Organic Instagram growth is one of the most difficult challenges you may face when trying to promote your brand online. And while there are plenty of dubious ways to grow your following, those methods actually work against your engagement and may end up hurting your brand more than helping.
So what should you do? We recommend that you find Instagram influencers who align with your brand and have access to your target audience. But in order to better demonstrate how to cultivate organic Instagram growth, let’s look at an example of a brand that’s had success with this strategy.
Bloomscape was founded in 2018 by Justin Mast, who grew up surrounded by plants. The Detroit-based startup delivers plants directly from their greenhouses to your door, avoiding the trauma and sickness plants can suffer when shipped around between growers, sellers and buyers.
In 2020, despite a global pandemic, Bloomscape doubled its Instagram follower count. At the beginning of January, they had 65.3K followers. Now, they have 133K. Heepsy shows us that Bloomscape has enjoyed a steady climb in follower count. An absence of spikes and dips suggests this is organic Instagram growth.
We can also look at Heepsy’s audience authenticity metric to see if this growth looks organic. As their percentage of suspicious followers is relatively low, it doesn’t seem that the brand has purchased bot followers. This means real people are following Bloomscape’s account at a steady rate of growth.
There could be a variety of factors at play here. Plants are photogenic and make for highly visual, attractive Instagram content. Plant sales also rose during the pandemic, as people strove to improve their time stuck at home. But, Bloomscape also employed a clever strategy into their Instagram feed: the use of influencers to add value to a brand’s Instagram content.
Bloomscape’s approach to gaining organic Instagram growth
Bloomscape uses primarily nano and micro influencers to promote its products through a blended content strategy. Their influencers come from diverse categories, like food, fashion and home decor, and show how the brand’s plants can positively impact various aspects of our lives.
The influencer content published in collaboration with Bloomscape can be sorted into three broad categories:
- Product placement in unboxings, giveaways and reviews.
- Educational content like plant care guides or testimonials to the benefits of plants.
- DIY-styled posts (recipes, home decor tips, etc.) that show off Bloomscape’s house plants and Edible Garden collection.
The effect of influencer-created content
Nano and micro influencers have the highest engagement rates of all types of influencers. In short: their followers trust their content and care about what they have to say. So, when influencers mention Bloomscape and its products, the audience is more likely to trust in the brand.
This is made even more effective by the brand’s content strategy for its influencer collaborations. While some of us may enjoy spending hours on Instagram browsing pictures of pretty plants, aesthetics alone isn’t enough. You have to provide the audience with content of value, something that can extend beyond an Instagram feed.
It appears that Bloomscape started its real push with this style of influencer content in early 2020, which aligns with the bump in growth around March we can see in the Heepsy metric. This strategy also falls in line with the timing of the coronavirus pandemic, a time when followers were reevaluating their hobbies, interests and wellness.
Bloomscape struck at the right time with the right type of content, and this strategy didn’t only cultivate organic Instagram growth for Bloomscape. They also enjoyed increased sales this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and secured new funding to expand their business.
Bloomscape works with a wide variety of influencers from different categories, locations and walks of life. Here are a few examples of influencers who have collaborated with the startup.
Bloomscape’s strategy includes republishing influencer content to the brand’s account, or sometimes giving influencers takeover access to share their content directly with Bloomscape’s followers.
Plant care guidance from @larrydoom and @sorryihaveplantsthisweekend
Bloomscape uses the takeover idea to put influencers front and center about plant care. In the brand’s Instagram stories, plant influencers talk about watering, light, planters, and everything else you need to know about the care of your Bloomscape plants.
Recipes by @dudethatcookz and @thekitchenista
Louisiana-based Eric and Shanna Jones post comfort food and cocktail recipes for their foodie followers. They incorporated fresh rosemary from Bloomscape’s Edible Garden collection into a whiskey cocktail that’s perfect for an at-home drink. The post got 323 likes and 32 comments, giving it a 2.86% engagement rate.
And Angela Davis, better known on Instagram as @thekithchenista, also prepared recipes with Bloomscape’s Edible Garden line, showing how you can use herbs for your charcuterie board and main course . The Detroit cook garnered over 1K likes and a 0.8% engagement rate on this post.
Home decor tips from @bo_thebuilder and @rustandtrust
Daniel Trust (@rustandtrust) is an interior designer specializing in apartments. In addition to hosting a giveaway with Bloomscape, he posts interior design ideas using plants to bring life to space.
Next, Bozenka Shepherd (@bo_thebuilder) is a nano influencer artist and woodworker. She took over Bloomscape’s account for a room makeover. Bozenka’s sunroom got a facelift thanks to her woodworking skills and Bloomscape’s greenery.
Wellness advice from @abrooklynbabe and @alice_in_yogaland_
Denise is a wellness advocate and mommy influencer from Brooklyn, NY. This micro influencer partnered with Bloomscape to talk about the benefits that plants offer to children, like a connection to nature and a sense of responsibility.
And to celebrate Earth Day back in April, Bloomscape collaborated with yoga influencer Alice Lucas for a live breathing and meditation class. This wellness content aligns with one of Bloomscape’s key brand values: plants make life better.
Bloomscape did several things right to double their growth in 2020. They worked with nano and micro influencers, who offer high engagement. They worked with influencers from various categories to show how plants play a wider role in our lives. Finally, they provided content of value during a global pandemic, when many people turned to social media for ways to improve their life at home.