10 Instagram Growth Tips

February 2023
February 2023

Laura Wardle

I’m a Digital Marketing Specialist at CMA and I hold a BA (Hons) from York St John University. I enjoy dog walks and trying to hit my yearly goal of reading 30 books. My favourite book is On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong.

Instagram has 1.3 billion users worldwide. If it were a country, it would be up there with China and India as one of the biggest in the world. In 2022, Instagram was used by one of every three social media users. Also, around 80% of those Instagram users follow a business account. So, how can your business tap into that massive potential marketplace?

The extent to which a brand can leverage this depends on the total followers they manage to gain. So Instagram growth, for both sales and building professional relationships, is essential. 

So here are 10 tips to help boost your followers and reach. Let’s start with a few ‘organic’ tips, which are things you can do yourself for free – all they require is a bit of time and a good idea:

Tip 1: Amp up frequency of stories

By increasing the frequency of your stories daily, you stay fresh in the minds of your audience. The content is just as important as frequency, though. 

Using stickers and poll features in your stories to make them more interactive will engage your followers and boost your Instagram growth too. Perhaps re-sharing customers’ stories that tag your business. Or, you could share positive feedback and create a dedicated highlight to share this. Both of these types of user-generated content would enhance brand credibility and awareness.

Tip 2: Hashtags

First coined by a Twitter user in 2007, hashtags have become part of everyday life for those who use social media. However, if you’re thinking of using every hashtag under the sun, think again. More is not merrier in this case. Studies have shown that engagement actually decreases for posts with six or more hashtags. 

When you’re limited to five or six hashtags, being strategic is crucial. For example, #love has been used over two million times. So while this is a great hashtag for certain posts, your post may be drowned out by the others using the same hashtag. Try using hashtags that are relevant to the individual post and have a mix between niche and common ones. 

Tip 3: Use geotags to boost local discovery

Besides hashtags, you can also make your Instagram posts and stories discoverable by tagging your location. Tag either the city you’re in or the venue where the photo or video was taken.

Local businesses can get the most value out of this feature by posting regularly with geotags and also engaging with posts from prospective customers who are using the same geotag.

Tip 4: Utilise Reels

With Instagram Reels turning three in August 2023, this is still a fairly new feature. And, with short-form video becoming increasingly popular, utilising this trend is important to boost your Instagram growth. 

In 2021, Hootsuite ran a study testing the effects posting Reels had on an account’s overall engagement. They found that in the days subsequently after a Reel being posted, their account saw significant spikes in followers and increases in engagement. 

Although, for Reels to have a chance of being successful, you need to consider that they are a mobile first-format, so the optimal ratio is 9:16 or 1080×1920. The more successful your Reel is, the more likely it is to show up on the Explore page, which exposes your account to a wider audience.

Tip 5: Engage

Engaging with other accounts you follow is an important part of any Instagram growth strategy. To gain new followers and to keep the ones you have, liking, commenting and sharing their content is key.

Experiment with when and how you will do this. Try daily to start, so that the page has live activity and isn’t simply churning out scheduled content. Identify and list some relevant accounts to engage with. All of this engagement will show there is a real person behind the account.

Tip 6: Check your timings

One of the easiest ways to boost your engagement and reach is to consider the timing of your posts. Using your professional Instagram account, you can take a look at when your followers are most active and are more likely to interact with your posts.

You can view this by following the steps shown.

Here you can also see the general demographic of your audience (location, gender and age range).

Tip 7: Instagram Challenges

An Instagram challenge is when someone sets a theme and asks their audience to share photos around that theme using a particular hashtag. There are also Instagram challenges that have daily, weekly or monthly prompts. 

Small businesses that sell physical products will most likely gain the most value from an Instagram challenge. This is because it allows you to build a community of like-minded people who share a passion for certain crafts or products.
When your followers feel as if they are part of a community, they’re more likely to become a loyal customer and a quality follower. You can find some great examples to get you started here.

Tip 8: Paid Partnerships

Now, here are some extra tips if you have the budget to put some money behind your posts, which should help with Instagram growth.

First is to pilot some paid partnerships with relevant micro and macro influencers to advertise your products and/or services to a fresh audience. Be sure to state in their contract that they share, tag and engage with your business’ Instagram page frequently. 

There’s a feature to label paid partnership posts as branded content. This is a good way to be transparent with your followers and it also builds trust and credibility with potential new followers.

Tip 9: Instagram Ads

You may be tempted to buy followers – but a better way to use that budget is to put your spend behind targeted ads (created in Facebook Business Manager but solely for Instagram) with appropriate objectives (such as reach / brand awareness) and audiences.

This is an effective way of gaining relevant and engaged followers. There are many different types of ads available to use on Instagram. Here are two we recommend to get you started: 

Story Ads – People are interacting more and more meaningfully with brands on their mobile devices. They increasingly want to do so in a format that is easy, convenient, mindless and engrossing. Immersive, vertical, full-screen video is ideal for that type of content consumption.

Explore Ads – When looking to back organic efforts with some paid promotion, consider an ad in the Explore feed. These ads won’t land your business directly in the Explore feed grid but instead, the next best position: the scrollable feed of photos and videos that appears when someone clicks on a post in the grid.

Tip 10: Competitions & Giveaways

Competitions and giveaways that require people to follow in order to enter, are key. This straight-forward mechanism is quick and easy to complete when entering competitions. Also, having an additional mechanism of sharing the post on their stories for more entries could expand reach rapidly. 

However, something to consider is that the followers gained through competitions and giveaways may not be quality followers. This means that once the winner(s) are announced, they may unfollow your page.

A way to avoid this is to provide an incentive and entice your new followers with more competitions in the future.

Get Insta(ntaneous) Results…

So, you see, having an effective Instagram page isn’t as complicated as you may have first thought. If you want to benefit from the opportunities Instagram offers but you simply don’t have the time to invest… We could do it for you. Just saying.

But seriously – if you would like to talk to us about managing any of your social media channels or, indeed, any aspect of your marketing mix, just drop us a line here.

Laura Wardle

I’m a Digital Marketing Specialist at CMA and I hold a BA (Hons) from York St John University. I enjoy dog walks and trying to hit my yearly goal of reading 30 books. My favourite book is On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong.
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