The larger your following grows, the more opportunities you have to drive traffic to your websites, generate leads, build new relationships and nurture your customer base.

But what do you do if you’ve created your Instagram account, posted a few times and haven’t been inundated with new followers?

Don’t stress, this is more common than you think. Growing a following doesn’t happen overnight. So before you pay for fake followers (please don’t do this) read our 5 tips on growing your Instagram following.

1. Create quality content

Have you ever entered a store thinking ‘Wow that looks appealing!’, only to have a quick 20-second glance around before you exit feeling disappointed?4

The same thing happens on social media. We can use all the strategies in the world to drive people to your profile but they won’t stay if there’s no value for them.

The most essential part of growing your social media presence is ensuring you’re producing high-quality content. Your content should capture your audience, increase retention, establish trust, generate leads and build authority in your industry.

But how do you do this?

The first step is to truly understand your audience. Try creating personas of your ideal consumer and researching their online behaviour. From here you can create a content plan to nurture them through the buyer’s journey and develop long-term relationships.

Now it’s time to get creative. When creating your social media posts you want to ensure they all have four things – consistent branding, engaging copywriting, relevant hashtags and one strong call to action.

And don’t forget for the best results we recommend you post 2 to 4 times a week, engage with your audience and use Instagram stories.

2. Understand and use hashtags 

Did you know that, when used correctly, hashtags can become a major contributor to a successful social media strategy and help you gain valuable followers?

But before you hashtag another post #blessed, #instagood or #photofotheday, it’s essential to do your research and understand how hashtags work. ⠀⠀

The hashtag is essentially a way to organise content. It makes it easier for the user to cut through the digital clutter and find what they’re looking for. Think of it like an index at the back of a textbook. ⠀

Every post you create should have hashtags based on your business as well as popular hashtags specific to the topic you’re talking about.

If you head to Instagram and type your chosen topic into the search bar (e.g. #physiotherapy) the hashtags that appear underneath are the most popular ones related to that topic. From here, you ideally want to find the mid-range popularity point, so your content gets exposure but isn’t lost amongst the millions of other posts using the same hashtag. ⠀

When I’m creating hashtags for Splice content, I’ll place them into three categories, brand, topic and location-specific hashtags.

For example, if I created an Instagram post on the topic of ‘social media’ my hashtags may include:

#splicemarketing #medicalmarketing #digitalmarketingagency #healthcaremarketing

#socialmedia #socialmediamarketing #socialmediacoach #socialmediatips #socialmediaconsulting #instagrammarketing #facebookmarketing #linkedinmarketing

#brisbane #northlakes #sydney #melbourne #adelaide

This is a great organic way to reach new followers who are trying to find information on your topic or industry.

3. Engage with your competitors’ followers

This technique is one of the most successful ways to gain a valuable following on social media.

The good thing about your competitors is that you’re targeting the same (or very similar) audience, and that means that the people following their Instagram account will more than likely be interested in yours too. After all, you’re posting more engaging, higher quality content than them, right?

Engaging with your competitors’ followers is easier than you think. All you have to do is:

  1. Head to your competitors’ Instagram pages
  2. Click on the following tab to bring up their followers list
  3. And pick the way you wish to engage with their audience.

You can engage with their audience in any way you feel comfortable. This may include simply following their audience and waiting for some to follow you back, or even liking some of their photos. The idea is to get your business at the forefront of their minds and just simply let them know that your business exists.

4. Use all platforms 

We all know of word of mouth but what about word of platform?

I want you to take a few seconds right now and think about the platforms you gain the highest engagement from. It could be your monthly emails, website, Facebook, LinkedIn, or the patients walking into your clinic each day.

Whatever those platforms are, you should be using them to their full potential, ensuring all platforms are cross-promoting. This can be as simple as adding social media icons to your website and email signatures or even placing a sign in your reception area encouraging your patients to interact with you on social media.

Staying connected with your patients through Instagram is a great way for them to stay up to date with business news and ensure you’re building valuable relationships.

5. Put some money behind it

The reality is that growing your social media following organically is time-consuming. Implementing all these strategies on top of creating regular content and engaging with your audience takes time. But you do have another option.

Paid Instagram ads are for those wanting to streamline the process. When done correctly they allow you to have greater control over the demographics and size of your audience.

You can create a paid Instagram ad through Facebook Ads Manager. Before you set it up it’s important to create an engaging visual element for your ad, know your target audience and have a budget in mind. You can target your audience by demographic, location, key behaviours and interests. Or you can even create a lookalike audience from the people who have already interacted with your page.

For a successful ad, ensure it clearly communicates who you are, what you’re offering and why they should follow or like your page.

For example:

How Splice Marketing can help

If you need extra support or simply just don’t have the time to leverage the potential of Instagram, we offer a range of social media marketing services that can grow your following and position you as a leader in your industry.

Here at Splice Marketing, we’ve helped many health professionals and health organisations with their social media presence and we can apply these skills to you.