It’s no secret that Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for brands. That’s not without reason. Instagram is projected to grow to 1.4 billion users by the end of 2024.

According to Facebook-commissioned surveys, 54% of Instagram users made a purchase after viewing a product or service on the app. Along with Facebook, Instagram also offers the joint highest return on investment of any social platform. 

So why is Instagram so popular for businesses? Well, as a platform centered around image and video content, Instagram is the prime platform for gaining new followers, building strong customer relationships, and boosting sales. You can use Instagram as a space to update customers, share visuals, and engage with followers via user-generated content. 

But how can you grow your business on Instagram in 2024? Whilst every business is different, there are some simple steps you can take to increase your marketing know-how and boost your profile on Instagram.  

How to Grow Your Business on Instagram in 10 Steps 👣 

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1- Plan your socials in advance with content pillars 🏛️ 

Social media can sometimes be spontaneous, but it’s a good idea to plan at least some of your posts in advance. This saves you time and ensures you’re never scrambling for content. Content pillars streamline your social media planning processes, whilst also ensuring your posts don’t get too predictable. 

In essence, content pillars are formulas for great content that you’ll incorporate into your social media calendar each month. These posts will form regular staples of your monthly content. That way, followers will know what to expect from your Instagram feed and look forward to what you share.  

For example, coffee roasters might feature coffee quotes, coffee-related recipes, tips for coffee roasting, and relaxation and mindfulness content. Content pillars keep your content cohesive and engaging, without overtaking your marketing time. 

2- Build in local marketing strategies 🌍 

Using a location hashtag can help users in your local area discover your brand
Using a location hashtag can help users in your local area discover your brand

Instagram links your business with customers across the globe. But it can also connect you with local customers. If you’re planning to sell locally, as well as on Instagram, you can build in local strategies, including: 

  • Location tags – Tag your location, including your city or local venues, in your posts, Reels, and Stories to make them discoverable by location. 
  • Local hashtags – Local areas may also have dedicated hashtags for different businesses and interests. 
  • Share local content – News stories or pictures from your local area are another great way to share local flavor on your Instagram feed. If you're posting images from other local creators, always be sure to ask permission first and tag the creator. 

3- Record inspiring Reels 📽️ 

Video content has soared in popularity, so it’s vital to record some Instagram Reels to connect with your audience. 

Reels help you to reach new fans through the Explore tab, as well as keeping your current followers inspired. In fact, Reels have the highest engagement rate of all Instagram post types, at an average of 1.23%.

To create Instagram Reels that will boost your following: 

  • Do your research on current trends in video content across Instagram and TikTok. 
  • Ensure your Reels aren’t just bland promotions, instead showcasing your products in daily use. 
  • Aim to develop entertaining content, including relatable videos and how-to tips. 

4- Add influencer marketing into your strategy 🤳 

Unboxing is a popular way for influencers to promote products on Instagram
'Unboxings' and 'Hauls' are popular ways for influencers to promote products on Instagram

If you want to reach new followers and give your credibility a boost, it’s hard to see past influencer marketing. Influencers reach thousands of Instagram followers each day, and their seal of approval can have a huge impact on your marketing.  

Instagram is one of the best platforms to connect with influencers, as it’s the most popular social media platform for this type of marketing. Overall, 80.8% of marketers intend to use influencer marketing on Instagram in 2024.  

Don’t just choose the first influencer you find. Take time to find influencers who are truly relevant to your brand. You can use influencer marketing tools to help you narrow down the right influencer. 

5- Create paid Instagram ads 📈 

As well as influencer marketing, it’s worth using your social media budget for paid ad campaigns. These can be helpful alongside organic marketing efforts to boost your follower count and website traffic quickly.  

You can tailor your Instagram ads in detail to suit your brand and its marketing goals. Plus, it’s possible to use your existing organic posts in ads – or create your own brand-new ads from scratch.  

You’ll be able to specify the goals of your ad campaigns, tailor to your budget, and match your campaign with the demographics you want to advertise to. You don’t just have to use your ads to gain followers. Other goals for your campaigns could include engagement with your post or profile, or even direct lead generation. There are also a wide variety of ad formats available, including photo, video, and carousel ads. 

6- Go live with Instagram Live 📸 

Influencer marketing and paid adverts can draw new followers to your brand, but how can you build loyalty with the followers you have? Recording live content with Instagram Live is a fantastic way to grow meaningful relationships with your audience.  

Go live to share your thoughts and respond to follower comments in real time. Showcase brand new products or host a Q&A with your team. You can also monetize this content, as followers can purchase Instagram badges to support your work. Any recordings you create through Instagram Live can also be saved and repurposed into organic content for your feed.  

You won’t have to go it alone either, as you’ll have the option to record live with three other users in Instagram’s Live Rooms. Collaborating on Instagram Live is a great way to reach new audiences and share meaningful content, for example, by interviewing other creators in your niche. 

7- Leverage user-generated content 🤩 

Stax Official uses UGC to spread brand awareness and develop social proof
Activewear brand Stax Official uses UGC to spread brand awareness and develop social proof

User-generated content (UGC) is one of the best ways to build brand trust and loyalty on Instagram. It can also boost your sales, as a whopping 93% of customers think UGC is very helpful when deciding what to buy.  

Put simply, UGC refers to content created by your followers or customers that includes your brand or products. This could be a photo or video showcasing how they’ve used your product, or a review or testimonial about your services.  

UGC is a great way to generate new content and engage with your audience. So, encourage your followers to send more UGC your way by starting up a branded hashtag. Alternatively, you could set up a contest or giveaway, and request followers send UGC to enter.  

Always remember that if you intend to use someone else’s content on your socials, you need to ask for permission, even if you’re tagged in the post. You should also always tag or mention the creator somewhere in your post to give them proper credit. 

8- Make the best use of hashtags #️⃣ 

If your aim is to draw new followers to your brand, then hashtags are a great way to connect. Instagram users can search and even follow hashtags, so if your caption includes relevant hashtags, this can boost your visibility. The most popular hashtags usually won’t be the best for your business, though. That’s because your brand is likely to get swamped beneath millions of other posts. Instead… 

  • Look for hashtags that are relevant to your brand, with a smaller post count. 
  • When researching hashtags, you can either use paid hashtag generators, or use Instagram’s search tool to look for relevant hashtags.  
  • Include a variety of hashtags related to your brand, product lines, and local area. You can then reuse these across your Instagram content. 

9- Optimize Instagram Stories 📖 

Gucci uses Instagram stories to showcase designs, products, and seasons
Gucci uses Instagram story highlights to showcase designs, products, and seasons

Although they only last 24 hours, Instagram Stories can build long-lasting connections with your followers. You can use them to highlight new products, share offers, and post about the day-to-day running of your business. Use poll stickers in your Stories to learn about your customers’ views on products, designs, and more, whilst also fostering engagement. 

To get more out of your Instagram Stories, extend their “shelf-life” by adding them to your Highlights. You can use Highlights to arrange your Stories by themes or product categories. Plus, if you’ve received some great UGC, group these together into a Highlight for your followers to see at a glance. 

10- Schedule posts strategically ⌚ 

Aside from the different types of posts you can share, you should also consider how and when you share them. Your followers will be more likely to view and engage with your posts at certain times. Scheduling your posts can help you to share content at optimal times. Typically, scheduling tools will have features to help you determine the best posting times, or you could research this through your own analytics.  

By automatically scheduling your posts in advance, you’ll make a huge saving on time. Choose set times to create and schedule posts in bulk, then use the rest of your week to focus on other tasks for your business. You’ll also ensure your posting is consistent, organized, and cohesive with other posts. Scheduling tools can be used on your PC or Mac for ease of use, or on mobile devices when you’re on the go. 

How to Use Instagram Analytics to Grow Your Brand 🪴 

Once you’ve created some Instagram posts, Stories, and Reels, and started managing your account, what’s the next step? It’s not enough to post blindly on your socials. To grow your brand on Instagram, you need to take a data-driven approach. Instagram analytics give you the information you need to see what’s working and what isn’t.  

Which Instagram metrics should you track? 

There are many different metrics you can track to pinpoint the growth of your business on Instagram. Below are just a few key options to focus on. 

  • Engagement rate
    This measures the percentage of your followers who are interacting with your content, whether by commenting, liking, or sharing, for example. 
  • Followed / Unfollowed
    You can use these metrics to determine the overall growth of your Instagram following. 
  • Traffic
    You can use this to track how much traffic comes through your CTAs and the link stickers in your Instagram Stories. Ultimately, this can show you which content drives followers to your website, and even encourages sales and other conversions. 
  • Reach
    If brand awareness is an important goal for you, then reach is an essential metric to track. It measures how many individual Instagram accounts viewed your posts. 
  • Shares
    This shows the number of times your posts were sent to another user on Instagram. 
  • Watch-through rate
    This is an important metric for your video content on Instagram, as it shows the percentage of viewers who watched from the beginning to the end. 

You can access Instagram’s own analytics tool, Instagram Insights, for free. First, you’ll need to switch your Instagram account to a Business or Creator account. Then through the menu in the top right corner of your profile, you can access your Insights. Alternatively, you can use a paid social media tool to access a detailed overview of your Instagram metrics. 

How Do I Interact With My Followers on Instagram? 🗣️ 

To build strong, two-way relationships with your followers on Instagram, you need to connect with their content (when it’s related to your brand). You can do this in several ways… 

  • Respond to their comments
    If someone has commented on your post or sent a direct message, always ensure you respond personally. This can help to strengthen customer trust and loyalty. 
  • Create discussions through content
    Post polls in your Instagram stories and ask your followers questions in your captions. This encourages more interaction from your followers, including likes and comments. In turn, you can also answer questions from your followers on Instagram Live. 
  • Interact with, and share, follower content
    If a follower or customer tags you in a post, leave a like and comment. If the post features your products, share it to your feed, as well. Always make sure to ask permission before sharing other people’s content, though. 

Build Your Instagram Following in 2024 🧱 

If you’re looking to grow your following on social media and strengthen customer relationships, then Instagram is the platform for you. Getting started on social media can often be the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs.  

Connecting with experienced marketing professionals can help you to understand the best strategies and avoid the pitfalls. Whop offers access to digital communities and guides to provide expert advice about the ins and outs of developing your Instagram account. 

Want to sell digital materials online? Whop is also an oasis for online entrepreneurs looking for support with community monetization, digital product fulfillment, and more. Whether you want to sell a course or access to an exclusive Discord community, you’ll find all the support and guidance you need with Whop.  

Join the entrepreneurs launching their dream businesses on Whop’s all-in-one platform today.