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Instagram for Business: 8 Ways to Grow Your Audience

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  • Instagram for Business: 8 Ways to Grow Your Audience

Instagram is the social media platform of choice for over a billion users worldwide. It’s a place where its users share photos, videos, and stores each day, and over the past few years, it’s become an increasingly valuable advertising platform for tons of businesses to market their products and services.

With 83% of Instagram users discovering new products and services through the platform, leveraging Instagram for business gives the opportunity to hone in on prospects who fit their ideal buyer persona and get their products in front of prospective buyers if they use the platform effectively.

In this article, we’ll show you eight ways to grow your Instagram following and get your products in front of a wider, more engaged audience. These tips are all simple to implement, and you should be able to start experimenting and seeing results with them right away.

Let’s get started.

1. Optimize and tailor your profile

Like your website’s homepage, your Instagram business profile should give a clear, succinct, and accurate representation of your business, the solutions you offer, and who you serve.

Within your Instagram business profile, you get 150 characters to state your business name and briefly describe what your business is about and one link. This link will often be to your website or a product page you want to drive your visitors to.

Make sure your bio gives a quick description of what your company does, displays your contact information, and ensures the link you choose to have is clearly visible. You should also ensure that the profile picture on your business profile is high quality. If you’re running a brand, you may want to use your logo or an abbreviated version of it.

Having your logo displayed in your profile picture can help with long-term brand recognition and make it easy for visitors to recognize your profile. Law firm Hasner Law, PC offers a great example of an optimized business profile in the image below.

Instagram for Business

2. Post frequently and consistently

It’s virtually impossible to grow your following on Instagram if you’re not sticking to a consistent posting schedule and providing your followers with fresh content. Instagram prioritizes showing pieces of content to users that are recent and relevant to their interests, so if you don’t post anything for a while, your existing and any potential new followers won’t see your content.

If you can try to post at least three times a week, while there’s no set recommendation on how many times you should post, three is a good target to aim for. Answering the question ‘What is the best way to grow an Instagram account in 2021?’ Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, stated that it’s important to have a “healthy feed” and also mentioned the importance of utilizing videos and hashtags in your content.

You can always experiment with fewer or more posts and measure each post’s engagement to decide whether to post more frequently. Whatever posting schedule you decide upon, try and keep it consistent; the best way to see results with your Instagram is to stick to a consistent posting schedule.

To save time, you can also look into utilizing a social media tool that you can use to schedule your posts in batches and save you time to focus on other parts of your business.

A lot of businesses that are not in the makeup, fashion, or food niche struggle to figure out what to post on their social media but the answer to that is to simply keep testing stuff out and see what sticks with your audience. For example, Ozark Armament posts everything from pictures of their products to historical jokes that will bring in comments from their followers.

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3. Test out new hashtags

Using hashtags in your posts effectively can be a great way to expose your content to new audiences. You can use up to thirty hashtags for each post you make on Instagram, but before using this number, you should ensure that all the hashtags you’re using are a mixture of popularity.

If you want to see how popular a hashtag is, head over to the Instagram search bar and type in your chosen hashtag; tap onto the ‘#’ tab, and you’ll see how many posts are associated with the relevant hashtag. For example, in the images below, you can see that the hashtag ‘make money online’ has 5,737,618 posts associated with it.

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Alongside using hashtags, you should also play around with different caption lengths for your posts. Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters. This allows you to test out different caption lengths, depending on the post. Some posts will be more suited to short and sharp captions, while longer, more informative captions will work well for other posts.

Interestingly, the average Instagram caption length is getting longer. In 2018, the average length of a caption was 281 characters, while in 2019, this had increased to 336 characters.

You can also weave storytelling into your captions; this can be particularly effective if you’re trying to promote interest and awareness about a particular product. For example, if a marketing agency wanted to promote a digital marketing certification program to their customers and prospects, they could tell a story of a previous customer who’s seen success with the course in the caption of a post promoting the course.

4. Respond to your visitors and engage with your community

An important part of building an Instagram following is to engage with your followers at every opportunity. This is particularly important if you’re running a small business and want your Instagram following to be loyal as well as large.

Taking the time to respond to comments and messages shows that you care about your followers and value their opinion. Two effective ways of increasing engagement on your posts, while gaining new followers are:

Running a like, follow, and tag contest

This contest format requires followers to like a photo you post, follow your account and leave a comment tagging another user to have a chance of winning the prize that you’re giving away. This contest technique is particularly effective at getting new visitors to see and interact with your content while also growing your following.

A simple way to bring in more customers would be by posting a ‘refer a friend for a discount’ post where if current customers refer a friend of this, you give them a discount or a month off on their subscription.

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Sharing User-Generated Content

User-generated content is any content that people rather than brands create. This kind of content helps to promote authenticity and create trust between a brand and its audience.

To drive sales, you can encourage your audience to submit user-generated content for the chance of qualifying for a discount on a particular product you’re looking to drive sales for.

Another strategy would be to use user-generated content to use in any ads you post. Interestingly, ads based on user-generated content have a four times higher click-through rate (CTR) and a 50% drop in cost-per-click (CPC) than average ads.

You can see an example of a brand encouraging its followers to submit user-generated content in the image below.

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Nothing works better for brands than word of mouth marketing since it is far more likely for new customers to trust people they already follow than an advertisement from a company they have never heard of which is a great benefit of user-generated content.

5. Post different types of content

Over the past few years, Instagram has undergone a substantial evolution as a platform. While photos are still the most common type of content on the platform, types of content such as video, reels, stories, and IGTV posts are all useful ways to engage with and grow your audience.

For example, reels and stories can be an excellent opportunity to give your followers a behind-the-scenes look at how your business operates day to day. You can also use these content types to provide your followers insights into different members of your team and other content insights you wish to share.

Instagram’s algorithm also prioritizes different types of content depending on what the individual user likes and usually interacts with. So, if a user regularly watches and engages with video content, Instagram’s algorithm will show this user more video content in their feed.

Each type of content has different advantages and disadvantages, and each business will have its own preference as to what content they’ll want to post. To maximize your reach, try to post different types of content regularly; this will help your content show up in different users’ feeds.

If you do choose to post videos, make sure you compress the video so it loads faster for users and visitors which means they will have a better experience on your profile and stay longer.

If your brand is relatively new, one way to see which type of content your audience will resonate with is to look at what content more established brands within your niche are creating and if their audience likes, comments, and shares their posts. If you see a particular type of content doing well and you know that your audience is similar, then it’s extremely likely that similar content will resonate with your audience.

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Image Source (Image from Sprout Social)

6. Work with micro-influencers

If you’re starting out with Instagram or your business is relatively new, you most likely don’t have the budget to work with influencers that have hundreds of thousands of followers, and you’ll have to be more strategic about the type of influencers they partner with.

A type of influencer more accessible to smaller brands is micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are a subset of influencers that usually have fewer than 100,000 followers. It may seem counterintuitive to seek out influencers with smaller followings to promote your brand; the chances of a small brand working with a large Instagram influencer are quite slim.

Interestingly, in a study looking at Instagram engagement, Markerly found that as an influencer’s number of followers increases, their number of likes and comments from followers actually decreases.

The study also highlighted that micro-influencers could have better engagement rates than larger accounts.

Markerly discovered the following:

  • Accounts with less than 1,000 followers generated likes 8% of the time.
  • Accounts with 1,000-10,000 followers earned likes 4% of the time
  • Accounts with 1-10 million followers earned likes only 1.7% of the time.

Markerly’s study concluded that brands pursue micro-influencers with Instagram followings in the 1,000 – 10,000 range for maximum engagement.

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7. Collaborate with other brands

Alongside working with micro-influencers, partnering and collaborating with other businesses in your niche can be an effective way of getting your posts in front of new audiences.

Collaborating with other brands could involve promoting your products in a post on their page, featuring one of their products in a post on your page, or working together with one another on a new product release.

8. Pay for sponsored posts

While it’s great to attract followers through posting organic content, you can see significant audience growth by paying for sponsored posts with larger accounts in your niche to expose your brand to a wider audience. We’ve already mentioned working with micro-influencers, and the approach of paying for sponsored posts has a lot of cross-over with this.

You’ll want to start by making a list of larger accounts in your industry or niche. If your following is still quite small, then try targeting accounts with a follower count of less than 100,000. Accounts with an email address listed in their bio will often be open to sponsoring posts or sponsoring a story.

Once you’ve gathered your list, you can contact the account owners by email using an email marketing service to see how much they charge for a sponsored post and start deciding what type of offer you’ll want to promote in the post. Make sure you include general details about your company and add an email signature to your emails to establish trust. It would also be wise to use a g suite or business email if you are not already.

Getting started with Instagram for business

The tips in this article should have given you plenty of audience growth strategies that you can start implementing straight away.

Growing your business’s Instagram audience can take time, and it requires consistency, experimentation, a willingness to engage with your followers, and a desire to provide them with value. If you stay open to trying new things, such as posting different types of content, working with influencers, and staying consistent, you should start to see your audience grow.

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