Do you feel your Instagram followers are growing too slowly? Want to rapidly speed up this growth?
The importance of great imagery is constantly increasing, so it’s not surprising that Facebook bought Instagram for over $1 billion in 2012. This purchase price is now looking cheap, given that Instagram has rapidly grown in size since then.
Here’s a graph of the growth over the last few years. We can expect similar growth to continue for the next couple of years at least!
Note: Latest update. This is now at 300 million users in December 2014.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a mobile app for sharing photos and videos. It’s primarily used for photos but, recently, video sharing was launched and videos of 3 seconds to 15 seconds in length can be shared.
For photos and videos, you can apply a range of filters to make your pictures stand out. When you’re sharing content, you can also add commentary and it’s advisable to use hashtags to describe the content, as hashtags are extremely popular.
There are over 200 million users on Instagram and 57% of those access it daily. The largest age group is 18 to 29 year olds, and the average Instagram user spends 257 minutes a month on the site. For more Instagram stats, see this article from Jenns Trends.
How to Grow Your Instagram Followers
Here are five tips and tools to help you to grow your presence on Instagram.
1. Improve the Management of Your Account with Iconosquare
Iconosquare is a web-based management tool for Instagram. It provides you with great analytics and also offers a faster way of interacting with a lot of Instagram shared content at the same time.
You can view your feed of Instagram photos and monitor and engage with any comments that come in. If you get a lot of comments, this is a quicker way of interacting rather than using the mobile app.
There are also good analytics options available, which help you analyze whether your Instagram activity is working or not.
There is also a contest part to Iconosquare, which is a paid-for platform.
Action: If you want to build your followers, you need to keep on top of your comments and also monitor your analytics to see what’s working and what’s not. Iconosquare helps with all these needs.
2. Use Mobile Apps to Dress up Your Imagery
On Instagram, you can apply filters to images to make them look better. Plus, you can also create text-based imagery or add text to photographs, which helps them stand out a lot.
There is a neat little mobile app called Wordswag where you can add text to your imagery.
After a recent social media conference, Sue Zummerman (an Instagram expert) asked for some quotes from speakers and then shared them out through the following imagery:
Action: Consider apps that will help you create and modify imagery to capture your followers’ attention. Set up apps such as Wordswag, which will help a lot.
3. Repost content from your community
It’s not all about your own content. It’s important to identify good content from your community and reshare it. Instagram doesn’t provide an easy way of doing this, but the Repost app does!
The repost app automatically adds attribution so that you correctly reference the original person who shared the content.
Sharing good content from the community means that people will be more likely to share some of your content in return. It also means you will find more great quality content for your own community to enjoy.
Action: Reposting other people’s content is a good way of getting attention if you mention them when you share it. Set up Repost to help with this.
4. Learn From Your Competitors
Twtrland is an excellent analytics tool that allows you to analyze Instagram accounts.
You can search for a potential competitor/key influencer based on skill, location or name. From the resulting list, pick out the relevant account and then select the tab to view their Instagram profile.
Here’s an example profile of Sue:
Here is what you can get from this:
- Overall analytics— How often is your competitor posting? What engagement are they getting, and from what type of posts?
- Photos posted – What are the most popular type of photos posted by your competitor?
- Your competitor’s network— You can see who is interacting the most with your competitor, and these are good people to start following and interacting with.
- View analytics—When you see someone of interest, you can click on their profile and view analytics based on their account. You can also follow them on Instagram.
Action: Pick out your top competitors on Instagram and start analyzing their account to see what works/doesn’t work. Test out some of what they are doing to see if it works for you.
5. Schedule Your Updates with Schedugram
It’s nice to do everything in real time, but it’s not always possible. You probably have followers all around the world and you may not always be available to send updates at the appropriate time.
With Schedugram, you can schedule your updates on Instagram. Schedugram also supports multiple accounts so you can schedule your updates across a few different accounts if you wish to.
Note: As of December 2014 Schedugram is no longer available. This appears to be because Instagram don’t want them scheduling content to Instagram accounts!
The most important factor in building your followers is to share great content that is relevant to your target audience.
If you want to build your presence more quickly, then consider some of the applications we have discussed in this post today.
What are your tips for building your Instagram presence? What has worked for you? Would you use any of the tips above?