Simple, Free Strategies to Grow Your Followers and Business on Instagram

Instagram is an excellent tool for expanding your business; posting engaging, quality content and engagement are essential for gaining followers.

Here are some strategies for gaining followers and potential customers.

  1. Use #Hashtags in your photo captions 

Hashtags are keywords used for searching on Instagram.  They are known to increase followers. Keep a list of hashtags in your notes– copy and paste them into your photo captions. Just keep in mind that Instagram enforces a hashtag limit of 30 per post.

  • Use hashtags that are relevant to your area. It may connect you with locals or people visiting in town- (I’m from Pittsburgh, so for example) #412 #pittsburgh #steelcity #steelcitygrammers #pittsburghartist
  • Tag things in your niche (e.g., my Etsy Instagram hashtags) #etsybusiness #shopsmall #etsy #etsybusiness #etsyjewelry #jewelry #handmade #handmadejewelry #madewithlove #artoftheday #artjewelry #etsyseller #shopsmall #localartist #artistsoninstagram #jewlrymaker #shopsmall #handmadeart #smallbusiness
  • Check out your direct competitors, what hashtags are they using?

It is key to use hashtags that are centered on your business focus and will target the right audience, rather than hashtags to get likes.

  1. Ask questions or use calls to action in the caption of your photo

This is a great way to increase engagement. Try to get people to comment, even its unrelated to the image. The more engagement, the more traffic your posts and profile will be seen — using these following “calls to action” wit

  • ask opinions, what city are you from, what is your favorite song/movie/book
  • comment ___ in your language below, #tagafriend, #tagyourfavoriteartist
  • let me know what you think in the comments, share your idea in the comments
  1. Posting regularly is essential but also post during these specific times

My goal is to have at least one post a day but I always aim to post at these times:

Sundays (lowest post day), Wednesdays (mid-week posts get more interactions), and 2am and 5pm are good times to post. (heres why).

Life gets busy – download Hootsuite to save time by scheduling posts. It is an excellent app for social media management.

  1. Run a contest for a giveaway

Offer a few free products, trial, or an experience: 1 like, 1 share, 1 comment with tagged friends, and/or one repost = one entry. Bonus idea: pairing up with one or more other businesses for the giveaway; find businesses in a complimentary niche who have a similar follower count. This copromotion presents an opportunity to multiply each other’s audience.

Here is a link to a free random winner generator.

  1. Utilize mutual friends 
  • Post your business Instagram to your other social medias and offer a follow-back.
  • Ask your friends to share your profile
  • Add your Facebook friends and contacts directly- go to settings>follow people> and voila! It connects you with your contacts.
  1. Ask an Instagram guru/ influencer if they will mention or tag your product

If they already use your product, great! If not, offer them a free product or trial for an Instagram review and “shout-out”. It very well could work; resulting in tons of new followers. The worst they could say is no!

     7. Dedicate time to growing your social media every day

As mentioned previously, engaging is the key point behind all of these strategies.

  • Spend time liking photos, and leaving thoughtful comments and questions.
  • Search hashtags and follow profiles in similar niches; remember it is about quality, not quantity. Following people with hashtags like #f4f or #followback may gain you followers, but the likelihood of them looking at your posts and products is low – they are probably following thousands of people already.
  • Always answer back to comments and questions on your post- even to questions you may be asked repeatedly.

Ecommerce is growing 23% year over year. What makes your business stand out? Tell me about your business in the comments below!



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