How to get followers on your small business Instagram account

Published: 07/04/2020

Instagram might not be the biggest social network, but it’s one of the best for businesses and boasts some pretty impressive statistics:

  • Six in 10 adults with internet access have an Instagram account
  • It has over 1 billion active monthly users
  • Over 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business account daily
  • 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram

On top of all that, research suggests Instagram is the best social network for building customer engagement and loyalty.

But, to get access to these enticing perks via the platform you need followers, and for that, you need to put in the leg work. Worry not, we’re here to help with our 10 tried and tested techniques for getting followers on your small business Instagram account. 

1. Create a business account

It might sound glaringly obvious to some, but it’s not actually uncommon for start-ups to tag their business onto their personal account, and this isn’t a good idea. 

The quality of your profile overall is super-important, so having personal pics mixed amongst business posts will dilute the credibility of your page, potentially putting users off following you.

Instagram business accounts are free to set up, and using them you can add valuable info like your opening hours, contact number or address. You’ll also get access to all of the following super-useful tools:

  • Insights about your posts, stories and followers
  • Real-time metrics
  • Ad-targeting
  • Contact button
  • Analytics.

2. It's all about the imagery

Instagram as a platform is all about the imagery, with the accompanying text coming secondary, so it’s crucial you’re posting top-quality, attention-grabbing pics to your feed. 

Here’s a fun fact for you, the average person processes images 60,000 times faster than words and get a whopping 90% of their information visually, so nailing the graphics is key to enticing consumers to follow your business page. Here are a few handy tips to keep in mind:

  • Make the most of natural light
  • Don’t over-expose your pics
  • Follow the rule of thirds
  • Play with interesting vantage points
  • Frame the subject matter
  • Remember brand identity - this one’s especially important. You want consumers to immediately know a post they see comes from your brand, so find your style and stick with it.  

3. Consistency is key  

Posting every once in a while will do nothing to boost your followers and promote your business, but posting too often could result in consumer overload. The key is identifying your audience’s sweet spot and posting accordingly.

You can find out information on when your target audience is most likely to be browsing the platform via analytics, but you can also employ good old common sense. For example, if your target audience is businessmen and women then consider timing your posts to coincide with commuting hours, or if you’re after parents then aim for early evening when the kids have gone to bed.

Post consistently every day or every other day, at the optimal time, and you’ll boost the chances your market sees your efforts and follows your page.

Good to know: according to the stats, Instagram users are most engaged during weekdays, with Tuesdays and Thursdays showing the highest levels.

4. Run competitions

Let’s be honest, we all love getting something for free, and you can use this knowledge to your advantage. Running a competition giving away your product - whether that’s a free meal, food hamper, boiler service, etc. has been shown to be a great way to increase followers. You could try something like this:

“We’ve decided to give one lucky winner a free three-course meal for two! For your chance to win all you need to do is follow our page, share this post and tag two friends in the comments. Competition ends July 16th and we’ll announce the winner on our page. Good luck!”

Remember: to avoid a slap on the wrist, brush up on Instagram’s rules for running competitions before you get started. 

5. Make use of insights

Instagram insights help businesses learn more about their followers and the people interacting with their page on the platform. As well as information on age range, gender and location, using insights you’ll also see which posts and stories get more engagement from your audience. 

Armed with this information you’ll be able to make tweaks and improvements to really make the most of your page, boost engagement, and target followers. 

Good to know: you’ll find Instagram insights via your business profile by clicking on the menu icon (three horizontal lines) and choosing ‘insights’.

6. Share stories

Instagram stories are a great way to get more consumers looking at your page. Since they were introduced in 2016, the number of feed posts on the platform has steadily decreased, with the popularity of stories taking over. 

Users can tag, send and share stories with their friends or to their page, so getting them right could give you access to heaps of new followers. Stories can be images, GIFs, Boomerangs, videos, or polls, and include stickers and emojis, location tags, hashtags and tagged accounts. 

The key to gaining new followers via stories is creating shareable content. That could be tips and advice, a useable template, something funny, enticing or unmissable. 

Fun fact: one-third of the most-viewed stories on Instagram are from businesses. 

7. Use hashtags

You can think of hashtags as the road signs that direct users to your Instagram page and you can add up to 10 to a story and 30 to a feed post. To optimise your hashtags, always consider your subject matter and be sure your #s are relevant to both your content as well as your target audience. 

Instagram users can browse through hashtags at their leisure, so pinning your post to hashtags pertinent to your business is a great way to attract new followers.

Not sure where to start? Here’s our guide to finding the most suitable hashtags for your business:

  1. Click on the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your Instagram
  2. Search for a word or words that relate to your business
  3. At the top of the screen select ‘tags’
  4. You’ll be shown your hashtag as well as related or similar tags
  5. Scroll through the list to find the most relevant options. 

Top tip: when it comes to adding hashtags to your stories, don’t make the text too small or Instagram mightn’t pick it up, making it unlikely your post will appear in user searches.  

8. Follow, like & comment (FLC)

The FLC formula is a nifty trick to get your follower numbers up quickly, in fact, research shows if it’s done cleverly it can be amazingly effective.

The best way to start is with a competitor’s page since the stats show localised FLC is most rewarding - head to their follower list and engage directly with their audience by following them, liking one of their photos and leaving a comment. 

A preliminary study on FLC showed as many as one-third of accounts targeted will follow you back.

9. Partner up with an influencer

Influencers are fast becoming big names on social media, gaining celebrity status with thousands or even millions of followers, and Instagram is a hotspot for influencer marketing.

Influencer accounts tend to have extremely high levels of engagement, meaning a post by them has the power to direct purchase-ready users straight to your page. 

When it comes to partnering up you’ve got two options; a) pay an influencer to advertise your products, or b) send them a free sample in exchange for an ad. 

To have a sizeable effect, typically, you need to find a page with at least 20,000 followers that’s relevant to your target audience, and contact the account owner directly requesting a sponsored post. 

10. Paid-for ads

Perhaps the most obvious way to build your followers on Instagram and reach new audiences is via paid-for ads. On the platform, you can buy, run and track ads in three ways:

  1. Within the app - by promoting posts you’ve shared
  2. With Ads Manager - using the same powerful advertising tools as Facebook
  3. With Instagram Partners - using a proven expert within their field.

You’ve also got plenty of options in terms of where you choose to advertise on Instagram:

  • Stories ads 
  • Photo ads 
  • Video ads 
  • Carousel ads 
  • Collection ads 
  • Ads in explore 

Not sure which one is right for your business? Head to Instagram’s business page for a more in-depth look at each type of paid-for advertising. 

Get it right and your healthier Instagram following could convert into more sales, and that’s where we can help. Our online payment systems are the creme de la creme, and we won’t tie you down with a lengthy contract. So, whether it’s a payment gateway, pay by link or developer support you’re after, get in touch today on 08082 392658. 

Takepayments Barclaycard