Instagram is one of the most powerful tools where it comes to building an online presence, be it for a business, an influencer, or a freelance professional. With over 1 billion users, it’s a platform with high amounts of traffic and a massive reach, enabling you to reach and interact with millions of potential customers and followers.
Where it comes to followers, as we all know, the more – the better. If you’re like most Instagram users trying to make a name for yourself, you’re likely setting milestones – 10k first, then 100k, then half a million, and eventually, the magic number: 1m.
Having 1m followers doesn’t only give you a sizeable platform to market yourself and/or your products. It also serves as a form of advertisement in itself: if someone has 1m followers or more, the average user will tend to assume that the profile is worth examining.
The big question, then, is how to get to the impressive 1m?
1. Have a unique, consistent brand with an original username
While it might seem like an inconsequential detail when you first start out, picking the right username for your brand is paramount to future success. Think of it as one of the essential foundation stones upon which you’re going to build your audience and your presence.
Your username is the first thing that most potential followers will look at (and, let’s face it, judge), so it’s important that the handle is relevant to your brand and as original as possible. A short, unique username will be more memorable, making it easier for people to find you.
2. Know your target audience
There are literally millions of users on Instagram, and it’s simply not possible to create a brand or a product that will appeal to them all. Hopefully, you already have a detailed idea about who your target audience is – but if not, then it’s never too late to look into this.
Both Instagram’s own tool (Instagram Insights) and third-party solutions will provide you with statistics that can guide you as you create your customer persona. These insights should then be used to inform the type of content that you post.
3. Regularly post only high-quality content with appealing visuals
Speaking of content, it’s crucial to remember that Instagram is a highly visual platform. While clever puns and wordplay will be really useful in getting you some attention on platforms like Twitter, on Instagram you should focus primarily on the visual appeal of your images. They should be original, high-quality, and consistent with your style and target audience.
This doesn’t mean that the text you add to your images doesn’t matter, though. It should still be well-crafted, clever, and interesting. You should also pay particular attention to spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
4. Use the right hashtags
Hashtags are the primary way in which potential followers are likely to find your content, so always plan your keywords with this in mind. The hashtags you use need to be not only relevant to your post, but also at least moderately popular on the site. Plenty of Instsagrammers out there use a reverse technique: browsing the most popular hashtags first, then creating content to fit these keywords. If you’re stuck for ideas for a post, then, the popular hashtags are the perfect place to start.
5. Track the performance of your posts
Once you’ve been posting regularly for a while, make sure you go back over your content and see whether you can spot any trends in popularity and engagement level. Such trends could be due to the specific type of content in these posts, or to other factors such as the time of posting – your target audience could be more active at particular times of day.
Similarly, if you suddenly start seeing an increased growth in the number of your followers, try to figure out what’s behind it. It could be that you’ve changed your main type of content, engaged with the right group, had your comment seen by a large amount of people, or been mentioned by another brand.
6. Engage with your audience and peers
As well as posting content, you should also take the time to engage with your followers. Try to reply to at least a few comments every day. It’s also advisable to seek out your competitors – or peers, depending on how you see it – and engage with them, too. Remember that collaborations between influencers and brands are usually highly popular and make for a good talking point.
7. Engage with your peers’ followers
Whether your direct competition is more or less popular than you on Instagram, it’s a good idea to engage with their posts – preferably in the form of relevant comments. If their brand or profile is similar, chances are that their audience would be interested in following you, too. Commenting and being active on their profiles will get their audience to notice you, visit your page, and become followers.
8. Become verified on Instagram
The verified badge (the blue checkmark next to your username) lets people know that you’re a serious, noteworthy brand. Verification is not an easy process, but it’s definitely worth the investments as it will boost your brand’s respectability and trustworthiness.