Starting a new Instagram account for your business can seem like a daunting prospect, especially as many entrepreneurs don’t know where to begin when it comes to deciding what to post, when to post it and how to gain new followers. In this article i’ll be explaining how you can optimise your Instagram profile and find potential followers that will love your content.
The trick to getting your first 1,000 followers lies in establishing a clear niche on your Instagram profile. Sure you can get your first few followers by asking your friends and family to follow your account, but not all of them are going to be interested in your content – no matter how supportive they are. Instead your profile needs to speak directly to your target customer (or follower) so that when they land on your account, they can instantly decide “Yes, this is for me”.
From there you can begin to develop an Instagram profile that speaks to your core group of followers, as they will have a genuine interest in the topic or industry that you’re writing about. The alternative to this is to create a generic profile, which is constantly chopping and changing from one topic to the next, and fails to capture an audience that would be willing to not only follow your content, but also invest in you financially, by purchasing your products and services.
Before we dig into how you can start gaining new followers, it’s worth noting that this isn’t going to be a quick process (unless you implement paid ads), and it will require some time & effort on your part, however in following the steps that I outline in this post; you will create an active following that genuinely want to hear more from you – which is better than having 1 million followers that couldn’t give a $#*!.
How to optimise your Instagram profile
The first thing you’ll want to do is establish a brand for your business or blog, which is something that you may have already done, but no worries if not. Instagram is a visual platform so the most recognisable part of your brand, other than the logo, will be your colour scheme. The colour palette on your Instagram feed could be the deciding factor whether someone follows you or not, so it shouldn’t be ignored when planning out your content. This post from Hubspot has a great write-up on how to come up with your own colour palette.
You should also look to include a short and to-the-point bio on your Instagram profile, something that says exactly who you are, what you do and how you can help the reader. In this section you can also include a link to your website, which is a great way to increase blog traffic and sales.
Of course though your colour scheme, profile picture and a well-written bio doesn’t add up to a ‘brand’. You’ll also want to start creating content that applies directly to your followers. Remember that your role should be to help others, for instance if you were targeting bloggers, then it’s likely that the majority of them will be struggling to increase traffic on their website. Your content can provide them with help on how to generate that traffic, thus establishing yourself as a credible source of information in that niche.
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How to find & attract your ideal followers
How can you possibly start gaining new followers, when nobody can see your content? It’s something that I was often asking myself when I first started out on Instagram, until I began focusing on the word ‘social’ in social media. It dawned on me that if I genuinely want to gain my first 1,000 followers on Instagram, then I needed to start socialising with others too.
The easiest way to do that is to first highlight a number of hashtags that your ideal followers will likely be using, for instance it’s highly likely that people within the blogging niche will be using hashtags like #blog, #blogging and #blogger. If you can locate your ideal follower’s content, it gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself to them and gain their interest.
Once you’ve got your list of hashtags that you reckon your ideal follower will be using, you’ll want to go through each one on a regular basis and begin leaving genuine comments on the most recent posts. The reason why I stress that your comments should be genuine, is that too often when I suggest this method, people will just leave generic comments such as “Great post” or “Love this” and it ends up being a waste of time. Why? Because people just see those comments as spam and ignore them.
The best way to engage with others on Instagram
Instead of leaving generic comments, you should first be taking a moment to actually check out the post that you’re engaging with. Crazy right? Yes, this may take longer to do but it’s totally worth it when trying to gather someone’s interest. Once you’ve read the post caption, analysed the image/video and even checked out the author’s feed, you can now leave a comment that’s going to entice said author into checking out your own account.
Ideally the comments you will leave will either entice the author into conversation, or at the very least be interesting enough to have them check out your profile. The best way to do this is to either ask a question, leave a compliment or preferably – both! You can do this by first complimenting them on the post or their perspective, referencing part of their caption and then asking a follow-up question in relation to the post. Notice how I didn’t tell you to promote your own account.
Don’t worry about not getting any comments at first, as that usually can take a while. Instead focus on producing regular, quality content that provides worthwhile value to your ideal follower (or customer). Producing great content is just one part of the puzzle though, as often with social media you get what you give. In order to increase your engagement, you’ll want to start engaging with others too. If you’re consistent with social media, your results will be too.
Do you have any questions or feedback on how to get your first 1,000 Instagram followers? If so, please let me know in the comments below!