How to Get More Instagram Followers for Your Business

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Infographic on why your brand should use Instagram

Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app, is the perfect social network for your eCommerce business. Here are just a few stats that make it so enticing:

  • Over 400 million users, surpassing Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
  • Over 80 million photos per day being shared meaning an active network
  • Speaking of active – engagement levels on Instagram are sky-high. Even though Instagram recently introduced advertising and even with so many photos being shared, there’s still no
  • Instagram referrals result in an average order value of $65 which is second only to the $66.75 from Polyvore.

Instagram is a prime channel to put your focus in to grow your business but like any network, there are ways to take advantage of its usefulness. Continue reading to see how to effectively use Instagram to grow your following, engagement rates, and sales.

Instagram Contests

A great way to get more followers on Instagram is by holding contests. Not only can an Instagram contest help expand your reach and customer list, but it’s also a powerful solution to increase engagement by your followers.

There are several types of contests that you can hold. Below is a list of several that you may want to consider to increase your following.

Like-to-win contest. As the name implies, a like-to-win contest is when you ask people to “like” an Instagram post in exchange for being entered into your contest.

Drinkwel Like-To-Win

Because there’s a low entry barrier with this type of contest, you’ll find high engagement rates and an increase in your Instagram reach. The downside, however, is that even though engagement may be high, your consumer connection is low because it’s so simple for participants to enter, they’re barely paying attention to what they’re actually liking.

Comment contest. Similar to a like-to-win contest, you’re asking people to comment on your brand’s post to be entered into your contest.

You can use a comment contest as a way to gain valuable feedback and increase post engagement. Use it in conjunction with a tag-to-win contest (see below) to make this a great way to increase organic traffic back to your Instagram account.

Tag-to-win contest. With this type of contest, you’re asking your followers to tag their friends in your post to be entered to win the contest.

This type of contest is great because it increases your exposure to new potential customers. You’ll get organic traffic back to your company’s Instagram account as the friends of followers check you out, which means more followers for your Instagram account.

Birchbox Instagram Contest

Photo challenge contest. Perhaps the most popular of all Instagram contests, the photo challenge asks followers to post their entries with a predetermined hashtag. The photo requirement can be anything–a style challenge, a themed image, an idea–which makes this a versatile choice.

How to run an Instagram photo contest

Making Use of Hashtags

Creating fun contests and posting interesting photos will help ensure that you have high engagement rates on Instagram, however to really expand your reach and increase your following, you’ll find that using the right hashtags of utmost importance. Hashtags on Instagram, like any social network, help make it easier for people to find your posts, assuming they are searching for those specific terms.

So what hashtags should you use to reach news users and help with getting your contest discovered?

While it may be tempting to use the popular hashtags, if they aren’t relevant to your business, it won’t do you or your network any good. It’ll just come off as your business being desperate for attention and even though it can possible get you additional engagement and likes, you’ll find that it won’t lead to increased long-term engagement or sales. Even if the hashtag is relevant to your business, you’ll be competing with tons of other people and businesses using the same hashtag.

A better strategy is as follows:

Use hashtags that are relevant to your post. As mentioned above, it might be tempting to use trending hashtags with your posts, but if the hashtags aren’t relevant to what you’re posting on Instagram, then you won’t see much success.

Instead, try to find hashtags that are popular within your industry and then figure out which of these would fit with your photo/video and caption. You can find relevant hashtags by looking at your competitors and other businesses in your industry or niche.

Combine popular hashtags with less popular and brand hashtags. It would be a mistake to just use popular hashtags, even if they are related to your post. While your post has the potential to be seen by many more people, because everyone is doing the same thing, your post will disappear quickly, meaning a short shelf life for your post.

By incorporating less common hashtags with popular ones, you get the best of both. You have the opportunity to get your post seen by lots of people, while also ensuring longevity for your post. Additionally, you should consider adding brand related hashtags which are easy to remember and unique to you business. This allows for followers to easily find your posts as well as associates your content for potential followers.

Don’t spam hashtags. While it appears that there isn’t a saturation point for the number of hashtags you can use in an Instagram post, if you’re spamming multiple hashtags in hopes of capturing as many views as possible, you’ll just find that you’re casting your net too wide and that your posts will end up looking spammy.

Use the Right Filters for Your Photos

According to a recent study by Georgia Tech, filters such as Mayfair, Hudson, Valencia, X-Pro II, and Rise are top choices among customers when they use filters for their photos. Another study that was done by  TrackMaven, which analyzed how filters impacted engagement for brands found a correlation between the two.

Filters that trigger the most likes and comments



In terms of effectiveness, Mayfair brings an average of 23.04 interactions (an interaction is the sum of likes and comments). No filter drives about 18.009 average interactions and Inkwell has 16.407 average interactions.

Instagram engagement vs filters


To figure out which photos are working best for you, use IconoSquare to analyze the performance of your posts. Figure out which filters work best and which types of posts are driving the most engagement and potentially leading to the most followers.

Steal Your Competitors Followers

By following the aforementioned tips, you’ll have laid a solid foundation, however if you really want to ramp up the number of followers that you get to your Instagram account, a simple technique is to just steal the followers from your competitors.

The reason why you’ll find these followers to be the best is because they have shown some level of interest in the products your business carries – why else would they be following your competitors on Instagram!

So how do you effectively steal your competitors’ followers?

The simple answer is by engaging with them.

There are basically three ways that you can engage with Instagram users:

  • Follow a user
  • Like a photo
  • Comment on a photo
  • Messaging

While you probably already have an idea of who some of your largest competitors are, You can use an app like Websta to find popular Instagram accounts. Just search for relevant keywords to your business to find additional brands within your niche. You can then use Crowdfire to quickly copy your competitors followers as opposed to doing it manually.

Remember, the more time you put in, the more you’ll get out of it. Put some time into writing thoughtful comments on potential followers’ posts. Also, don’t count on just one engagement sealing the deal for you. You’ll probably find that you’ll need engage with each user over a span of several days before getting them to follow, but it’ll be well worth it!

Putting it All Together for Increased Instagram Followers

If used correctly, Instagram can be an extremely effective channel for your business. The visual component of the channel is perfect for advertising your products, services and brand. This in turn can lead to an increased revenue stream for your business.









Buying Followers



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