Did you know there are over 500 million active Instagram accounts? That’s more than half a billion people your brand could reach by simply posting pictures and videos! But building a large and engaged Instagram presence is not as easy as choosing a username and posting a photo. The most successful Instagram users know there are certain steps to follow in order to be a savvy social media marketer. Want to join them? Follow these tips on how to grow your business one Instagram follower at a time.

Be Consistent

Whether it’s deciding how many times to post each week or being selective about the type of content being shared, make sure to keep it consistent. Customers relate well with brands and businesses they can rely on and trust. Set a schedule for how many times you would like to post, whether it’s daily or weekly, and plan content in advance.

When it comes to the content you are posting, stick to things related to your brand. The goal of consistency is that when people scroll through their feed, they can recognize the picture was uploaded by your business without even looking at who posted it. If you can achieve that on your Instagram account, you have successfully mastered consistency.

Use Hashtags

Although using hashtags may seem obvious, it sometimes is forgotten. By including them on your Instagram posts, you will be able to connect with users beyond your current followers.

For example, if you run a coffee shop, you could use the hashtag #CoffeeLovers in your posts. Then anytime someone searches #CoffeeLovers or clicks on it from another post, your photo or video will appear with other posts using the hashtag. Hashtags are much like search engines inside Instagram. This is a great way to engage potential followers and people might who have interest in your business.

Other common hashtags you can use to engage followers include #TBT (“Throwback Thursday”), where users post old photos from the past, or #photooftheday and #instagood. However, stay away from making up random hashtags. The goal is to take advantage of ones that are already popular and being used often by others to increase your following.

Engage With Your Audience

It’s important to get people active and talking about your brand. You can do this by asking a question or telling a joke to encourage responses. When people comment on your posts, give them some of your time in return! Replying to comments on your Instagram posts helps you engage with your followers in an intimate way.

Don’t forget to follow people back as well. If users tag your Instagram account in a photo or leave a nice comment on one of your posts, follow them back to show that you appreciate their support.

Mix It Up

Your Instagram profile should tell a story with the things you post. Be sure to have a balance: content that represents your business mixed with fun, interesting photos of your culture.

Anthropologie, a women’s boutique, uses Instagram to engage with its audience using different types of content. A photo the retailer posted of a puppy received 7,640 likes while a picture of its personal shoppers at a luncheon received 3,457. A mixture of these types of posts can help grow (and keep) your followers engaged.

Overall, if you have a consistent schedule, use hashtags, respond to comments and post fun pictures, your business’s Instagram will thrive. If you need help starting an Instagram account for your business, contact SKAR today!