According to the last official data available from Instagram, the social network has eight hundred million monthly active users. You cannot reach out to everyone and everyone you target will not follow you. The sooner a user accepts and understands this reality, the better one can strategize their approach. There will be days when you would have several new followers and there could be weeks when the following will remain stagnant. Regardless of the immediate impact, you must stay put and keep reviewing your outreach strategy. How you engage with your followers and the kind of presence you have on the site will determine how many more followers you can acquire for your Instagram profile in 2018.
Specificity is the Key
As an Instagram user who wishes to have a larger following, you must have a target audience in mind. You need to use the site accordingly and post contents that will impress this target audience. Let us use a classic example of democrats versus republicans. Both Democrats and Republicans want to engage with registered Democrats and Republicans respectively. Additionally, they wish to engage with fence sitters or the unregistered voters who can swing from one end of the spectrum to another given the right reasons relevant to them. Hence, a Democrat will post contents that cater to the beliefs, principles, and preferences of Democrats and likewise a Republican will cater to Republicans. A Republican will not think about the type of content a democrat wants to see and will refrain from posting anything that favors its competition.
This example can be used for every niche. No matter what product or service you are offering and what your specialization is, you will be targeting a specific audience. It could be people of a certain age, having a certain lifestyle, living in a particular state, county, city or town, sharing your passion or anything that segregates them from the rest of the people using Instagram. You will need to understand what these people would like to see and accordingly, you must post images, videos, and stories to engage with them.
Use the Latest Tools
Social media is fluid and transient. Nothing seems to be everlasting. Preferences of people change, how people engage with one another changes with time and so does everything that influences the user experience on sites like Instagram. You would do well if you follow the trends, use the latest tools and remain relevant for your users. For instance, you ought to use a hashtag, preferably more than one with every post. Using hashtags will not only help you to convey a certain emotion or to trigger a reaction but it will also allow you to keep a tab on your posts with the help of tagging.
Hashtags were initially cool and almost experimental in the way it was introduced or thereafter used by people. Over time, it has become kind of institutionalized. Today, there are hashtag campaigns. People use hashtags to find relevant posts. The tags are used to initiate conversations, to make topics go viral and there are spectacular unpredictable outcomes if you are game for it. Research the kind of hashtags that your competitors are using, see what users are naturally drawn towards and then come up with your own words or use obvious phrasing given the purpose of the message you have to share.
Photos and Videos are the Primary Weapons
You can use all the latest tools and fathomable strategies, excel at innovation and be dedicated to the platform. Yet, you will not get more followers if your primary weapon misfires or is a dud. Photos are still the most effective means of engagement, followed by videos. Create photos that impress, convey messages that engage, provoke reactions and initiate a conversation. If you can succeed at this, then all other aspects of your Instagram strategy will become secondary. There are users on the site who have used nothing but amazing photos to create a following of millions.
In the earliest days of Instagram, sharing a high-quality photo with an apt description was deemed enough. It is not going to be sufficient anymore. You need images that offer a different perspective, photos that surprise and educate, messages that one may have heard before but haven’t really thought about and pictures that trigger a continual engagement instead of being a dead end or the last word. How you come up with these photos will be entirely your call. It will be influenced by the niche you are in, the kind of audience you wish to target and what you personally specialize in. Not everyone is a trained photographer and it is not easy to masterfully edit mundane photos. There is no surefire recipe for success here. The younger audience has become averse to heavily edited images and they look for authenticity, originality and a certain degree of authority in a given niche.
Make User Engagement Worthwhile
There are too many people on Instagram who are online and active for the sake of it. There are millions of people who go on liking, posting and reposting, commenting and at times ranting. As someone with a predetermined objective of gaining more followers, you should not be online all the time. You should not be overactive. You need to post every now and then but you don’t need to post something new every minute or even every hour. A handful of posts and scarce reposts will do. The rest of the time you spend on the app or site can be used to engage with your followers. Your existing followers are just as important as the new following you anticipate. Many people forget their existing following and in the process become irrelevant. Ensure your existing following has a worthwhile engagement and you will have new followers. Talk to your followers, share posts that intrigue you and may impress your following, comment and debate, surprise and inspire, indulge in a few lighthearted chats and have fun.