Instagram is a powerful channel for growing your brand. Frankly, it’s the most engaging social media platform that you can be on. Instagram has over 400 million monthly users (for reference, Twitter has about 310 million, Snapchat has 200 million, and Pinterest has around 100 million,) and gives brands 58X more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120X more engagement per follower than Twitter. This visibility and reach makes Instagram an optimal social platform for your brand.

Your goal on Instagram should be to engage your current audience while growing your business’ following. If used correctly, the platform can be a highly targeted visual marketing platform for your brand. Here are a few effective strategies for how to engage your following and how to get followers on Instagram for business that I learned from Pixlee.

Build out your business Instagram feed

When browsers come to your online store, you want to convert them into customers. Similarly, when browsers come across your brand’s Instagram feed, you want them to convert into followers. In order to do so, your feed will need to be stylized and engaging: filled with high-quality, eye-catching photos. These photos and videos need to reflect the lifestyle of your brand. Remember that your brand lifestyle does not resonate with everyone. Your Instagram feed should not seek to remedy this—rather, it should serve to strengthen your current brand image and to introduce your brand to new customers. Here are three tips for every brand looking to take high-quality Instagram photos:

1. Exposure is Key

One of the most prevalent mistakes people make is taking photos that are too light or too dark. When a photo or video’s exposure is off, the photo’s crispness and details tend to get lost in the poor lighting.

2. Placement is Important

Keep your photo’s subject in the middle of the frame, centered either vertically or horizontally. People are inherently attracted to symmetry. By highlighting a key symmetry, followers are more likely to pause and look at your content while scrolling through their Instagram feeds.

3. Choose one Subject
Pick one clear subject to be the focus of your photo or video. Photos with too many details can seem over cluttered and chaotic—and often make the entire photo just fade away into the background. Make sure that you’re giving browsers something compelling to look at that cuts through the noise.

Be active on social media

Creating a brand Instagram account and posting branded content isn’t enough to get followers on Instagram for business. Once you’ve started to build out your feed, you’ll need to post aggressively on the Instagram accounts of potential customers. Build a two-way conversation between your brand and customers or potential customers. Follow your customers and potential customers on Instagram and make sure to comment and like their photos in a genuine manner. You might want to take a look at who is following your competitors and engage with those users. These users most likely fit your target audience and will show interest in your products. Another popular way to gain reach on Instagram is to attach popular hashtags to your content. However, make sure that these hashtags are actually relevant to your posts or it will just come across as spam.

Repost on Instagram

Marketers often struggle with avoiding content fatigue. With so many channels to create content for, the demand for content far outweighs the supply. As a result, many marketers work with customers to help create content for their brands. If you’re lucky enough to have customers already posting about your brand, it’s simple enough to ask these users for permission to repost their photos. If your brand is just starting off and does not have many customers posting photos or videos that feature your products, here are some quick tips to get started. Once you’ve collected a strong pool of real customer photos, here are 3 ways to repost them on Instagram.

1. Celebrate Customers
Repost Instagram content to show how customers are wearing your products post-purchase. Instagram is a visual platform. Brands can use it as a look book of how current customers stylize products in order to inspire new customers to buy.

2. Propel your Social Campaign

Reward your social media marketing campaign participants and incentivize new ones to upload their own photos and videos to your campaign. Repost contest photos to generate brand awareness, expand your reach, and to make sure that your branded hashtag is seen on social.

3. Integrate with eCommerce
If you have a visual marketing platform, you can tag your products in re-grammed customer photos to direct browsers straight to the correct product page.

One thing to keep in mind that social media is not always a numbers game. To be successful at gaining followers on Instagram, the most successful strategy is to be authentic and social.

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