How to Gain a Following on Instagram

Updated on January 22, 2020
Kathleen Odenthal profile image

With a background in social media optimization, Kathleen is an expert at helping people grow audiences on the internet.

Instagram is One of the Leading Social Media Platforms Available Today

All About Instagram

Instagram is a social networking app that allows users to share photographs as well as short videos. Users can follow and be followed by other users, media can be tagged by peers, posts can be liked and commented on, and private messages can be sent all within one app.

On any given day, more than 500 million people access Instagram. In 2018, Instagram surpassed one billion subscribers, putting it just below YouTube and Facebook.

Users of Instagram are heavily diverse, while more than half are made up by 13 to 18 year old users, a large number of those over 18 also use the site. It was last reported that over 60% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 actively use Instagram, 40% of 30 to 49 year old users remain active and 30% of the users over 50 have active accounts.

Each day, over 100 million photos and videos are shared via Instagram.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Before starting your Instagram account, you need to develop blueprints that will help lead you towards the goal you have in mind.

Why are you making this account? What is the focus of the account? What is the goal of the account? Knowing these answers will help you setup your account in a way that sends a clear and concise message to your audience.

Instagram is a photograph based application, where pictures tell stories and are only slightly strengthened by captions. When it comes down to it, the success of your account will come down to the quality of the photographs and the popularity of the hashtags used associated with each post.

Creating an Instagram Account That Thrives

Five Steps to Instagram Success

  1. Plan Out Your Content Strategy- Just like any marketing campaign, an Instagram account needs to be well thought out before executed. Know what message you are sending before trying to gain followers. To do this, research five or more competitors in your niche and see what they are doing successfully. Use that knowledge to compile a plethora of useful content that will encourage people to follow you.

  2. Use Popular Hashtags- Hashtags are everything when it comes to Instagram. That being said, there is a fine line between hashtagging enough and over hashtagging. A recent report showed that 57% of users were more likely to unfollow a user because of excessive hashtag usage. There are a plethora of Instagram analytics tools out there to help you narrow down which hashtags would generate the most profitability for your account, SproutSocial is one of the most popular.
  3. Incorporate a Call to Action- Having beautiful media certainly helps attract users to your account, but it is not the end all to be all. How will your audience know what the next step is if you don’t have an appropriate call to action? What is your final goal? Are you looking for them to sign up for something, view your website, send you direct mail? Pinpoint your goal and include it in your post via a catchy call to action.
  4. Engage With Your Followers- Don't just post photos and expect to blow up overnight. As you start off, you won't have a large following. When someone follows you, engage with the user to encourage them to not only stay a follower, but to also recruit others to follow you as well.
  5. Connect With Influencers- Every user started out where you are now; some failed along the way, others thrived. Find users who are where you want to be, follow them, engage with them, and try to think of a way that you can benefit them so they have a reason to help send followers your direction.

Social Media is One of the Most Powerful Ways to Market Your Brand in 2020

Benefits to Marketing on Social Media

Instagram is an extremely beneficial marketing platform for brands for many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • Visual Content- Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram focuses on photographs and videos to market your brand. This gives you more creative wiggle room to attract a large following.
  • Targeted Messaging: In case you didn't know, Instagram is owned by Facebook, and posts can be shared across both platforms, broadening your reach and allowing you to take advantage of Facebook’s staggering stockpile of demographic data to help direct content to the right sets of eyes.
  • High Engagement: Instagram is known as as the leader when it comes to engagement for branded content across all social media platforms. In fact, according to data collected by Forrester, branded content on Instagram generated a per-follower engagement rate of over 4%. To put this into perspective for you, posts on Facebook and Twitter would receive 58 times LESS engagement than if the same post were to be posted on Instagram.
  • Non-intrusive Advertisement- Should you choose to pursue paid advertising on Instagram, it is known to be one of the least intrusive platforms when it comes to this sort of marketing. An annoyed audience is never good, so this can be a huge plus to your brand gaining exposure. (Did I mention that Instagram also has the best ROI for their paid advertising?)
  • In-Depth Analytics- Instagram measures the success of your campaign based on awareness, reach and recall instead of follower counts, likes or comments, giving you a more in-depth insight into how followers are interacting with your page.

Do You Have an Instagram Account

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    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      5 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Great informative article about Instagram.

      I do have an account on Instagram and my whole purpose of setting up this account was to share my pictures. I enjoy clicking pictures of Nature, monuments, Food etc. and I like sharing it with others. Haven’t thought about turning it into a business account, as yet. But, may be later.

      Thanks for sharing the suggestions, information, other details and the useful video.

      Have a good day.


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