Instagram is the place to be. Since its launch in 2010, the social app has changed the way people consume visual content. Instagram is different from Facebook, but it has a lot of potential. The app has over 800 million monthly active users, and 80 percent come from outside the U.S. This means a huge reach from one simple platform!

Once you set up your Instagram Business Account and create an Instagram marketing strategy, it’s time to grow your following. Instagram has built a great community over the years with people who are eager to consume visual content. Still, growing your Instagram account can be a challenge, which is why it’s important to be both creative and technical.

Here is everything you need to know about growing your Instagram fan base.

Optimize Your Profile

Optimizing your Instagram account is important for two main reasons. First, it helps people find you more easily. Second, it makes a good first impression. People are picky about the accounts they follow so you can’t afford to have a poorly optimized account.

Here is what I recommend doing:

  • Select a quality profile photo that is consistent with your branding

  • Include a keyword with your name so that people can search for you

  • Add keywords and emojis in your description

  • Add a call to action before your link or offer

  • Choose the right business category

  • Add and update your contact information

  • Include action buttons

Have a Consistent Posting Strategy

Before you start working to get followers, be sure that you have a worthwhile account to follow. People like to see that you contribute consistent, quality photos and videos. If you request followers and they find a near-empty page, most won’t be interested in following you. So, use the initial downtime to post some irresistible content.

How many posts should you have before you actively seek out followers? I recommend at least 15 to establish your account. Plus, it’s helpful to practice posting before you have followers to engage with. Get a feel for the filters, tools and Stories that bring your images to life.

Follow Accounts that Interest You

Once your profile is optimized and you have a decent number of posts, you can start requesting follows. Some people will follow you, others won’t. It’s all part of the game. To avoid randomly requesting followers, I highly suggest following accounts that interest you and relate to your products and services. After you follow the page, interact with the posts. This draws attention toward your account while also stirring up conversation.

Identify Key Influencers

As you build up more stable relationships, you can identify brand ambassadors who love your products. Reach out to them to participate in contests and giveaways and share their own experiences. You can also collaborate with other accounts to reach a wider audience. This is great for local businesses that are looking to drive more foot traffic into their stores.

Instagram is full of opportunity. It’s one more way to get your brand noticed by a large, global audience. By following the tips above and sticking to your Instagram marketing strategy, you’ll have an active, engaged audience in no time.