6 Tips for Organic Follower Growth on Instagram

Gaining 1 million followers on Instagram is not an easily achieved marketing goal. Below, we explain the six tactics we implemented to organically increase Kirkland’s Instagram follower count that should be added to your social media strategy.

In April 2018, Kirkland’s Home Decor hired the Parachute Media team to manage and elevate its social media channels. Kirkland’s competitors were nearing or surpassed the 1 million followers milestone on their Instagram pages. Meanwhile, Kirkland’s weighed in right around 330,000 Instagram followers. 

In one year, Kirkland’s Instagram following more than doubled organically. And in less than two years, 1 million users were following Kirkland’s on Instagram. Here’s the impressive part: it all happened through organic social media tactics.

See below for six tips for organic follower growth on Instagram. 

#1: Define a tone of voice and be consistent 

Graphic of an image of white shelves with blue and white dishes. This is an image that was used on Instagram with the caption, "Verified Kitchen shelfie goals! ✨ 1. How are you refreshing your kitchen decor this year!? and 2. Have you seen our new collection?" This caption is shown as overlayed text.SEMrush says it best: Tone of voice reflects your brand personality, helps you connect with your audience, and makes you different from the rest.

By establishing your tone of voice, you can focus on what you’re saying instead of how you’re saying it. Over time, the brand voice becomes second nature. And with consistency, your brand (like Kirkland’s) will become familiar to your loyal followers, and more importantly, seem human. Through the consistent use of your brand’s voice, trust is established, which paves the way to success for your business’s future campaigns. 

#2: Build a community by creating a two-way dialogue and give users a stake in the brand

When creating content for your brand, the easiest way to engage users is by simply asking a question or getting their opinion. After all, everyone on social media loves to give their opinion, right? While we all wish that just telling consumers, “you need this product,” would persuade them to purchase the product, it’s just not that easy.

“Talking at” your audience and dominating the narrative is essentially like going to dinner with that friend that only talks about herself the entire time… and nobody likes that. Instead, by asking open-ended questions, having specific calls to action, or by simply turning the conversation over to your audience, you can connect on a human level and establish a sense of community. 

#3: Prioritize quality community management and engagement

With a growing community comes more moderation. Sometimes, the amount of engagement or messages you receive can become overwhelming. By understanding how important it is to check in and communicate with your brand’s community, you can remain in control of the chatter, and you have an opportunity to be proactive. It not only helps avoid a pile-up in your inboxes, but it can also position your brand as reliable and approachable.

Three community management must-haves:

  1. An FAQ document. By proactively knowing the common questions your brand receives, you can be ahead of the game and spend less time tracking down the response you always forget about. (Bonus tip: Set up ‘Quick Replies’ on Instagram and Facebook to cut down on time spent community managing).
  2. A recurring schedule. Check in on all of your social media pages at least once every 24 hours. That way you can touch base with any users and make sure your posts or ads are performing the way they should.
  3. A point of contact. It helps to have a reliable contact that is available when you need more insight into something you do not know about. Never underestimate the power of asking questions- especially when it comes to social media.
    1. And don’t forget about internal communication. When things go haywire (like a huge site-wide sale or a shipping delay), it’s important to have internal communication. This could be an email thread or an internal instant messaging software where your team of community managers can all be on the same page. That way, when it’s someone else’s turn to check in, they can continue to push the same message and keep any responses consistent. 

Read more community management tips here.

#4: Incorporate authentic and attainable imagery through user-generated and influencer content

Two wonderful things happen when you infuse user-generated and influencer content into your social media content strategy. You create an Instagram feed that is authentic and capture a lifestyle that is attainable. 

For Kirkland’s, user-generated content provides a “real” glimpse into what an everyday home looks like. As for Kirkland’s influencer content, this creates a reliable stream of content that is more curated and product-specific. It doesn’t matter whether it’s UGC or influencer content, as long as it supports the authenticity and lifestyle of your brand!

#5: Host Giveaways and Partnerships

Let’s talk about mixing giveaways and partnerships into your social media strategy! These two tactics are perfect for growing your brand organically. Here are some pointers!

Be intentional with your giveaway. First, select a product that is on-trend for the season (i.e., doormats for the spring). Second, be upfront with what you want (“Follow our page”). Third, be transparent and specific about the parameters (how to win, when the winner will be announced, etc.). 

Partnerships are a cost-efficient way to grow your brand. We all get it- in the end, more engaged followers can potentially lead to more revenue. Put out some feelers to see if there are any brands looking for a trade-off versus a paid partnership. (Quick tip: Find a brand with a slightly larger following than you.)

For example, during our discovery phase with Kirkland’s, we found that a large interest of our audience was crockpots. So in an effort to tap into the lifestyle of our audience, we reached out to Crockpot to see if they had an interest in collaborating. We ended up joining them to host a giveaway that aligned with their annual “Crocktober” campaign. Both brands donated products for the giveaway (a Crockpot and kitchen accessories) and hosted the giveaway on both brand’s channels. Although there was no monetary exchange involved in the partnership, both accounts experienced higher engagement and an increase in followers just by cross-promoting brands.

#6: Provide valuable content to followers

You have to give people a reason to follow your page by providing value. People either want to be entertained or informed. Whether your brand is in the pet food sector, the injury law space, or home decor industry- your followers are there because they are interested in what you have to say. By providing data, humor, tips, or tricks, valuable content is an organic growth opportunity. This can position you as a thought leader in your space, as well as support your social strategy of being authentic.

Use videos, motion graphics, text graphics, captions, and Instagram Stories to your advantage. Find what sticks and share away!

If you’re looking to grow your brand with the help of some experienced social media strategists, give us a call! We’d be happy to show you the ropes of exponential Instagram growth.

Collage graphic of screenshots from multiple graphic design projects.