10 Ways to Increase Your Instagram Following

01
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Use Tools to Manage Your Account

Image courtesy of Statigram

Unlike Twitter and Facebook it is difficult to engage with your community on Instagram; however, there are other tools that you can use. Statigram, Instagrid, Webstagram, Nitrogram and Simply Measured are only a few of the many options out there. We will only look at two of them: Statigram for community and giveaway management and Nitrogram for management.

Statigram
Statigram helps you monitor your community and engage in a variety of ways. It allows you to view your own Instagram photos and feed, track the metrics of your account, host contests and respond to comments from your followers. Specifically for comments, Statigram marks them as either read or unread so you can make sure you see everything your followers are posting. This also gives you the ability to respond or remove the comment right away.

Nitrogram
Nitrogram effectively measures Instagram accounts, mostly the use of hashtags surrounding your business. His allows you to see the number of people posting photos about your company and at what frequency. While more people are concerned about the amount of followers they have, it is important to see how your audience is engaging in your content. To put it simply, it is focusing on quality over quantity. While you as the company upload certain content to Instagram, your followers’ posts are a good indicator of customer satisfaction and brand appeal.

02
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Host a Contest

Hosting contests

is important to building your community. A program like Statigram can help you manage it. When you host a contest or giveaway on Statigram, you’re able to have a landing page for your promotion. A landing page also allows you to list the official rules of the promotion you’re your followers must abide by. This allows the followers easy access to participate. Also, you can promote it and monitor its success. Also hashtags help to organize your entries and calculate the success of your promotion.

03
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Respond to Comments

Engage your audience. Who wants to follow someone who doesn’t talk back to them? It is important to remain active and engaged, providing value by responding to the comments of your followers. According to Digital Buzz, there are 81 comments on Instagram every second. I’ll bet it’s humanly impossible to be constantly aware and available to the remarks made by your fans. That’s where the tools mentioned above can come in handy. Also, remember that Instagram users prefer commenting over liking. Every second there are 575 new likes versus 81 comments. If you comment on someone’s photo rather than liking it, that person will more than likely follow you. Monitor your hashtags and the photos shared from your account to see what your audience responds back to. Then, it is common sense to respond back in a timely fashion, adding value to the conversation. Value is key because you want your follower to feel connected and respected by your brand, like a person instead of a number. When you do that, people will stick around and tell their friends about your Instagram account. That, in turn, will grow your followers and give your account more visibility.

Visibility
You can tell when your photo becomes popular and is seen by more than your followers when it appears on the Explore page. The Explore page houses the most interesting photos on Instagram. This honor will take you to a new level of visibility. How does a photo make it to the Explore page? The process is a combination of two factors: the amount of engagement on that photo in likes and comments and the amount of time it takes to get that engagement from when the photo was posted. Furthermore, when you actively comment on your photos to provoke engaging conversations, you increase the amount of comments on your photo, leading to a better chance of ending up on the Explore page.

04
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Use Hashtags to Track Engagement Over Time

I have mentioned hashtags a plethora of times so far, but that is because they are an often overlooked way to monitor and measure the growth of your community over time. They help group your photos based on the words in the hashtag. It’s important to look at the number of photos being uploaded about your brand to measure its growth over time as well as your audience’s impression. You can check this out by visiting the Explore page and searching the name of your business. That will tell you how many photos the Instagram community has uploaded about your brand. You can then choose individual pictures to leave comments. Also, it is important to use the more popular hashtags so that your photos can be more easily discovered. Here are the top 20 hashtags according to Webstagram as of (4/29/13):

  1. #love
  2. #instagood
  3. #me
  4. #cute
  5. #tbt
  6. #eyes
  7. #photooftheday
  8. #statigram
  9. #follow
  10. #instacollage
  11. #christmas
  12. #l4l
  13. #beautiful
  14. #throwbackthursday
  15. #nice
  16. #happy
  17. #girl
  18. #picoftheday
  19. #instamood
  20. #instadaily

05
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Use Embeddable Badges

Image courtesy of Instagram

You would trade your Boy Scout or Girl Scout badges for these bad boys. Instagram Embeddable Badges can help you link to and promote your Instagram web profile by doing it online. They range in size and can be added to your website, blog or anywhere that you want to link to your Instagram profile.

06
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Use Popular Filters

Image courtesy of Instagram

While the content of your photos are important, the twist you add to your picture right before you post it also attract more attention than you would think. It is best to ignore the black and white option. Here are the top ten filters according to Webstagram (besides Normal which I don’t consider a filter because you don’t change anything about the image) as of 4/29/13:

  1. Earlybird
  2. X-Pro II
  3. Valencia
  4. Rise
  5. Amaro
  6. Hefe
  7. Hudson
  8. Brannan
  9. Lo-Fi
  10. Nashville

07
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Timing

Image courtesy of Statigram

According to Statigram, Monday at 8 PM ET is the best time to post a photo. The second most popular time is either Wednesday or Thursday at 6 PM ET. Furthermore, the picture is most active during the first three hours. Almost 46% of all comments happen within the first hour, 69% during the first three hours. That being said, if your post is not successful in the first three hours, it won’t gain any ground later on.

08
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Personality

Image courtesy of Diptic

Images that are about lifestyle or are personal tend to get the most engagement. It is also more popular to combine your photos into collages. You can use apps Picstitch (iOS | Google Play) or Diptic (iOS | Google Play) as well as others.

09
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Followgram

Image courtesy of Followgram

Followgram allows you to manage your Instagram presence. When you sign in, you will first see your dashboard filled with the latest photos from peole you follow as well as quick stats about your account. You can click on photos to like them or comment on them. You can also save your favorites in public or private albums. Free users are limited to five albums. You also will have a public interface with a vanity URL that you can share with others.

Another great aspect of this program is the statistics. Free users can view a summary of their Instagram account’s photos and engagement. They can also get a glimpse of what photos were most liked, commented, and popular overall.

In order to tell if your friends use this program, you will have to go to their profile and click on the statistics link. Other fun features of this program include private messaging between Instagram users on Followgram, a custom header and background for your public Followgram page and no ads on your public page.

10
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Geo Tag Your Photos

Image courtesy of Krista Pirtle

This allows you to tag a specific location in your pictures, allowing people to easily see your photos when they click on that location. This also allows other users or business owners to find you and see your photos, helping you to get followers and build your network.

Additional reporting provided by Krista Pirtle.