Instagram feed of KMD Marketing and Design on a tablet showing you How to Grow your following


How to Grow Your Following

Instagram. It’s becoming a mainstay for many brands’ social media strategies. It’s a platform to connect and engage with people. Driving profitable traffic to landing pages, growing conversions, and building an engaged audience are all key factors to help you succeed.

Are you stuck trying to grow your following? If you’re ready to learn Instagram: how to grow your following to drive results on the platform, you will be surprised to learn it’s not as hard as we think or make it. If you’re ready, let’s tackle how to grow your followers on Instagram.

Why would people want to follow you?

First, let’s talk about why you want people to follow you on Instagram. I want you to take a moment and pause while you read and ask yourself why you or your brand would want to be followed on Instagram. Why would they benefit from following you? What is in for them?

Your followers are likely to hop on Instagram to see something entertaining, check out what their network is up to, seek out inspiration or some sort of educational content to help them reach their goals, and that is usually why we all log onto Instagram. Keep in mind your audience is looking to be entertained, inspired, and educated before you go to promote and sell to them.

In fact, a big reason people want to follow you is for your content – of course. Even bigger than that is the sense of community they get when engaging with the accounts they follow. Your audience is looking for a few distinct things. As a business, it is important to find a balance between consistency in your brand and authenticity.

Often times this can be done by splitting your content up into four categories; educate, entertain, inspire and promote. One way to approach this is to view these categories in the rule of thirds. What this means is a third spent on educational content, a third of your posts promoting your business and the final third split between entertaining and inspiring your audience. As a result, you will have a good balance of interesting content mixed with content that can benefit your business.

Nearly a billion people on the planet use Instagram every single month. However, is Instagram the right channel for your business and your brand? Again pause…

Is your audience on Instagram? If you answered yes, then do you know how they use Instagram, how they engage, and what content they are interested in? Now, do you think Instagram will help your brand and business to achieve business goals? If you are likely to answer these questions, then any social platform that you are trying to get involved with will really help you focus on why you are present on social media.

Now take this as an exercise for yourself and see how social media can work into your strategy to drive results that can grow your business.

Why is posting consistently crucial?

Second, there is an importance to posting consistently. When it comes to social media posting, keeping a regular posting schedule can have a compound effect over time. Like habits, making social media posts consistent is a formation of a habit. Making a choice to post three times a week, every week, is more consistent than posting here and there. Additionally, there are tools available to help you excel at making small improvements to your social media strategy. Hootsuite and creating a social media calendar are just two ways to kick-start your consistent posting.

Now that you have an idea of what your audience is looking for. Hopefully, you’ve thought about what your business is looking to get out of your social media strategy as you look to dive further into consistency. The more your audience engages with your content, the more you will be seen by your current and potential followers. Posting consistently is key. As a result, there will be more engagement you get on your posts, which will lead to more of your content being seen.

Instagram Algorithm

You need engagement in your content to attract new followers. It’s that simple. However, there is the all-encompassing Instagram algorithm. Yes, the A-word! This determines whether people will be served your content or your page. First, the relationship is defined as likes or engagement with content in the past. This can include direct messages (DM), tagging friends in your posts, and leaving comments, shares, and views. All this engagement will help them see more of your content in the future. Next, if they are interested to engage with business accounts, they are more likely to see content from businesses in the future.

The algorithm wants to give people content they like to see. Finally, timeliness means that posts more recent are pushed to the top of people’s feeds. The key to this piece of the algorithm is to know when YOUR audience is engaging with your posts versus an industry standard that says certain times and days are ideal times to post. On Instagram, head over to your analytics. This is where you can discover when YOUR audience is online. This metric will show you when key timeframes to post are. This will help the time you put into your content pay off. The more you post during these times, the greater your ROI.

Consistency and Social Media Management Tools

Consistent posting drives audience growth and engagement. A good rule of thumb is to implement consistency while you build this habit. Beginners aim for two posts a week. Intermediate aim for four posts a week. And advanced aim for seven posts a week. This is a good starting point to growing your followers twice as fast by posting consistently compared to those who post less than once a week. Furthermore, Tailwind claims “daily posting will grow followers four times faster than posting less than once a week.”

Hootsuite or Sprout Social are two social media management tools that can help you schedule or post in batch work so you are not feeling reactive daily in posting. They both offer free trials, with Hootsuite offering a free account for those just starting out to help you build consistency. Keep in mind with free trials; there are limitations to how many posts can be scheduled at a time.

Now, after COVID-19, everyone, or at least most people, look to social media to connect and get the latest updates on how to support and do business with their favorite companies.

One challenge now is going to be what to post. You can learn more by checking out Social Media Posting: How to Create Engaging Content that Stands Out.

How to Make Your Posts Findable

Finally, we want to cover how your audience will find your Instagram account. If you have an Instagram page, how did your followers find you? This can be applied to all social media platforms. A few thoughts as to where followers may come from could be:

Three areas to grow your following

1. Prompted through an email, website, or in-store.
There are many ways to creatively promote your social channels. For example, you can promote your social media channels in your email, website, in-store, or even on your car. The ideas are endless!

2. They discover your content through hashtags
Hashtags help increase the visibility of your content across all social platforms. Not just Instagram. They are public tags to help people find your posts. The rule of thumb for Instagram is to try to incorporate 1-3 in your captions, followed up with 9-15 at the bottom of your caption or in a separate comment.

3. Your post is shared with them through a friend
In addition to your network being your biggest champion, you can encourage people to follow your accounts. This could be as simple as giveaways or contests to get new followers. One example of this is creating a post with instructions on how to enter the contest. Typically the caption reads:

  • Follow my Instagram page
  • Like my post
  • Tag a friend

Not only will you grow your following, but you increase your engagement. This will result in being rewarded with more visibility and excitement for them to win a prize.

Action Items

We covered a lot of ground today. Don’t get discouraged or fear making a mistake when it comes to your social media posts. I have felt this way at times. Our efforts, most of the time, are focused on our client’s success, and we also are inconsistent with our social media presence. Every day is a new opportunity for improvement. My last bit of advice is don’t overthink it too much; the only way to improve is through small changes and practice. I promise you social media has a short memory, and mistakes just mean you are human.

If you learned something that you are going to apply to your Instagram account this week, tag us and let others know how you’re educating yourself to grow your business while showing up for your audience.

Hey there I'm kayla dammann of KMD Marketing.

Thanks for stopping by the blog—I love educating small business owners + nonprofits about event marketing, SEO, website design, and social media strategy.

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