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You’ve set up your Instagram account, you’re posting quality photos with fun captions, and yet you only have a few followers. Wondering what to do next? We have a bit of advice to help you grow and sustain your Instagram following!

Be Hashtag Happy

Hashtags are extremely important tools you can use to get the word out about your brand. Here are some tips for using them effectively.

As you’re writing your caption and preparing to publish your post, brainstorm keywords that you think people would be looking for if they wanted to be inspired by the kind of content you share. Use those keywords as hashtags!

After you post using the hashtag, look up the hashtags you used and like posts by others who used the same hashtag (and follow those people’s accounts if you like what they’re about). This way, you’re engaging a new set of fellow Instagram users who are already interested in what you have to offer. They could become new followers who won’t immediately unfollow.

Partner With Industry Peers And Influencers.

Reach out to peers and influencers in your industry; follow their accounts, direct message them, and comment on their posts. Ask if they would like to collaborate, maybe through an Instagram Takeover or by promoting for one another.

Be a supportive voice for your peers and influencers in your industry. Give shoutout posts to peers or influencers you respect. There are several ways you can feature peers. Mention them in your captions if your post is about them or relates to an idea they shared. Share a quote of theirs. Tag them in your post (perhaps you made a post about people who inspire you and you want to let them know they are one of those people). Give a review of their work and credit them.

Person holds a smartphone in their left hand with a social media app opened on the smartphone.

Get Personal

A lot of times the content on an Instagram business profile can be, well, businesslike. To engage more with the followers you already have, and to attract new ones, perhaps diversify posting a little bit and emphasize a personal touch.

Connect on an individual level to your customers by featuring them using your product or living a lifestyle you promote. If, for example, you work to empower women, perhaps you could feature a “Powerful Woman of the Week” where you celebrate a follower in a post with a photo, bio that touches on a strength of theirs, and their profile link.

Involve followers in your creative process by allowing them to do an Instagram Takeover or an Instagram Story Takeover (or both). Once a month, you could pick someone to show a day in their life as it relates to your product or brand (or not even have it related to you directly, depending on your industry).

Don’t be afraid to show an authentic, behind-the-scenes view of you and what you do. If there is a way for you to use your own Instagram Story to be more vulnerable, authentic, and real, you will help your followers get to know the soul behind your brand. If you’re not comfortable getting totally personal, think of this as a way to promote your business’s mission statement. Why do you do what you do? Tell your followers!

Follow back those who follow you; this will help them feel valued by you and they will want to interact with your content.

Be Fresh

Though it is a strength to be consistent, there is a balance to be struck between being consistent and being repetitive. If you find yourself using the same promotional theme and format over and over (and it’s not an intentional part of your marketing strategy), maybe take a photo of your product in an unusual location, or add a more behind-the-scenes kind of post. Allow your followers to feel and see your energy, and be inspired by it!

Do your best to explore trends. If there is a posting style that you’re seeing a lot as you scroll through your feed, try it out. Instagram Stories have been gaining a lot of traction recently; post some and add your favorites to highlight folders that potential followers can peruse when they first arrive on your profile!