3 Easy and Effective Instagram Growth Tips How to grow your social media following on this visual medium in an organic way.

By Jonathan Long

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Your presence on social media can contribute to your overall success as an entrepreneur. It needs to be a focus point of your growth and branding strategy -- not an afterthought. According to Hootsuite, 41 percent of U.S. consumers feel the brands they engage with need to have a strong presence on social media.

Instagram is great for marketing and branding, provided you have a large audience and reach. I've recently started to focus on growing my personal Instagram account in an effort to drive awareness to a new online community I'm launching -- a virtual Mastermind House. Here are three simple tips I've used to grow my Instagram presence, which you also easily implement.

Related Video: How to Use Facebook Live and Instagram Live to Boost Your Business

1. Give your audience what they want, not what you think they want.

The easiest way to grow your Instagram account is by posting content that your target audience wants to see. This attracts likes, comments, tagging, followers, etc. -- everything required to scale your account. I used to think I knew what my audience wanted, which was the wrong way to approach my personal brand on Instagram.

I learned what my target audience wanted to see simply by trial and error. When I found what worked well, I started to post more images that aligned with the most popular content.

"The market is the market, and the market will decide if you're good enough to be consumed," says Gary Vaynerchuk, and he's right. The only way you stand a chance of being consumed by your market is by providing them what they want.

Related Video: How Photographer Nathan Michael Builds Content People Love on Instagram

2. Use content to attract followers -- not a follow/unfollow strategy.

I can't stand the follow/unfollow strategy many people use to grow social media profiles, which is this: People will follow you in hopes of you following them back. If you do follow them back, they won't unfollow you. If you don't follow them they will unfollow you in a day or two.

Those are completely useless followers. They have zero interest in you or your content. They aren't going to ever convert.

In order to attract followers you need, you have to use great content -- not an automated follow/unfollow bot and script. With more than 700 million monthly users on Instagram, you don't need to resort to a follow/unfollow strategy for growth. There is a large audience just waiting to engage with your account -- post great content and watch your followers increase organically. I would much rather attract 50 followers a day that are genuinely interested in my account than 1,000 that are only interested in a follow-back.

Related: How to Become an Instagram Millionaire

3. Be active and responsive -- not a ghost.

Social media is all about engagement and interaction. If you simply post content and never engage back with your following they will become disconnected. Something as simple as liking their comments or taking a few minutes daily to respond to direct messages will help you build a stronger relationship with your followers.

According to Sprout Social, answering a customer's question on social media drives 49 percent to purchase. It takes very little effort to be active and respond to your followers, and that little bit of time-investment is what creates customer loyalty.

A little engagement back and forth with your following helps to strengthen that relationship, and it you commit to being active, you will see a much better response rate if you include a call-to-action in your caption. Someone is going to be much more likely to respond to a CTA if you have previously interacted with them.

Jonathan Long

Founder, Uber Brands

Jonathan Long is the founder of Uber Brands, a brand-development agency focusing on ecommerce.

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