How does a new Instagram page go from zero to 1,000+ followers? These five steps will take any new business account from an empty feed to a bustling community in just a few weeks.
Instagram is one of the most exciting and valuable social networks for small businesses in 2020. With 63% of the billion people using the platform every month, there is a huge chance that you will find an audience on this network.
Like many social media platforms, Instagram promises fame and fortune for brands that discover its inner workings and hidden secrets. It has a lot of valuable data that can be mined for growth, and many small companies have made their name by focusing marketing efforts on Instagram.
Here is a foolproof way to grow a new Instagram account without falling into the many “short-cut” traps laid out for novice marketers along the way. This is fast growth, done right.
Warning! Shortcuts Stunt Instagram Growth
Once a new account goes live, it won’t be long before private messages start rolling in that promise you “rapid growth” and “more followers” for just a small fee. Entrepreneurs need to be aware of what going down this road entails and how it can hinder long-term growth.
- Rule #1: There is no shortcut to real community growth
These Instagram marketers use bots to follow business pages, like and comment on them too. It creates an artificial sense that a real community exists for a new company. The only problem is that it’s not true. The community isn’t real, they won’t engage for long, and they will never buy anything.
It’s tempting to spend $12.99 and get 1,000 fake followers. Ultimately, it’s pointless.
Here is how Instagram bots work.
Buying thousands of fake followers ruins a company’s ability to monitor its data and use it to improve its marketing results on the platform. The data is false, and as a result—any tests that are run are seriously distorted.
>> Don’t be tempted to buy fake Instagram followers; they will harm brand credibility.
#1: Put a Simple Instagram Strategy in Place
Instead of wasting time and money on useless shortcuts, spend it on a strategy that works. Instagram growth takes time, but it does not have to cost a fortune.
What small business owners need is for their accounts to grow incrementally—or slowly over time. To achieve this, a basic strategy is all that is required.
- Set a community growth goal of 1,000 followers per month
- Aim to get a few comments and at least 10-20 likes on each post
- Always add 10-14 relevant hashtags (for discoverability)
- Create unique posts that intentionally prompt reactions, responses, or discussion
- Automate the hard part, and spend an hour a day engaging
- Measure your results
This essential strategy focuses on consistency in content and engagement to add followers to a new business account. People need a solid reason to follow a business, and that reason is usually rooted in storytelling, great media, and valuable information.
If an entrepreneur can figure out how to add 1,000 followers to their community every month, there is no stopping their incremental growth. Add, remove, and test new tactics to achieve that threshold each month and ensure that your Instagram account is growing.
#2: Become a Hashtag Scientist
Adding Instagram hashtags to daily posts will get you a 12.6% increase in engagement than posts with none. Hashtags are a big part of Instagram’s success and the science behind growth on this platform. Every hashtag leads to an audience who may come across your content.
The Science of Hashtags:
Hashtag science relies on three elements—which hashtags are used, how often, and when. Continually researching the hashtags that your niche uses is essential to create brand visibility and reach. This means posting several pieces of content at a specific time of day.
- Use Hashtagify or Hashtag Expert to research relevant hashtags.
- Follow influencers and take note of the hashtags they use.
- Find out when specific audience segments use Instagram and post at those times.
- Post clusters of content, never a single solitary post.
When growth is a priority, one post will not make much impact. On Instagram, it’s important to post a few times (1-5) within a certain time slot—so that the chances of people seeing your content is higher. Otherwise, they may miss it because there are so many other posts to see.
#3: Automate the Content Weight
The two biggest issues with running a successful Instagram strategy are content demand and post frequency. Entrepreneurs simply don’t have the time to spend hours every day creating multiple posts to keep their account populated and their audience engaged.
The only way around this problem is to pay a content creator to create posts for your company. It’s surprisingly affordable on a marketplace like Fiverr, where you can get monthly posts for as little as $20.00. Ideally, 150 posts are required for a fast-growth strategy.
Budgeting for content on a shoestring, you can make this happen for as low as $100.00 a month. It’s also possible to sign up for a Pinterest account and curate images for an Instagram business feed.
Many small business owners use Pinterest as a social network for collecting fresh images for their Instagram feeds. Simply spend a Saturday every month adding text and hashtags to these images, and all that is needed is a free scheduling tool.
Tools like Hootsuite or Buffer have free options, where posts will publish automatically at specific times of the day. Doing this will free up your time to engage, which is the more practical use of time.
#4: To Get Engagement, Give Engagement
- Follow influencers, large and small.
- Comment, share, like, and respond to their posts.
- Focus on posts that target your chosen hashtags.
To succeed on Instagram, a company must give engagement to get it in return. Once an audience sees that a real person or team is authentically behind the brand, it will come. Create thoughtful comments and add value wherever you can.
Never directly advertise your products or services in direct messages. Instead, focus the strategy on giving, and people will quickly see the worth in following and engaging with your brand.
#5: Grow by Growing Other Accounts
An Instagram strategy is incomplete without collaboration with other people or companies on the platform. For a new company with no presence, micro-influencers can be extremely beneficial.
These individuals have audiences between 1,000-10,000 people, and they are usually very responsive to offers, free products, and media collaborations. Whenever you invest in a micro-influencer, make sure that it’s about growing their audience and not yours.
Instagram influencers can do what they do because of sponsorships, so don’t enforce any strange rules, and let the influencer come up with an idea to promote your brand. The best thing you can do is free them to be creative on behalf of your company.
When a small business owner uses these five lightning-fast steps, incremental growth is all but guaranteed. Automated content, regular engagement, and strategic collaborations will help you establish a powerful and engaged Instagram community for your brand.