In 2018, more than ever, you need more Instagram followers. Why? Because organic reach, social currency and the ability to drive web traffic and revenue all depend on them.
While growing your following should not be the sole focus of your social media strategy, it still pays to have as many followers as possible on Instagram. There are many reasons why this matters, from credibility to vanity, but mostly, Instagram still offers a good chunk of organic reach, so more followers means more reach.
What’s the magic number then? Well, it depends on what you are trying to achieve. While an influencer will want 100,000 or more followers, I would say that the threshold to really start enjoying the marketing benefits of Instagram as a platform is 10,000 followers. Why? Because “swipe-ups.”
1. Instagram Stories Swipe-ups
Instagram Stories are a great medium to share your brand story. The “story” concept – a.k.a. ephemeral content – is proven to generate more engagement than other formats. Great, but Stories can also be a huge source of traffic and revenue.
Instagram Stories is the only channel within Instagram which lets you share links to external websites, through swipe-ups – except for the profile bio that lets you share one link.
But to get access to the swipe-up link feature, you will need to either be verified (and we all know how difficult that is) or have a minimum of 10,000 followers.
2. More Followers Means More Reach
Instagram is still very much an organic platform. There are paid media solutions, of course, but you can still reach and engage with a good portion of your audience without having to spend any dollars.
As such, the higher the number of followers you have, the higher the likelihood of them seeing and engaging with your content. A well-thought-out hashtag strategy will also contribute to better results.
3. Followers Are Social Currency
Whether we like it or not, an abundance of followers equals credibility on Instagram. That is exactly the game social influencers play. And who could possibly argue? If your content is good, then people will engage with it and share it. If they do so, then more people will visit your profile and start following you too. The number of followers your account sports can certainly influence any decision to follow you or not.
Having a larger amount of followers is not only about “the cool factor” or an arbitrarily set vanity metric. It really does matter. This is because your organic reach, your social currency, and most importantly the ability to drive real marketing results, all depend on you maximizing the number of people who follow you on Instagram.
There are many ways to grow your Instagram following over time and without a budget. It starts with a sound hashtag strategy, choosing the content that is right for you and for your audience and posting regularly.
One of the most efficient ways to ‘growth hack’ your Instagram account, however, is to engage with the community. That means engaging with other accounts, liking their content and commenting on their posts. Chances are that the accounts you engage with will notice and return the favor. If they really like your content, they will also certainly follow your account.