Instagram app

Instagram is the ideal social media platform for e-commerce sellers. Its visual nature makes it really easy to promote your products to all your current and potential customers. Instagram is the only major social media platform with a 20% organic exposure rate. That happens to be a very high number when compared to the other social media giants such as Facebook or Twitter. But If you’ve come to read this post, then you probably know all of this already. So let's get down to business, shall we?

How do I double my Instagram followers?

Let’s classify Instagram accounts into three major categories based on the number of followers:
  • Less than 1,000 followers
  • 1,000 to 10,000 followers
  • Beyond 10,000 followers
A single glance at your Instagram account should reveal to you which category you fall under. The steps for effective growth highly depend on this fact. There are a lot of people on the internet who will teach you to get to 1 million followers or more. Ironic as it may sound, getting your first thousand followers is tougher than reaching your first million. If you’re just starting out on your Instagram for ecommerce journey, here is a wonderful video by Volusion that serves as a beginner’s kit:

In this article, we will show you 5 1/2 actionable steps you can implement to get to your first thousand followers.

1. Create your own visual style

Instagram is a social media platform built around pictures. Though Instagram provides you a text box that allows up to 2800 characters to describe your pictures, the impact of the visual content outweighs the text content. So a simple way to make your images stand out in the crowded Instagram space is to create your own visual style. Some of the most successful e-commerce Instagram superstars have created a unique visual style for their images. This lets their audience distinguish their content from the thousands of images they see on their Instagram feed.

Creating a unique style can be done in several ways, like following the same filter or using a same ambience. Make sure that your image style goes hand-in-hand with the brand image you want to create. Here is an example:

Zevia Instagram profile example

@zevia Instagram account creates a unique visual imagery that makes their images stand out

2. Instagram Shoutouts

Sharing is the essence of social media

One of the foundations of all social media platforms is sharing. Facebook users share 2.5 million pieces of content per minute (source: HubSpot). Instagram does not allow its users to share content. This is one of the major hurdles faced by all brands on Instagram. The Instagram community overcomes this problem with the simple concept of Instagram Shoutouts.

An Instagram shoutout is an image of another Instagram page posted on your account to expose the other user to your audience. Instagram Shoutouts are used as an effective way to advertise small businesses.

There are a lot of big Instagram accounts with thousands of followers that are giving Shoutouts for a price. Opting to buy Shoutouts can be effective if it is done right. Finding Instagram accounts with the right audience and at the right price can be a daunting task. Here is a list of 50 Instagram e-commerce accounts to Shoutout your store for almost no cost.

Exchanging Shoutouts is an organic, effective approach to get exposure. Find Instagram accounts that are similar in terms of their number of followers and nature of audience, and exchange Shoutouts with them. You can approach them through the direct message service in your IG account.

Around.io Instagram post

3. Network genuinely

Just imagine Instagram to be a big party. A party wouldn't be as much fun if you never interacted with the people at the party, right? This applies to Instagram as well. Unless you are Beyoncé and can make it to 89.4 million followers without following anyone, networking is the key to Instagram success.

Follow others with similar profiles and interact with their posts. Excessive use of bots has literally rendered the comments section of Instagram completely mechanical. Maintain the human element by genuinely liking and commenting on the images you appreciate. Over time, your engagement will most likely be returned.

4. Hashtags are the key ingredient

Hashtags are the tagging of simple keywords along with your posts to let the social media platform organize your content and help it reach out to the right audience. Did you know that posts with at least one hashtag gain 12.6% more engagement? And that engagement is critical. If your engagement line goes flat, the algorithm will move on to other profiles.

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. Optimizing the hashtags that you use is the first fundamental step to making your post reach the right audience and gain the engagement it deserves. One of the simplest and most effective ways to discover hashtags is through a simple search on Instagram itself, as demonstrated here:

Instagram hashtag search

5. Consistency is key

The most important rule of any social media platform is consistency. This rule applies to Instagram as well. Decide on a particular frequency that you want to post on Instagram. This frequency varies depending upon your business, customer base and goals. But whether your frequency is to post 5 times a day or only once a day, make sure you stick to it.

These are the 5 simple, yet effective ways to increase your Instagram followers organically.

To all the readers who patiently read up to this point: here is the bonus (and one of the most important lessons that I have learnt from my experience on Instagram):

½. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Instagram is an image-based platform. Although there is a text box for descriptions of your images, the impact of the images themselves far outweigh the text. So be sure to convey your messages in the images as much as possible. Whether you’re offering a discount or running a contest, express what you’re doing in the image itself, as shown here: Basket images comparison

The latter image works much better in encouraging engagement than the former.

Conclusion

Instagram is a very powerful visual platform that every online seller should utilize to reach out to their audience. With our Instagram feeds being governed by the algorithm, these simple steps will help you increase the organic reach of your content. Organic reach and engagement are the simple yet surefire ways to double your followers. Additionally, here's a handy infographic for these five Instagram tips:

instagram-marketing-for-ecommerce-infographicHow do you use Instagram for your business? Let us know in the comments below!



About the author

Aravindan is a digital marketing, social media enthusiast and content developer. He works as an ecommerce researcher and writer for Around.io — the best automation tool to grow your store. Currently automating social media for your store!