Instagram started gaining its first impression as a fun app for children and has become a major content marketing, advertising, networking and community building tool for individuals and brands.

It’s one of the world’s most popular social networking sites, with more than 200 million active monthly users posting 60 million photos and 1.6 billion likes a day.

Just how cool is that? The engagement rate for brands on most social networks is less than 0.1 per cent, but Instagram blows them all away. The average Instagram brand engagement rate in the 2014 Forrester report was 58 times higher than on Facebook

Here are six steps to attract and engage your Instagram followers and turn them into leads and customers.

1. Attracting the Right Audience to Instagram

At the top of the funnel, your task is simple: you need to increase your number of Instagram followers and ensure they’re engaged with your content. It is important to have only high-quality followers; inflating your numbers by purchasing followers will distort your data further down the funnel, resulting in lower link clicks and conversion rates.

So how do you ensure you get engaged followers? You can have thousands of Instagram followers, but if they don’t engage with your account, they don’t do any good for you. Put your effort into getting real followers so your data won’t get skewed as you move down the funnel.

Brands get real Instagram followers through methods like:

  • Influencer marketing

  • Strategic use of Instagram hashtags

  • Cross-promotion

2. Share Images People Can Relate To  

If you check out the most popular Instagram accounts, you will notice a common theme. All of their photos are something that most people can relate to and connect to. They are personal, unique and original. By sharing these types of photos, you are establishing a link with your audience, which is the absolute best way to attract people to your account. That’s how you’re going to connect to other users.

 3. Post at the Right Time   

Before posting anything to Instagram, consider what time zone the majority of your audience is living in and when they check their Instagram account. Because of its mobility, there’s really no favourite time for Instagram users there’s a high level of engagement on Wednesdays between 5–6 p.m., while more people post on Thursdays. However, most Instagram users log in when they have extra time, first thing in the morning, on their way home from work or school, or on Sundays.

Normally, a photo has only four hours before it’s lost in the news feed. To prevent this from happening, try to post when you know that most of your followers have time and access to their accounts.

 4. Use Popular & Relevant Hashtags   

Search Google or Webstagram to find common hashtags used to organize images. You can then use the related trending hashtags to make your images more accessible to you or your company, which should create more engagement.

You can also use Instagram Autocomplete to find the appropriate hashtags for your industry.

 5. Follow Other 

If you want to follow the others, you’re going to have to follow them. This is a basic reciprocation rule common to all social media formats. And, instead of just uploading photos and waiting for people to come to you, you’ve got to get yourself out there, too.

It’s very easy. The more you participate, the more attention you will get.

 6. Host Contest  

One of the most successful ways to increase engagement and gain new followers is by organizing a competition. It’s a proven strategy for any social media network. Nevertheless, because Instagram is so popular, it has become a favourite platform to run contests in particular.

The contests are easy to set up and get up and run. Take a nice picture and add the captions that inform people that the contest is underway. Remember, ensure you use #contest to make your contest easier to find. So make sure you share the contest with other social media sites, such as Facebook.

These are top 6 tips to attract and engage Instagram followers. Use this powerful technique to tell your story, build relationships and above all; generate those much wanted conversions!