How to Follow Your Industry on Instagram

By Jennifer Herman, Eric Butow, Corey Walker

Watching your industry’s Instagram accounts can help you build your following in several ways. By doing so, you can benefit from the earlier work of your competitors and industry icons. First, if your business serves only local customers, look at your direct, local competition. Then look more globally at bigger brands in the same industry to see the tactics they use.

Following industry hashtags is also highly productive. Does your industry hold several large conferences a year? Conferences are usually associated with a hashtag. Savvy Instagram business accounts incorporate the conference hashtag in their posts so consider searching for the hashtag to find other accounts to interact with. These accounts could be competitors or potential customers. If you’re attending the event, search through the conference hashtag and follow accounts, like photos, comment, and perhaps direct message other attendees to set in-person meetings with potential customers or business partners.

Watching your competition on Instagram

One of the best ways to find new followers is by researching your competitors’ Instagram accounts and interacting with their followers. If they’re interested in your competitor’s business, they might be interested in your offerings as well. Your competitors’ follower lists are like a ready-made target audience waiting just for you!

Engaging with your competitors’ followers is easy. Here’s how:

  1. Make a list of your top competitors.
  2. Use the Search function to find one of them on Instagram.
  3. Go to a competitor’s account, and tap the number above followers (at the top right of its profile page).

    Here, the followers number is 2,615.

    instagram followers
    Sometimes brands re-post user-generated content like this one by @madeonterra.

    You see everyone following the competitor.

    instagram competitors
    Sometimes brands re-post user-generated content like this one by @madeonterra.
  4. Do the following for each follower account that looks interesting:
    1. Tap the account.
    2. Like several photos and comment on at least one post.
    3. Follow the account.
  5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for all the competitors in your list.

    Keep regularly engaging with these accounts, and you might just win them over to following you or becoming a customer.

Getting noticed by big brands on Instagram

Following big brands such as Target, Maybelline, or Yoplait provides unique ideas for content or promotions done in a fresh way, but it can also yield more followers for you. How? Some big brands re-post user-generated content (content created by regular folks like you and us) from their customers, and when they do, that account can hit the jackpot on followers.

To get noticed by a big brand, follow these tips:

  • Make a list of top brands that would mesh well with your brand. For example, if you sell virtual assistant services, you might make a list of various companies that sell planners, specialty pens, and desk accessories.
  • Check whether the company re-posts images from other users by scrolling through several months of posts. Some companies are strict about their brand, and post only what has been designed by their design department. If this is the case, cross them off the list.
  • After you find a brand that does re-post user-generated content, study the posts it shares from other accounts. Do they typically like flat lays (photos where products are neatly arranged on a background and photographed from above); photos with people, animals, or sports; a consistent filter? You might notice a pattern in what has been selected. Put your own flair on your content while making it fit the other account’s style.
  • Style your photo according to the instructions in Step 3, and include the company’s product with the brand label prominently displayed. Do not include other brands in the photo.
  • Add brand hashtags. Big brands often have a specific hashtag they associate with all their posts. For example, Coca-Cola uses #ShareaCoke as its branded hashtag on Instagram posts. If you’re trying to get featured on @Cocacola, use the #ShareaCoke hashtag along with other hashtags that relate to the soda brand.
  • Mention the brand using its Instagram username in your written post. For instance, @coreycwalker used the hashtag #madeonterra in a post where she used the brand’s cupcake toppers in a photo. She was then featured on the @madeonterra Instagram page and was tagged back. Now @madeonterra followers might visit @coreycwalker’s page to see what else she posts.
Instagram user-generated content
© Made on Terra
Sometimes brands re-post user-generated content like this one by @madeonterra.