So you want more Instagram followers?

In our current social media-filled world where everyone is vying for attention and trying to increase their following, it’s important to have a strategy. I’ve put together a few tips that can help improve your Instagram presence if your business hasn’t been getting the results you want.

First, let’s talk about followers.

When someone is deciding to follow you, it’s very much like a first impression. People know what they like, and really know what they don’t like. Someone will give your page a quick once over and decide if they like what they see in seconds. Of course I’m generalizing, but it helps to think of social media this way. As a whole, how are you portrayed at a glance?

Here are a few different types of followers. Try to decide who you have the best chance of appealing to, and figure out how you can cater your content for them.

1) The Beautiful Photo Lovers

Beautiful is the operative word here. Everyone has different taste in photography. Some people are minimalists, some people like cheesy clip-art. (Okay, we all know what camp I’m in.) But, quality tends to prevail and result in the largest following. People who follow accounts with gorgeous photography either do it for their own inspiration, to add a little beauty to their day, or to wish they took the picture first.

Even if your company isn’t H&M, photo quality matters. Uploading photos that are pixelated or over-edited will rule out these potential follows, and even worse, you may appear unprofessional. Invest in a good camera or quality photo-editing app if you want to go the extra mile. I recommend VSCO Cam or Afterlight. Please avoid over the top editing – I’m talking to you bokeh lovers!

2) The Avid Learners

Ah learning, the greatest joy in life. Before Instagram, I didn’t even know what “detox water” was – apparently adding fruit to your water helps rid your body of toxins. Who knew! There are multiple, wait thousands (millions even?), of fitness-themed accounts that are chock full of inspirational quotes, meal tips, training videos, etc. Users who follow accounts like this are interested in the subject matter, and want to learn more on a daily basis.

When you serve up insightful content it makes people feel like they’re making progress just by looking at photos. Other account themes include: foodie/recipe ideas, fashion/styling tips, DIY, bodybuilding, makeup how-to’s – you name it. If you can teach, then teach! With an account like this make sure you deliver, and offer up lots of fresh, useful content. Videos, quotes, infographics – that’s all great. Just stay on topic, please.

3) The Half Cousins Twice Removed

Take advantage of your employees connections, and invite friends from Facebook and your contact books! Invite them all – why not? People whom you have a distant connection with, locals/businesses who are close to you geographically; chances are they’ll know you too and might even follow back. Think of all the people you follow just because you know them. They may not have the greatest photos, but you support them to keep that connection.

4) The Adoring Fans

Whether it’s someone you idolize, a brand/store you love, or a growing movement you’re curious about; people like to be in the loop. If you’re lucky enough to be one of those people, sell it. Please your fans with insider access, a variety of content, and posts that showcase your personality. This goes for celebs, stores, news outlets, events, and new businesses.

5) The Jokesters

I can’t disregard all the joke accounts out there. I love @Seinfeldcaps and @menshumor pictures. I think the motive goes without saying.

(Combining elements from all of the above would result in a killer account, in my opinion.)

Here are some more tips:

? Be consistent. Choose a clear focus for your account and stick to it. If I’m following you strictly for pictures of nature, I don’t want a #selfie or breakfast photo thrown in there. Know your audience, and try to anticipate what they will like. Isn’t that all Instagram is, in a nutshell?

? Find followers from like-minded accounts. For example, if you’re a yoga company, try following Lululemon followers. Chances are they’ll like you too. Also, who else might your target market be following? Hmm..

? Use hashtags right, and sparingly. Using appropriate hashtags can bring in interested followers who have specifically searched that hashtag for content. At the same time, hashtags can look spammy. And no one likes spam. If you can come up with your own hashtag, that’s even better. But please, only use it if it makes sense. The growing trend of every new campaign just throwing together a hashtag is annoying. Who will ever use those!? Realistic usability is key.

? Don’t annoy people. Two posts a day, maximum. And that’s pushing it.

? Connect, connect, connect! Share your Instagram posts on Facebook and Twitter to show your existing followers you have another social media presence. Why not? Give your content another place to live. You never know who might be scrolling through your feed in the future.

? Timing matters. Are your fans on mostly in the morning, or at night? Think about it, when do you check your feed most often?

? Find your followers. Don’t just sit there and wait for people to flock to you. Search relevant hashtags, or look at specific geo-tagged locations where your target market might be and follow those people.

? Use Iconosquare. Iconosquare.com is a great tool for gaining insight about your account. It provides key metrics to help you find out who your most engaged followers are, what time of day brings the most engagement, and what your daily follower gain and loss looks like. Just be careful, this website is addicting..

And remember, when someone follows you, they have essentially agreed to let you into their life. All your photos and messages have been allowed in their feed, and you should appreciate that. Make sure to engage with your followers and give comments and likes. Because, well, that’s just a nice thing to do.

We currently run the Instagram account for @stvitalcentre if you want to see how we do social media around here.


Audrey also runs the Instagram account @gowpg, and ours, @fusionadgroup. Follow for a follow? ?