Jenn Herman
September 24, 2014

How to Get More Targeted Followers on Instagram

targeted audience on instagram

This is the ninth post in a 12 month series on the use of Instagram for businesses.

If you’re using Instagram for your business, then you want to expand your reach and get in front of more customers and potential customers. Having more, targeted followers on Instagram will ensure more people see your message and increase your opportunities to drive traffic and sales.

Here are the best ways to find and target those ideal Instagram users!

Tell People You’re on Instagram

First and foremost, you need to tell your customers and potential customers that you’re on Instagram. Chances are they aren’t going to find you on their own – you need to tell them.

This can be as simple as mentioning it in person or in conversation with others. I also recommend you include your Instagram handle or link on all of your media – website, business cards, contact info, pamphlets, etc. Make it easy for people to find you and follow you.

Promote Your Instagram Account on Other Social Media

If you already have established presences on other social media sites, be sure to promote your Instagram account there too. You can link to your Instagram account, making it easy for your followers to find you on Instagram.

I also recommend you share some photos from Instagram to other social media sites. Rather than sharing all of your Instagram images to Facebook and Twitter, share only ONE or two images to the other sites and invite your fans and followers on those sites to check you on Instagram for the rest of your images. 

Use Contests or Exclusive Promos

If you want to consistently get more followers on Instagram, offer Instagram-exclusive contests and/or discounts. Rewarding your Instagram followers with exclusive opportunities will encourage people to follow you – and they’ll tell others to follow you there as well to take advantage of these promotions.

Just make sure that your contests, promotions, and prizes are directly related to your business and customers. Giving away an iPad doesn’t get you targeted customers.

Follow Event Hashtags

Whatever your industry, there are events related to it. They could be conventions or conferences. They could be seminars or announcements. They could be shows or celebrations. Whatever your events are, find the event hashtag(s) and follow them on Instagram.

Then get active with the posts on that hashtag. It can be as simple as liking a bunch of photos tagged with the event hashtag. Or, take some time to read the captions of the posts and engage in response. Answer a question. Offer a helpful piece of advice. Compliment the user. Or ask them a question about the event.

Taking the time to engage with these event attendees will usually result in a significant bump in those who follow you – and best of all, they’re your target audience!

Follow Hobby or Interest Hashtags

Much like the method for event hashtags, follow hashtags related to hobbies or interests that are relevant to your business.

If you provide health and nutrition coaching, follow tags related to health, like yoga, or pilates, or barre, or P90X, etc. If you sell pet specialty items, follow tags related to pets, pet fashion, grooming, etc.

Knowing your target demographic, you should know what they are interested in. Use this information to find those people on Instagram. Then use the same methods I just described above to engage, like, and have conversations with them.

See Who’s Following Your Competitors

If you’re looking for your target audience on Instagram, chances are they’re already engaging with and following your competitors. This makes it easy – they’re in one place.

Go to your competitors’ profiles, and click on their “Followers”. You can see the whole list of people who follow them. Depending on how many people follow them, this could be more time intensive than other accounts.

Scroll through the list of followers and find people that are your ideal clients. Look for people that are active, engaging, and match your ideal customer profile. Then scroll through their posts, like some of their posts, and join in the conversation by responding to comments, complimenting them, or answering a question.

This method is more time consuming than following hashtags but works just as well.

It’s important that you have the right, engaged followers on Instagram. Having 5000 followers who don’t care about your business or who never actually use Instagram are useless to you. Instead, focus on finding and building relationships with your ideal target customer to see real results on Instagram.

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Jenn Herman is a social media strategist and Instagram advocate who writes a blog focused on understanding trends in social media management. She provides tips, resources, and training for small to medium sized businesses that need to structure their social media strategies for success. Her business background includes Administration, Sales, Human Resources, and Marketing. If you would like to learn more about how to use Instagram, you can download "The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Instagram" here.