Ivan Ivanov posted on 9 October 2017
Instagram is slowly, but surely becoming one of the best social media platforms for brands. The engagement rates are ever increasing and the network is constantly offering new ways for businesses to interact with their audiences.
But starting out on the platform isn’t easy for everyone. First and foremost, you have to be aware of the bigger picture on Instagram. What’s more, you have to be able to create content that is both visually appealing and engaging at the same time. While the network does have its similarities with other popular platforms, marketing strategies widely differ.
Whether you are a newcomer to the photo sharing behemoth or are a social media veteran, we decided to inspire you the best way we can.
We’ve gathered some amazing, creative and out-of-the box ideas that can help you grow your follower base on the platform.
1. Send Personalized Photos to Followers
New to Instagram? Why not welcome each and every one of your followers with a personalized photo. You can either share them on your profile for a better reach or humanize your brand via personal messaging. The choice is yours.
2. Hold a Follower Photo Contest
One of the most popular ways to both boost your reach and engagement is to hold a follower photo contest. The reward can be as small as a mention and as big as a physical product. What’s more, by doing so you will also receive free resharable content targeted to your audience from your users. Two birds, one stone.
3. Create a Giveaway
If there’s one certain way to boost your follower count on the platform, it’s giveaways. Either doing them directly on Instagram or via a third party, giveaways can help your brand profile grow faster than any other method. In fact, it can be argued that investing in a giveaway will give you a more certain engagement boost than promoted content.
4. Give a “Trip for a Day” Reward to a Follower
A rather more “crazy”, but an idea that can even get you some free online press is to reward one of your followers with a “trip for a day” reward. A perfect reward for a giveaway, it basically consists of a trip to your headquarters tied in nicely with a tour of the city you are located in.
5. Give Discounts to Followers
Have an active consumer base, but don’t have any followers on Instagram? Create a discount of your product and/or service that is only available to your Instagram followers. You’d be surprised at how quickly the numbers will go up.
6. Followback for a Certain Period of Time
A strategy that is despised by most social media marketers, yet loved by many, the followback, can be a great way to start out your brand account. Especially if you are new to the platform, followback can give you huge follower numbers in no time. Just be careful, as at the end of the day engagement is all that counts and you don’t want some numbers just lying there on your profile page not doing anything to benefit your business.
7. Follower Milestones
People love achieving milestones. Especially if you have a few active followers, creating follower milestones might help you make your customer base work for you. Whether creating a giveaway as a reward or something else, follower milestones might keep your users active and engaged with your content while giving them a purpose behind promoting your brand on the photo sharing platform.
8. Create a Video Thanking Followers
Followers are not just numbers. They are people. And to keep them engaged you should make them feel appreciated. Create a video thanking your followers and name the followers you have. This is a great idea if tied up with a live video event. Imagine the engagement you’ll receive if you create a live stream listing the names of all of your followers. Even if this takes you upwards of 24 hours it will definitely be rewarding in the long run.
9. Create a Personalized Reward for a Follower
Don’t know what the reward of your giveaway should be? Make a personalized reward for the follower that wins the competition. Either chat with the winner or check their Instagram profile for clues and surprise them. Not only do people love surprises, but the people who have engaged with your giveaway will be willing to stick around out of curiosity even after the giveaway is finished.
10. Create Tasks for Followers to Complete
Similar to the milestones, you can actually create tasks for your followers to complete for certain rewards. Much like in a game, simply tell your followers that when they share 20 of your photos they will receive a reward. That might be a discount or a limited time promotion. The opportunities are endless.
11. Give Incentives to Followers to Promote your Profile
The discount promotion can also be done as a reward to people who share or promote your profile. Know that making your audience work for you is not only rewarding for both parties, but will end up building a stronger bond between your consumers and your brand.
12. Create an Instagram Photo Game
Speaking of creating tasks for your followers and giving them incentives, why not create an Instagram photo game? Create a world out of your photos and let people find the correct answers via tags. This might even earn you some free press.
13. Create a “Find the Clue” Stories for Active Followers
Another idea for a photo game is to create “find the clue” stories. Simply give clues within your stories that your active followers should collect to solve a puzzle and ultimately win a prize or enter a giveaway for a bigger prize. Just don’t forget to announce that such a game exists so that you can keep your audience occupied.
14. Use the Most Engaging Hashtags of Your Competitors
Using the Instagram analytics of your competitors, you can learn what their most successful hashtags are. Use this knowledge to your advantage and target the audience of your competitor by using their own hashtags.
15. Send “Secret” Photos to Your Followers
Want to humanize your brand? Create special photos for your brand that include news about promotions or discount codes and send them to your followers. Place a photo that reads “follow for a special secret photo” and you’d be surprised how many people will respond just out of curiosity.
16. Start a “Live Video Followback” Stream
If you are willing to implement a followback strategy, why not combine it with a live video stream. For a certain amount of time follow back the people who follow you while your stream is live. This will also help you avoid having photos on your profile with the #followback on your brand profile on Instagram.
17. Start a Live Video Game
Just as you can create a game with photos and stories, you can also do so with live video. Create a trivia for your brand, for example. Put some thought into it and we are certain that you’ll come up with something engaging and creative!
18. Start a Live Video Series
Much like on Facebook, live video series can ensure that you have active engagement in certain time periods of the week if you are consistent enough. Plus, live video is something rather new on the platform so it will definitely work in your favor.
19. Create a Design Contest for Followers
If you want to go even further in making your customers work for you seamlessly, you can create a design contest. This can be anything as small as a t-shirt design contest or as big as a logo design contest. It’s your choice!
20. Make a Site-Wide Discount at a Follower Milestone
Want to promote your Instagram profile outside of the platform? Create a site-wide discount that will be available to everyone which is unlocked only when a certain follower milestone is reached. This can tie in perfectly with the planned discounts and realistic follower goals.
21. Ask Your Followers for a Hashtag Suggestion
Can’t think of a hashtag? Why not ask your followers to create one! It’s the perfect solution that will keep your audience engaged while also ensuring that the hashtag you end up using will already have some traction.
22. Connect with Influencers
Find notable influencers within your industry that are on Instagram and connect with them. Do cross-promotions or simply invite them to an event. Whether paid or for mutual benefits, Instagram influencers can do wonders for your brand and your growth on the platform.
23. Create a Physical Instagram Follower Book
Want an even crazier idea than the ones mentioned above? Create and print a limited edition book that includes photos of your Instagram followers. Just make sure that they are aware that their content will be used for your book and that you are within your legal rights to do so. This can also tie in nicely with some other ideas on this list.
24. Try “Secretly” Implementing Internet Memes
While you can freely use internet memes on other social media platforms to humanize your brand, this is not exactly the case on Instagram. Using memes on the photo sharing network can ruin your visual flow. However, you can still implement such memes “secretly” within your photos. This can be t-shirts, or mugs with a certain meme that is just barely seen in the background. Don’t worry! The internet will notice and reward your hard work!
25. Create an Instagram Fan T-Shirt Giveaway
Create a special limited edition t-shirt that is only available to your Instagram followers. Then simply hold a contest or a giveaway and send out the t-shirts. This will boost your engagement, increase your reach and might help you earn some free promotion.
26. Live Video Q’n’A with the CEO
Especially for bigger brands, holding a live Q’n’A event on social media with the CEO is always notable. It might not only earn you some free press, but the engagement will definitely be off the charts.
27. Put QR Codes Everywhere to Boost Curiosity
Have a physical or software product? Put QR codes for your Instagram profile wherever you can. You don’t even have to say that they are for Instagram as people will scan them out of curiosity. It’s true! It does work!
28. Create a Marketing Campaign Solely for Instagram
Want to go all in? Create a marketing campaign that is solely focused on promoting your Instagram profile. This can include T-Shirts, Mugs, TV Advertisements and whatever your mind can imagine. Sometimes, it’s worth taking the slight risk.
And if you are not sure if your new social media strategy works, you can always check your Instagram stats with a 7-day-free trial of Locowise. Sign up today!