Growing a small business and taking it to the next level is what every entrepreneur strives for. There are many digital marketing tools that help you achieve this goal, Instagram being one of them.
Over the years, Instagram has proven to be a powerful visual channel to build brand awareness and a loyal audience that is actually responsive. With over 500 million users logging into Instagram everyday, the social media platform continues to help small businesses of all types increase their reach.
With this kind of potential, no wonder entrepreneurs are so interested in building an Instagram following!
Furthermore, when it comes to engagement rates, Instagram is known to give much better results. In a Forrester study, it was found that the average engagement rate for brands on Instagram was almost 60 times higher than the social media giant, Facebook.
Using Instagram, a small business can effectively…
- Reach out to potential customers and connect to them
- Build and nurture a stronger relationship with existing customers
- Improve the chances of making sales from within the app
However, in order to reap the true benefits of Instagram marketing, it is important that you focus on building an Instagram following that you can count on. Worry not, in this article you’ll learn the little things that you can do to have a strong impact on your follower numbers.
Post at the Right Times
Getting your content seen by as many people as possible should be on top of your agenda when you’re doing Instagram marketing. Not only because you want exposure, but also because you want more shares that lead to more followers. Building an Instagram following for your small business becomes easier when you post at the right times.
So when is the best time to post on Instagram? According to Later, these are the top 3 global best times to post on Instagram for each day of the week:
However, given the fact that every Instagram account is different with a different audience, you still need to find your own best posting time. The idea here is to schedule your Instagram posts at a time when a large number of your followers are online.
Given below are two proven ways to calculate the best time to post on Instagram.
Discover When Your Followers Are Online
Take out the guesswork and discover your optimal Instagram posting time by looking into Instagram Insights, a feature that lets you look into your audience activity.
Instagram Insights is very versatile when it comes to helps you understand your target audience. You get see information such as…
- The geographical location of your followers
- Whether they are male or female
- What age groups they fall into
- Above all, when their activity is the highest
Once you figure out what time most of your followers are online, you can start posting at that time. Also look into time zones to see if you can schedule your content for followers from various locations.
Experiment with Different Posting Times
If you don’t want to solely depend on analytics, you can start to experiment yourself. All it takes is a simple spreadsheet to track the times/days when your content is getting the highest amount of engagement. Your aim is to track the number of likes & comments your content is receiving.
Looking into your analytics, you should get a clear understanding of what time frame your followers are active in. For example, let’s say that they are online mostly between 2 PM and 5PM PST, you can have your posts scheduled in this bracket. Keep changing the times on weekly basis to experiment.
After a month or two, you’ll have the needed data to help you select the best times/days to post on Instagram for getting more engagement and website traffic.
Post New Content Consistently
The kind of content you post on Instagram shows potential followers what to expect if they choose to follow your account. But when they see you posting content consistently, they’ll be much more clear and sure of following you.
Building an Instagram following becomes a lot easier when you make consistent effort to put out relevant content. Compared to all other social media platforms, Instagram is known to have the best interaction levels, and that’s something you could use to your advantage.
When someone follows your brand on Instagram, they’re doing it connect and build a certain relationship with you. Your consistency will not only help them get value out of your account, but also increase the chances of them sharing and spreading your content. Which obviously leads to more followers.
And yes, you also don’t want your existing followers to forget that they followed you. If you are inconsistent, they may not recall it and unfollow you. Just the way it’s important to gain new followers, it’s also important to retain the older ones.
So what kind of consistency should your brand be aiming for when posting on Instagram?
According to Union Metrics, most of the brands that prefer posting between 1-2 times per day. They found out that brands that posted more didn’t experience any lower engagement or get any bad rep.
The bottom line is, posting relevant content on your Instagram consistently does pay off. Try to be a brand that cares and gives regular value to followers by posting consistently.
Use the Right Hashtags
Retaining your current followers goes hand in hand with building an Instagram following. Your aim should be to engage your existing followers as much as you can so that they become brand advocates and help you grow your following. But that’s not enough. You need to go beyond and leverage the power of hashtags to get in front of new people.
By using relevant social media hashtags your target audience finds it easy to discover your content, which increases the chances of them following you. But you have to do so without going overboard or else it’ll look like spam.
Now, the question is, what type of hashtags should you be using when building an Instagram following?
Your goal is to use hashtags that will help you reach new people. Period. Hashtags can get you a lot of exposure when done right.
The idea is to find hashtags that are highly relevant to your brand and then use them in your posts. Which obviously requires the right kind of research. The hashtags you choose should describe what your brand is about and the same time resonate with what your audience is searching on Instagram.
There are many tools, such as Webstagram, that you can use online to find hashtags that are relevant and valuable.
A more raw way to find related hashtags that are popular is to directly search for the right keywords on Instagram. Make sure you have done your keyword research beforehand.
In order to ensure you are getting consistent results, you may want to use the following types of hashtags:
Branded Hashtags: When you use the name of your brand or company, you would be able to generate more engagement and exposure to your small business. It’s not uncommon for companies to use branded hashtags on Instagram. In fact, over 70% of Instagram hashtags happen to branded.
Trending Hashtags: The Instagram explore page is a goldmine when it comes to finding trending hashtags that are also relevant to your niche. You may want to add trending hashtags to your content from time to time. It not only helps you reach more people but also shows your audience that you are updated.
Popular Hashtags: Most of the time popular hashtags don’t make a big difference in terms of how your content ranks on Instagram. Just like it’s hard to rank for broad keywords in the search engines, popular hashtags are difficult to leverage because there’s so much competition. Still, you can use them occasionally if they are relevant to your post.
Location Hashtags: If your small business targets local customers, then why not use local hashtags? Also known as geotags, they get almost 80 percent more engagement than non-geo tags.