So you’re ready to become an Instagram superstar? Okay, maybe not a superstar — but someone who’s very, very notable?
If that’s the case, then you’ll find that emulating the big boys (and gals) is more than just flattery — it’s a strategy. You can learn a lot by just looking at the methods they implement.
By doing the same, you can duplicate their success (or at least, get somewhere close to it).
What are they doing that’s so special, anyway? You’ll come to find out that a lot of their strategies are just that — well-planned methodologies.
This means you can learn, hone, and implement the same methods they use and get decent results.
Let’s take a look at some of the tactics big brands are using to get Instagram followers.
1. Produce a Steady Flow of Content
You’ll hear this early and often — being consistent with your content production is vital. And this is so on any platform you decide to use.
If you’re going to commit to publishing four photos per day, then it’s good to maintain that volume of content. Going dry for even a day or two could cause your engagement rates to drop.
And if you go on a hiatus for too long, you may lose more than a handful of followers. There are about 500 million Instagram users who log onto the platform daily.
They’re expecting to see content from their favorite brands and personalities. If you’re not up there, then it’s easy for them to forget about you.
As the saying goes — out of sight, out of mind!
2. Publish Content On a Strategic Schedule
Everything major brands do is meticulously planned. This includes the day of the week and time of day they publish their posts.
It’s essential to analyze your audience to see what their most active times are. There’s no cookie-cutter time of day or week that works across all industries and niches.
You may find that your audience is night owls and like to check their Instagram around 9 pm to 11 pm. This is a far cry from the audience of business professionals following, who may check their accounts in the morning or early afternoon.
However, if you need somewhere to start, you can go with the recommended times that Instagram recommends. According to them, Wednesdays at 3 pm, Thursdays at 5 am, 11 am, and 3-4pm, and Friday at 5 am are the best times.
Start here and tweak your content publishing schedule as needed.
We can learn a lot from the likes of National Geographic, which has a stunning 103 million followers. They’re known for publishing gorgeous photos of nature.
They did it for their magazines and had great success. And now they’re killin’ it with their Instagram account.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and become a traveling nomad with a camera.
You can take this as a lesson on the value of quality imagery. You can find a large number of brands using this same tactic.
Most celebrities have seemingly professional photographers who follow them everywhere. Reality is they have excellent photo editors.
If you can’t afford a quality camera, then invest in photo editing software.
4. Be Humorous, Cheeky, and Outlandish
We get all of this bundled into one with the Chubbies Instagram page. You may have seen a couple of posts floating around — like the one of men and women rockin’ those stars and stripes shorts (even in the dead of winter).
They do a quality job of mixing together wit, humor, and craziness into a bundle of entertainment.
They come up with funny memes and are always looking to make their 429K+ followers smile.
5. Awesome Photos w/ Storytelling
Remember how fun storytime was when you were a child? Well, that’s kind of how Instagram posts are when you get a nice mix of visuals and storytelling.
One brand that does a great job of this is Airbnb. This company is infamously known for being the second best thing to a deeply discounted 5-star hotel.
On their website, they do a great job of bringing people’s experiences to life with their stories. They capture both the perspectives of hosts and their guests.
They took this concept and brought it to Instagram, offering an inside look of the various homes that are available to travelers. You can say their mission isn’t just to share stories — but to share experiences.
And it shows through the content they publish. You can do the same by focusing on experiences.
In other words — showing, not telling.
6. Add Depth, Emotion, and Meaning
Instagram gets a bad rap for being somewhat of a showcase for the bold and restless. You see a steady stream of content showing off aesthetics.
But not a lot of depth or meaning.
One brand is using Instagram in a way that delivers content that inspires and educates. Onnit produces informative posts and videos that are delightful to look at but offer more than just visual appeal.
If you’re able to deliver beautiful content that’s packed with meaning, then you can almost guarantee you’ll get a steady flow of followers coming your way.
Try adding text to your photos that evoke emotion. You can also add a story in the caption to emphasize your message.
7. Be Glamorous w/ Personality
If there’s one thing Instagram has an abundance of it’s glamour. But what we can’t get enough of are glamourous people with amazing personalities.
Sephora does this quite well by showcasing its beauty products in unique ways. It helps bring life to a product line that can sometimes be bland.
They add color, different layouts, and settings to make their products look more engaging and enticing.
If you’re selling products, you can do something similar by thinking outside the box when planning product placement and staging product photos.
For example, if you sell flowers, you can take photos of moments where people give flowers to others. Like during a funeral, a wedding, birthdays, anniversaries, and so on.
Try to capture the emotion in a captivating way.
8. Pay for Shoutouts from Influencers
Yes, big brands still need recognition by others in related industries. Today, companies have to “dumb down” their marketing efforts because traditional marketing is no longer effective.
Consumers now trust celebrity bloggers and social media influencers over big name celebs. So you’ll find more and more turning to Instagram influencers.
Paying for a shoutout can cost you anywhere from $24 to $6,000, depending on the number of followers the influencer has and shoutouts you’d like.
For example, for an influencer with 92,000 followers, you may pay $24 for one shoutout or $350 for 20 shoutouts. Then for an influencer with 1.4 million followers, you may pay $120 for a single shoutout or $1295 for 20 shoutouts.
It all depends on the brand and audience. You have the option of either tracking down influencers in your industry to reach out to.
Or you can use apps, tools, and services to purchase them with no legwork needed.
9. Team Up with Influencers
Besides shoutouts, you’ll find many brands teaming up with social media influencers. For example, Adidas and Selena Gomez (who happens to have 147 million followers) in their #myneoshoot campaign.
You don’t have to be a major brand to link up with Instagram influencers. In fact, many are on there for this purpose.
If you have a collaboration idea that can be profitable for both of you, some may wave their fees.
You can find influencers by looking up hashtags in your industry. Write down a list of names and start reaching out to them to see if they want to collaborate.
You’ll have a tougher time if you’re just starting out — in this case, you’ll have to spend a little money to leverage the large following of influencers to grow your list of followers.
10. Buying Real Followers
Some people think this is a tactic reserved only for the lower-class of the Instagram society. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
You’ll find many celebrities, influencers, and brands that pay for followers. The quality of the service you purchase from makes the difference between succeeding and failing.
For instance, buying from a company that uses AI bots to follow you will increase the likelihood of your account being banned.
This is why it’s essential to go with a company that offers access to real followers — human beings with Instagram accounts.
It’s a method brands use to gain traction and visibility for new accounts and campaigns. You can do the same until you get to a point where you’re satisfied with your account’s natural growth.
Get More Followers Like the Big Brands Do
Starting an Instagram account is tough, especially if you don’t know where to start. You don’t want to go through all the baby steps to grow a following — and why should you have to?
Instead, you can follow the footsteps of brands that already have large followings.
With these insights, you can take those steps beginning today. So pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get started!
Let us know in the comments how well your Instagram strategy works out!