6 April 2016
Instagram is the fastest-growing social media platform today, and can be an invaluable tool to grow your brand presence, build followers, and create new customers.
Here are 9 things you can do to increase your brand following on Instagram:
#1 – Find Your Purpose
Determine the one unique thing that you want your followers to know. Who are you? How are you uniquely positioned to help solve your client’s problems? This part of visual storytelling requires some real soul-searching, but once you find what makes you truly unique, it provides the framework and vision for the rest of your marketing. Stay consistent with your message and visual scheme; people will be loyal to you when they find consistency in your brand.
Pro Tip: Sum up your brand’s purpose in one sentence, for every post including your headline! Amysia Design (@amysiadesign) shows that she is an Aussie designer with a spiritual heart in her headline.
#2 – Find Your Visual Voice
To find your visual voice, first take a look at your current Instagram account and notice the colors that appear most often. Do you use vivid, tropical colors often? Or does orange come up in quite a few slides? Perhaps you prefer black-and-white images. Make a conscious decision to use a limited number of colors or schemes, and stick to it. Finally, choose filters that highlight whatever tone you have chosen. Choose either warm or only cool filters to keep your message consistent. Additionally, use photographs that picture things that are either thematically related, or similar in shape or texture.
In the examples below, Olivia Thebaut (@oliviathebaut) uses soft, warm pastel colors and images of nature to solidify her visual voice and brand. Lilly Pulitzer (@lillypulitzer) features bright, splashy prints in every image.
#3 – Get Personal
It’s always good to show your “behind the scene” stories, your inspirations behind every art/product/post you have. Sharing personal posts makes your followers feel more connected to you. Remember, your clients will be flipping through Instagram in class, at work, and when they’re lying on their bed at night with their pets and family. Most people check their phone first thing in the morning. What they see when they are in their most relaxed state will make them feel more connected- so open up! If you have a candle company, post a shot of you pouring the candles one-by-one. On Friday, give your viewers a glance of your employees’ casual office attire as they work on an upcoming project. Try adding some personal photos to give your account extra appeal.
#4 – Be Authentic
Your Instagram page is a curated view of your world. You are creating a virtual reality, so be authentic. In our saturated digital market, authenticity is refreshing and makes you instantly likeable and relatable. Whether you’re funny, smart, trendy, sophisticated or innovative, talk about what you know and love, and success will be sure to follow. Don’t be afraid to show your true colors- people will respect your courage and authenticity.
Below, the Toast Meets World (@toastmeetsworld) account features the daily life of Toast, an adorable diva puppy that is living life to the fullest, and her images show her exploring and fun-loving nature.
#5 – Include Key Hashtags
Hashtags are a must to grow your account. If you include a hashtag that is popular as well as relevant to your image, for example #healthy, the image will be added to a gallery of other similar images that also include that hashtag. This means that your image will be discoverable by hundreds or even thousands more people who are scrolling this #healthy hashtag! Instagram will list trending hashtags on your home dashboard, so use relevant ones there as well as everyday hashtags. For example:
Wellness & Health
#wellness #eatarainbow #veganfood #instafood #cleaneating #energybooze
#business #news #technews #growthhacker #techlife #innovation #techgeek
#6 – Connect with Similar Accounts
It’s a good idea to follow other accounts and companies that are similar to you. Look for companies in the same industry, and for accounts that have a similar visual style. By following them and engaging with their photos, you will broaden your network, and attract other users that are interested in what you are doing. Following other similar accounts will also introduce you to new inspiration, and keep you on top of trends in your field.
In the example below, Freshly Picked baby moccasins (@freshlypicked) have over 480k followers, but still follow over 1,200 other Instagrammers themselves, in order to stay connected to the community.
#7 – Cross-Promotion
Instagram is the perfect platform for cross-promotion! Whether your are launching a new line of products or have partnered with a fresh new brand and want to promote them, using gorgeous photos and a well-written caption can give your new initiative a boost. Make sure you tag your photo with any alternate accounts featured in the photo.
Logic Products (@logicproducts), below, does a great job of cross-promoting a second brand of Bambo Nature diapers, and gives clear instructions to followers on how to enter, while encouraging them to also like their Facebook page!
#8 – Run A Contest or Giveaway
One of the most fun ways for followers to engage with you is through a contest or giveaway. Who doesn’t love the chance to win a free prize? Use Instagram to announce your contest a few days before, during, and then post the winner after it’s over! The nice thing about a giveaway is that it can be as small or large as you want. People love free things, so start with whatever you are able and grow from there!
Below, Lulu Da Brat (@lulu.da.brat) gives a great endorsement to Barkbox, thanking them for the free products.
#9 – Testimonials
Finally, you can post real-life client testimonials on Instagram to increase your brand’s credibility. As mentioned in #2, it’s still important to keep the images and text aligned with your visual voice. Use photos of your clients that have the same filters as your other photos. If you are quoting a client on an image, stick with a font that fits with your visual brand. Testimonials are a great tool for enhancing your brand, but use them sparingly to avoid overloading your followers!
Organic Burst (@organicburst) uses a page called “Your Words” to post positive feedback they have received from their customers.
Even if it’s just one small change, take action today to start improving your Instagram profile! The longer you practice these tips, the more followers and engagement you will see for your brand.