In a perfect world, you could create an Instagram account, tell the world about it and sit back while the followers roll in. Unfortunately, we’re living in a crowded social media landscape and those days are in the rearview mirror.

While it’s not always easy to amass an audience, it is always worth the elbow grease and patience it requires to get in front of the right one instead of falling prey to empty tactics like purchasing followers or using bots. A good rule of thumb is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

On the surface, large follower accounts may look impressive, but this number means absolutely nothing to your business if your engagement is zilch. Over time, this will only work against you, getting you farther away from the people who will actually buy your service or products.

So, what can you do? Follow these five tips to grow your audience organically.

Post great content: This may seem obvious but is so important that it bears shouting from the rooftops. When you’re planning content, put the energy and effort into creating shareable content that your target audience will click, comment on, share and bookmark to improve your reach. Creating great content certainly takes time but brings a valuable return in the form of strong relationships with your followers.

Stay active in your stories: When someone visits your profile, one of the first places they are going to look is your active stories. Keeping stories fresh is a great way to give them a taste of what they can expect if they give you a follow. Stay up to date on current editing tools and features to really capture attention and keep people tapping through.

Keep story highlights organized: After someone visits your active stories, they are likely going to give your highlighted stories a quick scan. Think of this as a mini-website. Be sure to regularly archive your story content into highlights that are on brand and add visual interest to your profile.

Keep your bio up to date: An Instagram bio isn’t something that you set and forget. While the main details of your business will likely remain the same, your bio is your time to shine. Use hashtags strategically to increase the discovery of your account and give people a reason to follow when they visit your profile. This is a great place to include short shoutouts about upcoming events or to draw attention to freebies on your website.

Communicate both ways: Even worse than setting and forgetting your profile is pushing out content and expecting followers to engage with it without doing the same in return. Authentically engaging with accounts that follow you and accounts that resemble your target audience is a key part of any audience growth strategy. But don’t just throw out a comment or two; thoughtfully engage as you would in person, commenting on and reacting to posts in both the main and story feeds.

If you’re feeling like your efforts are falling a little flat, we would love to chat. Schedule a free one-hour brainstorm session here.

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