"I’m Branden and I have millions of followers. I caught on to the social media game early. Now it’s what I live and breathe," Branden Hampton writes on his site.
Hampton is no stranger to the strategies that work for attracting lots and lots followers or creating an engaging audience on social media. In fact, he's managed to grow some of the most popular handles on social media, including @money, his personal Instagram account, and @CEO, on Twitter. Hampton was also the brainchild behind the Twitter accounts @Notebook and @FlTNESS, which, combined, have 8.15 million followers.
Hampton makes money doing all of this: He consults with dozens of large brands and has relationships with many of the top social media celebrities and influencers in the world. He’s also worked with fellow Entrepreneur.com contributor Neil Patel, helping Patel with an Instagram marketing campaign.
Since I had the desire to grow my own Instagram account, I picked Hampton’s brain for a bit, to reveal his top seven tips for attracting more Instagram followers.
1. Be transparent.
Hampton stressed to me the importance of being yourself on social media. "People like transparency and want to interact with someone who’s willing to be authentic," he says. "Feel free to mix personal and business, if that defines who you are. If you're a brand or managing your business' social media presence, add a human element to it, which helps you appeal to the millennials -- the most engaging social demographic.”
2. Post content that appeals to your specific audience.
It's important to post images that will directly appeal to the audience you are trying to attract. “Figure out who your target audience is, and publish content that is appealing to that specific demographic. Everything you post to your Instagram account needs to have a purpose behind it,” Hampton says.
3. Establish a “sweet-spot” post frequency.
It’s important not to overwhelm you audience members with too many posts or lose their interest because you don’t post enough. You need to find your individual sweet spot. Says Hampton: “For a personal brand, two to five times a day is ideal; and for a business, three to seven times, depending on what type of product or service you are promoting.”
4. Engage with other users.
“It’s important that you engage with others that are in your industry or share the same interests," Hampton suggests. "Comment on and 'like' posts from people who might be potential customers. For me personally, this has been a weakness. I simply haven’t set aside the time to engage with other Instagram users, and it has definitely stalled my account’s growth."
5. Use hashtags.
Mastering the art of hashtags can really spark serious growth, according to Hampton: “If you're into exotic cars, all of your posts should be tagged with #exoticcars. Even better, Instagram has a feature that allows you to search for hashtags in your niche, returning the exact count of how many people are currently using that particular hashtag. The more a particular hashtag is used, the more likely you are to have success using it. Add popular tags to your posts, to get the most traction.”
6. Use paid ads.
While organic growth is great, Hampton suggests using paid ads to really push forward: “Instagram, just like Facebook, offers paid ads that allow you to create posts and promote yourself or your product," he says. "You pay based on how many people engage with your content. It’s worth the investment, and I highly recommend it.”
7. Leverage the power of influencers.
Influencer marketing has the ability to deliver amazing results. As Hampton explains, “Find influencers in your space that have large, engaged followings; and pay them to promote your profile. If you're a beauty blogger, find an account with a large following that talks about beauty, makeup, fashion or similar topics. Most social media accounts with large followings will have their contact information in their bio. Reach out, and be aggressive with your offer.”