In this post, Castle’s Head of Social Media Elena Rosewell gives you expert tips on how to grow your Instagram account, showing you how to increase your audience on this extremely important platform.

Successfully utilising your social media accounts is one of the most important ways to grow your audience. It allows you to engage in a direct and immediate way with an enormous range of current and potential customers. But in order to make the most of your social media presence, you need to build a following, and this isn’t always easy to do – especially for newer businesses.

In this post, I’ll give you some tips on how to grow your Instagram account. Instagram is a great platform for businesses, and with around a billion active users each month, it has almost unlimited potential to help you expand your audience.

Key strategies for growing your Instagram account

There are many different ways to grow your Instagram account, but realistically, what you want to be focused on is getting on the “Explore” page. This page offers users a feed of posts from accounts they don’t follow (yet!) but which are similar to those they already interact with.

Which posts feature on this page for a given user is determined by an algorithm centred around who you follow and accounts that are similar to who you follow. So, appearing on this page is a vital way to reach new followers and grow your account.

In order to get on the “Explore” page, there are various strategies you can use.

Firstly, you need to be using features such as hashtags, which will help the algorithm to identify the type of content you are posting and to display your posts to those with related interests.

Secondly, an important but easily overlooked approach is to use alt text on your photos with keywords that are related to them. Alt-text is simply a verbal description of the image in your post, which improves accessibility for the visually impaired and also improves the SEO of those posts. Essentially, including alt text makes your posts more likely to appear higher up in the Instagram algorithm.

Finally, you can also make use of the new features that Instagram brings out, as they really like to push these and encourage people to make use of them. At the moment, for instance, they’re really pushing reels, which were introduced in August 2020. These are 15-second videos that can be composed of a variety of clips, effects, and audio.

What is more, the platform is constantly changing, so it’s important to keep up with the latest developments. For instance, this month Instagram announced it’s planning to become more of an eCommerce platform. As a result, it’s changing its algorithm to prioritise shop features. So, product tagging in your pictures will help you automatically grow your reach, alongside using those eCommerce features that the platform has readily available.

The Head of Social at Castle, Elena Rosewell on her laptop during a zoom call explaining to a client her strategy on how to grow your Instagram account.

When is the best time to post?

Growing your account is not just about what you post, it’s about when you post, too!

The best time to post on the platform will depend on your niche. For example, data suggests that the best times to post for the following niches are:

  • A technology company: Wednesday at 6am.
  • B2C: Wednesday at 3pm.
  • Educational organisations: Friday at 10am.
  • A healthcare company: Tuesday at 8am.
  • A not-for-profit organisation: Tuesday at 1pm. 

So, the best time to post really depends on your niche and your field.

It also depends on when your audience is most active. You can go into your Instagram Insights and see when your audience is most likely to be online, and you want to be posting right in the middle of that time zone. So, if they’re most likely to be online between 6pm and 9pm, post at 7 or 8 and you’re more likely to catch their attention.

A person scrolling through Instagram on their phone, gaining an understanding on when is the best time to post on Instagram.

Experimenting with different content types

Of course, the fundamental means for growing your Instagram page is posting engaging content. But this is easier said than done! To find out what works best for your audience, it can be helpful to experiment with different types of content.

As I mentioned before, Instagram really likes to push its new features, so when you’re experimenting with new content types, think about ways you can utilise these features. For instance, can you make a reel that uses trending music, perhaps a pop song that’s relevant to your industry?

Instagram has become a very aesthetic, almost business-like platform, but I think it’s great to bring an element of fun back into it, especially when you’re wanting to experiment with different content types.

You could also use it to post things such as infographics, facts, figures, in a fun and experimental way using different designs, different colours, and different hashtags. Also, test out varying styles of caption and see what tone of voice fits your audience best and what they’re most likely to engage with.

But ultimately, just have a bit of fun with it! Most Instagram users just want to be entertained, and it’s important to remember that.

An Instagram feed showing a post by Girl on Fire, being liked by multiple other accounts.

What makes for a great Instagram page?

In this post, we’ve looked at how to grow your Instagram account by reviewing a range of specific techniques and strategies you can use to optimise your content and maximise your reach – but the basis of consistent and sustainable growth for your Instagram account is simply focusing on making a great page.

But what does that mean in practice?

A great Instagram page is about more than just the way it looks. A great Instagram page is about the effort that you put in to communicate with your audience. That is to say, a great Instagram page communicates effectively with its audience, whether it’s through the visuals, through the copy, or through the content.

It also has a way of drawing you in. Again, this can be through the design of the posts, if Instagram has a theme to it, or whether it’s just really informational, and it gets across your brand message directly.