How to build real followers on Instagram

The right way to grow your business with this powerful content, audience and brand marketing tool

Lately we’ve been talking about how to boost your business marketing with Instagram. Contrary to what many people still believe, Instagram is not just a fun app where you can post photos of food, vacations, and family.

Instagram has become a powerful branding, audience, and content marketing tool for businesses. It has over 200 million monthly active members sharing 60 million images and 1.6 billion likes per day.

A note of caution: There are many people who promise to grow thousands of followers on Instagram, but be careful. Most of them use fake accounts created by bots to inflate their numbers.

These types of followers have zero value. In fact, they can even be dangerous if they want to steal your password or photos or give you a virus.

According to data security company Imperva, these bad bots account for 28.9 percent of bots on Instagram.

The best way to build your following on Instagram is by being authentic with your brand and your audience.

Here are 3 tips to help you get real followers on Instagram:

1. Tell a story with hashtags

It’s great to use your business name as a hashtag, but you need to think beyond that.

If you want to use your Instagram posts to get followers, use other hashtags that tell the story of the image you are sharing. You want to start a conversation when you share posts for things like:

• Events

• Promotions

• Contests

• Product’s release

A good example of a brand that does it well is @Tostitos. They use the hashtag #GetTogetherAlready to encourage people to get together and share their tabs, and also to use the hashtag when sharing photos from their meetings.

By using engaging and relevant hashtags, you can get discovered in Instagram searches and hopefully accumulate followers on Instagram.

2. Be creative

Instagram is all about photos, which is why many people think of the caption as an afterthought.

Don’t neglect the image caption! You can generate engagement and promote sharing by using descriptive words that will attract, inspire, and entertain your followers.

Here are some ideas to help you build Instagram followers with your posts:

• Use questions in your caption. Write your question at the beginning of the post so people will see it first.

• Be personal with your post. Tell a story about yourself or how your product helped or inspired someone else.

• Ask people to tag others. Asking people to tag three of their best friends or tag someone they are thankful for brings other potential followers into the equation.

A great example of a brand that does personal posts well is the @NatGeo Instagram account.

They create stunning Instagram stories with informative captions to educate the user on the plight of animals around the world.

Remember that when it comes to using Instagram posts to get followers, it’s all about being authentic. Don’t use questions in every post or tell a personal story that’s not genuine.

3. Go local

One of the best ways to build a following on Instagram is to meet your neighbors!

Whether you are creating Instagram ads or want to promote your event in a specific area, you can see what is happening near you by going to the search page and clicking on the Venues tab.

Enter the location to view geotagged posts for that area. Then visit relevant and recent tagged posts, not those of competing companies obviously, and leave a comment or even an emoji and follow the person if you like what you see. Hopefully this will be the beginning of an organic interaction.

For example, if you offer life coaching services, you can write your location followed by “entrepreneurs.” Local entrepreneurs may be looking for a better work-life balance or help with life goals or career challenges.

Likewise, if you have a physical location that people have signed up to on Instagram, comment on those poster images to make sure they’re aware of your presence on Instagram and then follow them.

Here are some of the best ways to build Instagram followers the right way – no bots, no shortcuts, just tried and true ways to engage with your audience and turn them into followers!

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