When it comes to social media there is no shortage of platforms where you can shout your brand message out to the masses. That being said, if you are looking to build the kind of brand awareness and following that will grow your business and generate reliable revenue then Instagram is the place to be seen.
A recent poll of Instagram users found that more than half of regular users report using the platform to help them discover and interact with new brands. Of course, the popularity of the platform can be a double-edged sword for new brands struggling to get noticed in a crowded sea of established names.
In this post, we will explore how you can get started on Instagram, and how hype-boosting tools like contests and giveaways can help you get more followers and build brand awareness fast!
What are “Real” Instagram Followers?
Having many followers doesn’t matter if they don’t interact with you. At the very least, you would like them to comment or like your posts, but ideally, they will share your content with others and navigate to your site to make purchases. The ultimate goal of any marketing activity should be to drive more sales.
“Fake” accounts are either automatically generated by bots or created by hackers to lure other users into scams. The bots cannot buy your products or services, and hackers are more interested in extorting money from others than giving it to legitimate businesses. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to spot a fake account if you know what to look for.
First, look at the account’s username. Bots generally have a random mix of letters and numbers for their username. Fake accounts also rarely use a real photo for a profile picture. Be suspicious of any account with an avatar or a symbol as a profile picture. These accounts may follow thousands of others but have only a handful of followers. They may also have few to no posts of their own, and if they do have posts, they are likely to be fairly generic.
How To Get Started On Instagram With Initial Content
The first step to building a following on Instagram is obvious. You are going to need to create a compelling Instagram profile for your business. No need to worry, setting up an account is easy.
Simply follow the steps below to get your Instagram business profile up and running and start adding engaging content to grab views and start attracting your audience.
1. Create An Instagram Business Account
There are two ways to create an Instagram business account. You can either create a brand new personal Instagram account and convert it to a business account OR you can convert an existing personal account to a business account.
If you do not yet have a personal Instagram account, you can simply start from scratch by following the platform instructions to create a new personal Instagram account. Once you have successfully established your personal Instagram account you can follow the steps below to convert it to a business account.
If you already have a personal Instagram which you would like to convert to a business account you can skip to the next steps.
Converting A Personal Account To A Business Account
Log in to your personal Instagram profile page and locate the Menu Icon located in the top-right corner of the page.
Select the Settings option from the provided menu selections
Look for an option to “Switch To A Professional Account” or simply select the Account option
Instagram will present you with a series of professional account options. At this stage, you can simply select Continue to move through each of these options and reach the next phase
You will now be asked to choose a business Category. Select the most appropriate category for your business and use the slider to choose whether or not to display your business category on your profile page. Tap Done when you are ready to proceed.
You will now choose your account type. Most brands will want to choose the Business option, though you may choose a Creator account if this is more appropriate for your brand
Add any relevant contact details and determine whether you would like your business contact information to appear on your homepage. Tap Next to move to the final phase.
You will now be prompted to connect your Facebook business page to your Instagram business account. This is not required but it is necessary if you want to use certain shopping and advertising features.
That’s it! You are all done. Simply close the window and return to your new Instagram Business profile page
Instagram Content Strategy
Now that you have your Instagram business account set up you will need to add engaging content to draw in viewers and start generating brand attention. Instagram is a visual sharing platform, meaning that content on Instagram is focused on strong imagery, short videos, and concise, catchy captions and posts
To gain a substantial following on Instagram you will need to master the art of visual communication. You can post high-quality images of your product in use, short video reels highlighting your brand values or features, or share inspirational or clever quotes and advice in clever captions and posts.
The idea is to entertain viewers, provide valuable information, and encourage sharing to start growing your audience of followers and keep them coming back for more.
Basic Instagram Tips
It is important to remember that Instagram is a social platform above all else. While eye-popping imagery reigns supreme on Instagram you are going to need to interact with your visitors and followers to grow a solid loyal following. Follow these basic Instagram tips to make the most of the social aspects of the platform.
Unify Your Content Strategy
Supercharge your brand recognition by creating content that clearly communicates your brand messaging in every story, reel, quote, and image. Every piece of content shared on Instagram should be relevant to your brand to help build your brand identity fast.
Create a Contest Calendar + Schedule Posts in Advance
To use another common saying, consistency is key. Your customers are constantly flooded with information and advertising wherever they scroll. If you’re not constantly putting yourselves in front of them, they are likely to forget you. Posting regularly on social media is a great way to keep your audience engaged and drive more sales. At a minimum, you should post once a week, but most successful brands post nearly every day. Look at the performance of past posts to see what days of the week and times of day your followers are most active, and plan to post around these times. You can even schedule posts in advance.
Instead of waiting until it is time to post to create content, you may want to sit down at the beginning of a new week or month and decide what you will post. This can make the content creation process less overwhelming and help you stay consistent. Creating a content calendar can also help you avoid posting too much of the same content back to back and prevent your customers from becoming bored with and ignoring your content.
Communication is key to building a solid relationship. Engage with the viewers of your content through 1:1 DMs and prompt responses to viewer comments.
Engage the Followers you Already Have + Work With Influencers
Why has influencer marketing become so popular? Because customers are more likely to listen to a real person they trust. Partnering with influencers with a strong following among your target audience is a great way to attract new followers. Make sure to vet any influencers before you work with them; just like businesses, influencers may have their follower counts inflated by fake accounts. If you’re considering working with an influencer with many followers, double-check that their engagement rate seems to line up with their follower count.
Engaging with your regular, everyday followers can also help you reach a larger audience. Promptly responding to comments and messages improves your reputation with your customers and makes it more likely that they will recommend you to friends or family. You can also give yourself a break from creating your own content by using user-generated content. UGC campaigns are when a company reposts content from its users, giving credit to the original poster. You can collect UGC from posts that include your brand’s hashtags or posts that tag your location or account. The original user will likely share how you used their content back to their account, putting your brand in front of their followers.
Growing Your Following With Contests: Tips And Examples
People love the idea of winning, and the idea of winning valuable discounts, free products, or services is even more appealing. Consider running a simple contest to help quickly boost your follower count on Instagram and beyond.
Running a contest on Instagram is relatively easy but you will need to take some time to review the Instagram promotion rules, and community guidelines to ensure your contest doesn’t get you in trouble with the Instagram powers that be. Basically, be transparent, don’t spam people, and imply any official affiliation or endorsement by Instagram and you should be in good shape.
There are several options when it comes to planning an awesome Instagram contest. Let’s take a look at some of the best tips to ensure your Instagram contest is a success.
1. Start Out With A Clear Goal
While contests are a lot of fun, your contest needs to have a purpose. In this case, you want to grow your Instagram following. You will want to structure your Instagram contest to help you achieve this specific goal. Later down the road, you can run additional Instagram contests to help draw attention to product launches or increase engagement with your brand.
2. Determine A Contest Timeline
There is no hard or fast rule here. There are pros and cons to running both short and long Instagram contests. Let’s take a look at some of the options.
Shorter day-long or week-long contests help generate a sense of urgency that encourages people to act, but this timeline may not be long enough to reach a large number of users and convert them into followers.
Longer contests spanning 2 weeks or a month will provide the maximum exposure for your brand and give you the time you need to gain the attention of new followers. That being said, longer contests do require savvy promotion to make sure that people don’t lose interest over the span of your contest.
3. Direct Instagram Contest Vs. Instagram Contest App
Instagram offers the ability to run contests directly on Instagram or you can make use of a variety of third-party marketing and promotion companies that specialize in crafting successful contests for social media platforms, including Instagram.
Direct Instagram contests are simple to set up and run and are perfect for grabbing attention and increasing engagement with a specific post or reel.
Third-party contest promotion services and apps, like KickoffLabs, offer a more full-featured approach that walks you through the contest process and helps you to generate buzz to keep the excitement flowing during longer promotions.
How To Use KickoffLabs To Manage Contests, Get More Shares, & Pick Winners
KickoffLabs makes it easy to set up and manage a successful Instagram Giveaway contest that promotes your brand AND grows your following.
KickoffLabs giveaway contests are the perfect choice for generating buzz and growing your Instagram following fast. Best of all, you don’t need to be a marketing genius, or a social media maven to pull off a successful Instagram giveaway contest.
Simply visit KickoffLabs, select from one of the awesome landing page design templates, or use your own, and start planning your giveaway contest and brand promotion campaign. Your custom landing page acts as the hub of your giveaway, funneling visitors and entrants to your Instagram profile and content.
KickoffLabs creates a behind-the-scenes viral buzz generation machine that incentivizes viewers to share your content and directs contest entrants to become Instagram followers. The more that your Instagram contest and content are shared, the more followers you gain. KickOffLabs offers a range of tools that help you keep the hype going for the extent of the contest. That means that you are continuously generating views, likes, and followers throughout the duration of your contest.
We make it easier than ever to launch an Instagram giveaway with our Instgram Campaign type. Simply select Instagram when selecting a campaign during the onboarding.
KickoffLabs automatically sets contest settings based on the Instagram campaign that you chose. For example, the scoring is set to referrals + actions which is excellent for boosting your Instagram follower count with little effort on your part. You simply design and launch the contest (with the help of KickoffLabs) and send out your launch hype announcements. As your first participants respond and enter they will be incentivized to spread the word about your contest to their network of friends and followers to earn additional entries for themselves.
To help gain Instagram followers even faster, our Instagram Growth campaign automatically includes Instagram specific actions that leads can take in exchange for a bonus point or two.
When it is time to wrap up your contest, KickoffLabs will help you pick your winner using the Pick A Winner tool. Choose from a weighted contest that increases entrant’s odds of being selected based on their participation and referrals, or opt to have the tool select a winner or winners at random. Either way, the winner is selected with no heavy lifting (or complex math skills) required on your part.
In conclusion, using a KickoffLabs giveaway is a smart and effective way to boost your Instagram following. By offering an attractive prize and encouraging participants to share the giveaway with their friends, you can expand your reach and attract new followers who are interested in your brand or product. Make sure to create engaging content and promote your giveaway across all your social media channels to maximize your results. With the right strategy and execution, a KickoffLabs giveaway can be a powerful tool to grow your Instagram presence and achieve your marketing goals. Start your next Instagram giveaway for free at kickoffLabs!