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Instagram: How to Increase Instagram Followers

GQ 2018-06-11 10:49:55

If you’ve been on Instagram since its inception, you would have witnessed its gradual rise from a fun social media platform for uploading photos and following friends, to a full-fledged product-pushing and audience-building tool for both brands and individuals. With about 800 million worldwide users and 500 million daily active users, Instagram has fast become the go-to platform for networking and building businesses. From Instagram Stories to the introduction of filters and GIFs, there’s nearly nothing that Instagram hasn’t done to keep up with its competitors and improve its user experience.

The Facebook-owned company recently announced the rolling out of a new group video chat feature and may well soon permit uploading hour-long videos. All of this is to make  the photo-sharing platform even more convenient to use.

But whether you’ve been on Instagram for a while now or you’re relatively new, the purpose of pretty much every user is to get more followers, right? So we got chatting with these Instagram influencers and asked them what you’ve always wanted to ask: How to get more Instagram followers.

1. Identify your USP

Instagram is a photo-sharing platform that has people from different professions all across the globe from photographers and travel bloggers to artists, chefs and actors. But if you want to create a niche for yourself and get people to follow you as well as like the content you post, your first step should be to find the right kind of USP for your Instagram page. It could be anything that you’re interested in, have talent to execute and that can ideally differentiate you from the swarm of other IG users.

If you’re someone who is struggling to discover the kind of content you want to post, popular Indian comedian and social media influencer, Mallika Dua has some advice for you, that she follows herself, “If there is a USP that you have, and if you don’t feel like posting content in that genre for a bit then try new things but don’t clutter your feed with that. That’s not what people would want and it might lead to people unfollowing you. I understand certain patterns about myself. Like my comedy posts do much, much better than my random posts. So that is one thing I am conscious of.”

2. Use trending and relevant hashtags

Since Instagram also lets you follow hashtags, they are a great way to increase the number of views on your posts. So, including relevant and trending hashtags while posting could instantly increase your chances of attracting followers. According to Fashion and Beauty blogger and the founder of Who What Wear, Aanam Chashmawala, “If you have a brand hashtag, ensure to use it on every single post and story, to increase your view-ability and outreach. For example I always use my brand hashtag #WhatWearWhen on everything.”

Dua believes that is important to understand social media trends like the hashtags you should be using and the caption length you need to follow. According to Dua, hashtags should be minimal – not more than five and your captions should be concise and catchy, unless it’s something that calls to action. “Ultimately you need to ensure that your posts are engaging, like in my case it is comedy, in someone else’s case it’s beauty and the likes. It’s just about adding some kind of value to someone’s life that makes them want to see your posts again and again.”

Ruparel agrees with Dua and believes that hashtags need to be relevant to the content you’re posting. “Instagram caps the number of hashtags to 30, which is a decent limit. Also, with the ‘follow a hashtag’ feature, using relevant hashtags can really help in your content discovery,” he says.

3. Strengthen your caption game

Captions are one thing that could either make or break your Instagram post. While sometimes the photograph you upload is strong enough to convey the message, at other times the caption you use could indeed catch the eye of your audience and get them to double tap. But it all depends on the kind of content you put out. According to Ruparel, “Captions need to be crisp, snappy, and on point. People are endlessly scrolling and captions need to be eye-catchy.”

Although, Luxury blogger Riaan George seems to disagree. He says, “I am a traditionalist. I do not like one word captions which may work for other bloggers but not for me. I like my captions to be laden with information. Since I talk about premium products, I rarely ever use slang/short forms or language that is too casual. I keep it crisp and clean but still informative as there has to be some value given to the reader.” So, it’s really all about what kind of content you’re uploading and what works for your audience.

4. Post original content

Giving some thought to your content prior to posting may seem like a good idea, but Instagram is one such platform where spontaneous posts could work wonders too. Highly curated posts may work well for some people but for some others, keeping it as impromptu as possible is what is key to increasing followers. According to Dua, people tend to resonate with someone who is just like them so it is important to limit manufactured content. She recommends maintaining a certain vibe for your IG profile. But at the same time, she advises you to be who you are.

Chashmawala says that sharing personal content relating to your routine life, could go a long way in increasing engagement and attracting followers. “One phase that really lead to a healthy spike in my IG followers was when I got married last January,” she recollects. “A lot of the content I posted at that time was related to the outfit for my wedding or the research I was doing and that seemed to work pretty well for me.”

 

5. Be consistent while posting content

Posting great content is just one way to increase your Instagram followers, doing it consistently is what really makes a world of a difference. It’s what Chashmawala does; it’s also what works for Ruparel at TTT. “We post at least 8-9 dates every day and on special occasions, that number goes up to 12.”

6. But don’t post incessantly

Posting regular content on Instagram could help keep your followers engaged with your profile, but posting incessantly could be a nuisance since that would lead to spamming people’s IG feed. Dua says, “I don’t post incessantly because I feel as a consumer, as an audience member I tend to unfollow accounts that post a lot. When they start taking over your feed, I find that really annoying. When I see a profile, I always check the number of posts they have because if they have an insane number of posts then I just tend to not follow them.” She adds that she has no fixed pattern for posting: “Sometimes I post once a week, sometimes three times a week. So I keep my Instagram very synced with my feelings which reflects on my feed.”

7. Post relevant content

Posting trending and relevant content is yet another way to increase your Instagram followers. Chashmawala believes that People enjoy listening to or reading about others opinions. But, she adds, it’s almost important to pick the right channel to voice your opinion. Dua, for instance, stays away from politics on Instagram. So, even if a current topic is trending, think about whether you want to use Instagram to post about it and whether your page resonates with it.

8. Make the most of Instagram Stories

Being one of the new(ish) features, Instagram has been encouraging the use of Stories on its app. But while it is a good way to earn some brownie points from Insta, it’s also a great way to interact with your followers. Just ask Mallika Dua who says that it’s where her interaction with her followers is the most.

Instagram Stories work pretty well for Terribly Tiny Tales too. “We post about 5-10 Instagram Stories when we are promoting our video content on our YouTube channel, or any new format that we’ve recently launched, or when a new version of our official app is launched, etc.” Ruparel also loves the Instagram ‘Poll’ feature for stories which according to him, helps them interact with their followers and also find out their audience’s opinions, all of which adds to the engagement on their page.

Riaan George finds IG stories to be a really fun and convenient way to portray a luxury travel experience in either a hotel or a car to his followers in real time. He reveals to post anything between ten to forty stories every day, especially when he is covering an event.

9. The best way to avoid trolls is to ignore them

When you’re all set to be a public figure, you’ll have to deal with lovers and haters equally. And to help you do that, Chashmawala’s advice is to be thick skinned. “I don’t necessarily react to the trolls. I react only to times when people are going below the belt and then they deserved to be blocked.” Dua, when encountered with trolls, straight out blocks them but there are exceptions. “Sometimes if the comment is really disgusting then I will take a screenshot of it and upload it to my story because the way to deal with them is to publicly shame them,” she says.

10. Try to respond to your audience

If you’re looking for ways to increase engagement with your audience, you need to be interactive and initiate conversations. Ruparel suggests that one way to go about it is to include an avenue for discussions in the comments. But revealing her blogger’s strategy of audience engagement, Chashmawala says, “When people ask me for my opinion – when I get DMs on Instagram, I screenshot them and respond to them through Instagram stories because you’re answering so many people through that one question in one go. And that has actually grown to be a very interesting feature to increase engagement.”

Riaan George also always ensures to begin discussions and debates as he likes the conversation to flow below his photographs. “Plus it is important to tag other people and brands,” he adds. “I make it a point to respond to every single comment. Giving personal attention really makes a huge impact on my followers.”