How to grow Instagram followers?

An insight to find out how to increase followers on Instagram through the successful brand stories.

Instagram has transformed from being a platform of fun and image sharing to a platform for business, marketing, networking and quality content. Today, 1 Billion people use Instagram, and 500 million people use the stories feature. And 130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts every month.

So, the audience is here, the customer is here, and the market is here. Now all your brand needs, is for your customer to follow you. Several large and small brands have been able to get followers on Instagram fast. But there is no exact formula that will help your brand gain followers on Instagram just like that. Most successful brands put a lot of thought, effort, and several resources to attract followers on Instagram. We’d like to share a few case studies that help understand how to increase followers on Instagram.

We’re highlighting a few key aspects that successful brands have executed to increase followers on Instagram. 

1) Drive Good Content

When you hear content is King, believe it! Instagram is a visual platform where thousands of users are constantly consuming content and sharing it. From the next best meme to cat videos and creating a product wishlist. Stunning images, entertainment and education content, and relevant information is one of the best ways to get Instagram followers. 

Let’s look at Adobe, the world leader in image apps and IT solutions. Adobe’s key target audience has always been designers, agencies, and organizations. And what better way than to showcase WHAT OUR APPS CAN DO! 

So, Adobe tapped into their vast pool of artists and creators to generate buzz about the #CreativeCloud update campaign. The plan was to reach out to 150 professionals who would share their designs created in the Creative Cloud. Key objective being to create noise about the product upgrade. The factors remained – stunning creative designs, brand mentions, campaign hashtags, and CTA was to visit the website. 

9.7 million people followed the campaign on Instagram! These people are the exact consumer profile that Adobe was aiming to capture – graphic designers, architects, illustrators. Their followers grew by 60K due to this campaign and posts had a total of 390K interactions. 

2) Drive UGC Content

Adobe products are actively used, and they have a designer’s community that simply wants to showcase their creativity. So, Adobe leveraged UGC on Instagram, publicly sharing stunning creations by designers themselves. User Generated Content is one of the best ways to get followers on Instagram. Curate impressive content, involve your audience and have them engage with your brand and share your brand content to increase Instagram followers. 

Go Pro is another brand that has mastered the art of incredible, engaging and shareable content. Primarily a B2C company, GoPro specifically chose to not talk about its products, but simply stuck to sharing pictures and images by its followers. Their entire Instagram feed is one spectacularly curated collection of moments and experiences using the hashtag #GoPro

Their brilliant content strategy saw a rise in their fan following and follower base consistently across platforms. In 2016, GoPro were at 8.9M followers and today continues to gain new followers steadily, today standing at 17.5M followers.

3) Instagram Contest to grow followers

There are tons of ideas on how to increase Instagram followers through contest ideas and yes, they do work. Contests encourage participation from users who otherwise would not interact with the brand. Asking users to tag friends in your contest ensures introducing your brand to a network of new audiences that you wouldn’t otherwise reach. Starbucks in fact has been running their #redcupcontest for years on Instagram. Every December Starbucks releases its festive red cups globally across all stores and encourages users to share innovative pictures with their cups. 

Not only does this encourages followers to head over and buys a cup of coffee, but also ensures that others would want to participate in the contest.

And yes, every December there are more than 40,000 posts of red cups and counting. Starbucks showing us how to run a successful campaign to grow your followers and generate sales while at it! 

4) Using the Right Message for the Right Target Audience

Another one of the ways to increase Instagram followers, is to define your audience and identify the key messaging you want to share. You could create stunning images and engaging stories, and it still wouldn’t attract more followers. Simply because your messaging isn’t customized to the right target audience. 

Looking at how WEWORK customized its campaigns. WEWORK knew right from the beginning that their business was all about building a community. And what better way than Instagram to target the right audience. Back in 2010 when they just started out, WEWORK used the platform to showcase independent beautiful co-working spaces. 

The brand essentially sells retail space through educational content, creating an aspirational need to work in beautiful workspaces. WEWORK customized its message to reach independent freelancers and entrepreneurs, showing them how to leverage opportunities by working in the same spaces.

Source: The Shorty Awards

From 30-sec videos of work desks to everyday Instagram stories of working in stunning spaces. WEWORK has successfully grown its followers from 400K in 2017 to 624K today.

5) Using Instagram post features 

Instagram like Pinterest is a visual platform and offers users various ways to present content and express ideas. Video, carousels, GIFs, just regular images and more. Using the platform inventively to showcase your product collection is something Ikea has done beautifully back in 2014. Rise of their target group on Instagram meant showcasing products on Instagram and giving them immediate access to product details. 

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So, they created a website inside Instagram using its ‘tagging’ feature on the app. Products are listed alphabetically, with a showcase of their designs. Click the tag on the image to go see more details about that product, as each product had its own individual page. This drove their user base from nothing to 24K quite instantly, that too at a time when sponsored ads weren’t in the picture.

6) Using Instagram Story Features

Instagram’s stories feature has changed the way users interact with a brand. Moments captured with engaging tools like polls, questions and more! According to Instagram, one in three stories results in a direct message. How to increase exposure to more followers in your stories? Use branded hashtags, special hashtags and location features in your stories. Half a billion Instagram accounts use Stories every day, and 45% of the most-viewed stories are from businesses. Use these innovative tactics to get followers on Instagram for free. 

Like Sephora’s Instagram stories revolved around showcasing makeup tutorials and more informative content through stories since the launch of the stories feature in 2016. Close to 480K users were reached through Sephora’s Instagram stories. 

In 2020, Sephora is using Instagram checkout through a digital storefront. This allows shoppers to buy products directly from a user’s Instagram feed or stories.

7) Influencer Marketing

Influencers on Instagram have made curating content and building their communities a day job. Their personalities and niche define their user networks and brands can leverage this based on their products. A good balance between micro-influencers with 5k to 10K followers and macro influencers above 50K followers is most likely the best combination to gain new followers

And several brands have maximized their campaign reach through influencers. One of the most successful campaign was that of watch brand Daniel Wellington. Since starting out in 2015, they grew their Instagram followers collaborating with micro and macros influencers. Every other influencer was sporting the watch in their Instagram feed with personal promo codes to buy. The brand not only generated buzz from influencers, but also had other users buying and posting about it! 

800K Instagram photos and videos are under the #Danielwellington branded hashtag. Their followers have steadily been growing since 2014 from 800K to 4.9 m currently. From increasing band awareness to driving branded hashtags #danielwellington, Daniel Wellington’s influencer marketing to gain more followers has been vastly successful.

8) Sponsored Posts & Stories

Well, it is no secret that Instagram ads are a powerful tool to get new followers fast, by displaying content in user feed. A careful targeting of your audience by geography, demographics, and key lifestyle behaviors and interests, can help increase followers on Instagram. Like this campaign by HiSmile on Instagram. The brand sells a product to whiten teeth and wanted to acquire more reach and followers among men aged 15–25. 

HiSmile reach a whopping 14 million 18- to 24-year-olds in its campaign — plus an additional 90% increase in total male customers captured. Choosing Conor McGregor of MMA fame as Instagram brand ambassador for video ads in Instagram Stories and rewarding sales and offers. These two aspects have driven the desired results for HiSmile. 

Excellent content strategy, good targeting and smart planning are some ways to increase Instagram followers. Hope these case studies on how to get followers on Instagram has inspired you to start working on your brand’s Instagram strategy too. 

Still wondering how to attract followers on Instagram? Just give us a shout on [email protected].

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