If you are not sure how to get followers on Instagram and build brand authority in your niche, I’m going to show you how to increase your Instagram followers organically so that you can have higher engagement, build trust with potential clients and get more sales.
Here are the exact 5 steps I used to grow my account from 800 to 30000 followers in 10 months.
Step 1: Optimize Your Profile
Most people miss this step, but it is very important to ensure that your profile can be found when people are looking for specific search terms.
You can do this by changing your Instagram name to your job title or what you would like to be known as, instead of your name.
And why would you do that? Realistically, it is very unlikely that someone will key in a search for your name, for example “Scarlet Vincent”, unless the person is my friend and they are specifically looking for my Instagram account so that they can follow me.
Most people would search for a specific service if they are not searching for someone in particular. So for example, if someone is looking for digital marketing services, they would key in “digital marketing” into Instagram’s search feature.
When my profile is already optimized and they do that, it makes me appear in front of them because those keywords are in my Instagram name.
Likewise, if you are a business owner, nobody will search for your name, especially if you’re just starting out and they don’t even know you exist. The structure would be your job title, and you can also include where your service is based if there are enough characters left in that field.
For example, if you are a guitar instructor from Hell (I meant Helsinki actually), what you can do is to change your name to “Guitar Instructor Hel”.
What happens is, brands or users looking for guitar instructors within your region will see your profile when they key in this specific search term. You can keep your username as your real name or brand name, because changing your name on Instagram will not affect your username.
Step 2: Present Yourself as the Expert in Your Niche
If you want to grow your influence on Instagram, you will need to ask yourself what is your purpose and what are you good at?
If you are just starting out, you don’t want to choose a random niche because you in order to present yourself as the expert in your niche, it would be better to choose something which you can do well, so that you can use your experience to share your knowledge with others. It is always good to go for something that you are familiar with, and a topic you are passionate about.
But of course, it doesn’t mean you have to be a complete expert either. There are always people who know more than you or those who know less than you, so just share whatever you know because the information would be useful to those who know less than you.
You’re not here to get famous for the sake of getting famous. If you are good with your makeup skills and passionate about doing makeup tutorials, present yourself as the makeup expert. If you specialise in wedding photography and portraits, present yourself as the expert portrait photographer.
You will realise that eventually choosing a niche is important because this is something that you’re not doing for fun, but something you are investing your time and effort in building your following on Instagram, and you want to eventually be able to monetize and earn from your passion full time.
You want to take things seriously so that your side gig becomes your full time gig and you are really pursuing your passion without worrying about whether you need another side gig or 9 to 5 to get by.
This is the reason why you are choosing a niche. If you have a persistent headache, you would be referred to a neurologist. And if you have a skin itch, you would be referred to a skin specialist.
Likewise, if someone is looking for a yoga instructor, they will not go to a general fitness trainer at the gym who does everything, but they will actually search for someone who specializes in yoga.
So if you don’t have a niche and you are posting random content, you are just going to attract random people. That’s not how you grow your influence in Instagram, whether you are an entrepreneur or an aspiring influencer.
You need to attract the right audience who will value the content you are putting out, and you want to build the relationship with them so that they will trust you as the expert. People will only take you seriously when you take yourself seriously.
Step 3: Provide Value in Your Content Strategy
I know a lot of us see influencers uploading pictures with random emojis and they can get so many likes. The reason why they can do this is because they already have a large audience.
However, if you’re just starting out, you need to give people a reason to decide that they want to follow you. If you are serious about building your online influence, you will need to create a content strategy and make sure that your content provides value.
For example, there are 2 fitness Instagram accounts that are new. One of them constantly posts selfies and OOTDs, with emojis as captions, whereas the other person in the other account posts workout tips along with before and after pictures.
Which account provides more value and which account are you more likely to follow if you are into fitness? That’s right, you’re more likely to pick the 2nd one that I’ve mention, the one that provides value.
So, think about the value you can provide, and share your story or advice as your caption to supplement the image or video that you are uploading to your feed. You will realise that the foundation of your content strategy is the key factor in building your following in the long run.
Step 4: Research Your Competitors
In order to be successful, you need to study and analyse the success of others. This does not mean you copy what your competitors are doing, but it means you try to identify what works and what does not.
Find content that is already performing well, create your own version of it, and use it as part of your content strategy.
In order to do this, you need to research your competition so that you know your target audience persona in order to create content that would spark their interests. And you need to be really specific. For example, you’re a music school that caters to music lessons for kids.
Now, you can’t just post pictures of your music school’s instruments, and expect to see high levels of engagement automatically. You will need to have a content strategy in place in order for people to find your feed valuable.
The best way to create content for high engagement is to research your competitors and see which posts are performing the best.
For example, you notice that most of your competitors’ posts are doing well because they are re-posting videos of student’s performances or tutorials that are receiving high engagement levels, follow their content strategy.
Their content is receiving high levels of engagement for a reason. And that reason is because it is a strategy that is already proven to attract the attention of their target audience. This concept applies to every niche.
Analyse which posts are getting more attention and why is that so? Take a look at which posts are not performing so well and why is that so?
You can do the same analysis for the content that you are uploading, and when you notice certain posts that are performing better and receiving higher engagement than the rest, try to create more of those types of content. If your videos perform better than your images, which is usually the case, then try to create more videos for your feed.
Step 5: Use targeted Hashtags
All of us know about hashtags, but are we using them correctly and effectively? Follow4follow and Like4like hashtags are so commonly used, and it’s not a proper strategy to attract targeted audience to your feed.
People who take part in these follow 4 follow schemes also tend to unfollow after someone follows, so it makes you lose followers very quickly. Plus, there is a low probability that they are interested in your niche and content.
Broad hashtags like #instagood, #instadaily and #OOTD are also too general and you’re not really targeting the right people.
Because these are broad hashtags used widely by millions of users, new posts are getting refreshed more often and your post goes down the “recent” feed and gets buried under all the new posts that are being uploaded every second, so you don’t actually get seen by many people at all.
Using more targeted and lower volume hashtags will help you get a higher chance of being seen by more people.
For example, if you are targeting mom entrepreneurs, you can try a low volume hashtag like what I did. The #bossmomlife hashtag had only 40.9K posts at the time, and it was easy to rank under Instagram’s top posts for it.
Once you have more followers and you get the hang of creating quality content, you can target higher volume hashtags and start ranking for those. So what I like to do is use a mix of both high and low volume hashtags each time I upload a post, to gain more visibility.
What strategies have you used to grow your influence on Instagram? Leave a comment below!
Now that you know the 5 exacts steps you can use to grow your influence on Instagram, do check out my free guide: How to Profit from Instagram, which shows you how to build your following from scratch, and get paid for doing what you love.
Also, if you want to join a community of like-minded boss babe entrepreneurs, freelancers and aspiring influencers, I have a closed group on Facebook called Boss Babes Rocking – Women Entrepreneur Network where I share up-to-date Instagram marketing advice to help you and your business grow.
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