The page you requested is not available in your language.
Will your number of Instagram followers matter in the future?

Will your number of Instagram followers matter in the future?

Instagram reached record growth in 2019. With increasing saturation, many brands and influencers alike wonder if gaining Instagram followers actually matters. Instagram follower count sometimes helps to give a brand or influencer legitimacy, but recently, it's done the exact opposite.

In the push to build an Instagram audience, many brands and influencers cut corners by purchasing fake followers that artificially inflate page numbers. This tactic grows the page size at the expense of long-term engagement and can set a brand or influencer up for disappointing results in the future.

If we can't trust follower count as a key indicator for brand and influencer impact, what actually matters now? For brands and influencers looking to stand out on the popular platform, creating meaningful engagements with their Instagram community should be the main priority.

The ingredients for making 2019 a year full of lasting engagements are readily available and can be easily incorporated into larger social strategies.

‍Why Instagram engagement is unique

The platform breaks down barriers between brands and individuals, as brand posts and stories seamlessly enter a user's feed. Individuals interact with this content because it's authentic, visually engaging, and relatable.

In fact, most Instagram users are willing to start relationships with brands that care about more than their bottom line, as evidenced by the content they produce and their integrity over time.

This preference for authenticity shows that consumers are both comfortable with brand storytelling, and are likely to turn engagements into potential purchases.

With more than 1 billion monthly users on Instagram, 72% of whom have bought a product they saw on the platform, brands, and influencers have an opportunity to profit in a crowded space by doubling down on meaningful engagements.

Here are three ways to drive meaningful engagement from Instagram.

‍Drill down

Throughout 2018, brands moved beyond partnering with influencers and micro-influencers to leveraging nano-influencers — users with less than a thousand followers. These hyper-niche users have more authentic relationships with their followers than larger influencers and they can be easier to work with, according to the New York Times. A post from a nanoinfluencer may have less reach, but it can have a higher conversion rate. In fact, Nielsen found that 83% of consumers prefer recommendations from friends and family over other forms of advertising, and nano-influencers essentially practice a heightened form of word-of-mouth advertising.

The growth of this subset shows that brands are beginning to compete for smaller and smaller slices of consumers and that influencers have more opportunities for brand partnerships. Further, brands can leverage high-quality nanoinfluencer content on their own channels for additional engagement. Above all, nano-influencers show how authenticity can help branded content resonate with followers and can provide a template for posts in the year ahead. They're essentially word-of-mouth marketing at scale. Similarly, influencers more broadly should stay true to the persona that drew their followers in the first place by only taking on partnerships that make sense.

Throughout 2019, brands should diversify their use of nanoinfluencers to reach a broader range of consumers with highly targeted content. Brands should also boost the impact of these partnerships by creating a shoppable Instagram specific to each influencer.

Leverage existing high-quality engagements to scale

Many brands and influencers have developed strong Instagram followings with compelling and immersive content. To convert these engagements into sales, brands should leverage the content generated by their Instagram community on channels other than Instagram (UGC). UGC can be gathered on Instagram in a variety of ways. Brands can encourage followers to tag photos featuring products with a specific mention or hashtag, encourage followers to upload images to a website, or host Instagram contests.

When UGC is gathered, brands can post it on their Instagram accounts to showcase loyal customers, create relatable connections with other followers, and promote specific products. They can also repurpose this content on other areas of their website, such as product display pages and emails, to bring the relatable nature of the content to their other marketing channels.

High-quality UGC can then be used in targeted Instagram ads that lead to built-in shopping experiences, which have been shown to double the likelihood of a sale.

Brands can also extend the impact of high-performing UGC by including it in Instagram Stories, on other social platforms, and on brand websites.

Focus on brand authenticity and real followers

Creating authentic engagement doesn't mean putting a cap on your account's size. Instead, it means better conveying what your brand stands for,  posts that have artistic value, using relevant hashtags and mentions, interacting with followers, and more. Nearly 64% of consumers say they seek out brands that share their values. That means that the majority of users are interested in learning more about a brand if a post resonates with them. They also become more likely to follow a brand's account and engage more consistently in the future, potentially leading to sales.

HYLETE, a community-backed performance apparel brand takes value-driven social media to the next level.

"You're not going to get someone to order that many times unless they feel connected to a brand.” - Jon Palmer, Lead Marketing Manager for HYLETE

Looking ahead, this can still be a year of growth for brands, but it will be growth fueled by meaningful interactions.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

More social insights and news from Emplifi

Emplifi Tool kit — Visual Storytelling

[Tool Kit] Visual storytelling on social media

Hero Image Why your brand needs social media monitoring Generate top image

Social media monitoring: Why your brand needs it

Why social media is the key to customer engagement

Why social media is the key to customer engagement

Emplifi - How travel brands can get ready for summer season

6 ways travel brand social teams can get ready for the summer season

Emplifi - Best Times to Post on Social Media

The best times to post on social media in 2024

Top image: 9 ways that sustainability can drive social media success on Earth Day

9 ways that sustainability can drive social media success on Earth Day

Emplifi Social Media Benchmarks 2024

The social media benchmarks to guide your 2024 strategy

Article: The social media marketer’s guide to video engagement strategy

The social media marketer’s guide to video engagement strategy

Top image: Personalized marketing guide

Personalized marketing on social media: The ultimate guide

Emplifi - Social Media Predictions for 2024

Emplifi’s 2024 Outlook: Social Shopping, Messaging Apps, Video Content, And More Will Become Integral To Brand Marketing Strategies

Emplifi - TrustRadius Best of 2023 Award

Emplifi Social Marketing Cloud Recognized by TrustRadius ‘Best Of’ Awards 2023

Hero: The top social media management platforms of 2024

The 13 best social media management tools in 2024

Emplifi: Top Social Media Conferences for Social Media Marketers To Attend

10 social media conferences you should attend in 2024

Top image: 4 best practices for brands to use AI in social media

4 best practices for brands to use AI in social media

Emplifi - How to use AI marketing tools to increase efficiency and boost results

How to use AI marketing tools to increase efficiency and boost results

Emplifi newsletter

Sign up for the latest insights and best practices to elevate your social marketing, commerce, and care.

Algunos de nuestros premios

MarTech Breakthrough Awards 2023 - Emplifi (Influencer Marketing Innovation Award)
Emplifi -  AI Breakthrough Awards 2023 - Best Text Generative AI Solution
CUSTOMER Contact Center Technology Award 2023
TrustRadius Top Rated 2024 Badge
G2 Badge: Leader Enterprise Spring 2024
Logo - G2: Highest User Adoption (Spring 2024)
Logo - G2: Easiest Admin Mid-Market (Spring 2024)
Logo - G2: Enterprise Leader EMEA (Spring 2024)
Award - G2: Users Love Us