On Instagram, 100,000 followers seem to be a magic number that says you’ve made it—you’ve successfully created a brand that’s recognized potentially nationwide.
This is a goal of many small businesses, especially after they see webinars or blog posts from Instagrammers who claim to have earned that number in just a couple of weeks or months. If you only have a few hundred, this objective can feel absolutely unreachable.
It’s certainly not impossible to get fast Instagram followers. In fact, anyone can do it as long as they’re willing to put in the work and adjust their strategy accordingly. Start with a realistic goal. Aim for 100,000 followers in a year rather than a couple of weeks and let your numbers steadily rise from your hard work.
Know What You’re in For
Before we get into the best strategies of increasing your Instagram followers, understand exactly what you’re looking at for the next year. According to Talia Koren, an Instagram growth specialist who just reached 100,000 followers in February 2018, it was harder than she expected.
“It took me exactly 18 months, 654 posts… and HOURS of work,” she said. “For people that use Instagram personally, uploading takes less than five minutes. You pick a photo, crop it, throw a filter on it, a witty caption and boom – you’re done, and you can move on with your life. Do you know how long it takes me to post on Instagram? An hour.”
Koren explains that getting a strong following is not about taking a shot in the dark and hoping for the best. It takes a while to upload a post to Instagram because she puts too much time and effort into making it a success.
If you’re not ready for this kind of commitment, you might consider lengthening your goal or adjusting the numbers to make it more attainable.
Look at Instagram as a Business Platform
If you’re an Instagram user for recreation, you know how relaxing it can be to sit back and scroll through images of friends, families, and businesses. However, if you’re getting into Instagram from the back-end as a marketer, you’ll take a much different approach. Your goal is to do all the selling without being too over promotional and catering to a select audience.
Your goal is to find users with high commercial value, generate engagement through great content, drive traffic with the intent to purchase to your website, and ultimately convert followers into customers. There’s simply nothing relaxing about it.
That being said, it’s extremely important to appear relaxed to your customers, focusing on showing the better parts of your brand. “Instagram is a place where a corporation can let its hair down, ditch its necktie and invite its followers in for a beer,” says an article from the content marketing company Brafton.
Create a Content Schedule That Converts
You’ll never generate 100,000 followers if you don’t post consistent, strong content. “If you want to move ahead of your competition on social media, create an editorial calendar. Many brands don’t bother with that,” says John Lincoln, co-founder, and CEO of an SEO company, pointing out that it’s one of the best ways to stay ahead of the competition on Instagram.
According to a research, you should try to post between one and three times per day. Most post once and sometimes twice daily. It’s just enough to stay current without coming off as overly promotional.
The kind of content you use is also vital to your success. Each post should be carefully curated to your current target audience. To get a good idea of what content works, keep a close eye on your biggest competition. Successful brands provide fantastic inspiration as you’re considering each post throughout the month.
“…Copy the type of content that others have used successfully and use it yourself,” Lincoln continues. “Imitation isn’t just the sincerest form of flattery. It’s also a great way to promote your brand.”
He goes on to warn about the issues of copyrighting to avoid infringement. “You can…post content very closely related to the successful posts of others. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Connect with Influencers
Perhaps one of the best strategies for gaining Instagram followers is connecting with influencers. These are Instagram brands that have a large following, usually 10,000 or more, and that can endorse your products.
There are many strategies for connecting with Instagram influencers. One of the best things you can do is follow brands that are similar to your own. You can engage with their content, adding value to existing conversations. Tens of thousands (or more) of your influencer’s followers will see your comments and may want to connect with you.
Another strategy is seeking influencers who are willing to endorse your brand. For a fee, a strong personality or a brand in a complimentary industry could share information about what makes your company so great. This can help you generate thousands of followers in a very short time period.
Additionally, make sure you’re following everyone who follows you. This is one of the best ways to find influencers and piggyback off their audience base.
Use Hashtags to Your Advantage
If you know what you’re doing, hashtags provide infinite possibilities for improving your reach and enhancing your content. For Instagram, strong, creative hashtags are non-negotiable.
“I am of the opinion that you may as well not post at all if you aren’t going to include some hashtags,” says Imogen of the blog Immy and Indi, a blogger who reached 100,000 followers in 2017 within a year of starting.
Imogen also points out that while some people say that you shouldn’t overuse hashtags, she believes this is the key to her success. It makes her account more searchable and easier for those interested in her products to find her.
“I now put my hashtags as a separate comment underneath my original post…so that it’s less ‘messy’ looking in my post,” she says. “My most popular hashtags are #interior #interiors #interiordecor #interiordesign #interiordesigner.”
You can try a similar strategy, using variations of the same hashtags to increase the reach of each post. Since people search Instagram for information to influence their purchasing decisions, this could be invaluable to your success on the platform!