I’m going to assume that since you’re taking the time out of your busy life to read this article, you are well aware of the reasons you need to be on Instagram. Actually, you know what? On second thought, I’m not going to assume that ― partially because the old adage, “When you assume, you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’” just never gets old, and partially because this very valuable piece of knowledge still isn’t common knowledge for many business owners today.
Well, in the case that you’re reading this because your marketing consultant keeps nagging you to get on Instagram, here are some statistics that may convince you.
Instagram was first launched in October of 2010 as a simple photo-sharing app. Over the past 6 years, it has undoubtedly become one of the most powerful social media platforms out there. For multiple big brands, Instagram is the most influential social media platform, reaping the highest engagement rates and ROI profits.
Currently, Instagram has over 500 million monthly active users. Yup, 500 million. If you’re skeptical about that ridiculously steep number, then these numbers are going to blow your socks off. These users post an average of 95 million photos and videos per day, and they’ve shared over 40 billion photos on the platform to date. Additionally, these users “like” an average of 4.2 billion posts per day. In the marketing world where you often have to pay consumers to even engage with your content at all, it would be insane not to take advantage of a platform that is both completely free and possesses figures of engagement like these.
If there’s any shadow of a doubt left in your mind that your business needs a presence on Instagram, let me address a couple of remaining common misconceptions about the platform. If you briefly scroll through the “Explore” section, it’s easy to get the idea that Instagram is directed towards a specific demographic ― women between the ages of 18-24 from the good ol’ U.S. of A.
While this demographic may make up a good chunk, I can assure you that Instagram is for everyone. In regards to gender, about 55% of Instagram users are women, while 45% are men. When it comes to age, 34% of users are ages 18-25, 33% are ages 25-34, 20% are ages 12-17, and 13% are ages 45 and older. Well, my business’ consumers are mostly from (insert country here), and the majority of Instagram’s users must be American, right? Wrong. Approximately 80% of Instagram users are from outside the U.S.! That’s over 400 million people.
So, now that we’ve established that you’d be a madman or woman not to have an Instagram presence for your brand, let’s get into the nitty gritty about how you can establish that presence.
We’ll examine 7 ways to grow your Instagram followers. For now, let’s dive into 3:
1. Optimize Your Bio
Although this one may seem pretty straightforward, it’s definitely worth mentioning. Instagram doesn’t give you a lot of space to explain what products or services your business sells. It’s an extremely image-centric platform, so those 150 characters in your bio are important. In a couple of short sentences or bullet points, explain the key features and benefits of your business’ products or services. Your bio description needs to be as eye-catching as possible. Remember, you’re competing for your consumers’ very short attention span. If nothing intrigues their interest or they can’t grasp a clear understanding of what your business provides within the first few seconds of landing on your profile, you can say adiós to a possible lead. Depending on your business, you may even want to consider including some relevant emojis to spice things up.
Last but not least, you need to obsess about your bio link. Obviously, as a business owner, your main goal for even having an Instagram account in the first place is to lead people away from Instagram and direct them to a sales funnel or directly to your website. You’ve only got one clickable link, and since about 99% of Instagram users are mobile, you better make sure that your link destination is adequately optimized to ensure that they have a great experience.
2. Focus On Quality Over Quantity
Aesthetics are everything on Instagram. Although Pinterest lovers are definitely up there as well, igers infamously pride themselves on their ability to create high quality photos that have you sending hearts their way. Now, I’m not saying that you need to run out and buy the newest, fanciest shmanciest professional camera, but you do need to learn how to edit your photos well. While other social media platforms are more forgiving when it comes to shoddy, blurred images, Instagram won’t take as kindly to it. It’s not like you’ll receive a bunch of threatening DMs or anything. You probably won’t hear from anyone at all. While entire blog posts could be strictly dedicated to photo editing, let’s look into some apps that help out all of us folks who don’t have the cashflow for a DSLR.
Some of the photo editing tools that I’ve found most helpful are Snapseed, VSCO, and Lens Distortions. If you want to post quotations frequently on your profile, Typorama, Phonto, and Canva are awesome tools for adding text to your photos. Although there are upgraded versions of these apps that will pick your pocket, the basic versions (which already possess abundant features) are absolutely free!
3. Post Consistently
Undoubtedly, one of the greatest keys to Instagram success is consistency. If you look at post dates on any profile that has achieved immense Instagram fame, I can guarantee that you will find multiple posts from the same days. Time and time again, whether they have reached 10K or 100K followers, igers will tell you that they are faithfully committed to consistent, daily posts. There are a couple reasons that those who post daily ― ideally between 2-6 times per day ― are able to obtain large followings.
The first reason would be that, well, their posts are more frequent and, therefore, have a higher likelihood of being stumbled across by those who are searching for their tagged hashtags. Don’t worry, we’ll get into the whole hashtag thing next week. Stay with me here. Secondly, the word on the street is that the Instagram algorithm favors users who post multiple times per day. Basically, this means that if you are willing to put in the effort to create and post various pieces of content every day, Instagram will lend you a helping hand and give you a boost. Not bad, Instagram, not bad.
Just as a side note, however ― don’t overdo it. As we already discussed, this platform is all about quality over quantity. Likewise, content is king. So, if you’re going to post numerous times per day, ensure that your content is king quality.