Instagram can be an incredible tool to support your business growth.
There are currently 1 billion Instagram users. That’s not a long way off Facebook’s 2.8 billion users.
Which means Instagram is clearly a social network you’ll want to get involved in.
Followers aren’t everything.
But the bigger your Instagram audience grows, the more opportunities you have to engage and convert them into paying customers.
But how do you grow your following?
Here are a few top tips to help you on your way.
This post is inspired by the Instagram marketing module inside the Pet Biz Thrive Online Club. Where members get access to detailed video tutorials on how to best use Instagram for their business.
Not a member yet?
Optimise your profile
Focus on the basics first.
Your bio should represent your business in its best light.
You only have 150 characters to get this right. So make sure you’re clearly communicating who you are, what you do, and what action you want people to take.
Include a great image of yourself in your profile picture. People want to see the person behind the business.
Profiles are searchable on Instagram, so be sure to include the right keywords in your description. You can even include clickable hashtags here too.
However, I wouldn’t suggest adding generic hashtags to your Instagram bio as this will take people away from your profile. And we want people to stay and check out your content.
Only use them if you want to promote a branded hashtag or if you’re running a specific campaign.
Use emojis to add a splash of fun and to break up your bio.
Then include a link to a ‘links page’ on your website, where people can find all your important pages and info.
Post great content consistently
Commit to posting engaging content every day.
Profiles that post daily gain followers faster than those that post less frequently.
Instagram is a visual platform. To get people’s attention, you need to focus on posting eye-catching, high-quality photos.
Whether that’s images of you or your client’s dogs, or photos of your products. They need to pop and be beautifully curated in your feed.
To help you stay consistent, use a scheduler to take the pressure off.
You have plenty of options both free and paid. Facebook’s native scheduler is free and posts to Instagram too. You can even post directly from the popular design app Canva now.
Post at the right times
To ensure your ideal audience has the best chance of seeing your content, post when they’re most likely scrolling the app.
There’s no universal best time to post for everyone, but you can easily find out YOUR best time.
Click on ‘Insights’ from your Instagram profile, then click on ‘Your Audience’. If you scroll to the bottom of that page, you’ll see a graph under ‘Most Active Times.’
Take the time to engage
Engagement is important for growth on Instagram.
It helps you build relationships with new people. But to do that, you need to engage in conversation.
Your competitor’s followers are a good place to start to find the right people.
If they’ve already shown an interest in your competitor, they may well be interested in you too.
So take some time every day to like and comment on their photos, or follow their accounts.
The more you engage with people, the more likely they’ll come to know you and follow you.
Leverage relevant hashtags
Hashtags are searchable on Instagram.
Which means if you include them in your posts, you have a better chance of popping up in front of a larger, targeted audience.
Instagram also has its own feed under ‘Tags’, and users are able to follow specific hashtags.
The ‘Tags’ tab is also a great way to find great hashtags for your posts.
Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags in your posts. But that doesn’t mean you should use them all.
Only use hashtags that are super relevant to each individual post. And don’t use the same bunch of hashtags on every single post.
Instagram doesn’t like repetition and Instagram may limit your reach.
Create story highlights
From the time someone lands on your profile, you have just seconds to convince them to follow you.
A great way to instantly show someone what your account is about, is to leverage story highlights.
Bunch your highlights into categories that showcases, for example, your top products or programmes, testimonials, behind the scenes, freebies or your blog posts.
Give people a quick taster of what they can expect if they follow you.
Use location tags
If you only serve your customers in a very specific area, make your posts discoverable by tagging your location.
You can tag locations in both feed posts and in stories with the location sticker.
Locations have their own feed on Instagram under ‘Places’.
So it’s a good idea to use location tags if it’s relevant to your business. But also take the time to engage with people using these tags, as they may be an ideal customer for your business.
Promote your Instagram elsewhere
Make it easy for people to find your Instagram profile.
Include it in your website’s sidebar or footer. Add it to your email signature and on your other social bios.
Don’t be afraid to ask people to follow you too.
If you have a following elsewhere, invite people to come and check you out on Instagram for more great content.
Share a post on your Facebook page or in your groups. Send an email to your subscribers.
Sometimes people just need the nudge to know you actually exist on there.
Play with different content types
There is a plethora of ways to share content on Instagram. The platform has become so much more than sharing photos to your feed.
By leveraging the many other formats, like stories, reels, lives and IGTV, you have a much better chance of reaching a wider audience.
But if you can only choose one other content type right now, go with reels.
Reels have the edge at the moment because they’re so new. Instagram always gives priority to those using new features.
Which means many businesses using reels right now are getting far better reach and engagement than they otherwise would.
It’s definitely worth exploring.
Track your analytics
To grow your following consistently, you need to keep your finger on the pulse.
You need to have a good understanding of whether your current strategy is working or not.
And for that, you need to analyse your results by regularly tracking your analytics.
You can view an overview by clicking the ‘Insights’ tab from your profile.
Or go into an individual post, then click on ‘View Insights’ to see how people found that specific post. Whether from the hashtags you used, from home, or directly from your profile.
Always remember, social media is about building relationships. It’s not just a numbers game, you want your followers to be targeted, and good fit for your business.
The best thing you can do is show up with authenticity, and focus on engaging with the right people. That’s the best way to build a loyal fanbase.
I hope you found this post useful, but if you know you need more support to help you grow on Instagram, do consider joining us inside the Pet Biz Thrive Online Club. We have a wealth of advice and support to help you.