In the early 2010s, it was relatively easy to attract followers to your account. All you had to do was to spend some bucks on purchasing followers and bang! – real people start following you because having a large following translate to being “trendy” and “credible”.
With Instagram’s new algorithm, this is, unfortunately (or fortunately?), not the case anymore. With ultra-smart bots’ eagle eyes scanning the platform for fake follower bots and vapourising them, buying fake followers isn’t as effective anymore. Instagram is currently still churning up new algorithms to get rid of pay for likes and fake followers, which paints a rather bleak future for marketing strategies that rely on such methods.
But fret not! As always, this blog serves to solve your marketing woes by reasoning out the problems plaguing your marketing endeavours and giving you some easy tips that can have a significant impact on your marketing results. Without further ado, let’s jump into the top 5 ways to attract REAL followers on Instagram!
1. Work with Micro-Influencers
If you’re a newly established brand without much of a social media presence, there is a good chance that the main obstacle impeding your journey to success is that no one, has ever heard of your brand. If that’s the case, posting good content on social media won’t help at all, simply because no one’s looking at them.
If that sounds like the problem you’re facing, you might want to consider roping in micro-influencers to help your brand be seen and heard. Micro-influencers are people with a significant following on social media, but not as much as your typical celebrities. They usually produce more niche content, which might explain why they have a comparatively smaller following than mega-influencers. However, precisely because they provide niche content and have a particular target audience, their followers are more engaged in what their micro-influencers have to say. In fact, a study by Markerly, an award-winning influencer marketing company, shows that as an influencer’s follower total rises, the rate of engagement with followers decreases. While these influencers are not household names, they are in the right household.
And … did I mention that they are way cheaper to work with compared to A-list celebrities? If your brand can find the right micro-influencer, with a target audience that aligns with your brand’s, you’ll get the best bang for your buck!
2. Post Relevant and Clear Content
Now that you’re starting to have a significant following, you have to make sure that they are here to stay.
One of the best things you can do to ruin your brand’s image is to post random content that makes your followers wonder why on earth did they follow your account. To avoid that, you need to know who your marketing efforts aiming at (if you want to learn more about defining the perfect target audience for your brand, click here). Post only content that your target market is interested in and avoid providing too many unrelated materials (unless you want to be labeled as a spammer).
While the essence of your content is definitively essential in determining the relevance of content to your followers, the way you present is vital too. The rule of thumb when it comes to creating relevant content is to zero in on your user’s problems. By incorporating keywords in your Instagram captions, you can create a short statement that still encapsulates your intended marketing message.
APRILSKIN’s short yet sweet caption – comprising of only 4 sentences – informs potential customers the intended purpose of their product, while urging customers to buy it ASAP!
3. Schedule Instagram Posts
Although the new Instagram algorithm has introduced new factors when prioritising content on users’ feed, one of the main factors that remain is the recency of the post. More recent posts will be at the top, while older posts will be pushed down. Obviously, we all want our posts to be right at the top of our users so that it’ll be more likely for them to actually see it.
Post when Instagram activity is at its peak. In other words, when people are actually using Instagram (e.g. during their journey to-and-fro work, lunch break, etc.). Such statistics can be easily found online. You might want to try out the articles below:
The optimal time to post really depends on your target audience’s location (yes, please factor in different timezones) and their daily schedule. It all boils down to accommodating to your target audience’s needs.
4. Get Users to Participate
With the new update on Instagram’s algorithm, the contents of accounts with many past interactions with users get bumped up. If you often find your followers liking and commenting on your posts or even tagging you in their posts, the chances of your posts ending up on the top of their Instagram feed is sky-high.
The big question is, HOW can we get users to interact with us? You’ll be shocked by the multitude of ways to do so.
A simple way to do so would be to start a discussion. Cook up questions to ask your followers! If you’ve yet to get your creative juices flowing, perhaps you can start off with asking for their experiences and opinions about your brand. For example,
Changi Airport Group’s Instagram account often initiates discussions on users’ experience in the airport.
Alternatively, you can make use of special days to come up with discussion topics or even, involve your brand in current events.
Spotify’s punny playlist when haze struck Southeast Asia once again in 2019. While this was not an Instagram post, it was a good way to involve the brand in current events – through humour.
If you’re feeling a little generous, you might want to conduct giveaways! Get users to do a few steps to qualify for the giveaway. For instance, ask them to follow you, like your posts, tag a few of their friends in your giveaway post and share your post, tagging you. This is a foolproof way to increase user engagement!
Plugin Alliance’s Giveaway requests users to follow them and tag their friends, which means a boost to their followers’ count and user engagement through comments!
5. Refrain from Buying Fake Followers
While fake followers may have been useful in the early 2010s, they are pretty much obsolete with Instagram’s new algorithm. While the idea of getting thousands of followers at a rather cheap price with minimal effort may be alluring, the cons often outweigh the pros. Purchasing fake followers can make your brand seem ‘too desperate’ or worse still, not competent enough to gain real followers. Why would one need to buy followers if their brand is attractive enough?
While you get to increase your followers’ count, followers’ count is merely a number. What matters most is that your followers actually purchase your products (which is something fake followers will definitely NOT do), so that you can get your returns!
Moreover, these bots won’t help you attract new followers anymore. With the latest Instagram update, the algorithm will sort out content and rank them based on these considerations, before putting them up on the user’s Explore page:
- The recency of post – depending on the chronological order
- User’s behaviour – what pages the user follows, what posts did the user like and comment on, etc.
These bots won’t like or comment on your posts and won’t really land you on other real users’ Explore page, which means they are not very helpful in attracting real followers. Essentially, you’ll be paying just to create a community filled with bots and to market your products to bots. In my opinion, it’s a complete waste of money.
Creating an Instagram account is easy, but attracting new followers is hard. And the hardest of it all is to make sure these new followers actually stay. As convenient and less capital intensive social media giants tout social media platforms to be, nothing is as easy as it seems. Regardless of your familiarity with Instagram for personal use, marketing on Instagram requires dedication, wits, and most importantly – statistics. Do not hesitate to invest some money on digital marketing consultants and data analytics tools, for it can be the deciding factor on whether you make it or break it.