Getting more Instagram followers on your account comes down to how well you can tell an interesting story. The more interesting your story, and the people you get reading that story, the better off your Instagram marketing will be.
How you’ll accomplish this is by creating the type of content that Instagram users love to not only see, but like, comment on, and share. This article is going to look at four types of content that draws in new Instagram followers through content marketing techniques which work. It will also examine working with social media influencers. We might be looking at tactics outside of your ‘take a picture and post it with a hashtag’ comfort zone, and that will be a good thing!
Four content promotion ideas for more Instagram followers
User-generated pictures make your fans the story
You can share the Best Content In The World, but it won’t matter unless you spur your Instagram followers to action. A way to do this, with little effort on your part, is by creating a user-generated picture contest or campaign.
The easiest way to do this is by asking your followers to take pictures of themselves using your products, like Calvin Klein did with the #MyCalvins campaign:
Lots of sexy people in their underwear is a gift that keeps on giving. Now you may not be an underwear manufacturer, but you can still get your fans actively promoting your products both through their own accounts, and through tags of your account and hashtags.
Starbucks offers a more practical example. They create hashtags, send them out, and encourage their fans to respond. The most recent hashtag at the moment is #PSLisBACK. Within a week they have 875 pictures from their Instagram followers featuring their hashtag and product. That’s 875 chances that the people who shared those images exposed it to their followers. Those 875 posts will have easily resulted in thousands and thousands of impressions:
Mom picked me up from my hair appointment and asked if I needed anything on our way home…I told her I had a "princess request." Got my first #pumpkinspicelatte of the season! Mom just doesn't get it… @starbucks @therealpsl #basicwhitegirl #fall #pumpkineverything #iliveforthis #pumpkin #september #favoriteseason #thanksmom #psl #PSLisback
And what’s the message? Pumpkin spice is back, go get it! Your goal is to direct the conversation that is had via user-generated content. Regram posts that use it, comment on them, like them, do whatever you have to do to promote the behaviour once your followers start creating content that fits your user-generated content goals.
Here’s a perfect user-generated campaign:
- Create a hashtag to connect all of the content shared by fans.
- Ask them to use the hashtag and tag your account.
- Mention a reward for doing this, some sort of engagement is key. For campaigns that need an extra boost to get going, discounts and coupons will help.
- Feature some of the best content on your account to show others some more social proof that this is a popular campaign they should take part in.
If at first you don’t succeed, tweak your tactics, create a new campaign, and work at it until you’re successful. Not every campaign works as it can be difficult to accurately predict the reaction of large audiences.
Identifying Instagram influencers
You’re not the only game in town when it comes to marketing your own products. There are always going to be trusted voices in your industry who either are posting pictures of your products on Instagram, or who should be posting products of yours on Instagram.
These influencers can include:
- Notable bloggers and Instagram users.
- Media in your industry.
- Instagram users with popular accounts.
- Other brands who are in your industry, but not direct competition.
Your goal is to have them speak about your brand, and your Instagram account, to their audience. You will be gaining more Instagram followers as these influencers help you expand your reach.
Chris Ozer, a popular photographer, was a hit when he helped Johnnie Walker launch their account:
Pepsi knew which Queen to turn to when they wanted to push their Instagram account:
I’d like to point out that I looked through Beyonce’s Instagram account for research purposes for this article. Very important work!
If you can’t hire a famous photographer, or an International pop diva/Queen, you can still find users who are relevant and who can help you. Maybe it’s a noted writer in your industry. Maybe your supplier will work with you. Maybe a push from a local business promotional account will help. There are influencers on Instagram that can promote you. All you have to do is look, and talk to them about how you’ll work together.
If you’re not getting their attention, try buying Instagram followers for a shot in the arm to your numbers. It’s amazing what a number can do to convince people that they need to work with you! You can even be proactive and pick up a few Instagram followers this way before you try contacting these influencers.
Get real: Take photos that aren’t PR shots behind the scenes
You’re going to take a page from reality TV shows with this tactic for Instagram followers. You don’t have to go full-on ‘The Real Housewives’ reality TV style. You can show your staff having a good time. Company culture is actually a big selling point for many people on Instagram.
Common ideas would include:
- Posed group photos with a theme. Get everyone wearing a silly hat, a fake moustache, the local team’s sports jersey, etc.
- Taking pictures of workstations with ‘flair.’
- Sharing pictures from the company holiday parties.
- Show the how, where, and who of making your products.
If you’re a company that doesn’t make a product that people can hold onto and take pictures of, this may be your best bet. Buffer App is a perfect example. What are they going to do, put up photos of the app in action? BORING.
Here’s their team having some fun behind the scenes, showing that they’re not just some soul-less app. They’re real people making a product, and you can relate to them:
They’re not setting the world on fire with these posts, but they are pushing out content that people will respond to. Something you may not be thinking about right now is not only about how it makes your company look to consumers, but how it makes it look to talent you’re trying to attract. You can be sure that your company is being researched the same as you’re researching them.
Organization porn: Your best Instagram content for pure marketing
I don’t get why it works, I just go with what people respond to. For some reason, organization porn on Instagram works. What’s organization porn? This:
14,600 likes, and 309 comments in the one week since this was posted. And it’s just pictures of product being arranged neatly!
Most organization porn shots are taken from straight above down, but ‘themed by color’ shots like this can work too.
The most successful organization shots on Instagram always follow a theme. You can group them by ‘what I’d take while hiking,’ or ‘what to wear to your interview.’ Make sure that your product is in the photo, and that other product is in it as well.
Herschel didn’t make those sunglasses, pencils, or erasures. But they needed them as part of the mood they’re creating with the photo, and as part of their strategy to get their fans thinking about how their product will work with everything else they own.
Getting more Instagram followers with great content
At the end of the day it’s going to come down to your Instagram followers wanting to share and interact with your content, and getting in with influencers who can promote you until you reach your goals. An ugly picture, or even worse a boring picture, gathers no shares!
Feature image via Joshua Resnick / Shutterstock