About The Author: Lina Barker went from hosting events at the Houses of Parliament with her previous company, to launching a successful male grooming brand called Aaron Wallace. Lina has been recognised by Forbes, Elle Magazine, Okay Africa and BET for her entrepreneurial achievements to date, and has gotten her natural hair care brand launched in Sainsbury’s, ASOS, Liberty London, Debenhams and more.
Over the years, Instagram has become a crucial channel in the marketing mix, helping brands and consumers engage on a deeper, more authentic level. Its powerful impact offers an essential lifeline to small businesses working on shoestring budgets. Without it, for a large percent of the digital population, you simply don’t exist.
The question I’m often asked is ‘How do I grow my Instagram page?’
While it’s important to grow your audience, if done incorrectly, it can negatively affect your engagement levels – which is the last thing you want!
Growing a page isn’t hard. There are lots of corner-cutting-tools available online that promise rapid growth – and some actually deliver. There are also tricks you can employ yourself to grow your page at speed, but at what cost? The whole point of a business Instagram page is to grow a community of followers who become customers and, eventually, advocates for your business.
To accomplish that, there are no short-cuts. You have to invest time and effort to achieve effective Instagram growth.
I’ve grown my brand page from 0 to over 50k followers. Here are five strategies I’ve used successfully over the years to make that happen.
Five Tips For Growing Your Instagram Brand Page
1. Understand your brand story and your target audience
People connect with stories and are drawn to authenticity. Think about your brand and ask yourself:
- how it came to be
- what problem you are solving
- why you are the best possible solution for your customers
This doesn’t need to be a complex or long story – in fact, the simpler the better. You then need to clearly define who your target audience is. Who will you be speaking to? What kind of things are they interested in and motivated by?
TOP TIP: Check out your direct competitors Instagram pages and see who is interacting with their brand – as well as what content is performing best.
2. Plan your content using relevant key dates
Create a content calendar that contains key dates that you can participate in over the year. This calendar should be constantly reviewed and updated. Being organized and planning ahead puts you in the best possible position to keep your page relevant and engaging.
TOP TIP: In addition to having your own calendar, you can make use of scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Later to set up posts in advance.
3. Use relevant hashtags to increase discovery
Hashtags are a great way to segment the vast Instagram community into relevant conversations and posts.
Be selective. I know it’s tempting to use as many hashtags as you can think of, but this leads to a messy post that comes across inauthentic. I’d suggest having 2 or 3 hashtags that you use on a consistent basis, and adding 1 or 2 hashtags that are specific to the post you are publishing. Go for a small but relevant selection for best results.
TOP TIP: If you know what keywords you’re trying to rank for on Google, see if you can sync those with popular Instagram hashtags.
4. Be engaged with your own audience and relevant pages
Instagram is a community. As much as you want people to engage with your page, others will want the same for theirs. And they’re far more likely to interact with you if you are responsive. Make sure you follow pages that are relevant to your brand and engage with their posts.
TOP TIP: Ask thought provoking questions and share feedback on posts and compliment when suitable. Just remember to stay within your brand tone.
5. Collaborate to increase your reach in an authentic way
Working with other brands and pages is a great way to tap into new audiences. Find complimentary pages that you can run giveaways or creative joint campaigns with. For example: a hair brand could partner with a salon brand – or a drink brand with a snacks brand.
TOP TIP: Make a target list and start to reach out to people for collaborations. Your content calendar can offer great prompts for certain key dates.
Finally, remember that Instagram is an ongoing activity that works best when you are consistent. Be patient with it. As tempting as it is, avoid cutting corners. Instead, focus on creating a community that grows as you grow – one that develops an authentic relationship with your brand.