Creators today understand that growing on Instagram is the best way to build your audience. It’s more important than ever to capitalize on the power of Instagram Stories to share winning content that will help you nurture your fanbase and build an unstoppable brand.
In this guide, you'll learn:
✓ The best way to grow on Instagram in 2021
✓ The reasons why Instagram Stories are so powerful
✓ The method event creators like BeerFest Australia use to grow on Instagram
✓ The secret behind ToneDen’s unbeatable Instagram Growth Playbook
How do you grow on Instagram? Try high-quality, delicious content. Beetroot brownies, gooey apple cinnamon rolls: this is the kind of droolworthy, vegan deliciousness that @naturalbornfeeder
routinely shares to 150k Instagram followers. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that @naturalbornfeeder is run by Roz Purcell, the Irish supermodel/former Miss Universe, whose personal Instagram account has been one of the fastest growing in 2020.
No matter what kind of a creator you are—event host or deejay, stylist or wellness influencer, typewriter poet, or photographer—you know that growing followers on Instagram is the fastest way to develop your brand.
Why? Instagram remains the most popular form of social media. 1 billion people use Instagram every month and 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. That means everyone from your dermatologist to your dentist is on Instagram. And maybe a picture really is worth a thousand words. Instagram makes it easy for your fans to connect with you visually, through authentic, quality, easy-to-consume content.
But knowing how powerful Instagram is doesn’t make the growing thing so easy. Just look at the internet: There are hundreds of blog posts, listicles, pictographs, and YouTube videos, promising to help you unlock the secret to going viral on Instagram.
You don’t have time to go down that rabbit hole if you want to get in your fans’ feeds. We’ll save you the deep dive with this quick-and-dirty look at some of the most commonly touted ways to grow on Instagram:
Develops your brand’s persona
Can be hard to predict or routinize
Instagram Native Boosting Option
Promote with IG-approved tools (think Facebook’s “Boost Post” option)
Limited targeting options
There's nothing a boosted post can do that an ad cannot
Content Swaps and Shoutouts
Helps build Instagram pods or pockets of community
Relies on fledgling or inconsistent relationships
Paid Influencer Marketing
Improves brand recall
Effective at driving quality traffic
FTC is cracking down on undisclosed endorsements
Effective for eCommerce, not necessarily creators
Seemingly instant engagement
Spammy and illegal
A sketchy form of “Black Hat” marketing
Gives you insight into your target audience Could yield a surge--at first
Quantity over quality
Risk of account ban
Choose to buy in bulk or subscribe to a drip
Engagement is not guaranteed, or even likely
Risk of account ban
Fake followers are obviously fakes
Publish high-quality, authentic content consistently. Repeat. No wonder the easiest way to grow on Instagram is leveraging Instagram Stories to build your brand, “one of the most powerful selling tools to increase your reach on social media.”
Publish high-quality, authentic content consistently. Repeat.
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Stories were the dominant form of content in 2020, and they’re only getting more powerful. Originally a feature of Snapchat, stories have become ubiquitous across social media sites: now, even LinkedIn and Spotify have stories.
And though they were born on Snapchat, Stories are really Instagram’s baby. Ever since Instagram introduced them, Stories have been reconfiguring how we consume social content.
As Ian Bogost in The Atlantic
put it back in 2018, Stories are taking over your smartphone. According to Bogost, stories are, “a collection of images and short videos, with optional overlays and effects, that a user can add to over time, but which disappears after 24 hours. Users view a Story in sequence, either waiting out a programmed delay between images or manually advancing to the next.”
Chloe Gillian, Artist, Instagram Story Creative
On Instagram, Stories capture an impromptu, authentic quality, inviting your followers to participate in a moment or an experience. It’s that ephemeral, almost elusive quality that makes them inherently more engaging than feed content.
In fact, real-time social media, such as Stories, is linked to increased consumption, according to a study out of Sweden's Lund University
. Stories keep your followers tuned into what's unfolding on your profile.
And more than images posted in the feed, Stories heighten your fans' sense of participating in a shared experience. They build a sense of connection and community. After all, Stories make your users feel like they have that insider, unfiltered look at you and your brand.
That’s why leveraging the power of Stories is the key to growing on Instagram, especially if your target audience is Millenials and Gen Z-ers. 1 in 4 Millennials and Gen Z-ers look for Stories of the products and services they want to buy.
15%–25% of people swipe up on a link in branded Stories.
One-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses.
That’s what drove us here at ToneDen to develop our Instagram Growth Playbook. To learn how BeerFest Australia used the playbook to add hundreds of followers in a matter of days, read on.
Leveraging the power of Stories is the key to growing on Instagram.
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BeerFest Australia's latest marketing initiative was aimed at growing their followers on Instagram. Currently Australia's largest beer festival, Beerfest Australia
has grown from a single festival to seven events in seven locations, according to Festival Director James Harding.
Founded in 2011 in Tasmania, BeerFest has expanded to Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, and Australian Capital Territory. With such a vast geographic reach, it’s easy to see why focusing on Instagram likes and followers—dedicated fans of the BeerFest brand, regardless of location—is a key part of their marketing strategy.
BeerFest turned to ToneDen to help them connect new and pre-existing fans with their brand’s Instagram profile. With ToneDen’s Instagram Growth Playbook
, Harding saw BeerFest add hundreds of Instagram followers—and develop their digital strategy. “Every day I use the platform I have an "aha" moment,” says Harding. “I am learning something new every day and I am loving it!”
Instagram Growth Playbook – Campaign Insights
70% average increase in followers. 4x average increase in likes & views. ToneDen’s Instagram Growth Playbook yields staggering results for influencers, creators, and brands who want to maximize the power of one of the most used social media platforms in the world.
The Instagram Growth Playbook, part of ToneDen’s Growth Suite
, uses the power of Instagram Story ads to draw users to your profile. When it’s as simple as swiping up, why would you waste your time buying Instagram followers or bots?
This summer, BeerFest Australia used the Instagram Growth Playbook to target fans of festivals and music festivals. The ad—a video clip of BeerFest attendees enjoying cold brews against a backdrop of palm trees and mountains—encouraged viewers to swipe up to follow @beerfestau on Instagram.Harding ran the playbook for a month. Spending less than A$150
, he watched BeerFest Australia add more than 300
Instagram followers. The breakdown? Less than A$0.44
for loyal, real
followers—meaning real likes, real comments, and real reshares.
Pro-Tip: Monitor Your Progress
Harding admits that, prior to using ToneDen, he found digital advertising frustrating and, at times, difficult to make sense of. Today he relies on the “daily reporting on each campaign," especially when that reporting brings results like those he saw on a BeerFest remarketing effort—a 27x return on investment.
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A walkthrough on ToneDen's Instagram Growth Playbook.
Whether you’re a creator like Bellamy Brewster or a brand with a preexisting following, ToneDen's Instagram Growth Playbook is the secret to growing your following on Instagram. Our Instagram Growth Playbook lets any brand or business increase their following on Instagram by creating Instagram Story ads that move interested fans directly into your profile. The more fans that find your profile, the less searching you’ll have to do for a strong potential audience.
We believe that all creators should have the ability to grow their brand. No matter your budget, our Instagram Growth Playbook makes it easy to get more Instagram followers. It costs as little as $5/day, as low as $0.15/follower.
Why use the Instagram Growth Playbook? This Playbook will help you:
• Get real Instagram followers who are loyal to you and your brand
• Create Instagram Story ads that move interested fans directly into your profile
• Grow your following and get more likes, comments, views, and reshares
• Maximize social engagement and increase profile discovery
Before You Get Started
We highly recommend creating a video formatted for Instagram Stories Ads prior to making your Instagram Growth Playbook campaign. The power of video marketing is undeniable. In most cases, video outperforms images with 2x the increase in clicks, conversions increased by 20-30%, and 2-3x higher click-through rate.
Instagram Story Specifications
✓ Use 9:16 aspect ratio/1080x 1920px.
✓ Cap video creative at 15 seconds
✓ Include a compelling call-to-action so fans know how to take action
1. Select Accounts
Choose the Facebook Advertising Account you want the campaign to be created under as well as a Facebook Page & Instagram Account to post as.
The ads in the Instagram Growth Playbook campaign will only appear in Instagram Stories. The reason why you have to choose a Facebook Page is that Instagram is owned by Facebook.
2. Set Schedule
Set the Start and End date/time of your campaign. Recommended: Toggle the Run my ad campaign continuously checked if you want your campaign to run continuously.
3. Design Story Ad
Add and customize your Instagram Story ad creative here in this step.
4. Target Instagram Fans
The first step is to enter who you want to target on Instagram by selecting their interests. If you're an artist and would rather target interests based on Spotify, select Generate Interests from Spotify.
5. Modify Budget
Set a daily budget between $5-$30 for your campaign. For growth campaigns, we always recommend sustained spending stretched out over a long period of time versus a typical 7-10 day campaign.
6. Review Ad Campaign
7. Launch Campaign
After you've double-checked everything and created a Playbook Name for this campaign, press Launch Playbook Campaign and you're good to go!
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