How to Increase Your Instagram Followers & Sales by @nathanhchan

Are you tired of posting Instagram updates to the same 100 or 500 followers? Perhaps your sales from Instagram are stagnant, or even non-existent, and you’re looking for a way to bring more people into your universe to increase your chances for a sale?

Those are common situations. Here to share five ways you can start using right away to gain Instagram followers and your sales.

1. Differentiate Your Brand in the Bio Section

What is your competitive differentiator? Is your camera waterproof? Is your food gluten-free? Is your energy drink sugar-free?

Whatever makes your brand stand out from the competition is something you want to highlight in your Instagram bio. This is especially true if you want to increase your Instagram followers and use the social network for new customer acquisition.

For example, Tarte Cosmetics points out in their bio that they are cruelty-free in addition to paraben, gluten and mineral oil free. This sets them apart from many other high-end cosmetic brands that do tests on animals or use animal ingredients in their formulas.

TarteCosmetics Instagram account highlighting what makes them stand out: cruelty-, gluten-, paraben-, mineral oil-free

While consumers who don’t care about shopping cruelty-free may not find this information interesting, it certainly doesn’t hurt the brand either. At the same time, it immediately draws the interest of someone who only shops cruelty-free.

Think of something that makes your brand stand out and say it loud and proud in your Instagram bio!

2. Ask for a Tag

Beard King is a men’s grooming company made for men who, well, have beards. The brand has been able to increase their Instagram following by asking their current followers to “tag a friend.”

Beard King Instagram post asking followers to tag a friend

This strategy has multiple benefits for Beard King. First, it allows them to grow their Instagram following quickly through a friend’s referral. It also helps them build up their content library.

How? Through user-generated content.

Beard King allows customers to send in their personal photos. If a photo is high quality and features a beard it’s likely that the brand will post the user-generated photo to its Instagram account and tag the photographer.

This allows the photographer and/or bearded model to get exposure from Beard King’s 63,000 followers and it gives Beard King a constant supply of new photos to use.

3. Work With an Influencer

One of the fastest ways to grow a brand’s Instagram following is to work with an influencer. You’ll want to select someone who has a large, authentic following. You can do this by looking at an influencer’s engagement rate.

Engagement rates vary across industries but should be close to at least 2 percent.

For example, Timex recently worked with Amelia Liana who has an engagement rate of 2.75 percent, on average. This was calculated by looking at her total follower count of about 400,000 and her average Likes per post which are at a steady 11,000.

Calculate average engagement rate

You can use this free percent calculator when looking to evaluate your own influencers.

Timex had Amelia Liana wear one of their products and then share it via a photograph on her Instagram profile. She tagged the Timex account in her post so her followers could easily click over to follow their account.

Influencer Amelia Liana wearing a Timex watch and sharing the photo on her Instagram account

Even better than working with an influencer on a one-time basis would be working with them over the course of several posts. Similar to any other ad campaign, where frequency increases recall, the same can be said for influencer posts.

For example, you can see here a second post from Amelia Liana featuring a Timex product and tagging the @Timex brand in the post.

A second Instagram post from influencer Amelia Liana featuring a Timex product

Finally, Amelia capped off the Timex campaign with a blog post that also features and links to the Timex website where the product can be easily purchased.

Influencer Amelia Liana's blog post featuring a Timex product

Many brands still think of working with influencers as something you do with a one-off post but the best results will generally come from a well thought out campaign.

4. Don’t Always Focus on Your Products

Product photos tend to perform better than lifestyle photos on Instagram.

Does that mean you should always post product photos? Not really.

While great product photos can be engaging for your current consumers, you can draw in new consumers by sharing photos related to your products. For example, The North Face, an athletic apparel brand, frequently shares landscape photos.

North Face Instagram account sharing landscape photos

The North Face products are primarily made for everyday athletes that like to spend time hiking, running, skiing, and doing other activities up in the mountains. Hence their Instagram bio says, “We’ve got a thing for mountains” and their feed includes photos of… mountains!

These mountain photos inspire their community while not being overtly salesy, which could put off new Instagram followers not yet familiar with the brand.

Product photos are important but every single photo doesn’t have to be a product photo. Keep your Instagram feed varied and fun!

5. Share Promo Codes

You know what really draws in new followers? Promo codes.

Most people love to save money on high-quality products and will follow your brand for discount codes. This is especially true if they have already purchased your products.

Instagram post featuring a promo code

Aside from increasing your followers, another great benefit of using promo codes on Instagram is tracking sales from your followers.

Because Instagram posts aren’t clickable it’s often difficult to say with accuracy how many sales came from the social network. Sure, followers can click on the link in your bio, but many may just open a browser tab and go directly to your site without clicking the link in your bio. In this instance, you would never know to attribute the sale to Instagram.

However, if you push out a promo code that’s only shared on your Instagram feed, you’ll know with better accuracy how many people made a purchase because they saw one of your Insta posts.

Getting Started

Now that you have a few ideas for growing your Instagram following, it’s time to put these ideas into practice.

Remember your follower count will likely not shoot up overnight from 100 to 100,000. Similar to working out, the best way to see results is by staying consistent with your posts.

Image Credits

Featured Image: DepositPhotos

In-post Images: Screenshots by Nathan Chan. Taken June 2017.

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Author: Nathan Chan

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