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How to Gain Your First (or Next) 1,000 Instagram Followers

Increasing your Instagram followers is vital for expanding your marketing presence. But if you have less than a thousand followers, how do you go about it?

Instagram offers ample opportunities for businesses, as 90% of its billion users follow business accounts. However, building a substantial following takes dedication, especially for small businesses. Thankfully, you can take immediate steps to gain 1,000 quality followers. This article will explore strategies, from improving your profile to running contests, to help you achieve this milestone.

Types of Instagram Followers

Before we talk about how to attract IG followers, let’s talk about who you want to attract. There are three main types of Instagram followers, and the first two are the kind of followers you want to avoid.

Fake Followers

Fake IG followers are usually bots or fake accounts that inflate your follower count. Fake followers don’t engage, and engagement is a factor in how IG’s algorithm pushes new users to your feed.

Ghost Followers

Most of these “ghosts” are inactive users. They’re not engaging with your content, so these followers can skew your engagement metrics. This means it may be a good idea to clean ghost followers from your list if you’re looking for growth.

Organic Followers

Organic IG followers are your active audience — the people who find your profile and engage. Within your authentic followers, there are a few sub-groups you’ll also want to pay attention to.

Customers

These followers have made a purchase and often follow your IG for product updates, sales, and discounts. To engage more customers, highlight your products on Instagram and offer exclusive offers on this platform.

Competitors

Some organic followers are also following your competitors. They might be comparing brands before making a purchase or doing some research. To engage these followers, take cues from competitor content when you’re coming up with Instagram content. You may also want to use specific hashtags or location tags to improve your visibility with this group.

Influencers

Micro and nano influencers are Instagram accounts with 10-75K followers. These niche influencers can lead to useful partnerships and increased sales for your business. To attract influencers, produce consistent, high-quality content for a specific audience.

Now that we’ve covered who you want to follow your brand, it’s time to talk about how to get their attention.

 

To amass more Instagram followers, maintaining a consistent posting schedule while adhering to best practices is essential. However, for those new to Instagram marketing, this can prove to be quite a challenge.

Before delving into the optimization of your Instagram profile, it’s crucial to develop a well-thought-out Instagram strategy to lay a solid foundation.

Following that, we’ll guide you through the process of setting up your Instagram account for elevated performance. Subsequently, we’ll provide practical advice on engaging with your Instagram followers effectively, crafting compelling Instagram content, and promoting your Instagram account.

Even if you have no prior experience with Instagram marketing and lack a team of content creators, you can still grow your Instagram presence by leveraging the right tools. With that in mind, let’s dive right in.

Instagram Strategy

 

1. Use a social media content calendar to plan your Instagram posts ahead of time.

 

The bulk of the effort required to boost your Instagram followers takes place prior to launching the app. Firstly, it’s crucial to establish a strategy for maintaining a consistent stream of new Instagram posts. While the urge to post whenever inspiration strikes is strong, it’s equally important to establish a routine that allows you to capitalize on trending topics. Moreover, this consistency helps in fostering a community that anticipates specific content from you at specific times.

Achieving this level of regularity in planning, composing, and posting Instagram content demands a high degree of organization. To facilitate this, we recommend the use of a social media content calendar to pre-plan your posting schedule.

 

2. Use a social media management tool to schedule your posts in advance.

 

Utilizing a social media management tool eliminates the need to log into Instagram each time you wish to post, enabling you to maintain a consistent posting schedule effortlessly. If your objective is to enhance your Instagram following while minimizing the workload, scheduling your posts through such a tool and allowing the software to take over is the way to go.

Instagram offers a diverse array of post formats, spanning from the classic square photos to Stories and the more recent addition of Reels. While this variety provides numerous options for growing your followers, it can be a bit overwhelming without the aid of a tool. While manual posting is an option, scheduling your posts in advance can significantly enhance your use of these various content formats.

3. Adhere to a regular posting schedule.

Establishing a posting schedule is essential for building trust with your audience. However, optimizing this schedule to suit your specific audience may require some time and experimentation.

Explore different times and days to gauge audience engagement. You might discover that your target users are most active during varying time slots. Once you determine the optimal posting times for Instagram, maintain a consistent schedule to establish audience expectations.

When planning your posting schedule, consider your target persona, as it can significantly affect the timing and frequency of your posts, especially if you’re targeting an audience in a different time zone. (If you don’t have buyer personas yet, you can download a free template for creating them.)

 

4. Make your account into a business profile.

 

While it’s possible to expand using a personal profile, we strongly advise either converting your existing account into an Instagram business profile or creating one from scratch. Doing so grants you access to Instagram Insights, providing valuable insights into your follower growth rate and the effectiveness of your strategy.

Even if your intention is to function as an independent content creator, it’s wise to manage your account with a business-oriented approach.

 

To switch from a personal to a business account, take the following steps:

  • On the Instagram app, go to your profile.
  • Tap the Menu hamburger button on the upper right-hand corner.
  • Tap Settings on the pop-up.
  • Scroll down and tap Account type and tools.
  • Tap Switch to professional account.

You’ll then have the option to switch entirely to a business account or to stay as a professional account.

5. Customize your Instagram for Business profile.

Next, 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? Start by making sure your username is recognizable and easily searchable — like your business name.

 

If your business name is already taken, try keeping your business name as the first part of your username so that people searching for your business are more likely to come across you.

 

Below are more Instagram profile optimization tips.

Step 1. Choose a profile picture that’s on-brand with your other social networks, like your company logo.

Step 2. Fill your bio with delightful, actionable information about your brand. Information like this lets people know what you’re about and gives them a reason to follow you. Include who you are and what you do, and be sure to add a hint of personality.

 

Step 3. Add a link tree to your bio to make it easy for people to go straight from Instagram to your other platforms if they want to. The space allotted for URLs is precious real estate.

There are just a few places on Instagram where you can place clickable links, so use it wisely (ever heard the line “link in bio”?).  When you receive 10,000 followers, you can add links to your Instagram Stories.

Step 4. Enable notifications so you can see when people share or comment on your photos. This’ll let you engage with them more quickly — just like a lot of companies do on Twitter. To enable notifications, go to “Settings and privacy” and then “Notifications.” Select “From everyone” for every category.

 

 

Instagram Content Creation

6. Designate an experienced content creator

 

Similar to how you designate one (or possibly two) individuals to handle your other social media accounts, it’s advisable to have only one or two individuals in charge of your Instagram account.

Ideally, select someone with expertise on the platform who understands it well and ensure they stay informed about all the latest Instagram features, ranging from Reels to Instagram Shopping.

 

Alternatively, you can hire us , speak to one of our branding consultants. 

 

7. Follow photography and editing best practices.

 

On Instagram, post quality matters. A lot. Your Twitter followers might forgive a few bad tweets, but a bad photo on Instagram is a big no-no.

Fortunately, you don’t have to take a photography course to be a good Instagram poster — nor do you have to practice for weeks before you start. But you should get familiar with basic photography tips and photo editing apps.

Photography Best Practices

As Instagram primarily functions as a mobile app, it’s likely that some of the content you upload to the platform will originate from your mobile device, which is perfectly normal.

If your financial resources permit, it’s worth contemplating an investment in professional photography for your Instagram images, as this will enhance the overall quality of your profile. Alternatively, a smartphone equipped with a selection of editing apps can suffice. In either case, be sure to follow these photography tips:

  • Focus on one subject at a time.
  • Embrace negative space.
  • Find interesting perspectives.
  • Look for symmetry.
  • Capture small details.
  • Make your followers laugh.

Edit Photos Before You Post

 

Instagram has some basic editing capabilities, but oftentimes, they aren’t adequate to make visuals really great.

Create an Instagram Theme

 

Additionally, consider creating a cohesive Instagram theme across your feed, so anyone visiting your account for the first time can get a sense of your brand.

 

8. Write engaging, shareable captions.

 

Captions serve as a vital component of your posts, akin to the finishing touch on a masterpiece. Consistently remarkable captions hold the power to humanize your brand, garner followers’ affection, and enhance the shareability of your content, ultimately expanding your exposure.

 

Here are a few things you might see in a winning Instagram caption:

  • Clever or witty comments
  • Calls to action
  • Relevant emojis
  • Hashtags

Clever or Witty Comments

Certain brands and influencers have employed clever or humorous captions, and even audience-specific jokes, as a means to further establish a human connection on Instagram.

Kelly Hendrickson, formerly in charge of Brand Social at HubSpot, expresses her admiration for Netflix’s Instagram account and its sub-accounts, largely due to their post captions.

She notes, “They have a distinct brand voice that makes you laugh along with them. They’re part of the joke, just like a friend.”

Netflix’s tone is informal, current, and witty, all while staying aligned with its brand identity.

In the aforementioned post, the caption exudes humor, authenticity, and relatability.

 

Calls to Action

 

To enhance the shareability of your caption and foster engagement with your followers, consider incorporating questions or including a call-to-action within your photo captions.

For instance, you could craft captions like “Double-tap if you find this amusing,” or “Share your story in the comments.”

 

Relevant Emojis

 

Adding just a few relevant emojis can add even more personality to your posts. It could also make them even more noticeable on an Instagram feed. Many content creators and brands include witty text with relevant emojis to make the post pop.

 

9. Use a consistent, platform-specific brand voice.

 

While photos and videos often take the spotlight in your Instagram posts, it’s crucial not to underestimate the significance of captions, comments, and other textual elements. Whether you’re establishing a brand presence on Instagram or have multiple managers overseeing your account, it’s advisable to cultivate a consistent voice that adds a human touch to your brand.

This practice demonstrates to potential followers that your brand is approachable and genuine, rather than distant or imposing. When crafting your brand’s voice, always consider the platform and your audience as key factors to ensure a harmonious fit.

 

10. Post user-generated content.

 

Brands have the opportunity to share user-generated content, which serves a dual purpose of expressing gratitude to their current customers while also establishing social credibility.

When I come across an ordinary person endorsing a product on Instagram, I’m inclined to trust their genuine satisfaction with the product.

This sentiment holds true for the majority of consumers, which is why platforms like Yelp enjoy significant popularity.

In the end, incorporating user-generated content into your strategy can prove highly effective for boosting brand recognition and instilling trust in your offerings.

 

14. Share educational content with Instagram carousels.

Another effective approach is crafting educational content using Instagram carousel posts. These carousels have gained popularity as a means to enlighten audiences about various subjects or concepts.

Consider what valuable insights you can offer your audience, and then fashion a straightforward Instagram carousel post. Ensure it features a captivating title that piques users’ interest and encourages them to click on the post.

This type of content can also be shared on your Stories, and ideally, its compelling nature will motivate other users to share it on their Stories as well.

11. Engage with users through follows, likes, and comments.

 

Instagram thrives on community, and an excellent way to become an active part of this community is by discovering individuals who share images that intrigue you. By following their accounts and engaging with their content, you naturally draw attention to your own Instagram account.

This approach accomplishes two significant objectives: firstly, when they receive a notification that you’ve followed them, there’s a high likelihood they will explore your profile, underscoring the importance of having compelling content on your account from the outset.

Secondly, following them means their latest posts will appear in your feed, granting you the opportunity to Like and interact with their content as you see fit.

As your following grows, show appreciation for your followers by responding to their comments, perhaps even pinning some, and consider sharing their posts as user-generated content—a wonderful way to celebrate your community.

 

12. Run Instagram contests to encourage engagement.

 

Another effective method to broaden your reach while boosting interaction with your photos is to host an Instagram contest or giveaway. As part of the contest, you can request users to follow your account, as well as like and/or comment on the post to enter for a chance to win.

Let’s face it, who can resist the allure of winning complimentary items?

You can also incorporate a user-generated content (UGC) component into the contest, allowing individuals to share their own photos using a designated hashtag.

13. Explore Instagram Stories’ interactive features.

 

Instagram has traditionally provided brands with a space to showcase carefully crafted and aesthetically pleasing photos that embody their identity.

However, thanks to the transient nature of Instagram Stories, brands now have the opportunity to share spontaneous behind-the-scenes glimpses that last for just 24 hours. These may not possess the same level of polish as meticulously edited photos, but they imbue your brand with more character on the platform.

In addition to sharing video clips and static images via Instagram Stories, users can also utilize features like polls, event reminders, and the “Ask a Question” tool to boost engagement and gain deeper insights into their audience.

 

14. Use the Instagram Live feature.

Instagram also offers users the ability to capture and share Live videos, a content format that has gained immense popularity on various other social networks. What sets Live videos on Instagram apart? They vanish once the users conclude their recording.

This authentic, two-way interaction allows brands to share unscripted, unfiltered moments with their audience, infusing a human touch into a social media platform known for its polished and meticulously edited content.

Since the launch of the Live feature, Instagram has introduced additional functionalities to encourage engagement, including:

– The option to invite others to join the live stream.
– The ability to pin comments.
– A Q&A box.
– The capacity to host up to four accounts on a Live stream simultaneously.
– Various filters to enhance the live video experience.

Live video is a burgeoning trend across several social media platforms. So, whenever something intriguing is unfolding, go live. Whether it’s an event, a team celebration, or behind-the-scenes footage, your dedicated followers are eager to see what’s happening.

To make it even more captivating, consider collaborating with an influencer or another brand to co-host a Live session. By partnering with individuals who captivate your audience’s interest, you can promote the Live event and feature it on your profile.

Promoting such an event not only allows you to tap into someone else’s audience but also facilitates interaction and engagement with your followers. You can answer their questions and engage in conversations during the Live, creating a more immersive and dynamic experience.

 

15. Tag relevant users.

 

Another way to gain more followers on Instagram is to tag relevant users in your posts. Your posts will then show up in that person’s tagged posts, and anyone who looks through there will find your page (and hopefully, follow).

 

But it’s important that you only tag people who are in the photo or relevant to the photo. For example, many times, influencers tag the clothing or makeup brands they wore in a photo.

 

Promoting Your Instagram Account

16. Optimize posts with relevant hashtags.

Instagram employs hashtags as a means to unify conversations among users who might not otherwise connect, creating a cohesive discussion thread. By including relevant Instagram hashtags, you can expand the reach of your posts and enhance your visibility to potential customers.

Effectively utilizing hashtags hinges on a strategy of discretion and moderation. It’s advisable to limit the number of hashtags in each caption to around three. Furthermore, steer clear of employing “like for like” hashtags, such as #like4like or #like4likes.

Resist the allure of these shortcut tactics, as they tend to attract low-quality followers.

To identify the hashtags likely used by your target audience, engage in research focused on pertinent hashtags within your niche or industry. The Instagram app itself provides a convenient platform for conducting this research, accessible via the Explore tab symbolized by a magnifying glass icon.

Upon conducting a hashtag search, you’ll encounter a list of related hashtags prominently displayed at the top of your screen. For instance, when seeking #digitalmarketingstrategy on Instagram, you’ll uncover relevant hashtags like #digitalmarketingexpert, #digitalmarketing, and similar options.

 

17. Try Instagram promotions and ads.

Leveraging Instagram promotions and ads can be a highly effective strategy to enhance your online presence and reach a broader audience. These tools provide you with the means to showcase your content to a wider demographic, boosting your brand’s visibility and engagement.

Quality Over Quantity Still Matters

In the grand scheme of things, it’s crucial to place less emphasis on the quantity of your instagram followers and prioritize the caliber of the content you produce. If you invest time and effort in crafting engaging, informative, or inspirational content without fixating on “quick fixes” for follower surges, your audience will naturally expand.

On Instagram, success is achieved through a long-term perspective. This journey commences by concentrating on elements within your control: the excellence of your content, the messages you convey, and the brand identity you cultivate.

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