Posted on October 7, 2019
Sola Salon Studios
Instagram is a powerful tool for any beauty professional to connect with their clients, showcase their work, attract new clients and promote new services and products online.
As the algorithms for Instagram are constantly evolving, new tricks arise for how to gain traction, engagement and followers. However, one thing never changes - the more followers you have, the greater reach and impact your account will have on the wide world of Instagram.
When you have more followers on Instagram, you have a better follower to following ratio, which makes your account look more attractive, desirable and interesting to potential new followers. Generally, people are more drawn to following accounts that have more followers than accounts they follow (aka who have a better follower to following ratio).
Although it may not always be true, audiences assume that more followers and popularity means a more interesting account. So, our goal here is to improve your follower score to make that ratio look good and your account look enticing to potential new followers.
Here are 5 tricks to grow your Instagram following in no time:
Tip # 1: Follow and Engage with Like-Minded Accounts
On Instagram, the best way to connect with clients, friends, family, peers, new customers and like-minded accounts is to follow them first. When you follow an account, the person (or organization) receives a notification. Often, this is enough for the person to be intrigued and follow you back, or at the very least, give your account a peek, maybe even like a few photos or make a comment.
Any activity is good activity because any actions taken will improve your account's visibility on Instagram. Any likes, follows or comments you receive from a specific account make you more likely to show up on that account’s feed, making your account accessible for engagement.
Typically, about 20% of the people that you begin to follow will follow you back. Yes, this can get tedious, but we promise, it’s worth it. Those huge accounts you see with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers - they have done this successfully for years.
Start With Your Inner Circle
The best way to find accounts that are likely to follow you back is to begin with friends and family - aka members of your inner circle. These are the people that know and love you, so if you are not already connected. This is your "low hanging fruit." Following your friends and family will ensure you start to build a steady foundation to grow your following.
Follow Your Outer Circle
Once you have followed your friends and family, begin to follow as many of your clients, industry peers and relevant acquaintances as possible. These people form your outer circle and your career-related followers. It is good to follow them after your friends and family because they will see that you already have a following and are therefore more likely to follow you back.
Follow Like-Minded Accounts
Now that you have maxed out your follows for accounts that you know personally, it’s time to engage with accounts that you are less familiar with. In order to attract like-minded followers that will actually engage with your content, promotions and services, you will need to find the right accounts to follow. Identify some accounts that are similar to yours in brand, vibe and industry, but have a larger following than you - think 5k to 10k+ followers - influencer level. These should be accounts that have the same target audience that you are trying to reach.
For example, if you are a hairdresser, it would be a good idea to follow a semi-famous hairdresser in your field that shares one of your favorite techniques. Or if you are a makeup artist, it’s a good idea to follow your favorite makeup companies’ accounts. Once you have identified your peers, competitors and like-minded accounts, the idea is that you want their following to come follow you.
Here are a few ways to make this happen:
1. Engage with the account by following, liking and commenting on posts and even reposting content that you love to your story, while properly crediting them via tags. This will hopefully attract their attention and get them to engage back with you. There is a chance these interactions will then show up in the feeds of their followers, causing their followers to check out your account and potentially follow you.
2. Click the “Followers” tab on their account. You want their audience and here they are - listed and accessible for you to dive into. The best thing to do is begin following and engaging with these accounts.
3. Make sure to never follow any fake accounts as this will lower your engagement rates. The best way to spot a fake account is that they often do not have a profile photo. Do not follow an account that does not have a profile photo - you do not want any fake followers! If the majority of a like-minded accounts’ followers appear to be real, open up their follower list and follow these accounts.
4. We recommend following more accounts with photos of people rather than logos, as these people tend to be a more authentic and engaged audience for small business interaction.
We know this method can get tedious, so we recommend using a follow app to streamline the process. Some applications that make following new accounts easier include: Captivate, FollowAdder, Gramista, Socialenablers and Megafollow.
Some of these apps are free for you to use the software to follow new accounts yourself, while some are paid that do the mining and following for you. Some apps also have advanced features for engaging with your followers and those you follow, increasing your online activity (which boosts your Instagram visibility). Either way, any app will enhance your ability to follow more accounts in less time.
Tip #2: Unfollow People
Remember how we said we need to keep that follower to following ratio high? Well, how can you do that if we’re telling you to follow so many new accounts, only 20% of which might follow you back?
Unfortunately, since this is a numbers game, you will need to go back in a unfollow accounts that have not engaged with your account. There are apps that identify accounts that have not engaged with your brand and/or are not following your account back, and you can seamlessly mass unfollow all of them in large batches. We like the Unfollow and Cleaner apps.
This is hugely helpful in saving time and returning your follower to following ratio back to normal. Do not forget to skip this step in order to keep your following number low!
Tip #3: Post Regularly and Consistently
The Instagram algorithm loves consistency and favors accounts with frequent, regular and engaging posts. The more activity you have on your account, from posts, follows, likes and comments, the more traction you will get in Instagram feeds. This improves your visibility and hopefully puts you in a position where you are getting discovered by new followers. We recommend posting one to three times per day.
Content is king, so the more content you can post, the better. Frequent posting will make your account more visible on feeds, from Instagram users’ homepages to hashtag discovery to account follow suggestions. Hashtags are crucial here because you want your hard earned posts to get seen! We recommend trying a few hashtags that are niche (1,000 posts or fewer) and a few hashtags that are mid-level (1x-10k posts) and maybe a major trending hashtag or two. Instagram features both “most popular” and “most recent” postings of each unique hashtag. This is a great place for new followers to discover your content and find your account.
Tip #4: Develop a Branded Aesthetic
Although frequent and consistent posting is great, remember, not all content is created equal. You need to maintain a strong and consistent Instagram account that exudes a branded overall aesthetic. This means that when somebody takes a quick glance at your account, they get your brand. They feel the vibe and aesthetic and they know immediately if they resonate with the content. It is impossible to know if you resonate with an account if the content is all over the place.
Most often, popular accounts are ones that appear interesting and/or beautiful from the overall account aesthetic. When Instagram browsers resonate with the overall look and feel of your posts, that will likely earn you a follow. Any content that is less than stellar may turn away potential followers, so keep that off your feed.
Some ideas for keeping a consistent brand aesthetic include using consistent color schemes, filters, or content pillars. This keeps the content of your account branded, aesthetically consistent and beautiful.
Tip #5: Tag Clients in Instagram Stories and Posts to Leverage Their Network
Tagging photos is another great way to make your Instagram discoverable. So, with their permission, post photos of your clients new looks and tag them in posts and Instagram Stories.
Hopefully, if your clients know your Instagram handle, they’ll want to post about your work too! Clients want to show off their new look and often use Instagram to do so. They want to share with their friends about the facial that put them into a deep state of relaxation or their spooky Halloween nails that have them in the spirit of the season. You get the gist - people LOVE to share their experiences! Especially good ones that they want to recommend to their friends and family.
What better time to post a photograph than when they have just gotten a beauty service and are feeling relaxed and beautiful? Instagram Stories provide an easy way for daily check-ins and chatter. With longstanding clients, ask if you can photograph and post them onto your Instagram Story or feed. When you post them in your Story, they have the option to repost the photo onto their Story too. Or best case scenario, you can hope or even ask that they post their own photo with props to the artist and a tag to your Instagram account.
When clients tag you in their Stories, you’re likely to get a few followers from their audience. In fact, people are actually more inclined to take a recommendation from a small-time advocate than a big brand influencer because they know and trust their friends and family more than influencers with larger followings. This is the best way to use Instagram to gain referrals from loyal clients who engage with your account via tags, reposts and shares.
One more powerful way to improve engagement and follower count is to tag @solasalons in your posts and Stories. When you tag @solasalons (in addition to your local Sola account) on your posts, it gives us the opportunity to also like, comment and re-post your content too. This visibility to the Sola community can get you connected with other Sola stylists, thereby improving everyone’s follower count, and more followers for Sola stylists is good for everyone!
As your salon gains a large following, you will be better able to seamlessly promote services, products, packages and promotions to customers linked with your brand. More followers mean more reach and more reach means more business. So get to business and connect to those Instagram followers - you never know where the connectivity may lead!