We get it. Hiring an agency to run your brand’s social media can be expensive. So, for now, you’re committed to doing it on our own. Here are the top eight ways to grow your Instagram following without breaking the bank.
Since launching 615innovations a year ago, we’ve had the privilege of meeting tons of entrepreneurs at co-working spaces like the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and Collective615. When they learn that 615innovations provides sales and marketing strategy and implementation services, almost all of them start telling us how they’d really like to improve their lead generation through online marketing or have a more coherent social media strategy. Or, at the very least, they want someone else to manage their social media for them. Through 615innovations’ network of digital marketing agencies, we know that social media management services can start anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000 a month, not including ad spend. This is an investment many small business owners are not prepared to make.
Nevertheless, if you’re someone who’s ready to step up your social media game, but aren’t ready to hire an agency, we’ve compiled the top eight ways you can increase your Instagram following organically.
1.Post high-quality content consistently.
(I know. You’ve heard this time and time again and you’re sick of hearing it, but we’re starting with it anyway because it’s social media 101. It’s the foundation of all that you should post on social media, and we’d be remiss not to include it.) By posting high quality content on a regular basis – at least 4-5 feed posts a week and at least 3 stories a week – your posts will show up in news feeds more often. Plain and simple.
It is crucial to note that “high-quality content” means clear, well-lit images, preferably professional photographs and videos. If your imagery is low resolution or blurry, Instagram won’t promote it. Make sure your pics are taken in bright lighting or use an app to brighten the photo. (We like Adobe Lightroom, which is free, and easy to use even if you aren’t a graphic designer. I promise.)
2.Post content that people are more likely to save or share.
While this may sound like common sense, there is no denying that many of us post to social media just to “check the box”. So if that’s your strategy, you may as well just stop posting altogether.
By creating and posting attention-grabbing, scroll-stopping content, you increase the likelihood that viewers will interact with your post, which improves your odds of Instagram promoting your post on relevant feeds. According to Later.com, Instagram evaluates the following five interactions to determine which posts show up in peoples’ feeds and where they show up.
- Time spent: how long is someone going to spend looking at your post
- Like: what are the chances someone will “like” your post
- Comment: how likely is someone to comment on your post
- Saves: how likely are viewers to save your post
- Tap on Profile: how likely is it that a viewer will go to your profile after seeing your post
3.Reels, reels and more reels!
Reels are short video clips that allow users to create more fun and creative content. (Cough cough. Also Instagram’s way of competing with TikTok. Cough. Cough.) In all seriousness though, reels have fantastic visibility. According to agorapulse.com, the top video on many “explore” feeds is almost always a reel. Reels are also displayed much larger than the rest of the posts on the page which makes them stand out, increasing their visibility. Agorapulse.com goes on to say that more than 70% of Instagramers use the Explore section to discover new brands and content and end up following at least one new brand. (Which actually seems kind of low to us!)
4.Include a hashtag (#) strategy with all your posts.
Hashtags are a great tool to increase organic reach. People use hashtags to categorize their content into topic areas which then allows users to find more information on that hashtag or topic. For example, if someone searches #nashvillerestaurants, and you’re a restaurant in town that’s used that hashtag recently, your post will come up in the search, even if the person is not following you. According to Later.com, adding at least one hashtag to your post can bring an average of 12.6% more engagement.
5.Tag other relevant profiles
(e.g., businesses, influencers and supportive friends and colleagues) who will support you by sharing your post. But make sure your post is worth sharing and don’t tag them in everything. Otherwise you risk becoming the little boy who cried wolf and your posts become “noise” and easy to ignore. Instead, tag them in the engaging content that people are more likely to interact with like we mentioned above.
6.Engage with other relevant target audience profiles.
Don’t be selfish! If you want others to support you, you need to support them as well! Follow, like, comment, share, save and engage with profiles relevant to your business and audience. Show them some love while at the same time getting them, and their followers, to notice you by commenting on their posts and sharing them.
7.Co-promote with other relevant profiles, businesses, influencers, etc.
Join together to create unique content that is of interest to both your audiences and promote it on both of your profiles. This is a great way to get in front of and build awareness with a new, relevant audience. Co-promo ideas include contests, giveaways, and Instagram takeovers.
There’s no doubt that doing social media right takes a lot of time and effort, however, knowing where to start will certainly cut down on your trial and error. By knowing the types of posts to create (e.g., reels and videos) and the ways to achieve higher visibility, it’s now up to you to experiment with different types of content.
8.Final tip: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Be you! Get quirky! Being yourself is the best way to increase engagement and grow your following.
615innovations is a boutique sales and marketing consulting agency that empowers small businesses in and around Nashville, TN with innovative development strategies that drive long-term success. We work behind the scenes to equip SMB owners and their teams to reach new heights through powerful storytelling and branding, scroll-stopping, lead generating, digital marketing, and impactful sales skills and processes that guarantee revenue to skyrocket. Our almost 15 years experience in business development makes 615innovations the leader in knowing what it takes to not just grow your business, but to become the renowned industry leader.