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Stuart McKeown16 Actionable Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram

  • Monday, October 21, 2013   - Get post updates via email + a special bonus growth hack here

The visual appeal of Instagram has captivated brands, everyone from Marley Lilly through to Black Milk Clothing are leveraging the platform to drive sales & awareness for their businesses.

If you look closely at the top 50 brands on Instagram you’ll notice that most are E-commerce. Instagram is the perfect marketing platform for any E-commerce business. It allows easy access to show off high quality images of your products & create a visual footprint.

One of the common questions we get asked is how can businesses drive more followers to their Instagram accounts? Well look no further, we’ve put together an indepth guide to help you grow your community like never before.

Post High Quality Images

This one is a bit of a no-brainer, ensure when you post images that they are beautiful. Represent your brand in a way that would make you want to purchase the product.

This dosn’t mean that the photos have to be perfect, but they should allow your users to connect with you in a way that is human.

Keep it Interesting

No-one likes to see the same types of images posted every day, Forever 21 keeps their followers engaged by really mixing up the types of shots they post. Product shots one day, shots of customers wearing their clothes or even just artistic shots.

Oreo really keep users engaged by turning every day objects into funny faces using Oreo’s.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags can be used in a number of ways, you can tag photos with popular hashtags to get them in front of more users, the most popular hashtag on Instagram is #nofilter but consider things that relate to your photo (including your brand name, like ASOS below).

You can get a list of the most popular hashtags here.

Encourage Use of a Particular Hashtag

Another great use of hashtags is to create your own then get users to use it. The beauty of this is that is can allow flexbility in creating lots of different types of awareness campaigns.

Forever 21 have been running a #21DaysofLayers campaign in which they have been posting themed images every day featuring lots of layers in the run up to Winter:

Nike encourages followers to use the #justdoit hashtag.

Connect Facebook & Twitter

Connecting social accounts to your Twitter profile allows you to easily syndicate your images. For example you can post straight to Facebook/Twitter & Tumblr when uploading any image to Instagram.

Want to grow Twitter even more? We’ve created over 40 tips to help you build your Twitter following.

Run Contests on Instagram

A good contest can hands down be one of the best ways to drive new followers & activity on your Instagram account. Instagram has the flexibility to allow you to just run your contest on your feed, the advantage of this is that it’s easy to setup & encourages participation via Instagram.

The disavantages however are they you can’t capture contact information of entrants, it makes it very hard to promote if you already have a limited number of followers & it can be difficult to administer or pick winners (since you have no way to contact them).

Run Contests Outside Instagram

Here at Gleam our platform allows you to run Instagram contests wherever you like, the main advantages are that you get to capture all your user information (or even send them to Mailchimp), get exposure across other social networks & manage all your entries in the one place.

Here’s an example contest you can try:

Gleam Instagram Competition

Ask Existing Followers to Follow You

This may sound like a no brainer but, existing followers on other networks is by far the easiest audience you can leverage. Simply ask them! Callaway Golf has a call to action to ask all Twitter followers to add them in Instagram too.

Here’s a list of places you can ask existing users:

  • Use Gleam, we are the most effective platform to help activate existing users on other networks to Instagram
  • Cross post Instagram photos on other networks
  • Post on your Facebook timeline
  • Send out a Tweet
  • Include in company email signatures
  • Ask users in your next email newsletter
  • Promote in your blog posts

Run Instagram Only Offers

If you follow successful brands on Instagram you’ll notice that many will post offers that are only available to Instagram followers. This enables you to customise (and also track) what types of offers resonate best with your community. It also allows you to attract new followers that are interested in special offers that they wouldn’t see anywhere else.

Ask For Engagement From Users

This technique is often overlooked but something you’ll see prevalent on Facebook. Ask your users in the Instagram description to engage with the post:

  • Like if you agree
  • Like if you can relate to this
  • Tag your friends

Use Instagram to Show Off New Product Releases

Brand advocates & fans love getting access to sneak product peeks. Instagram is the perfect way to share these with followers., I often see brands teasing people over a few weeks with clues about what might be happening.

Follow & Comment Other Users

Engage with your users, follow them & comment on their posts. A common technique brands use is to monitor hashtags & use them to find the users to follow.

Display Instagram Galleries on Your Site

This is probably one of my favourite techniques, Black Milk Clothing has a Shopify plugin that creates a unique #hashtag for each product. Users can then submit photos of themselves wearing the product for others to see.

This creates awesome social proof, increasing conversion rates but also increase product exposure on Instagram.

Invite Friends

Instagram allows you to find friends that already exist across social networks you have connected.

It also allows you to find phone contacts, one advanced technique is to turn your customer database into a phone contact file, then follow all of your customers on Instagram using the Follow All button.

Geotag Photos

Instagram has some native intergations with Foursquare that allow you to tag yourself at a particular location. If you’re a business it make sense to ensure all your relevant locations are in the Foursquare database.

Tagged photos will also show the location if they are shared/posted to Facebook:

Partner With Influencers

A great way to reach new users is to partner with influencers, these are generally users that have a large Instagram following.

Mercedes Benz recently asked 5 influental Instagram users to help them promote the ability to win a $30,000 Mercedes-Benz CLA car. The influencer with the most likes would get to keep the car.

This movie created a crowdsourced movie poster campaign via Instagram:

Run Better Instagram Contests With Gleam

Stuart McKeown

Stuart McKeown is one of the Co-founders here at Gleam. Shoot a Tweet to @thegyppo if you liked this post ☺


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