig zufrieden zu stellen – und das versucht sie auch nicht.
Stattdessen veröffentlicht Starbucks regelmäßig exklusivere Inhalte, die sich an bestimmte Gruppen richten, wie z. B. diesen kürzlich veröffentlichten Beitrag zur Feier von #TeacherAppreciationWeek:
Dieser Beitrag wird die Mehrheit der Starbucks-Anhänger, die keine Lehrer sind, nicht ansprechen, aber das ist in Ordnung.
Sie müssen nicht immer Inhalte veröffentlichen, um alle zufrieden zu stellen. Zeigen Sie stattdessen die Fähigkeit Ihres Unternehmens, sich mit Untergruppen zu verbinden und mit ihnen in Kontakt zu treten, und veröffentlichen Sie, was mit den Werten Ihrer eigenen Marke übereinstimmt.
Bildung ist etwas, das Starbucks wichtig ist. Wenn sie also über Lehrer berichten, tun sie mehr, um ihre Werte zu demonstrieren, als dass sie alle ansprechen. Was ist der springende Punkt, nicht wahr?
9. Beantragen Sie einen Bestätigungsausweis.
Wenn ein Konto auf Instagram überprüft wird, befindet sich neben dem Benutzernamen ein blauer Punkt, der als Abzeichen bezeichnet wird. Wenn ein anderer Benutzer auf dieses Profil stößt oder den verifizierten Benutzernamen bei der Suche findet, bestätigt der blaue Punkt, dass es sich bei dem Konto um das Unternehmen, die Person oder die Marke handelt, für die es sich ausgibt.
Während Instagram eine Liste der Teilnahmebedingungen für das Abzeichen enthält, können Benutzer auf der Plattform eines beantragen. Weitere Informationen zu diesem Vorgang finden Sie in der Hilfe von Instagram.
Qualität über Quantität ist immer noch wichtig
Letztendlich ist es wichtig, sich weniger auf die Anzahl Ihrer Follower als vielmehr auf die Qualität der von Ihnen erstellten Inhalte zu konzentrieren. Ihr Publikum wird auf natürliche Weise wachsen, wenn Sie Mühe und Zeit in die Erstellung ansprechender, informativer oder inspirierender Inhalte investieren, ohne sich um “schnelle Lösungen” für die Steigerung der Follower sorgen zu müssen.
Wenn Sie darüber nachdenken, folgen Ihnen Ihre Follower aufgrund der Größe Ihres Publikums nicht weiter. Sie folgen Ihnen aufgrund des von Ihnen erstellten Inhalts weiterhin.
Sicher, vielleicht bin ich anfangs einer Influencerin gefolgt, weil sie 200.000 Follower hatte, was für mich bedeutete, dass sie es wert war, verfolgt zu werden – andernfalls, warum sollten 200.000 Leute ihren Inhalt betrachten?
Das heißt aber nicht, dass ich Influencern und Marken aufgrund der Größe ihres Publikums weiterhin gefolgt bin. Ich habe viele Mega-Influencer oder Marken mit Tausenden – wenn nicht Millionen – Followern entfolgt, einfach weil ich von ihren Posts nicht mehr beeindruckt war.
Sie möchten das lange Spiel auf Instagram spielen, und das beginnt damit, dass Sie sich auf das konzentrieren, was Sie steuern können: die Qualität der von Ihnen produzierten Inhalte, die von Ihnen beworbenen Nachrichten und die Marke, die Sie aufbauen.
Ironischerweise bin ich bereit zu wetten, je weniger Sie sich um die Anzahl Ihrer Follower sorgen, desto mehr Community-Mitglieder werden Sie anziehen.