If you ever struggled to gain followers on Instagram, you probably googled for solutions. Experts have written hundreds of posts on this topic and are offering you some kind of solutions or tips. Heck, even we have some on our website:
- Top Methods to Grow Your Instagram Account
- How to get your Instagram followers more engaged
- Guide to Influencer Marketing on Instagram
But, have you ever noticed how difficult is to find an article about how to find (and gain) real followers? To find the followers that are truly interested in the niche your business is in, and love what you do? Yeah, I know it’s difficult. But as we don’t have time and luxury to sit and wait when they will stumble upon our Instagram profile, I have put up together some tips on how and where to find them.
Use Instagram lead ads
This may be the most obvious and most effective way (for most niches) to find targeted leads. Nowadays ads are designed to help businesses collect customers’ information, such as email addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, job positions, etc. That way businesses can discover more about customers and improve their marketing campaigns.
To create an Instagram ad, you will actually need a Facebook account, since is made in Facebook’s Ads Manager. To create a lead ad, you will need to select “lead generation” as your marketing goal. You have to keep in mind the specifications for IG ads, such as the size of photos. Also be careful with putting text on the photo, not just because it may be covered depending on the user’s device, but also because Instagram has some rules about it and your ad could be degraded.
When you collect the information from leads ad, you can later use it to create a lookalike audience e.g. (We wrote about lookalike audience in our post The best tips for mastering Facebook ads which you may find useful here.) That is how you will create and expand your community of targeted leads.
Use your BIO section wisely
As Instagram is not the happiest place for sharing your links, you have that one opportunity: your BIO. The link you will put there should point users to wherever you want them to. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your web page, it can also be the link for newsletter subscription, sales, some kind of survey, etc. You can change the link as often as you want/need to.
If the link is too long, use the shortener, but it would be better if your brand name is visible (in the link). Add a call to action just above it in your BIO. As you are not able to insert it in your posts (at least not clickable link) you can promote it the most common way: by writing “link in BIO” in your captions.
Except for the link, your BIO can have up to 150 characters, so you have to use them wisely. And it is not an easy task – to deliver your message in such a small space. Luckily, we can always find some extraordinary accounts and see how they do it!
You can see three examples of an effectively used bio. Especially the second, which literally used four words, but I actually think it’s weird and funny at the same time. So, if you don’t know what to write, do research, take a look at the accounts in your niche.
Try hard around your goal
The best incentive for your users is a strong call-to-action. We were posting about power words before, but the most common phrases that work on Instagram are:
- swipe up
- shop now
- click the link in bio etc.
When you pair the right words with the right content, your call-to-actions will always work to help you achieve your goal. You can also put emoji in captions or stickers in stories because these proved that they draw user’s attention. Just don’t overdo it.
Collaborate with an influencer
Even some marketing experts are still skeptical about this method, partnering with influencers can have a high effect on gaining leads for your brand. It is very important to choo the right influencer, though. You should pick someone who has a strong community built, and it is somehow connected to what you do so you can blend in his/her post smoothly. Also, pay attention to followers overlap – it is good if you have a similar audience, which means his/her followers will also like you. But it should be just partially because your goal is to find new leads.
Reliability is important, too. Before you decide who to hire, research how their followers are reacting to them and their content. A great influencer has the trust of the followers, and that implies that the audience is influenced when bringing the decisions.
Run a contest
We were posting about this topic before and you can find the text here because we always consider a contest or something similar (giveaway, poll, sale, promotion, etc.) to be a great way to find new leads. At that point, it may be questionable how highly targeted they truly are, because there are always people who will share/post/follow somebody just to have the opportunity to win the prize. But, this is a small percentage. If you design your contest smartly, you will eliminate them. For example, ask users to complete a survey or elaborate on why they want the prize in their comment. People who are just randomly sharing stuff for the prizes will simply be too lazy to do that.
Also, consider running an exclusive sale. Make it only on Instagram, and with limited time, so you will create a feeling of urgency. (Which always works well.) Add call-to-action like “tag a friend” or something similar that will spread the word.
Find followers of your competitors
And by finding, we don’t mean stealing, nor doing anything that you would consider wrong. It is simply a way to find people who like certain things that are related to your business. For example, on Facebook, a great place for this is engaging in FB groups. Instagram is a different kind of platform, not focused so much on communication. So, how will you search for people who are interested in your business? How to reach them?
One way is to look at who is following your direct competition. The more similar business is to yours, the higher chances are that their audience will also like you. But you can’t just pop up in their comments and ask people to follow you. Because, that is something extremely rude and not effective as you would think (again, because it’s rude and people can see that, so they’ll probably be annoyed with you), and will most likely end up with your account being blocked. Simply said: don’t do that.
The best option is to use some kind of automation tool or software, like Jarvee. That way you’ll be able to easily extract the audience from the accounts you want to, and it will save you a lot of time and hassle. You will get a list of people who can then follow or contact. However, take note that this is not allowed to do automatically, and with Instagram tightening the rules every day, you have to be careful not to break the daily limits.
Search through relevant hashtags
We posted about the importance of hashtags for your content (and your account altogether) and mentioned there that you need to research to find unique but profoundly targeted hashtags you will be using. To be relevant, those hashtags need to be connected to your niche, business, brand, or your goals and missions. That is how followers will find you. But you can also find them through the same hashtags.
For example, we use #socialmediamarketing in our Instagram posts. It is a simple niche hashtag that is directly connected to what we do. It is also high density, with over 12 million posts tagged with it (at the moment I am writing this).
You can see that the current top post has 523 likes and 83 comments. This post is not connected to social media agency work, but we will use it just for an example here. For your purposes, you will find something more similar to your content.
Around 600 people interacted with just one post tagged with just one hashtag that is relevant to you. Since the accounts which are visible through hashtag search are public, you can also see the people who liked and commented on it. So, here are 600 people who are interested in social media marketing.
Engage with their posts before you follow them, or do any kind of call-to-action with them. You should comment and like the posts of people who are posting under the hashtags you chose. It is never a good idea to just randomly follow people, and we are not suggesting it, but rather we would like you to find those people and start communication with them. Because, it won’t matter if you find great sources and your approach is poor, or your content. You have to offer some value, and be awesome along with being smart.