The era of hanging out on social media for fun and catching up with school friends is long gone. Today, social media provides businesses with a landscape to dominate over competitors and maximize their reach.
Instagram is a top-tier social media platform, but unfortunately, every business that exists on Instagram doesn’t exactly know how to grow the audience or stand out on an Instagram business account or even how to how to start an Instagram business.
That’s where we come in; we have been publishing articles on social media management to help guide small businesses, startups, digital marketers, and budding entrepreneurs for a while.
If you have been trying to figure out how to grow your audience on the Instagram business profile, then you don’t need to break a sweat now as we’ve got this covered for you.
According to Techcrunch, Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users, with 71% of businesses in the US using Instagram, and some publications also report that this photo-sharing social platform has 500 million daily active users. These statistics account for how vital Instagram has become for businesses.
You’re about to find out what you can do to leverage the Instagram platform to grow your following and authority. Once you go through all the Instagram growth hacks I’m about to share, you’ll comprehend how to create Instagram content that turns things around for your Instagram business.
It doesn’t essentially mean everything that goes viral on social media is the most pleasing thing to watch. Often, something odd and strange also gets picked up and makes headlines everywhere.
Have you seen that viral video of a guy who saved his shopkeeper friend from being electrocuted in Karachi, Pakistan?
The world’s popular outlets showed that clip on TV and social media and reported how the quick-thinking of the guy saved a life.
Does it mean those guys are influencers now or made a fortune after that?
I don’t think so. And that’s my point. I’d rather focus on gradual growth on social media and build a brand than get viral everywhere and gone after two months or so.
If you’re a social media user, you must have noticed that numbers, for example, total followers or views or likes are an essential signal of credibility regardless of the background check.
The Netflix show “Emily in Paris” has a dialogue that pretty much sums this up. The main character, Emily, who is a social media strategist tries to explain her point of view on social media. She says, “It’s not just about the number of followers. It’s about content, trust, interest, and engagement.”
Most of you might have created an Instagram account, uploaded 20 photos in the next 8 weeks, and abandoned it after nothing significant happened. Perhaps, no one told you that it’s not how it works.
You don’t need to turn a blind eye to what’s working for successful Instagrammers, but instead, learn from the influencers and grow Instagram accounts.
Here are three key elements of Instagram success:
1. Niche selection:
It all begins with choosing the right niche. If you are excited about car photography, then you don’t start a healthy food recipe Instagram account. Instead, go for a car photography Instagram account. Furthermore, do a little bit of hashtags research before starting to set up an Instagram business account. Similarly, businesses can dive deep into their industry-related keywords and hashtags to encircle specific areas to target.
2. Content planning:
Once you know what your industry is and who your audience is, the next thing you should do is to pay attention to the type of content you’re going to put out on Instagram. Remember that Instagram has changed a lot; now video and pictures go hand in hand with Instagram. You can use workplace pictures, team meeting photos, sit-down videos, biz quotes, and how-to posts for Instagram content. Take a while and learn about the types of videos, Instagram video specs, and Instagram content before running it.
Related Read: How To Use Instagram DM To Improve Conversion Rates
3. Audience engagement:
You’d hardly find any Instagram influencer or social media expert who’d say that audience engagement is useless. Audience engagement helps the algorithm determine how the content of the particular account is being perceived by the audience. The higher the audience engagement, the faster the account growth.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a business account or a personal account, the above-mentioned key elements are a secret sauce of Instagram growth for both types of accounts.
Furthermore, let’s head over to the cream of this blog post.
I’ve got a handful of tips that won’t just help you step on the right foot, but also skyrocket your Instagram growth.
9 Tips to Grow Your Audience and Stand Out on Instagram
Take your Instagram reach and following to the next level by applying the following tactics:
1. Visualize your niche while creating a content strategy
The niche refers to the category or segment to target. It won’t hurt to get off the mark with a specific niche in mind. After all, one of the fundamentals of growing on Instagram is how well you begin your campaign. Most users who don’t grow their Instagram following make a common mistake; they have no idea of their niche. As a result, they pump out irrelevant pictures, and when they don’t see traction, they just walk away from the platform.
The best part is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re an individual or a business; focusing on a specific niche would only help you grow and stand out on Instagram.
Some of you might wonder that you’ve done 100 posts on your personal Instagram account, and it looks like there is no going back from here. If I were you, I’d reshape my content strategy from this point without much overthinking.
Here are five characteristics of starting a niche-based Instagram account:
I. It’s easier to set out on a journey you’re familiar with, meaning you’d know what you’re talking about in your Instagram content.
II. It often involves your interest, skill, or passion, which makes the process a bit exciting.
III. Starting an Instagram account based on your strength brings trustworthiness and authoritativeness to your brand.
IV.Since you’re interested in the niche, so you don’t get bored of talking about the specific things day in, day out, which brings consistency into the posting.
V.A niche-based Instagram might as well attract prospective clients and help convert them into paying customers
I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed; all you need to know is that if you keep a specific niche in your mind, you’d gain followers and engagement on Instagram faster than others.
Since we’re talking about Instagram for business, and interestingly, the same rule applies to Instagram accounts for brands and companies. They should keep the buyer persona in mind while creating content on Instagram, and things would start to work out.
For instance, take a look at this example:
Iamafoodblog is a food blog. Look at their Instagram feed; they stick to their niche when it comes to posting on Instagram.
The takeaway is that keep your niche and audience in mind by putting out content on Instagram.
- Go to the settings of your Instagram account.
- Tap on the account option; you’ll see a bunch of options to manage your account.
Choose switch to a professional account option; this would be the last option in your account settings.
2. Convert your account into a business account
An essential tip for Instagram success is the accessibility to the Instagram posts statistics. It’d only be possible if you have a business account. So once you’ve set up your Instagram business account, the next up is converting your account into a business account. This step would turn out to be a stepping stone for your Instagram growth. What happens when you convert a personal account into a business account is that it gives you access to Instagram business analytics(One of the major differences in Instagram business vs personal). You’d discover later on why insights are vital to gaining followers on Instagram. Here are the steps required to create an Instagram business account:
3. Follow the industry-related accounts
One of the best tips I can give you on growing an Instagram account is to start following industry-related Instagram accounts. If you have a misconception that putting out content is the only way out, then you’re wrong. You got to put yourself out there and engage with similar faces. Since it doesn’t cost any money to follow others on Instagram, so what you can do is that use the search feature on Instagram and type in industry-related keywords to tap on the relevant accounts. Once you stumble upon a similar account to yours, scroll through the feed, and follow the account if you like it.
Here are five factors to look at when following the industry-related accounts:
I. The relevance is the key; if you don’t find their content relevant to your industry, then don’t follow them.
II. They must be actively posting fresh content. It’s useless to follow accounts that haven’t published any new content in the last four weeks or so.
III. Don’t ignore influencers on Instagram as it allows you to learn from their work and apply it to your stuff.
IV. You don’t have to agree with everything people say on social media. Be gentle, patient, and polite with people you’re following or those who are following you.
V. It’s a social media platform; you must be engaging, interacting, and commenting on Instagram. This would substantially increase engagement and help you grow.
Sometimes, Instagram suggests users similar accounts to follow; don’t hesitate to check out those accounts. Today’s social media platforms understand users’ intent by their behaviors and persevere accordingly. So don’t completely ignore the Instagram recommendations.
The more you respond to the platform, the better it would start to understand. If everything is going well, you’d notice that the algorithm is helping you grow or putting you on a pedestal. It doesn’t happen on a whim, but instead, it takes time. All you need is to be patient and consistent on the platform.
4. Create a content mix for Instagram
If you want to win on Instagram, and get thousands of followers, you must come up with relevant and enticing content that attracts, engages, and helps the audience. However, it doesn’t happen with a single type of content. Sometimes, a video goes viral or a fantastic picture gets shared everywhere. Therefore, choosing multiple avenues inside Instagram would give us more chances to dominate on the platform. That’s where the idea of the content mix comes in. A content mix means a combination of multiple formats of content, such as photos, 1-minute square videos, vertical IGTV videos, and stories. Make sure they’re polished and eye-catching. Remember that Instagram is, first and foremost, a visual platform. It’s also important to know that you should stick to your niche. Some users go off the rails when they start experimenting with different formats of content on Instagram. Creating a balance between all formats would be a perfect strategy. Take a look at Gary Vaynerchuk’s content mix:
If you scroll through his Instagram feed, you’d notice that he has a variety of content on Instagram. Not only does he posts quotes, but he also shares videos. Furthermore, you’d always see his raw videos and talks in the Instagram stories.
He is famous for putting out a lot of content on social media. Understandably, he has a team to create and post content. Once he revealed that around 20 people are on this content development team. No wonder he pumps out so much content on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.
5. Choose the most relevant hashtags
Hashtags are an essential ingredient of the social media success recipe. If Instagram supports hashtags and you aren’t using them, then it means you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities. One of the reasons why it’s important is that your competitors would be capitalizing on the hashtags, and you are not. I’ve seen so many beginners struggle with the hashtags; either they don’t use the hashtags at all, or they try to use irrelevant hashtags that no one is using. One of the easiest ways to find out whether or not this is the right hashtag to use, you can go to the Instagram search page, and type in your hashtag.
If Instagram shows the number of posts against that hashtag, then it means it’s worth trying. Try creating a mixture of popular and less popular hashtags. It seems like we have established that hashtags are important for Instagram posts. The next thing you should know is that the right hashtags matter. If you start using irrelevant or widely common hashtags, then it won’t work out.
For instance, if you’re a mineral water company, and you’re posting a picture of your 500ml water bottle and using the hashtags such as #water, #health, and #bottle, then the chances are, you won’t get much traction on your post.
The reason is that the above-mentioned three hashtags are widely popular and common. So your post won’t get much traction since hundreds of thousands of people would be using the same hashtags at that time.
On the other hand, if you use slightly different but relevant hashtags, then you might have a shot. For instance, #healthylifestyle #basicneeds #waterbottle and #bestmineralwater are not-so-common yet relevant to the industry.
6. Write compelling post descriptions
Instagram post description is an important real estate that shouldn’t be left empty. Everything a social media platform offers has significance and often plays a vital role in growth. If you aren’t paying close attention to your Instagram post descriptions, then keep reading this point. If you ever come to a point on social media where you need validation for a strategy or tactics or tool, then always look at the influencers on that platform. If they are doing it, it means it’s worth it.
I have been using Instagram for at least five years, and I haven’t seen a single post from an influencer without a meaty post description. Understandably, they know the importance of social media real estate, and they’d do everything to make the most of their social media content. Here are three key elements of writing a compelling post description:
I. Provide value:
The delivery of value is important, and the post description is the best place to make that happen. If the followers aren’t getting any value from your post or description, they won’t stop by and give their precious time. They have plenty of posts to scroll through. So don’t hesitate to deliver value upfront.
II. Ask questions:
You can ask questions at the end of the post description. What it does is that it encourages viewers to respond to the question and it begins the engagement. When people respond to your posts in the comments, it gives a signal to the platform that this content is useful. And that’s how it gets recommended to others.
III. Use Emojis:
You may or may not like emojis, but they are pretty common and popular on social media. Inject your description with a few different emojis, and see if they make any difference in the engagement.
A lot of things work together on Instagram to make a post go viral or to an account to gain popularity. It may seem that photos make all the difference, but in reality, several factors play a role in making any account stand out on Instagram.
7. Tune-up your account bio
Instagram bio is one of the most underrated real estate on the platform. Most people don’t pay attention to optimizing their Instagram bio. We can always see examples on Instagram that have put unnecessary tag lines in the About section of the profile. Some of them don’t use the URL feature properly. What I’m trying to say is that their Instagram bio doesn’t send out a clear message.
On the contrary, if you go through Influencers and Instagrammers profiles, you’d see a clear difference between professionals and rookies. One of the reasons for writing this blog post is to minimize that difference. You won’t see the immediate effect of tuning up your Instagram profile; it comes into play slowly but surely. Here are four tips on optimizing your Instagram account bio:
I. Use your real name as the full name so that it becomes easier for you to recover your account or get verified in the future.
II. Write down your job or occupation in the bio section.
III. Don’t leave the URL section empty; add your website’s URL or any other link.
IV. Try to keep your username and full name similar so that it becomes easier for followers to find you through search.
As far as Instagram for businesses is concerned, companies that leverage Instagram is always keen to direct followers to the link in the bio, whether it’s a discount sales page or a new blog post.
They keep updating the link in the bio and letting the audience know through stories. Since brands and entrepreneurs use their Instagram bio to amplify their reach, it shows how imperative this section is for growth.
8. Use a social media scheduling tool
Social media scheduling comes in handy when you want to take your followers, organic reach, and engagement to the next level. What social media management tool does is that it enables you to post content on social media even when you are not around. You might already know that now you can schedule tweets without a third-party platform as well as Facebook page posts via creator studio on Facebook. However, most social media posting tools schedule Instagram posts through a push notification system, meaning you’d have to open the scheduling app and approve the post even if you scheduled it before. It was quite a headache until ContentStudio changed the game.ContentStudio now integrates with Zapier and makes direct Instagram publishing possible for the users.All you need is to sign up for a Zapier free account and integrate it with your ContentStudio account to schedule and publish your Instagram posts via ContentStudio. Read the step-by-step guide to set up your direct Instagram publishing.
When you use a social media scheduling tool for social media posting, the results are not even remotely close to the manual posting. You can’t show up five to six times a day on Instagram and post photos with unique descriptions and hashtags. On the other hand, you can take an hour out of your busy routine and schedule a whole week’s social media posts via a social media tool like ContentStudio.
There is a reason why influencers, brands, and agencies use social media management tools for social media scheduling and posting and social media analytics.
Related Read: How to Create the Perfect Instagram Grid
9. Go through your account analytics
One of the perks of converting a personal account into a business account is that you get access to Instagram account analytics. To go to the analytics section, open your profile, and tap on the Insights button. What this means is that you could understand how people are discovering, reacting, and engaging with the content. You get to know:
- The popularity of your content, meaning what posts are doing better than others
- How many new followers have you gained in the last 7 days
- How many new accounts have you reached in the last week
- The percentage of the interaction on your photos
- How your IGTV videos are performing
- How your Instagram stories are doing on the platform
Going through your Instagram analytics gives you an inside-out performance report of your Instagram strategy. You can always tweak and test once you feel that your Instagram strategy needs an overhaul.
Are you ready to grow and stand out on Instagram?
I’ve shared a handful of tips on growing your following and standing out on Instagram. These Instagram hacks aren’t made-up tips, but instead, I have learned these tips from Instagram influencers and social media experts.
If you have made it to the end of this article, it means that you’re serious about growing your audience and standing out on Instagram. And, here’s a little secret: tips aren’t the only thing you need to grow your audience on Instagram.
With hindsight, I can tell you that experimentation goes a long way. If you’re using Instagram for business, test out various content strategies and try out different content formatting to see what works best for you.
Furthermore, if you aren’t enjoying content creation, you’d give up at some point. So try to infuse passion in your Instagram strategy, and it would reflect in the results.
So, we hope you ready to grow on Instagram.
Hassaan is a blogger and freelance writer. He has published articles on SEMrush, ThriveGlobal, BlogPress, FreelancerMap, and many other popular publications. He writes about freelancing techniques, tips, and career growth. Subscribe to his blog.