Looking to grow your Instagram following with new, creative ways that you haven’t tried before? If you have an ecommerce site or an online business that you are looking to grow, social media marketing is one of the best ways to accomplish jusy that.
And while it can take some time and effort to build a following and catch the engagement you want, it will definitely be worth your time, as Instagram is growing in audience size daily.
Here are seven creative, unconventional ways to grow your following on IG.
Host a contest
You’ll need a significant amount of followers as your base to host a contest that will actually gain some traction, but this is still a great way to get engagement. Your contest’s call to action will drive new traffic to your profile, get people to click on your profile or a link in your profile, and encourage people to like and comment on your posts. That type of engagement doesn’t usually happen organically, so this is a great opportunity for you to gain followers.
First, pick a contest that’s relevant to your brand. Are you a restaurant who wants to promote your space and get new customers in the door? Post a photo of an appetizing new dish that you’re serving and offer a coupon to a random winner if they tag two friends and follow your account.
If your contest encourages people to comment and tag their friends, that’s doubling your chances for more eyes on your posts and more followers.
Join an Instagram pod
Joining an Instagram “pod” is a lesser known way of growing your follower count and increasing. A pod is a group of similar accounts, which you can join by simply reaching out to accounts that you want to connect yourself and your brand with. This method is more popular with influencers than, say, restaurants or stores, but it’s still a great way to connect with other accounts who are producing similar content and can help you get on your feet.
Through the pod, accounts will share in direct messages when they’ve posted something new. That’s a cue for the other members of the pod to like and comment on the post, so that it appears higher in the feeds of its followers.
You may have to reach out to several people to get access to their pods. It can be exclusive, and accounts typically want to keep the pods with under 20 members so that it doesn’t get too overwhelming to engage with the content that’s being created. Or, you can start your own pod and reach out to other accounts similar to yours to see if they’re interested in joining.
Hit your local audience
Follow local hashtags and be sure you’re playing up to your strengths in your current city or town. There’s a niche audience that’s excited and willing to support local accounts, and you’re more likely to get seen on your local hashtags than you would on a national or international hashtag that has more competitors.
And, your hashtag might make an impact on those Instagram scrollers who are checking out cities to browse local content before they visit, or to consider if they want to visit. If your posts are in that feed, you can make an impact on those both local and those who are considering an out of town visit.
Go for the less popular hashtags
If you’re trying to use hashtags to your advantage by making sure you include the relevant ones in every post, hoping to gather those who troll those hashtags, it’s important to remember the level of competition for those hashtags. Up at the top of the hashtag feed page are the posts that already have the most engagement for that hashtag, and if your page and post don’t have very much engagement, it’s likely no one searching that page will ever see your post.
So, go for the hashtags that have less than 500,000 posts attached to its name. If it’s not as popular, the likelihood that you’ll appear close to the top and get more engagement is high.
Increase your posting cycle
The most popular accounts post several times a day, sometimes up to three posts a day. This ensures that they stay in the forefront of their followers’ minds, and make sure that they’re always appearing in their feed when they’re scrolling through.
If you only post once a week, you’ll likely never grow your following. Why would people follow you for content if you’re not giving them fresh, updated content? Although it might seem silly at first, posting 2-3 times a day is the best thing you can do for your feed and follower account.
If you’re skeptical, look at the biggest influencer accounts in your industry to see what and how often they’re posting. You might want to try and imitate their style, and follow their lead on posting. It’s always good to make sure you know what accounts similar to yours are doing, so that you can stay on top of the trends.
Keep up to date with similar brands
By following similar accounts, you can not only seek inspiration from their posts and styles, you can also make sure that you’re engaging with their content to solicit follows from those who follow their account. If you’re commenting on each post of a similar account, their following might decide to click and check out your profile. As long as your comment is something they can either relate with, think is funny or find to be inspirational, you can get some serious traction from doing this regularly.
And, it’s a great idea to try and follow the followers of those big accounts. If they don’t follow back within a week, delete them and try again. There’s apps that can help you do this. And, if you can get some of the influencer brands to follow you back, there’s a high chance their followers will notice and start to follow you, too, through the “following” page on the app.
Build a nice aesthetic
This may seem trivial, but many people won’t follow accounts that don’t have an aesthetically pleasing grid on their profile. In the hustle and bustle of posting 2-3 times a day, you might forget that many people aren’t just seeing your posts in their feed, they’re coming to your profile to check you out. If the grid of photos they see isn’t aesthetically pleasing, they might not follow back.
Make sure you stick to a certain array of filters, to keep your grid the same color scheme. You can choose a theme for your Instagram, even, and make sure that all your posts follow the same theme. There are apps that can help you do this.