As of 2018, Instagram now has over 1 billion active users and over 8 million active business profiles on Instagram, so it’s a great way to make your product or service stand out in a sea of content. When you are a business owner, Instagram is one of the most effective tools at helping to establish a brand identity or create a buzz around your business.

Our blog post will take you through some of the most effective ways you can grow your Instagram account as a business owner.

1. Research Your Niche

One of the most important things you can do to quickly make your Instagram account seem more professional is doing some hardcore research into your niche. Whether you are selling a product or a service, you should be able to describe what you do in 2 words. For Example: Womens Bikinis – from here you can start looking at people who are in the same niche and begin to create a mood board and gather data from these accounts.

You should be considering things like, which photos get the most likes and engagements, what kind of hashtags are they using, what businesses or pages are they tagging on the photos, what’s the geolocations with the best engagements, from here you can determine what are the best images and content to be posting on your page to engage with the right niche.

2. Switch to a Business account

One of the smartest moves you can make is switching your Instagram account to a business profile. This opens you up to all of the data that can help you make decisions on the best times to post, the hashtags that get the most engagements, whether your followers liked the image, how many people saved the image and how many people visited your profile after viewing the photo.

This is all the information you can use to inform all of the decisions that you will be making in relation to increasing your engagement across your posts and therefore, the number of followers.

3. Create a consistent posting schedule

One of the most important things to consistently grow your Instagram following is to ensure you have a consistent posting schedule. Using the automation tools like Gramto should allow you to plan out your posting schedule up to a month in advance to ensure the aesthetic of your account is consistent while also ensuring you are receiving more engagements and followers each time you post.

4. Automate your account

There is a wide range of tools you can use to help you grow your Instagram following, by both automating your posts so you get the most engagement through to interacting with users who are relevant to your niche.

One of the best, most comprehensive and effective tools on the market is Gramto, which, for only $5 a month allows you to completely automate your posting schedule while also allowing you to engage with other people’s Instagram accounts via an auto-follow, auto-like and auto-comment feature.

If you are a relatively new Instagram account you should ensure you set the interaction rate to low, at least for the first month, to ensure you don’t get banned from interacting with other accounts.

Another great way to automate your account as a business owner is to send private messages to your new followers offering them discounts on your products or just simply sending them a link to your website to encourage them to visit and therefore make a purchase. One great way to use Instagram to leverage other forms of marketing is offering discount codes when they sign up to your mailing list with an e-mail.

5. Find the best hashtags

Once you have determined exactly what kind of niche you are in and the type of content that you will be posting, it’s time to research the best hashtags for your niche. The best way to find hashtags that are relevant to you is to begin typing on your picture and a number of relevant hashtags should appear. You can also do a quick Google search of the type of instagram account you fit into and there should already be a curated list of some of the most popular and relevant hashtags to you.

When you are going through this process it’s important to look at the number of existing posts on that hashtag and ensure you have a combination of 1 million + posts and some smaller, more niche hashtags with around 100k – this will help you appear to audiences who are interested in your niche and those who are interested in broader topics related to your niche.

Finally, it’s essential to max out the number of hashtags you are using, because remember, the more hashtags the more places you picture will appear. Include at least 11 hashtags per post with the goal of reaching as close to 30 as possible. If you’re worried it could look spammy, there have been a range of trials done to test whether using this many can affect engagement, however, the answer appears to be a resounding no.

There is also a big debate surrounding the best place to add your hashtags, whether you add it to the bottom of your caption or in a comment. Instagram has recently taken steps to make it more difficult to post your hashtags in the comments, but one sneaky work around is to write them out with notes in your phone with some spaces above to hide them deep in the comments.

6. Find your competition (…and steal their followers)

One of the fastest ways to get more followers is to find an account with the same niche as you with around 5000 + followers and use your automation tools to begin engaging with the accounts that are following.

You can use the automation tools to comment or like as many of that users photos as you like, however, the golden rule appears to be 3 likes and 1 comment is the best method to attract new followers.

7. Tag other Businesses

One of the best ways to increase engagement is to engage with businesses whenever you have included their product in your image. Often this is free content and publicity for these brands so it’s likely they will repost your image on their page, thus exposing you to all of the people who follow the account.

Even if you don’t get the coveted reshare,  you will still appear in the accounts tagged photos, people who particularly like the brand are going to be browsing through these tagged images for inspiration, particularly for fashion based products.

8. Use Instagram Stories

Have you heard about Instagram’s new shadow banning? A large number of accounts, with over 10,000 followers have been complaining recently that Instagram’s algorithm has been restricting their images being shown across hashtags and on their followers home screens, resulting in a massive dip in engagements. Luckily, one way to ensure all of the people who are following you get to see your posts is by using the instagram stories feature. Use the stories to inform your followers about a new post, this will increase the initial engagement of your post which in turn, exposes you to more users in your hashtags.

If you have more than 10,000 followers on your account you also have the option of adding links into your story with the swipe up feature, which is a really easy way to get your followers to visit your website.

9. Use micro-influencer Marketing

You don’t need a big budget to execute an extremely effective influencer campaign, in fact, you can leverage influencer marketing techniques to sell more products all on the Instagram platform.

One of the most effective techniques is micro-influencer marketing. Utilise your automation tools to offer influencer discounts and discount codes when they wear your products.

You can use automation tools to send this kind of messages to people who have a minimum number of followers. This is a fantastic way to get the influencer to buy your product while receiving free publicity and also fresh new content that you can share on your own Instagram account.

However, if you have a bigger budget to work with, you can use tools like Tribe to connect with influencers who are willing to do a paid post. This is a great platform when you are a brand as you can specify exactly the type of influencer that matches your brand and has the type of followers who are going to be the most engaged shoppers.

10. Run a Competition

One great way to increase your followers quickly is to run a competition for your followers. Nominate to give away one or more of your products in exchange for someone tagging their friends in a post and following your page.