So, what are businesses doing to attract such sizable followings?
The answer is that many of them are growth hacking. This is where they follow certain heavily-researched methods that have been proven to result in rapid growth. These hacks are inexpensive, easy to implement, and involve experimenting with your approach to social media.
Here’s a list of seven growth hacks that you can use to get more Instagram followers.
1. Target an underrepresented niche
Many people assume that the best method to get more Instagram followers fast is to cast their net as wide as possible. The logic is that reaching out to the broadest audience will bring in the most viewers.
However, it never quite works out that way. The truth is that it’s hard to appeal to everyone. Tastes vary so much that it’s nearly impossible to make something that grabs one person without alienating another.
Instead, try filling a niche for a smaller audience. You can even use Instagram automation to get faster results and followers. You’ll find that these groups tend to be more close-knit and more passionate about their interests. They’re also more eager for content, as they often get passed over for larger communities.
2. Make a strong impression and stay consistent
Take a moment to inspect your profile. Are you making a good enough first impression on your viewers?
Your page should instantly communicate what your brand is about and what potential followers can expect from you. If it doesn’t do that, then it could be turning users away.
Select a profile picture that is clear and recognizable. Give your viewers a taste of your personality by writing an interesting and informative bio. Consider how the order and arrangement of posts in your feed create visual interest.
Once you’ve established your identity, try to stick with it. Instagram users usually expect a level of consistency from the accounts they follow. Anything too disharmonious or drastically different might push them away.
3. Choose your hashtags wisely
Being able to use hashtags effectively is essential to the success of any Instagram account. Hashtags not only lead to higher engagement rates, but they’re also the primary way that people discover content on the platform. Instagram’s search function is entirely tied to hashtags.
Don’t just attach any hashtag to your posts. You should keep them relevant to your content. If you start throwing unrelated hashtags into your captions, you’ll get identified as spam and promptly ignored.
Pay attention to the hashtags that your target audience uses. This could give you ideas for content in the future. Also, take a look at the top hashtags trending on any given day. Staying relevant is a huge part of growing your following and preventing stagnation.
4. Harness the power of user-generated content
There are countless talented individuals on Instagram. Most of them are searching for a receptive audience just like you are. By sharing user-generated content, you can create a mutually beneficial situation for both parties.
Contests are great for both attracting new followers and encouraging user-generated content. All you have to do is ask for them to submit their content to a branded hashtag, and reward the top winners with a prize and a featured spot on your page.
Don’t forget to ask for permission before sharing another user’s content. You don’t want to get in trouble for taking anybody’s photos. Also, remember to give them proper credit in the captions as well.
5. Steal your competition’s followers
There’s always going to be a competitor who does everything better than you. They always seem to get the most likes and comments on their posts, leaving you struggling to catch up.
So why not forgo playing catch-up and just go straight to their followers?
Pick out a decent amount of their followers to focus your efforts on. Follow their accounts, and give them likes and comments. Avoid writing generic responses; instead, you should make personalized messages that compliment their content.
Your goal is to form a stronger bond with these users than they have with your competition. Go the extra mile to show that your brand cares about them.
6. Reach out to micro-influencers
Nearly every major brand works with influencers on Instagram. It’s a key part of any Instagram marketing campaign.
Some of the biggest influencers can be fairly expensive, though. That’s because they’re in such high demand and can only work with so many brands with at one time. It’s also why micro-influencers are becoming more popular.
Micro-influencers are just like their macro counterparts, except they have smaller followings. This shouldn’t be seen as a disadvantage. In fact, they’ve been found to have much higher rates of engagement. This is because after you have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers, it becomes harder to interact with as many of them.
They’re also far more cost-effective. For the price of a single macro-influencer, you could partner with a dozen micro-influencers.
7. Give and receive shout-outs
A shout-out is when somebody draws attention to another user in a post. It’s a quick and simple way to get your name out to a bunch of users at once.
If you want to get a shout-out, search around the #s4s, #sfs, or #shoutoutforshoutout hashtags. You’ll find lots of people willing to exchange shout-outs with other users. Some will do it without asking for anything else, while others might want an additional payment for their help.