How to Build a Massive Following on Instagram for Your Business

It seems like Instagram has been having a moment for quite a long time. The little photo-sharing app that launched in October 2010 became a cultural phenomenon with over a 150 million active users and a $1 billion price tag that Facebook was happy to splurge on.

With such a huge user base, brands and businesses are flocking to the platform, finding it to be a cost-effective way to familiarize consumers with their offerings and a vibrant creative platform for showing their brand’s personality and values.

If you’re a business looking to build followers on Instagram, the following steps will help you cultivate a community that is active and engaged.

Follow First

You can’t expect your followers to come to you, especially when you’re just getting started—so the best solution is going after them.

Once you’ve created a dedicated Instagram account for your business, start following lots of people and other businesses, particularly those who you think may be interested in your business. If you own an ice cream shop, follow your town’s premiere food reporter or farmer’s market on Instagram. Chances are they’ll be interested in you, too, and will follow you back.

Be Active

Once you’ve started following some people—and hopefully built a following—make sure you’re active on the platform. Don’t allow more than a few days to go by without posting an image. If you’re a baker, post pictures of the cakes you make. If you own a landscape design company, post your current projects in their various stages. If you’re a photographer, post your work.

Also, Instagram is about more than just putting out content—it also about appreciating the content that your followers put out there. So be sure to give lots of love (i.e., “likes”) to the people you follow. Chances are they’ll return the favor.

Use Hashtags

Some people find the concept of hashtags to be confusing, but really, they’re the simplest thing in the world: they’re an easy way to catalogue your content so it can connect with its intended audience.

Using the appropriate hashtags when you post something on Instagram allows it to appear when people search that hashtag. So, if you’re the star cake designer in town, posting a photo of your latest sweet masterpiece along with hashtags like #cake, #dessert, #baker, #yum, and #sweet will help more people find your image. In addition, don’t forget to use that standard weekly tweets like #ThrowbackThursday to grow your reach even more.

Tell People Where You Are

When posting a new photo to Instagram, always use the location feature to tell people where you. That could be your office or storefront, or a festival or conference with other likeminded business owners. This allows your photos and profile to be discovered by a network of individuals that extends far beyond your followers.

Get Your Name Out There

It’s obvious, but it’s worth mentioning: let people know you’re on Instagram! Use the Instagram icon on your business cards, website, and other business materials. You may even want to include the URL to your Instagram feed in your email signature. You can also let people know you’re on Instagram by connecting your profile to your Twitter feed and Facebook page, where followers there can see that you’re on the platform.

Do you have an Instagram account? Share your tips for creating a successful account in the comments below.

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