In 2019, Instagram remains among the creme de la creme of social media marketing. After all, the number of monthly active Instagram users has grown to 1 billion, according to recent social stats. Unfortunately for most small business owners, standing out on the platform can be difficult, especially when starting from scratch.

So here are the top methods we swear by for building an authentic Instagram following from zero to infinity:

Use Hashtags

Hashtagging is Instagram’s primary avenue for discovery. If you want people to see your post, add a relevant hashtag.

While there’s much debate about how many hashtags are ideal for maximum engagement (some experts say 1-2, some say 8-10, and others say all 30), the quality of the hashtags you use is what matters most.

Generic hashtags like #love and #fun may be uber popular, but with millions of uses daily, your content will be pushed down the search feed in milliseconds.

Try using targeted, community-based, and city-based hashtags instead. Own a yoga studio? Use hashtags like #wellnesswednesday, #wellnesswarrior, and #bewell. Run an e-commerce fashion brand? Use hashtags like #ootd, #fashionforward, #stylediary, and other popular hashtags top style influencers use.

Want to know if your hashtag choices are high quality? Search that hashtag’s feed. Like what you see? Use it! See a bunch of spam or unrelated content? It’s probably a good one to avoid.

We like to use around 10 small hashtags with less than 100k posts, 10 medium sized hashtags with 100k-1 million posts, and 10 large hashtags with millions of posts. This mix gives just the right amount of instant exposure boost and long-term search-ability.

 

Use Gary Vee’s $1.80 Strategy

In 2018, Gary Vee dropped his now popular $1.80 strategy for Instagram growth. Here’s how it works: Make a list of the top 10 hashtags relevant to your industry and leave your “two cents” on the top 9 posts each day.

In his own words: “It’s .02 cents, on 9 posts for 10 hashtags everyday. That all adds up to $1.80.” It’s a simple but effective engagement tactic you can start using right now for your business’s Instagram page. You’ll get more exposure, increase your followers, and raise your digital karma by putting good energy out into the social world.

Also engage daily with the people you follow, your own followers, and the new audiences you want to attract.

The heart of social media is being social, and engagement is the secret sauce to Instagram growth, so provide meaningful comments and contribute to real conversation. No spamming or promoting – just 100% authentic person-to-person engagement.

 

Use Facebook Groups

Are you a member of any industry related Facebook groups? Many dedicate special days each week for social media promotion, and it’s the perfect time to share your Instagram link and gain several new followers quickly. Introduce yourself and share your business, what people can expect from following you, and the proper link to your Instagram.

Don’t belong to any? No problem! Do a Google or Facebook search for Facebook groups in your city, industry, or target market.

Own a bridal boutique? Join groups for wedding professionals and brides-to-be. Have a skincare brand? Join groups for skincare gurus, beauty enthusiasts, and makeup lovers.

Most are free to join, open for the public, and made for networking – a great place to promote your social pages and your business as a whole in a welcoming environment.

Just remember: Facebook groups usually have rules. Only promote your Instagram page on the days when it’s allowed.

 

Follow People

Unless you’re on the Oprah and Beyonce level of influence, following ‘0’ people won’t cut it. Think of Instagram as a virtual meet and greet. Don’t stand in the corner and wait around for someone to speak to you. Sometimes you have to be the person who extends the handshake first.

On your new account, start following 50 new people and brand pages daily (or more if you feel inclined), including influencers in your industry, your competition’s followers, people in your target market, and fellow business owners in similar or complementary fields. The key is to follow people whose content you will actually enjoy seeing in your feed and are likely to follow back (#mutual).

Beware of follow-to-unfollow, mass following, or other sleazy tactics. They rub most people the wrong way and will result in you gaining a bad digital reputation. Slow and steady growth beats quick, spammy growth any day.

 

Add Your Instagram Link Everywhere

Last but not least, promote your Instagram link anywhere you possibly can. You’d be surprised at how many businesses we come across daily with active Instagram pages yet no link to them on their websites.

You never know what a consumer’s first touchpoint with your brand will be. Ensure you’re cross-connected on every platform and communications avenue you own.

Here are a few places where you can add a link to your Instagram page:

  • On your website
  • In your email signature
  • In the footer of your email newsletter
  • In the bio and description sections on your other platforms, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube
  • On your business card
  • In your guest posting and press feature bios

Growing a real, engaged following on Instagram in 2019 is all about being proactive. You can’t sit back and wait for your dream customers to find you – go out and find them first!

Don’t have time to implement these tips and want to take social media off your plate forever? Chat with us now in the chatbox or send an email to info@reinventedmarketing.com to learn more about our social media marketing services.

Reinvented Marketing is a Houston-based creative marketing studio for women-powered businesses. We help small businesses build irresistible brands and amplify their message, services, and products online through strategic social media and digital marketing.

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