Instagram is a powerful platform for you to connect with your audience. It’s a place to make your brand visible and help it grow too. Having your business present on Instagram is critical if you want to reach more customers. 

Here are some interesting Instagram statistics that highlight why Instagram matters for businesses:

  • 1 billion people use Instagram every month
  • Generation Z, followed by Millennials, forms the largest age-based demographic on Instagram
  • Older demographics are also active on the platform. 23 percent of 50-to-64-year-olds say they’re using the platform
  • 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile every day
  • 11% of social media users in the U.S. use Instagram to shop for products
  • 81% of people use it to research products and services
  • And every month, 130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts. More and more people are making purchase decisions directly through Instagram 

It’s clear from the numbers that your business needs to be active and selling on Instagram.

The image-based platform allows you to create a strong brand presence, connect with your audience directly, sell products online, create ads, and grow!

One of the most important things any business needs to do to get the best out of Instagram is to get more followers. 

In this post, we’ll look at some powerful tips that you can apply to make your brand shine on Instagram and get real followers.

Real followers are actual people who care about your brand and the products you have. This is opposed to getting ‘fake’ or disinterested followers online — something that happens when businesses try to buy a following or when people try to win over an audience that’s not relevant to them. 

Let’s take a look at practical and effective techniques to win over real followers who will engage with your brand. 

1. Develop a brand personality

If you want your Instagram profile to be impactful, then it needs to stand out. To do this, create a brand image or an online Instagram persona that clearly distinguishes it from other brands. 

A quirky personality, a specific way to present your content, or some kind of ‘wow factor’ is important to brand yourself on Instagram. 

Rosie Clayton on Instagram has a clear approach to her brand and content. The use of sunglasses and wildly colorful backgrounds help to form her unique brand statement. 

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Another example, Nikhat Illustration, has branded herself by creating short, close-up videos of her painting and pattern-making work.

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Let’s look at a few tips for developing your own brand for Instagram. Remember, that Instagram is a visual platform and because of this, your best bet would be to focus on images and videos and to avoid blocks of text. 

Tips for developing your brand on Instagram

  • Choose a set of colors or tones to focus on across your posts, i.e. create a color palette and try to stick to colors within the palette
  • Create a unique angle in which to present your content. This can include the camera angle you use to film content, the material you use, or values you want to convey
  • Use a specific filter and apply it consistently across all your posts and stories
  • Add a logo or non-intrusive watermark to your content
  • Focus on creating high-quality images and videos. Today, you have smartphones with great camera functionality. It takes some creativity and effort, but you should be able to make appealing content using just your phone
  • Make use of editing apps and tools that allow you to tweak your pictures to create the best effect

These are just some ways to develop your unique brand image on Instagram. Of course, there are many approaches. You can use specific sounds in your video post, leverage captions, emojis, and other elements to brand yourself and your content. 

2. Optimize your Instagram bio and username

Your username and bio are important parts of your Instagram presence where you can engage people. 

Try to create a simple and memorable username without complicated symbols or emojis — although these elements can work if your content takes off. 

Your bio space is another area where people should know what you do or what you’re about the minute they glance at it. This is a small amount of space in which you can direct users to do something. 

Prioritize what’s important for you. Do you want to get more followers? Or do you want people to buy from you? 

Depending on what your goals are, leave a relevant call to action in your bio. Ask visitors to your profile to follow you, visit your website, or contribute to your fundraiser. 

Also, you can add hashtags, emojis, and other interesting details to convey your personality to visitors and inspire them to take action. Take a look at this example of a simple, effective Instagram bio from Not Just Chocolate:

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An Instagram account using emojis in their bio.

3. Publish content regularly

Social media marketing is hard work. You need to create fresh and interesting content that has to break through content created by millions of other people competing in the same space. And you need to post this content on a daily basis if not multiple times a day. 

If you want to get more followers, then you need to post something every day. Fortunately, there are a few techniques that can make this task easier. 

Create a content calendar: A content calendar can be a spreadsheet or a social media management tool that lets you plan what you’re going to post, when, and where. 

Before you actively start publishing content, create a content calendar for at least 2 weeks. It’s a good idea to plan for holiday events and other important days that you might miss if you don’t create content in advance. 

Schedule your posts: A social media management tool allows you to schedule your posts so that they get published automatically. 

When you use such a tool, you free up more time to actively manage your business. And to respond to customers who comment on your posts.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, has a built-in Creator Studio platform where you can create, edit, and schedule your posts in advance. Or you could use a tool like Constant Contact to manage all your social media in one place.

Choose a good tool with the right features, and you could even collaborate with multiple people in a team to build your content. 

4. Engage with your audience

It’s common knowledge that you should engage with people to get more followers. However, few businesses or individuals realize that engagement is an active process that you need to carry out on an ongoing basis. 

When engaging with people, organize your efforts as you would the creation of your posts. Here are some things you should do:

  • Find influencers and Instagram users who are interested in your niche
  • Like their posts
  • Leave meaningful comments when they post interesting content
  • Always respond to people who comment on your posts
  • Follow users and influencers in your area of interest

These activities need to be done every day. People respond to brands and people who have a real interest in a topic or idea. And your activity level on Instagram will have an impact on how people perceive your business. 

Reach out to others, and you’ll soon see an increase in the number of people who follow you. The key is to do this regularly. 

5. Optimize your captions

While the bulk of your content’s appeal will lie in your images and videos, your captions play an important role too. 

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Nykaa Fashion uses pop culture references and a humorous caption to engage users

Captions can reinforce your images by adding context and emotions, and by convincing your audience to take action. 

Remember to use a friendly and casual way of writing when you build your captions. You won’t go wrong by adding emojis as they help convey emotions that otherwise fail to come across with just text. 

And you can also add hashtags to your captions. This will make your post visible when people look for content using that hashtag on Instagram. We’ll go more in-depth on Instagram hashtags below.

6. Know your audience

The main source of inspiration for your content needs to be your audience. Learn more about the kind of people who would be interested in your products. Go beyond understanding what they want and look at what they need. 

For example, in my business, we help people build their website by providing them with free WordPress-related resources. But what we really focus on is what our audience needs — and that’s to run their own successful business. It’s this main drive or ‘Why’ of our audience that inspires us to create products like a form tool, an opt-in popup tool, an analytics plugin, and more. 

A great way to learn about your audience is to discover what they’re posting on Instagram! Go through specific hashtags and see what kind of content is popular. 

Look at what people are responding to or what kind of questions they’re asking. You’ll get plenty of inspiration on how to make videos and images that people will care about. 

7. Use the right hashtags and create one too

Hashtags allow you to ‘label’ your content so that when other people are looking for specific information, your post will show up for the hashtag that people used to find content. 

Doing research is critical since using the right hashtags will create the most exposure for your brand. 

If your business is focused on selling art supplies, tags like #art will help. But if you want to reach out to a more specific audience, then it’s important to choose niche hashtags that reach serious users. 

A business that sells painting supplies could leverage tags like #watercolorpainting or even #watercolorflowers to reach serious art fans who love to work with watercolor paints. 

Another important approach is to create your own branded hashtag. This can simply be a hashtag that uses your brand name. Or you can create a themed hashtag that relates to your business. 

KFC’s #NationalFriedChickenDay and Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke are popular examples of brand-created hashtags that people relate to. 

Focus on using and creating hashtags that bring people to your content as a key part of your strategy. 

8. Create giveaway contests

Everyone loves winning something or getting something for free. When you create a giveaway contest for Instagram, you’ll instantly create a buzz and drive more attention to your brand. 

If your website runs on WordPress, you can use a WordPress giveaway plugin to create a giveaway page on your website. 

From your giveaway page, ask users to click on the links that connect to your Instagram profile and also enable them to be a part of your giveaway. 

In this way, you can get more followers or to send people to view your Instagram profile. 

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There are different types of giveaways you can create. Build a giveaway around the holiday season or make a special product launch giveaway post. If you’ve passed a specific milestone, like celebrating five years since your business launched, then that can be a great giveaway idea too. 

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Example of how to do an Instagram giveaway, from sixthreezero bikes.

When making your giveaway, give clear instructions on your post. Ask users to like, comment, tag others, repost your content, and more. 

9. Leverage Instagram formats like Stories, Reels, and Live Videos

There are several ways you can create content for Instagram. You can post pictures or videos to your feed. You can also create Stories, Reels, and Live videos.

Formats like Stories have a casual aspect to them. Stories disappear after 24 hours, and this creates opportunities to connect with people through light-hearted content. You can also offer time-bound offers like special discounts that disappear when the Story does. 

Use these additional content formats on Instagram to brand yourself so that people find you approachable and authentic. 

Stories, Live videos, and Reels are a chance to show the human side of your brand. When people see that there are real people behind a brand, they’ll be more likely to trust you. 

Over time, this leads to engagement and purchases. Here are some specific ways you can add more ‘juice’ to Stories. 

Include hashtags in your Instagram Stories

Make your Stories connect to the right audience by adding hashtags to them. Instagram has fun sticker options that let you add hashtags easily to your Stories. You can also tag brands or people in your content using the @mention feature. 

Small additions like these make your posts more interactive and draw attention to your content. 

Add location stickers

Adding a location to your post can boost your content visibility to a high degree depending on the nature of your content and your audience’s interests.

People look for information about other people, businesses, and events near them. By adding a location sticker to your post, you can create exposure for your brand in a more targeted way. This is especially helpful for small businesses with brick-and-mortar stores. Use location stickers to draw attention to events and to make your business visible to people online.

10. Share your Instagram Feed on Your Website

So far, we’ve looked at ways that you can leverage Instagram to build your following. But you can also send people to your Instagram profile from your website. 

Using a social feeds plugin, create an Instagram Feeds page for your WordPress website. 

When people arrive on the page, they’ll get a snapshot of your Instagram content. Many brands use this in creative ways to achieve specific goals. 

A cosmetics company could create a hashtag feed featuring user-created posts where customers have done their make up with the brand’s products. 

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Here’s a great example of a website’s Instagram feed from Fenty Beauty

A fitness company or an artist could create a page where they include an Instagram feed featuring their work. 

By adding Instagram feeds to your website, you can create social proof. You’ll also let users know that you’re on social media and have more ways to reach your audience. 

Back to you

We’ve covered a number of solid ways you can build a real Instagram following online. You can also use Instagram ads and work with influencers to promote your brand online. These are paid options that can give you a lot of exposure in a very short time. 

Building your Instagram following is an activity that requires hard work, creativity, and time. But if you’re striving to connect with your audience and are showcasing your authentic self, then people will respond to your content. 

Use the tips mentioned here and get started today. And you’ll create a solid brand presence and a meaningful following on Instagram.