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Increasing Instagram Followers For Your Online Business: The Definitive Guide

By Storeplum Editorial

Posted | 13 min read


Similing woman holding instagram like button

This is the ultimate guide to increasing Instagram followers for your e-commerce business.

So if you want to -

  • Build an optimised Instagram page
  • Use different tools provided by Instagram to scale your business
  • Systematically increase your followers
  • Turn followers into customers

Then you’ll love this new guide. So without wasting any further time, let’s get started.

Table of contents

1. Instagram Basics for E-commerce businesses

2. How to get more followers in less time

3. Instagram and automated bots: Yay or Nay?

4. Case Study: What can you learn from Future Lab’s branding strategy

5. Conclusion


Chapter 1

Instagram basics for any E-commerce businesses

With over 1B monthly active users, Instagram by far surpasses all other social media platforms when it comes to reaching a targeted audience.

The platform has a larger number of consumers than content producers. But these numbers are seeing a paradigm shift. There have been several recent modifications to the platform which makes it easier for big online brands and e-commerce websites to build their audience.

A majority of brands followed on Instagram include media outlets, celebrities, football and online brands.

Top shopping brands on Instagram in 2022

Today, the platform is considered as a haven for lifestyle brands, content creators and celebrities. Instagram is a great platform to build a community for your brand. It goes without saying that if you are an e-commerce brand looking to grow your online presence, building and nurturing your Instagram business account should be a big part of your social media marketing strategy.

As a new e-commerce business, the following tips will help you in getting started on your new Instagram business account

Set up Instagram Shop

Let’s get the basics in place by setting up Instagram shopping for your brand new business account. Not so long ago, Instagram provided basic tools to analyse post performance and hashtags to improve post outreach. But with more and more brands starting to sell online, Instagram became more friendly for e-commerce websites. Today, the platform provides several features which allows your followers and audience to easily buy your products directly from your posts.

In order to be able set up shopping on your Instagram account, do the following-

  1. If you don’t have it already, you will need to have an ecommerce website where Instagram can direct interested users to your website. Storeplum is a no-code ecommerce website builder with several growth tools to help you drive business growth from day 1. Build a highly performing ecommerce site in no time on Storeplum and connect your website domain in Storeplum Dashboard. You can build your website and try out all the growth features with a 7 day free trial.

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  1. Set up a Business Manager account through your Facebook. Here’s the link for Facebook Business Manager for you
  2. Now that you have a Facebook business manager set, start onboarding your product catalogue into Facebook Business Manager through Commerce Manager. Under commerce manager, select a checkout method. Choose between redirecting users to your ecommerce website or letting users make purchases directly on your Instagram account.
Facebook commerce manager example to set up Instagram shop

Start adding products by creating a new catalogue

Facebook commerce manager example to set up product catalog

Submit your newly created Instagram shop account for a review.

PS. Shopping for Instagram is not available in all countries at the moment. Checkout Instagram’s eligibility requirements to see if your online store qualifies for this feature.

Facebook commerce manager example to submit Instagram shop to review

  • Create super posts from time to time

    We call any post with a caption length of more than 100 words as a super post! Why? Because a super post is directly related to the user engagement of your followers. So, when you are first starting with Instagram, think about how your brand is going to make a difference in the life of your audience or how it is going to solve a particular pain point that they are facing.

Average audience engagement rate on Instagram

Honestly, not every post has to follow this pattern but in general, have a habit of posting at least one super post per week. A super post is when you share an update about your brand or highlight a customer or just share your opinion on a certain topic.

According to a recent Instagram marketing report, long caption posts or super posts have been gaining traction since 2017. This trend will continue to grow in 2022 as more and more brands are now pushing mini blogs as their captions.

This is a great opportunity for online brands to tell their stories which go beyond promotions, product descriptions and sales posts, indirectly, improving your engagement with your followers.

Length of instagram captions over last five years

  • Make your products easy to discover using tags

    Before we explain, remember product tags are different from hashtags. Hashtags will improve your post discovery. Instagram by default allows you to have 30 hashtags per post. This means that there are 30 unique opportunities for you to showcase your posts.

    On the other hand, product tags will allow you to tag your products directly into your posts or videos.

Rothy's instagram product tags example

According to a recent survey, more than half of the platform users use Instagram for shopping weekly. This brings a great opportunity to meet your customers directly on Instagram.

If you were successfully able to set up Instagram shopping for your online business, then you can start tagging your products from your product catalogue

Steps to tag products in a post

  1. While creating a post, tap on Tag products
  2. Tap on the photos which you’d like to tag. You can search for products in your Instagram product catalogue
  3. Click done when finished.
Steps to add product tags in Instagram photos

Steps to tag products in Stories

  1. While creating a story, tap on stickers
  2. Select product link sticker
  3. Choose the product you’d like to tag
  4. Publish your story
Adding product tags in Instagram stories example

Steps to tag products in Reels

  1. After you are done recording your Reel, click on Tag Product
  2. Add products or collections that you’d like to tag
  3. Click on Done.
How to add product tags in Instagram reels example

As a rule of thumb, try adding product tags in all of your content - Posts, Stories, Videos, Reels.

Add at the most 5 product tags for each content

Do not overcrowd your content with product tags. It has been observed that brands who abuse product tagging see poor reach or visibility of their content.

  • Post regularly

    Practice makes perfect. It’s important for you to understand that in order to grow your online brand on Instagram, you need to post regularly. Many new online brands make the mistake of writing posts on the fly. That approach is hardly scalable and bound to fail.

    Instead plan your posts well ahead of time by maintaining a content calendar. Posing regularly gives your e-commerce business an opportunity to reach more followers and potential customers. Always take a look at post insights to view which posts are performing better.

    This will help you understand patterns and create more posts which perform well on Instagram. As a best practice, try using tools like Later to schedule your posts well ahead of time.

Chapter 2

How to get more followers in less time

I’m posting regularly, tagging in photos, commenting for reach, but the needle’s not moving! My brand’s followers have hardly seen any increase!!!

Many new online brands fall into this category of expecting miraculous results while putting in average efforts. In fact, 1 out of 10 businesses will stop publishing on Instagram just because they are not seeing results.

If you look at the numbers, over 48% online brands have less than 10K followers on their Instagram business page and just 3% have between 100K-500K followers.

Global instagram followers size

Fortunately, there are proven ways to grow Instagram followers for your online business. Most brands would spend tons of money on paid marketing and boosting posts but there’s a systematic way to grow your followers organically which can help your brand in the long run.

Let’s take a look at these steps one by one

1. Be interactive with your audience

On an average, an Instagram user spends less than 2 seconds on a non-interactive post. It means that you’ll have to step up the game by being creative while interacting with your audience. Hosting live sessions and asking questions is a great first step in improving audience engagement.

Actionable tips for hosting a live session on Instagram

  • You don’t have to do it alone. Invite other brands or influencers in your space and have engaging conversations with your audience together.
Instagram live example

  • Use features like Q&A and media sharing through out your session
  • Keep adding an context about your live session from time to time as users join and drop at different times
  • Use questions stickers and poll stickers after your Instagram live. According to a report, Instagram users spend 3x more time on poll stories compared to regular stories

2. Creating and collaborating with Influencers

Almost all brands are aware of the power of influencers. Influencer marketing has exploded by 7X in the past 4 years alone. With all brands reaching out to influencers for promotion, you can use a slightly different approach. Co-create with influencers using branded content and let creators tag products on your Instagram shop.

Actionalbel tips for working with Instagram influencers

  • As a no-brainer tip, start with credible influencers. Find influencers in communities that align with your business interests.
  • Don’t let the influencers be intrusive when it comes to promoting your product. Just let the product slide in into a casual conversation. Legion athletics ties up with several online gym fitness trainers and enthusiasts who push their products indirectly through regular gym advice.
Legion athelitics collaboration example with influencers

There are emerging marketplaces Intellifluence, Hype Auditor, Neo Reach which can help you find the right influencer for your niche. The entire process of finding and sorting influencers becomes very easy with the help of such platforms.

3. Use a Video first content strategy

Gone are the days when Instagram was all about filters and photos. According to data published by Instagram, 91% of Gen Z use stories weekly. Over the years, consumption of videos on Instagram has increased exponentially compared to photo posts. In fact, video is the most engaging type of content, bringing in an average of 24.25 comments and 1097.9 likes per post.

Actionable tips for posting videos - Stories, Reels, Live etc

  • Keep it short. With an average attention span of just about 3 seconds, less is always more when it comes to videos on Instagram. Make short reels, post funny videos which are easy to consume as content
  • Make mobile first videos. Ditch your SLRs and camcorders for shooting videos. Vertical format videos perform far better than landscape or square videos. As there’s greater demand for consumption of stories (vertical in nature) it makes sense to publish videos in a format which is loved by millions.
  • Popular video categories which work best on Instagram stories are behind the scenes (BTS) videos, packaging videos, DIY videos, customer reviews.
  • Start with weekly themes for each category

  • Reels is a great way to start a content technique that is unique to your own business. Something that is proprietary and with a little word of mouth, it has potential to go viral.
  • Another way of using Reels is to give an in-house shopping experience to your audience. A great way to keep them engaged with a how to product tutorial
Shop now with reels example on Instagram

4. Use Instagram Guides

Instagram Guides is a relatively new publishing format provided by the platform. And the good news for you is - it has been an underutilised way of publishing content till now. It means that your online brand has a great chance of standing out of the crowd with these guides.

  • In layman’s terms, Instagram Guides are like mini blogs where you can add detailed and curated content - all in one place.
  • Unlike feed, you can curate posts, product information, FAQ guides, reviews, recommendations and more
  • Easy way to get an audience to your guide is through stories.
  • You can even ask your audience on what different product guides they’d like to see

Take a look at how Artifical Uprising is using Instagram Guides to tell a curated brand story to their audience.

Artifact Uprising using Instagram Guides

Artifact Uprising goes above and beyond in telling a curated story about giving gifts for a special someone. After explaining several ways to gift, the brand subtly redirects users to their website page where engaged audience can buy their products.

Chapter 3

Instagram and automated bots: Yay or Nay?

Wouldn't it be great to automate this entire process we’ve been talking about so far! Well, most of us would love the idea of automating everything on Instagram - from posting, tagging, captions, etc. But how do these bots perform in real life? Is it even worth exploring?

We did some digging around the topic by analysing over 30 bots and here’s what we found-

- Easy come easy go.

Primary reason for most of these bots is to quickly increase the number of followers of an Instagram account. But Instagram algorithms are getting smarter each day to block such bots immediately. As a community building platform, Instagram prefers human connections and engagements over bots. So these added followers are more likely to be bots - not generating any value to your brand.

- Inherent poor reach

Irrespective of their sophistication, bots follow a pattern in liking comments, posts, adding comments etc. These do not create the same human-like experience and the engagement which any brand would like.

- Risk of getting banned

Finally, a major risk of using bots is getting banned on your Instagram account. It indirectly means getting banned from other activities too - like running paid ads on Instagram, Facebook, access to Business Manager tools in Facebook. Risking your business account is absolutely not worth it for increasing your followers with automation. Instagram bots work by accessing Instagram’s API without the social media platform’s permission. The platform is serious in implementing these terms of use when they requested the shutdown of Instagress, one of the several bots out there.

Chapter 4

Case Study: What can you learn from Future Lab’s branding strategy

Taiwanese lifestyle brand Future Labs partnered with local influencers on a series of branded content on Instagram that helped them to lift their add to cart conversions by 4.7X

Future Labs make lifestyle products like hair accessories, strollers, backpacks and more. To launch this in a new demographic like Thailand, they needed to optimise their marketing strategies to appeal to the local crowd there.

The marketing team and Future Lab decided to translate existing video ads in Thai but had their doubts whether the Thai audience will be able to relate to that content.

At that time, Future Lab decided to collaborate with local Thai influencers to create branded content ads.

Primary Instagram products used -

  • Story videos with polls and Q&As
  • Carousel photo ads
  • Branded content with Influencers using Reels
  • Instagram Shop

Before running campaigns, Future labs made sure that they have a predictable sales funnel in place on their ecommerce website. That way they have a way to nurture captured leads to conversions.

This strategy not only helped them gain more followers and improve their brand awareness on Instagram but also win many customers in a brand new demographic.

Conclusion

Congratulations on making it this far! If you’ve made it all the way through to the end, then you now have a good grasp on setting up your Instagram business account in 2022.

You’ve also learned some great tips and tricks on systematically growing your Instagram account. Now, it is time to put all the learning to use. Bookmark this article to refer to some of the key tips that we talked about.

That’s it for now. You are now ready to kickstart your Instagram journey from here!

Storeplum Editorial

Storeplum Editorial

Storeplum's in-house editorial team brings to you the best content when it comes to growing your online business on the Internet. We write about growth hacks, case studies, government schemes and other related information for e-commerce business.

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