All About Growing on Instagram from Scratch
In this section, we tell you how to run your Instagram promotion.
We open up about all the steps and vital strategies and the best free and paid tools known to man.
What questions are covered?
What tools are described?
These are the basic support tools that help you promote
your account more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Bot for Instagram
Automated likes and
Stories views for
your target audience.
Easy search for relevant hashtags by photo, URL, and keywords.
Widgets for Websites
Engagement links on your website that drive traffic to your Social Media accounts.
selection of top
Facilitated search for target audience by hashtags and locations.
Instant analysis of any hashtag for efficiency: difficulty, time in feed, average likes.
Search for Influencers for Instagram
Fast search for Creators by name, phone number, email, bio, etc.
Profile Analyzer for Instagram
Precise analysis of any Instagram account: engagement, publication times, etc.
Why is it vital to know your TA?
- To create interesting and useful content, you need to clearly understand exactly what your followers want to see in their feeds.
- In order to come up with effective captions for your posts, you need to understand what manner of communication is most suitable for your TA.
- In order to publish your posts and Stories at the right time and achieve maximum reach, it is important to know what time of the day your audience and potential customers prefer to surf the Net.
- The more you know about your TA, the more sophisticated your promo strategy will become.
- To sell more!
How to search for TA by hashtags?
You need to decide which tags are thematic and close to your field of activity.
You can find the whole scope of them by using the Hashtag Generator.
- Enter the keyword(s) into the input line and tap Generate.
- Copy the ones that your TA is likely to use.
- Look for posts and, accordingly, the users who post with these tags.
How to find competitors and
attract their TA to you
We describe the process of attracting competitors’ audiences in question #9. Check it out!
I know my TA, what’s next?
Now, you need to adapt your Instagram presence to your TA:
- Use the right hashtags so that your TA can easily find you.
- Like, follow and comment on your TA’s content.
- Publish at the most suitable time for your TA.
The whole topic will be discussed in depth below.
Read more about finding your target audience
For greater effect, I recommend using these services to study your Instagram audience comprehensively.
This way, you will get a better result in the shortest time possible.
How to Get Your First Followers from Personal
Contacts and Other Social Media
[Free Instagram Promotion]
If you’ve just only started your account, your first question must be, “Where do I find my first followers?”
We gathered 3 good methods to promote on Instagram.
Your Contacts list
When you create an account, go to settings (the “hamburger” icon in the upper right), then the “Settings” gear at the very bottom.
Find Follow and Invite Friends. There, you can either follow all or some contacts or invite friends by email, SMS, or through other means available on your device.
To follow your Contacts, you need to connect your Instagram to the phone’s contact list if you hadn’t done it during the registration.
You need to click on Follow near every suggested contact. There, you will find both users from your phone contacts and Instagram users that follow you or people you follow.
There, you also can follow friends from Facebook. For that, you also need to connect your Facebook page if you haven’t done it yet.
Once you connect your FB account, all your friends will be listed in your Discover People section.
P.S. Facebook owns Instagram, so don’t be surprised that it’s your FB account that is suggested to connect.
Followers from Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, etc.
Leave a link to your Instagram profile wherever there is contact with the audience.
In most social media, there is a Bio section where you can add the link to your Instagram. Don’t forget about a catchy Call to Action.
Example from one YouTube blogger:
Note: The key role in this technique is played by the audience from your contacts and social networks. If you know that among your acquaintances there are not many who fit your target audience, it is better to follow selectively.
But the “jungle telegraph” still works! So why not attract as many contacts as possible? Ask friends to recommend your profile to their friends.
We estimate that personal contacts and followers could bring you up to 1,000 followers in a couple of weeks of such networking.
How following other users helps get new followers
Here, the law of return works. Once a user sees a familiar person/friend follows him, he will follow this user back.
Mutual following is almost 100% when it comes to acquaintances.
How to ask friends to share my profile with their friends
Send them a DM. Ask friends to notify their friends that you offer something very special – for example a 5% discount on your new collection – for followers.
Or you can offer a gift for recommending your profile to 10 users, for example.
How to motivate users to share my profile?
There are a couple of methods:
- Run a contest/giveaway. See question #6.
- Drive a Wow-effect. Come up with some cool features or unexpected pleasantness for your followers, so that people themselves want to talk about it. For example, you can add a gift to each order or add a greeting card to your parcel with handwritten wishes.
- User-generated Content (UGC). For example, a client sent you a photo — he likes the bag he received and thanked you for the delivery. You post this photo (ask for permission first) and tag the user. What does the user do? He likes your attention, reposts, or duplicates the photo, tagging your profile.
Read more about getting first followers on Instagram
How to Get More Followers from Website Traffic
If you have a more or less successful website, you can easily direct your website traffic to your social media accounts, as well as do the reverse — drive traffic to your website.
Let’s look at how to promote your Instagram effectively.
That’s why even users who do not want to shell out for your product today, are eager to follow you. But how do you direct website visitors to your Instagram account?
You have probably noticed those engagement links like “Follow us on Instagram” on almost every respectable website. They look like this:
1. Can my website drive traffic to Instagram?
Your website is a storehouse of loyal followers. Even users that do not buy right at the time still prefer to follow this or that brand on Instagram to stay tuned in to:
- brand updates
- sales notifications
- insider information
Usually, these are pretty simple social media buttons that are located at the very bottom of the landing pages. However, such an option is good only for large brands like Coursera, Hollister, H&M, and others.
If your brand is not so huge yet, these buttons should be more eye-catching.
2. How to add attractive Social Media buttons to the website
Widgets BigBangram is the most rational choice for small brands. They offer one free and stylish widget for young websites (up to 1K impressions).
- You need to sign up for your account and create your campaign;
- Configure all the settings — titles, URLs, pictures, texts, position.
- Copy the code lines and paste them to your developer console.
It takes a couple of minutes to do. You don’t have to be a tech-savvy person or hire a specialist. All business owners can do it by themselves.
Thanks to wide range of customization options, each user can create a widget that will match their brand concept and style.
3. How does a social media widget promote your Instagram?
- The first and prime way is the constant flow of new followers to your Instagram and other media accounts.
- This traffic is the target audience: People who come to your Instagram from the website are already interested in what you offer.
- An increased conversion rate on your website.People tend to click the Social Media Buttons to get to know a brand better before making a purchase decision
- Due to increased interaction on pages, your website will be ranked higher in Google search. That will bring more traffic to your website and, consequently, more traffic to the Instagram profile.
Of course, that is not an instant process and not so straightforward in terms of performance. However, not using this means to grow your audience would be a huge mistake.
How to design your own widget and where to put it?
Customize your widget to your website style. Stick to the same colors, border sizes, etc. If your website has a dark, intriguing atmosphere, adding pink buttons will be a little ridiculous!
The best choice of position for your widget will be a floating sidebar or popup on the blog page.
Can I install the social media widget for free?
Yes, if you use Widgets BigBangram service, you can run a free campaign for up to 1,000 impressions. It will be more than enough for small brands/websites..
How effective is this method?
Driving traffic from your website is an effective additional means of gaining followers on Instagram. However, you should not rely exclusively on it. There are many more ways to attract your target audience.
Why do you recommend Widgets BigBangram?
- This service is simple to use.
- Each widget is easily customizable.
- The service offers 23 widgets for different purposes.
- It is free for 1,000 impressions.
- It doesn’t require your credit card info.
Read more about getting more followers from your website
These widgets are easy-to-install, and the price policy is extremely beneficial for small and medium businesses.
How to Make Use of Instagram Algorithms
and Interact with your TA Effectively
What are the algorithms, and why do they matter? What have they got to do with your behavior
and activity? We explain how you should act to get promoted to top publications and the Explore
page of more users.
1. What are Instagram algorithms, and why you need to be aware of them?
Instagram builds each user’s feed according to some of these core aspects:
These algorithms are constantly changing as Instagram is based on machine learning. So today when you woke up, the algorithm had already changed from yesterday.
Therefore, your actions predetermine how actively Instagram shows your post to Instagram users.
What gets you promoted:
- When the engagement rate is high enough — you get likes, your posts are commented on, you get shares and followers (provided that you are doing the same).
- When you communicate with users in Direct actively.
- When you open Instagram often and spend more time on it.
- When you post regularly.
2. What to put emphasis on
Put emphasis on your activity
Your actions will raise actions from others. When you actively like, follow, view Stories, and comment on posts of your TA, it raises users’ interest in you.
They are more likely to interact with you and your content when you have already done the first step.
Such mutual interaction will increase the average engagement rate of your profile. Your posts will be shown to a greater number of users. They will get to the top of the search by hashtags and appear more often on the Explore page.
Be consistent in publishing
The frequency of posting is important for Instagram users. You need to catch the eye of followers to stay in their feeds. Some marketers and bloggers recommend posting at least one post per day.
Communicate with the audience
Yes, those very questions like “How will you spend your summer vacation?” work on Instagram. Ask your audience open-ended questions. And if you run a brand account, try to engage followers in the conversation – not only about your product but also on abstract topics.
Actively communicate in Direct with the maximum number of users
Not only with close friends: respond to Stories, say that the last post was cool — don’t be afraid of socializing. Instagram will consider that you are close to many people and will promote your account.
Interact with similar content.
Browse accounts that are similar to yours, reply to friends in Direct and in comments, participate in discussions relevant to the topic of your profile.
One question left: how do you make that interaction really efficient?
3. How to automate the interaction with users
If you want to scale your account, you need to double everything — your likes and comments, Stories views, your DMs, your posts, and so on.
To accomplish those actions in bulk, use services that automate the processes.
Ingramer allows users to like posts, comments, and view Stories of their target audience, increasing the activity and engagement on a page.
For that, you need to create an Ingramer account and subscribe to the IG Promo module (it’s paid.)
1. In the Promo section, find the Targeting section. Thanks to these settings, the service will find your TA automatically and interact only with it. You can configure the targeting by hashtags, locations, and usernames.
2. Add hashtags that your TA would use:
3. Point out the locations your TA publishes from. Usually, offline businesses need this:
4. Point out users whose audience you would like to get in touch with:
5. Use advanced filters if you want to narrow down the search:
6. And make sure you’ve turned on the Watch Stories and Likes functions. They are essential.
As for follow/unfollow, it is not recommended to use it actively due to the possibility of Instagram action blocks.
4. What will be the result?
Do not wait for the magic. In most cases, you won’t notice a flow of new followers in the first minutes. Several factors must come together: your activity + users’ mood to react + your content appeal.
However, this is a useful service that saves time for account owners.
Is engagement what we should take care of first?
Yes, it is one of the main indexes of the popularity of an account. You should pay special attention to engaging users.
Can I automate communication with users and posting somehow?
Even if you think that’s impossible, you still can streamline these processes.
There are services for sending bulk messages and services for scheduled posting.
Can I do without an Instagram bot?
Sure, you can do everything manually — find your TA, watch their Stories, and like their posts. But it will take a lot of time and effort.
By simple automation of these actions, you can simplify your life.
Read more about interaction with Instagram users
For users who to grow their accounts faster, it is recommended to use automation services, which ease the process of promotion.
How to Use Hashtags to Increase
Impressions and Reach
Hashtags are the main driving force of Instagram promotions. If chosen and used right.
One of the best things you can do for the sake of your Instagram growth is to use hashtags in the right way.
But people often think that it will be enough to put a couple of hashtags that describe a post in a more or less suitable way. That’s wrong.
1. What you should know about hashtags
Hashtags are tags with # sign in front of them. They are created for fast information search.
There are different classifications of hashtags and, therefore, different types of hashtags. Not all of them are worth using.
Business hashtags — the ones you use to describe your product/service/industry/niche. These are things like #fitnesstraining, #makeupartist, #mensshowroom, etc.
Business hashtags with locations like #lagrocery, #bakerybarcelona can also be used.
‘Begging' hashtag is another tag type. These are the hashtags you shouldn’t use if you want your reputation to stay intact. For example, #likeforlike, #followforlike, #lfl, #fff, #follow4follow, etc.
Branded hashtags are the unique hashtags created by you and describing your company or a campaign, like #athomewithhm, #loveGUESS, and so on.
Banned hashtags are the ones you should forget about and never use. These are the hashtags like #alone, #elevator, #dating, #DM, #TodayImWearing. You can find the whole list here: Instagram Hides Your Posts! The List Of Banned Instagram Hashtags.
There are also days-of-the-week hashtags like #mondaymotivation, #fridayquotes, etc. They are not the most useful ones but still work for bloggers and influencers.
Vital! Hashtags differ by popularity. They can be popular (used more often), less popular (used less), and rare (niche tags used rarely). You can see the number of posts with a tag when choosing them. This knowledge and some skill in combining different types will be useful.
2. What strategies are there for boosting impressions and reach?
2.1. A proper combination of hashtags of different types and of different popularity.
You have 30 vacant places for different hashtags. Use 2-5 popular business hashtags, 5-10 business hashtags of average frequency, and 10-15 niche hashtags, with location and without, including 1-3 branded hashtags.
This way, you will attract a wide audience and at the same time a targeted audience. Don’t forget that all the hashtags should be relevant.
Aspiring fitness motivator example:
2.2. Replacing hashtags.
We should explain a bit before we come to this strategy. As we mentioned before, hashtags differ by popularity — some of them are used very often, some of them rarely. Therefore, in the hashtag search result, posts with popular hashtags will come and go quickly. Users tend not to scroll down much. As a rule, they browse the first 9-11 posts.
Thus, popular hashtags will make your post visible for a short period, usually for a couple of minutes. For example, people publish posts with #love every 2 seconds. That’s around 1,800 posts per hour and 43,000 posts per day with this hashtag. Will it be easy for users to find your post? No.
As the popularity of the hashtag decreases, its difficulty lowers, and post visibility increases.
You can make use of this fact by posting 3 different sets of hashtags. You need to edit them according to this scheme:
First — a set of popular hashtags → in 15 minutes replace it with a set of hashtags with average popularity → in 1-4 hours replace the 2nd set with a set of rare hashtags.
Thus, the time of your post visibility will increase 3 times — that’s 3X reach and impressions.
To automate the process of replacing hashtags, use Scheduled Posting with the Auto-Update function.
2. 3. Including hashtags in different languages.
If you want to make your audience wider, don’t hesitate to add hashtags in different languages. If you use Spanish, add a couple of English hashtags and so on.
Important! Always track the statistics of your posts. By tapping View Insights, you can estimate how many impressions you get from hashtags.
3. Hashtag Generator for fast hashtag search
Hashtag Generator is your must-have tool. It enables the fast and precise search for suitable hashtags by images, keywords, and post links.
The tool groups the hashtags by their popularity so that you can easily stick to the most advantageous strategy.
Moreover, the tool delivers an analysis of each hashtag on its difficulty and popularity and shows the top and recent posts with the hashtag so that you can estimate the competition in advance.
How many hashtags can I use?
You can add up to 30 hashtags to every post.
Can I be banned for using too many hashtags?
No. You can’t add more than 30 hashtags. And if you use all 30, it’s fine.
Can I use a hashtag generator for free?
You can use Hashtag Generator for free 3 times, but part of the search results will be disguised.
It’s recommended to pay out the subscription for the full benefit.
How to automate the hashtag updating
Use Scheduled Posting. Create a post with the first hashtags set and turn on the Auto-Update Description mode. Create another 2 variants of hashtag sets, fix the time, and click Schedule.
Read more about Instagram hashtags
You can’t choose the best hashtags fast without a hashtag generator. It saves time and makes your hashtag strategy more effective.
Scheduler enables automated posting, including automated replacing of hashtags
How to Run Giveaways, and How Often
Giveaways and contests are cool ways to get in touch with existing followers, attract a new
wide audience, and say thank-you for engaging. We explain how they work and how to organize
1. Pros and cons of this method of promotion
- This is a good opportunity to ‘recruit’ followers, especially if you offer a good prize and prepare a quality post.
- Recognition and brand awareness increase. When people constantly stumble upon your photo or mentions of you in their feeds, very soon they will start to recognize you.
- Such advertising is cost-effective. Users usually do not offer something extremely expensive but get hundred of fans and customers as a result.
- Possible decline in sales. This applies to the service sector or to specific products like photoshoots, dental treatment, and similar. Users won’t buy something that they can win, especially if it’s not a vital purchase.
- Freeloaders. Many people realize that contests on Instagram are a good way to save money, and that’s why they participate in every contest they can find. In most cases, such people do not buy anything either before or after the competition. These are the least loyal followers.
- The high price of one follower in case of unsuccessful promotion or a too-expensive prize. Any competition has its own cost. If the prize is a service, then this is the cost of your time and materials. If the prize is a product, then this is its cost, plus shipping costs (if you include that). Plus the possible costs of advertising your contest. Thus, if you give a new iPhone, and during the competition, only 3 people start to follow you, then each of them costs you about $300! This is a lot, and it means you did something wrong.
2. Types of giveaways
All Instagram contests can be divided into 3 types:
- Repost. Participants post a contest photo and mention you and the necessary #tag.
- Creative contest. Participants post their own photo taken according to the rules of the contest.
- Likes pickup. Participants post your or their own photo and try to collect the maximum number of likes for it.
3. How to run a giveaway: Basic rules
3. 1. You need a great photo/post.
It’s good if the contest photo shows the prize that the winner will receive. It is always good to see and understand what you are fighting for.
If you can’t take a picture of the prize (for example, you give a certificate, a consultation or a photo session), then you can use just a beautiful photo that fits the theme.
The quality of the photo is of utmost importance. The photo should make people want your prize and participate in the contest/giveaway. It is unlikely that a blurry photo with poor light will push people to participate
3.2. It’s also not worth saving skimping on a the prize.
Do not offer unnecessary stuff or something that neither you nor anybody else needs. For the contest to become popular and be willingly reposted, the prize should be amazing, but not too pricey.
3.3. To attract attention, write the main information on the photo:
- the words “contest,” “raffle” or “giveaway”
- contest tag
- your account with @
In order not to overload the photo, do not try to fit everything on it. Depending on the composition of the photo and how many details are already present on it, add only the main info.
3.4. The end date of the competition should be indicated directly on the photo.
Our experience has proven that. Otherwise, your photo will continue to be reposted after the end of the contest, and you will have to respond every time that the competition is already closed.
3.5. In addition, you must clearly describe the rules of the contest.
This will save you from problems and disputes in the future. People do not always read the rules (especially freeloaders), but in case of disputes, you will have something to stand behind. Rules are a kind of user agreement.
Standard rules often include the following:
- Instruction for participants to follow the account
- Instruction for participants to repost the giveaway post
- Instruction for participants to mention the owner (with @) and the relevant tag
- Requirement that participants’ profiles must be open so that the contest photo can be seen
- Dates of the competition
- Winner selection method, e.g. jury, lottery, or random winner generator
- Be sure to come up with your own unique tag for the contest — for example, #MagicLawStory, #MoonHotelGiveaway, etc. Your tag will allow you to easily see all the participants, find out their number, and choose a winner. You can make sure that the tag is not in use by anyone using the search.
3.6. When the photo is prepared, the tag is selected up, and the rules are formulated, you can start the contest.
Be prepared for the fact that if you still have a young account and few followers, the number of new followers may be small. In this case, you can increase your reach by advertising in more popular or star accounts.
3.7. Record the video of choosing the winner to prove your objectivity.
But do not post it immediately. Now you need to check whether the winner has fulfilled all the conditions of winning (e.g. he became your follower, is not a freeloader, he added a link to you, and so on). If the rules are satisfied, then post the video. If not — re-shoot and choose another winner.
3.8. Contact the winner in Direct or ask the winner to contact you.
Describe how a person can get his/her prize or how the shipping will happen. Be friendly and polite.
Take your time, think through all the details, and make this experience happy not only for your IGers but for you yourself as well!
4. How often to hold competitions or giveaways
Unfortunately, many aspiring bloggers rely on giveaways too much and abuse this method. They run giveaways every week in the hope of building a base of loyal followers. It doesn't work like that.
Marketers advise running giveaway once every month or two, or even more rarely. The reasons:
- You attract too many freebie-hunters who represent no value to your community. They will unfollow you once the giveaway ends.
- It is not a reasonable expenditure to run such giveaways if the follow rate is not high enough.
- Nobody will buy your product if you offer it for free too often.
That’s why you should run contests and giveaways in moderation. They are capable of increasing sales and brand awareness if they occur no more than once a month.
Are there any legal aspects of contests we need to know?
Yes, it’s recommended to mention Instagram’s lack of endorsement by adding, “This contest/giveaway is not endorsed by Instagram.”
If the giveaway/contest is sponsored, mention that with a proper hashtag.
What prize to choose
Choose something that your target audience would like to receive. It should be something useful but not too pricey. For brands, it’s a good idea to offer some of the brand’s services or products.
How to estimate the efficiency of this method of promotion
You can’t calculate such metrics as increased brand awareness. However, you can count:
- Number of participants
- Number of new followers gained
- The reach of the post that announced the giveaway
- Number of shares, likes, and comments
Read more about Instagram giveaways
Use winner generators for Instagram to make the process of choosing simple. Don’t forget to record the selection process.
Explaining Instagram Shoutouts:
Should You Try It?
Shoutouts (SFS) is one of the promotion methods of Instagram. In brief, one user advertises
another user on his own profile. We explain what types of shoutouts exist and how to participate
and run one.
1. How to participate for free
Find a person ready for a mutual shoutout or an account specializing in the promotion of Instagram accounts through special hashtags like #shoutout, #sfs, #shoutoutforshoutout, etc.
In the first case, the account at a certain time posts an advertising post/story on its profile and marks the partner. The partner in response writes about this person on their profile.
In the second case, a specialized account will ‘ask’ you to fulfill a number of conditions before the team-up, such as like photos, follow a user, and so on. The conditions may vary, but the result is the same — your photo, marked with a tag link to your account, will appear in their feed and become visible to a large number of followers.
2. How to participate for a price
Similarly, you can use a paid Shoutout service. To do this, you will need to agree with the owner of some popular account (with at least 5,000 followers) about the repost of your photos.
If you are looking for buyers in San Francisco, then choose an account with a large database of English-speaking users. This gives a much greater effect since, as a rule, the audience of such “entrepreneurs” is much wider, but the costs will be higher.
Usually, users add #ad to such posts.
You should not chase the accounts of ‘millionaires’ — you will lose money, and negotiations will be more difficult. Pages with a user base of 3,000-5,000 people will be enough. Plus, the audiences of such users are more responsive and engaged.
The price will be around $5-15. You can expect from 5% to 25% follower flow from such a method.
Important! You can offer not only your money but also offer your product/service in exchange.
3. General recommendations for Instagram Shoutout
- Check your partner for cheating. Otherwise, you risk being left without new live followers. It’s not worth cooperating with partners, even if they have thousands of followers, if those followers are bots. Check the comments for adequacy before drawing conclusions.
- Accounts from one sphere will work better — the stylist and the hairdresser have the same TA. The same for athletes and a sports nutrition store.
- When placing advertising posts, take care to notify the SFS partner of your desired publication time.
4. How to run SFS by yourself
Rules of SFS are quite standard and do not vary much:
- You publish a photo with one of the following hashtags: #SFS, #shoutouts, #instashoutout, #shoutoutforyou, #shoutoutsforfree, #shoutoutforshoutout.
- In the caption, you notify potential participants of the start of the SFS, the time-frame, and the date of the results announcement.
- Participants should post on their profile any photo from your Instagram (or make a collage), write a few words about you, and be sure to put a link with @.
- Having done this, the participants should write the word “done” in the comments under your SFS photo.
- On the day when the SFS is completed, you look at the profiles of participants, select from them those who you liked the most, and talk about them on your profile, mentioning the user via @.
5. Pros and Cons of Shoutouts
- Being a participant and organizer of an Instagram SFS is equally beneficial for both parties — they can receive PR absolutely free in most cases.
- In addition to getting followers, this can be a great way to find new interesting profiles.
- Everyone is tired of shoutouts as this method of promotion has been popular for quite a while now. Therefore, not only are people less willing to participate in them nowadays, but some will unfollow those who hold such events or participate in them.
Imagine if a person supported you, took part in your SFS, told you about himself, and then you go to his profile and realize that it’s completely uninteresting with unattractive photos. Even if you want to talk about him out of gratitude, it is completely unclear what you can say about him.
Imagine how insulting it would be for those who did not end up in your feed, who went unnoticed or turned out to be unsuitable. Those rejected will be offended.
How to contact users for a shoutout for my product
It’s more about barter collaborations. You can find this information under question #8
Are there any services for the fast purchase of shoutouts from influencers?
Yes, you can find a lot of such ‘banks’. For example, Buy Shoutouts from Social Media Influencers – Shoutcart – 600M+ Active Followers & Subscribers!
Are paid shoutouts related to influencer marketing?
In general, yes, it can be classified as a type of Influencer Marketing.
Read more about Instagram shoutouts
For those who do not want to waste time searching for shoutouts or running them, there is an option to use a service for buying shoutout on Instagram.
Advertising for Instagram: Ads and Influencers
as Ways to Promote Instagram
The most effective cost-based ways of promotion on Instagram are Instagram Ads
and Influencers. We plunge deeper into Instagram advertising: types, pros and cons,
how to set up and negotiate to get the maximum result.
There are 2 main types of advertising on Instagram — targeting and influencers/bloggers.
1. Targeted advertising
Targeted post promotion can be launched from your Instagram or from Ads Manager (Facebook). You can spend from $5 to $whatever-you-want on it. Even $50,000 is OK.
1.1. Post Ads on Instagram:
Instagram targeting can be used for all business accounts. Make sure that you have one or transfer your account from personal to business in the settings.
Promotion of posts is easier for beginners:
1. Click Promote under your post
2. Click Create Promotion and configure the following settings:
- Destination. Your profile — people will see your post with a “Visit Instagram Profile” CTA; your website (here you need to add the URL and relevant call to action); your Direct Messages (people will see your post with a “Send Message” CTA.
- Audience. Instagram offers either automatic targeting or manual. For beginners, the automatic variant is advised. For those who have already done research on Instagram TA, it’s possible to point out locations (regional and local), age, and gender.
- Budget. You choose how much you are going to pay daily and for what period of time (from 1 to 30 days). Instagram immediately shows the approximate reach you can expect.
3. See the preview and add a payment method (credit or debit card, or PayPal);
4. Click Create Promotion.
Setting up such a promo is simple and takes about 2-3 minutes to finish.
Note that Instagram reviews all the ad campaigns for at least 24 hours.
As for the formats of ad posts, it can be a single photo, a video, or a carousel. Choose the one that suits you more and promote your Instagram post.
1.2. Ads in Stories
Ads in Stories are created in a similar way as standard Instagram ads.
- Create a story.
- Click the More button at the bottom and choose Promote.
- You will be prompted to adjust all the same settings with one modification — here you can choose Special Requirements if you are to run Credit, Employment, or Housing promotions (credit cards and loans, jobs and certification, real estate and insurance).
Requirements for Ads in Stories:
- Max size: 4 GB for video format and 30 MB for a photo
- Resolution: 1080×1920
- Max length: 120 seconds
2. Influencer Advertising
As people’s trust in traditional advertising is gradually declining and more and more people are ready to listen only to the recommendations of friends and acquaintances, influencer marketing came to the rescue, and now it’s at its peak.
Adding promotion through bloggers and influencers to your marketing plan is definitely a good idea. It will help you increase brand awareness and build a meaningful follower base.
- Over 67% of marketers consider promotion through influencers to be a good way to increase audience reach.
- Brands using influencer marketing earned an average $6.85 for every $1 spent on influencer ads.
- 70% of millennials listen to the opinions of friends and acquaintances when shopping.
- 30% of users trust and buy products recommended by a non-celebrity blogger.
2.1. Who needs such advertising?
Users respect influencers’ opinions, especially if they position themselves as experts in the topic. Therefore, advertising through influencers is suitable for anyone who can find a blogger who has a strong connection with the target audience of their brand.
This works for those business areas where ‘the visual’ is vital. For example, collaboration with beauty bloggers is notable for its high performance. But in general, B2C goods and services, online stores, fashion brands, hand-made stuff, bars, and restaurants are all successfully promoted.
Blog advertising is relevant for both aspiring entrepreneurs and well-known brands. Large brands use influencer marketing to maintain or increase brand awareness and sales. Collaboration with blogs is also in demand for the promotion of a new product.
Advertising with bloggers is also suitable for promoting a personal blog. It’s important to choose an influencer whose target audience overlaps with yours. For example, if you dedicated your blog to healthy eating, you can buy an ad from a fitness trainer or nutritionist.
2.2. What influencers exist and which should you choose?
Influencers differ. There are true opinion leaders and those who pretend to be so. There are those who have no influence on their followers and those who are actively listened to. The target audience is different for everyone. The readiness of the profile for advertising and, of course, the pricing policy also differs.
There are several types of bloggers:
Micro. These bloggers are those who have at least a thousand followers. Although they do not have a huge audience, they have a close connection and listen to each other’s advice and opinions. In addition, they are often ready to publish quality content for relatively little money.
Macro. These users are generally well known. They have hundreds of thousands or even millions of readers and followers on social networks. Partnership with them allows you to capture the attention of a huge audience.
Celebrity. This category includes macro-influencers, who are not typical bloggers, but musicians, comedians, actors, athletes. Cooperation with them will cost a lot of money, but they can make your brand memorable.
There are professional bloggers, and there are amateurs. For professional Instagrammers, blogging is the main job they focus on. These blogs have a clear theme and style. They can be devoted to travel, cooking, life hacks, beauty, and health. Professional bloggers have a clear understanding of how to work with an audience and how to promote brands.
For some, blogging is a hobby with extra income. This category includes blogs that have become known due to interest in the personality of the author. Here you will not find a clear focus on a specific target audience. At the same time, there are pages that are distinguished by good audience engagement.
2.3. How to search for influencers
You have 3 ways: look for influencers on your own, use special tools, or go through an agency.
2.3.1. Searching for influencers on your own
- You can search for influencers through hashtags and geotags. Track the most popular hashtags related to your products and relevant to your target audience. Among the publications using these tags, select the most popular, and analyze the statistics of the pages of their authors. The only thing remaining is to choose the one whose target audience is most similar to yours.
- If you have a local business, then ordering advertising from a star blogger does not make any sense, because all your customers live in a particular city. In this case, it is recommended to track posts by the nearest locations and select the most active authors. You can choose from the city and ending with the area where your company is located.
- You can find them among your clients. If you already have your own audience, then it will not be superfluous to examine it for the presence of an influential author. Perhaps, among your customers, there is a popular blogger who is ready to recommend your brand on special conditions.
2.3.2. Searching for influencers using free Instagram Search
Use a special Instagram search tool with which you can quickly find Instagram users by bio words and additional filters and analyze the audiences’ Engagement Rate (ER) and other metrics vital for decision making.
Open the Search and enter the input data and set the filters if needed. See the example below:
Get the Search result:
Click Analyze near the profile’s info if you like someone and get the analyses of an account. See the example of a good profile in terms of cooperation:
This search feature saves you time searching and analyzing Instagram accounts.
2.3.3 Searching for influencers via agencies
Using the services of specialized agencies, you can start collaborating with bloggers whose number of followers exceeds 200,000. Some well-known bloggers sign exclusive contracts with such companies, and you can start working with them this way.
Choosing this method, you can count on professional help. The agency’s team will help create advertising content that will fully match the audience of the blog. Specialists will also help to coordinate all issues in cooperation with several bloggers.
But this is the most expensive way.
2.4 How to approach influencers with your offer
Even if you find a blogger that meets all your criteria, it does not mean that you will be able to advertise with them. Bloggers may refuse to cooperate without giving reasons or may not respond to DMs for months.
There is no single mechanism that works, but there are general recommendations that will help to reach agreement on cooperation:
- Brush up your profile. From your profile, it should immediately be clear who you are, what you do, and what you offer. Otherwise, people won’t waste time on you.
- Follow. Next, you should follow the page of a blogger with a suitable target audience and spend at least 1-2 weeks monitoring its content, quality, and the number of publications.
- Get in touch. After you make sure that this influencer lives up to all your expectations, contact them or their agent, and discuss all the details.
- Develop content. Pick or create the most interesting content that matches the blogger’s audience.
Good integration is the key to successful cooperation. Try to make sure that the ad does not stand out from the general style of the profile. Ask a blogger to post two posts shortly before the ad and one immediately after it. Such unobtrusive advertising does not cause a negative reaction from the audience.
2.5 How much does it cost?
The cost of advertising depends on many individual factors, as well as on the format. It is believed that on Instagram the most influential person is Selena Gomez, with an audience of 176 million followers. The publication of one post by her costs around 600 thousand dollars!
There is no clear answer to how much advertising costs for bloggers. Prices vary. The average price for a post depends on both audience reach and the owner’s “appetite”:
- For bloggers with up to 10,000 followers, an ad post can cost you a nominal fee, or you can barter.
- Owners with 10,000-30,000 followers will ask for $10 to $30 per post.
- An ad from a profile with 30,000 to 60,000 will cost from $40 to $60.
- For a blogger with from 60,000 to 100,000 followers, the price tag for a post can vary from $60 to $100 per post.
- Owners of profiles with an audience of 100,000-130m000 are asking for $100 – $250 for a shoutout.
- Bloggers with an audience of 300,000+ followers are ready to cooperate for $250 or more.
The prices above are approximate and do not include the cost of goods that bloggers need to provide separately.
Video content can do more than just attract attention. It allows you to introduce people in detail to the advantages and features of your product, to convince and reveal new facets. All this is associated with high production costs, both for shooting and for showing.
One of the most beloved marketing tricks is advertising on Instagram Stories. It seems the easiest. The content here can be anything from a live broadcast to the publication of a post with a photo. Prices here are also very uneven: often 2-2.5 times lower than for a regular advertising post.
For example, the popular travel blogger Cristina Galbato, with more than 200,000 followers, gets $2,200 for publishing a post on Stories. That’s a lot.
What determines the price of advertising?
Typically, bloggers do not name prices openly. There are no official statistics or an exact price lists. Everything is very individual and depends on many factors.
- The number of followers. The more readers, the greater the reach of the audience and, accordingly, the higher the cost of advertising.
- Blogger’s pricing. On Instagram, you can easily find two almost identical accounts with the same number of followers, but the owner of one will want $200 per post, and the other just $50.
- Audience engagement. To begin with, Instagram has an average audience engagement level of 3.21% compared to 1.5% in other social networks. Naturally, the higher the ER on the page, the more expensive the advertisement on it.
- Content. You can produce ads in almost any format: photos, live broadcasts, videos, reviews, recommendations, and so on. Some formats will cost more, others are cheaper. As a rule, publishing videos and stories is cheaper than a regular post, but each blogger may have their own opinion.
- Production costs. If advertising requires travel, makeup, hair, a product demonstration, then these factors must be included in the total amount.
- Duration of cooperation and number of posts. These factors have a direct impact on value formation.
2.6 How to analyze the results of your promo campaigns
The main indicator of the effectiveness of advertising is the payback of the post. The success of an ad can be determined within a week..., after which you earn 2 to 3 times more than was spent on the ad.
It is also appropriate to take into account the number of new followers, as they are future potential customers. To calculate the effectiveness of this parameter, divide the amount of money spent by the number of new followers, and compare this indicator with the cost of attracting readers through other sources.
Also, analyze how your engagement rate has increased. The higher this parameter, the more often your publications will appear at the top of your followers' feed, and the more attention will be focused on the brand.
If you cooperated with 1-2 bloggers but did not get the desired effect, then you should not conclude that the tool does not work. Maybe you just made a mistake with your choice. Work on the mistakes and repeat the experiment.
Can I create an ad in the Instagram Explore section?
Yes, you can create such an ad with an Ad Manager. You need to choose Explore the section of Instagram in the Placement line.
Where can I see the results of my Instagram Ad?
You can monitor the performance of your ads in Ads Manager as well as edit them if needed.
Can I only use a promo pic for Instagram ad? What are other formats of Instagram ads?
Options include: Stories, Photo, Video, Carousel, Collection, Explore, IGTV, Instagram Shopping ads.
Can I use the Search tool for free?
Yes, the Influencer search is a free tool for everyone.
Read more about Instagram advertising
This tool has already helped hundreds of small brands find and collaborate with the micro and macro-influencers around the globe.
Use it for fast search and instant analysis of Instagram profiles.
How to Steal Followers from Competitors
You have a common target audience. All you need is to engage with it. We explain how to mainstream
the process of dealing with your competitors’ follower base.
There are two methods of enticing followers from your competitors: a slow one and a fast one. Each of them is worth considering.
1. Method #1 — Manual, effective but slow
The scheme is find and engage.
Find your competitors on Instagram. You should know at least a couple of them in real life. Use the Instagram Search to find niche leaders or find them by hashtags and locations (see Question #1).
Like, comment and follow the followers of your competitor. Start engaging with the followers as much as you can. Usually, a single follow brings around a 15% possibility of following back. If you follow together with a like that goes up to 23%, and if you add a comment or DM it’s a 35% chance of follow back.
It is an easy scheme, but quite time-consuming to be honest. You can automate your targeting, likes, and follows with Instagram Automation Service.
To make the process even faster, head to method #2.
2. Method #2 — partially automated, effective and fast — Hot Clients
Hot Clients by Bigbangram is special tool created to help brands find their target audience by hashtags and locations and contact them right from the Dashboard. It’s easy to use:
- Open the Hot Client Tab and go to the Settings section.
- Enter hashtags of your niche, both frequently used and rare ones.
- Enter the locations of your competitors and places nearby you (if you run an offline business).
4. Write templates for engaging with users — for comments and messages. Make them appealing.
5. Set additional filters for more narrow targeting if needed:
6. Go to the Feed section and see all the posts that meet your criteria:
7. Click Like, Comment, and Send DM. Choose from already prepared templates or create unique ones and send.
8. Click on a profile to follow a person.
This way, you will organize a constant flow of new followers.
3. Why should you do it regularly?
Engaging with followers of your competitors is the right strategy for any business. You get not only new followers and a number of immediate sales, but you also increase brand awareness, which affects your long-term presence on Instagram.
Doing it on a regular basis will bring you a stable stream of new potential customers.
How to work with competitors’ followers using an automation service
You should configure the targeting by Usernames.
Enter the usernames of your competitors, and the service will interact with their followers. Simple!
Read more about attracting competitors’ audiences
These tools will help find accounts faster and start interacting with the potential audience more effectively.
Instagram Analysis: Why it is vital for IG
promotions, and how to conduct it
[Analyzing your own and competitors’ accounts, publication
times and periodicity]
Analysis is an integral part of our
life. We analyze everything from products for our breakfast to business strategy for the next year.
Let’s see how Instagram analysis helps you grow.
1. Instagram Insights for promo campaigns
Every Creator or Business profile has access to Insights — Instagram statistics of your Content, Activity, and Audience for the last week.
Content — A ranking of publications by reach and engagement. The content with the most impressions is at the top. You can sort effective entries by actions: calls, comments, email messages, saves, follows, reposts, etc. You can see the statistics for a single post as well.
Activity — The number of actions that users took after viewing publications. Here you will find displayed: visits to the profile per week, the number of new followers per week, the number of clicks to the site or via the link in the description.
Audience — Where the user saw your profile, where he came from, how many users did not follow your profile after the first “meeting.” This is the best way to determine not only how attractive your content is, but also how your strategies to increase your reach are working.
Open the Menu on your homepage and tap Insights to access the statistics collected by Instagram:
Note: to get the Insights for a separate post, click View Insights under the post.
Instagram Insights is an extremely valuable tool for any person who is concerned with quality promotion. But it shows the analysis and stats only for your own account.
To analyze the profiles of competitors and niche leaders, business owners can use Instagram Analyzer.
2. Analysis Tool for Instagram
With this free tool, you can analyze any Instagram account. It shows the number of followers and posts, the engagement rate and users’ activity, number of posts and their engagement score by days of the week, most popular post time, top hashtags and words from captions, as well as selections of the most liked and commented posts.
Open the tool and enter the username of a person whose account you want to analyze:
Get the result in a couple of seconds:
This way, you can analyze what hashtags other users are using in your sphere, when they post most actively, and what type of posts get more likes and comments.
You can take advantage of this data to modify and improve your content strategy.
What metric to pay special attention to
One of the most important metrics on Instagram is Engagement. Work on it; try to increase the ER of your audience. This will help you to be promoted faster, and your community will be more loyal.
How to find the most suitable posting time
First, get to know your audience better and find out when it is active on Instagram.
Second, analyze the profile of your nearest competitor or niche leader with Instagram Analyzer and see at what time that account posts.
Read more about Instagram analysis
To get fast analysis of engagement, publication time, and content, use free Instagram Profile Analyzer. With it, you can improve your promotion strategy so that it deliver optimal results.