On October 6th, 2010, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched a photo sharing app called Instagram. It was not met with much fanfare but like with many revolutionary ideas, it went to defy even the most steadfast doubters. Within the first two months, there were 1 million people already using the app. If you were a business owner then, this might not have caught your eyes but 7 years down the line; this is a social media network that can virtually revolutionize your businesses.

With over 700 million monthly active users (MAUs), Instagram is a social media network no marketer can ignore today. To date, 40 billion photos and videos have been shared and on average 95 million photos and videos are shared daily.  This has become more than just a photo and video sharing forum with the International Business Times says it brings an estimated $1.53 billion in global mobile ad revenue. For a service that is less than 7 years old, this is impressive.

The importance of Instagram in modern business cannot be overemphasized. Already there are over 8 million registered businesses with an Instagram profile. This means they have discovered the potential of this social media platform. As a marketer, these numbers should spur you into action. If you don’t have Instagram in your marketing mix, it is time to add it.

Breaking Down the Power of Instagram

If you are still struggling to leverage the growing numbers of internet users, it is time you took a look at what Instagram can do for you. The search for Instagram followers should be a priority and to appreciate the reason, take a look at some of the benefits your business will enjoy:

  1. Increased website traffic: It is not possible to add active links in your Instagram posts but you can still market your brand creatively to guarantee you have more people coming to your site. Through increased brand mentions, you will find more target customers coming to your site.
  2. Targeting the right market: Instagram is popular with younger internet users. While Facebook still remains the most popular social media network, Instagram rules among the millennials. If this is the market you are targeting, things are easier for you. With the right content, it becomes easier to boost sales.
  3. Building brand trust: By posting photos and videos of your business, your followers will get a feeling of ownership of the brand. This increases brand trust, which is what every marketer needs. When you have a loyal customer base, marketing your business becomes easier because these customers are already brand ambassadors.
  4. Increased visibility: Every business is angling for a piece of the internet market through social media marketing. With this social media platform, you now have the power to gain visibility by growing your followers for Instagram.
  5. Boosting engagement: Instagram is the king of engagement beating all the other social media networks. According to recent Forrester Study, Instagram enjoys 58x more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120X more than Twitter. With such per-follower engagement, this is a marketing tool you cannot afford to ignore.

There is so much potential to harness through Instagram but it all starts with how you build your follower base. Even with the best content, your Instagram campaign will still be dead if there are no followers. Truth be told, you might find it tasking to build your follower base but it can be done. Many brands started with resources that are now easily available and they have emerged the best performers.

For Instagram, you don’t have to overcomplicate things. Among the simple techniques you should use are:

  1. Choose a unique theme and stick to it: This goes without saying. Whatever your niche, you will find thousands of accounts and all these brands are fighting for a piece of the same market. To gain a following, you have to think outside the box and come up with something bold, controversial and against the norms. Viewers already have enough boring adverts on TV and they want something fresh and authentic. If you are able to identify how you can present your content creatively, you have a winning Instagram campaign.
  2. Use hashtags but only creatively: If there is one thing that generates a lot of debate on Instagram, it has to be the use of hashtags. There are so many of them and while they are popular, this doesn’t always mean they are right for your campaign. When choosing hashtags, go for something specific, avoid overusing them and don’t hashtag everything. Hashtags will generate a lot of interest and help you grow your brand and following but only when used smartly.
  3. Use an influencer: Influencer marketing is big and you can organize a takeover for a day and see the impact this can have. To do this, start with the right choice of influencer for your niche. An Instagram takeover helps you get more followers, engage with followers and build your company’s authority.
  4. Hold a contest: This is one of the easiest ways to attract new followers and retaining the ones already following you. When you post an image promoting the content, you can ask viewers to like in order to enter. This gradually builds the number of likes and in turn, promotes your follower base.
  5. Stay consistent: The most popular brands on Instagram have one thing in common; consistency. Whether in the design of the photos or videos, brand colors, or frequency of posting, these brands stick to a tried and tested path. Such consistency helps grow your follower base because viewers look forward to your relevant, entertaining and helpful content.

There are many other strategies to gain real Instagram followers.  For instance, your content should be pleasing and shareable, you should tag larger relevant accounts, watermark all original content, engage by liking and commenting on other users’ posts, emphasize quality over quantity, optimize your bio, and you should follow suggested users. Whatever you do, make sure you have an Instagram strategy before starting out. Always focus on quality posts and make sure you engage with users through likes and comments.