Cristiano Ronaldo, the renowned soccer player, has the most Instagram followers in the world with 148 million followers. Other notable mentions include Selena Gomez with 144.5 million, Ariana Grande with 139.5 million, Dwayne Johnson with 125 million, and Kim Kardashian with 122.6 million followers.
Each of these personalities are starkly different, bringing unique stories, images, and experiences to the table. However, they all have one thing in common that has spurred their rousing social media success: They know how to captivate their audiences.
If you want to develop a loyal following and grow your Instagram account to untold heights, you’ll need to do the same. Here are six ways that, when applied correctly, are guaranteed to help you captivate your Instagram audience.
1. Engage More Thoroughly
Instagram is the top social platform for garnering engagement from your audience, but you won’t see the full benefit of that unless you engage thoroughly with that audience. Engagement provides social proof that you’re listening to and are interested in your audience, which yields more follows and an audience that will like and comment on your posts regularly.
“More comments on your Instagram channel is a sign the brand has built popularity, mainly because of posting interesting content that many people love,” explains Davis Tucker of The60SecondMarketer. He also points out that it can help you gain the trust of other brands that can be used as influencers.
Thorough engagement takes time that many busy marketers and business owners don’t have. The solution is to buy quality Instagram followers who will do the engagement for you. If you’re doing it right, you’ll buy real Instagram followers, not bots, who can like and comment on your posts and that of your followers.
This brings with it all the benefits of constant engagement, but it’s not a replacement for personal engagement. You should spend a few minutes every day scrolling through your Instagram posts, liking and commenting on your followers’ comments and posts to show that you’re really engaged and paying attention.
2. Post Consistently
Along with engaging with your audience, one of the best things you can do for your brand is to maintain a consistent posting schedule. The most reliable and active audiences only remain loyal to brands that post consistently. Otherwise, they’ll become annoyed with your brand—or worse—forget that it existed altogether.
Research shows that brands should try to post at least once per day, but not more than twice to avoid becoming over promotional. However, if you don’t have anything of quality to post each day, it’s better to post nothing at all. Wait until you have something worth posting in order to truly captivate your audience.
3. Leverage Instagram Stories
You can’t hope to captivate followers if they never see your content, and Instagram makes that harder for businesses unless they use Instagram Stories. This feature lets you take quick photos and videos, and they appear at the top of users’ feeds for 24 hours.
Instagram Stories sees about 400 million daily users with the average user spending 28 minutes per day on the feature, so it’s a significant audience for you to reach out to.
“Instagram Stories might seem like another millennial fun-and-games feature (or a waste of time, depending on who you ask), but it is actually a great way to share quick, off-the-cuff moments that you don’t want to live forever on your profile,” explains Daven Mathies of DigitalTrends. “It’s also a fun way to show your personality which may not be reflected in your regular Instagram posts.”
You’re able to let your personality really shine, which your Instagram followers will absolutely love for your authenticity.
4. Use Clever Hashtags
Many brands struggle to maintain a captive audience because they don’t know how to properly use hashtags. This is a feature created by Twitter that’s now used across all social media platforms. It categorizes your posts so that they’re easily searchable by interested users.
“Hashtags foster interest,” explains a SiteProNews article. “They are a clever way to get more people viewing your content…Think of something clever for your hashtags. Did you take a photo of your psychologist friend doing crazy things? You can go for something like #psychologists-behaving-like-patients. It should be something that will tempt people to check your content.”
These smart hashtags are great for showing your personality, but don’t let them usurp trending hashtags that will bring more traffic. It’s important to use popular, generic hashtags as well so that you can piggyback off of more traffic in a certain niche.
5. Use Great Filters
There’s no better way to captivate an audience on Instagram than through total visual appeal. Choosing great photos and editing them encompasses the basics of great Insta photo etiquette, but it also pays off to use Instagram filters.
“Each filter has its own appeal and can add a unique dimension to your images,” says expert marketer Shane Barker, pointing out that Juno, Clarendon, Valencia, and X-Pro II are all popular filters that users can identify with. The right filters can help to brand your Instagram account and create visually appealing photos every time.
You might also try an Instagram feed theme. “While a lot of people use filters, not everyone is capable of pulling off feed themes,” Barker says. “That extra appeal will help increase Instagram engagements for your brand.”
6. Run Contests
A foolproof method of engaging your audience and gaining a few new followers is running an Instagram contest. You can ask people to follow you, re-gram your content, or post photos using a brand hashtag in order to get more exposure for profile. In return, you’ll offer a prize that your target audience would actually want.
“It would actually be better to ask participants to do more than just follow you,” says Mitt Ray of ShoutMeLoud, cautioning about using generic contests. “You can ask them to upload photos, use certain hashtags, mention others, sign up with their email address, etc. This will get you a better return on investment.”
Additionally, remember that getting followers from a contest does not guarantee a captive audience for long. Too often, Instagrammers gain Instagram likes and followers through a contest but lose them through inconsistent, poor quality content. Put your best Instagram foot forward from now on, and you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping your target followers post contest.