Instagram, like all social media networks, has it’s own algorithm for connecting people and brands. While some people will try to “beat the algorithm” or make it work for them, there are ways to build an Instagram following without spending or trying to figure out the algorithm behind posts.
Gain Instagram followers by:
Create content worth engaging and following
Establish your brand’s voice and identity through your posts on Instagram. It should be clear what you stand for and what people can expect from you. You can even summarize what they can expect from your account in your bio, like “Daily travel photos” or “Women’s beach clothing.”
Once people understand what your account offers, they will be more likely to follow you. Having engaging content and captions, and consistently delivering on your promise, will keep people coming back to your account.
Hashtag it up.
Hashtags are how people will find your account. So, if you are an online retailer for women’s beach clothing, be sure to include relevant hashtags to:
- Type of account (i.e. shop, women’s clothing, beach)
- Category of interest (i.e. travel, beach days, style)
- Individual post (i.e. dress, bag)
Apps like Tagomatic can help you find the hashtags that work best for your account. You can include up to 30 tags per post.
Engage, engage, engage.
Engage your followers
Once you have people following you, don’t forget to engage them! The whole point of social media to create a community. Without engaging your followers back, you’ve turned your Instagram into an advertisement rather than a forum.
It doesn’t take much: go through your account once a day or once a week and engage with your following in your feed. Especially for followers that take time to comment on your posts consistently, return the favor to keep your audience happy. Also, respond to the comments people leave. People will be excited you responded and it doesn’t take long to make them feel appreciated.
Engage your ideal audience
By interacting with potential customers or your ideal followers on Instagram, you can build brand awareness for your offering while building a relationship. Interacting with them will give them a positive touch point with the company and can help you get a feel for who your ideal audience member is. Looking at a multitude of followers, both potential and current, will also give you a good feel for their demographics, time of life, psychographics, and things they enjoy.
If you are going to offer daily content, make sure to post daily. Followers and social media want consistency: you are interacting, posting, and creating value within the social media channel. You can change what times you post at based on your statistics and engagement levels, but stay true to your brand and its identity by being consistent with your voice and types of posts.
Especially if your account is being managed by multiple people, maybe designate one writer for consistent voice or an editor to help drive more consistency of voice.
Know your stats
Know who is interacting with your account and for what content. For example, if people really respond to beach imagery, but not sea turtles, then maybe focus more about the beach and less of the ocean.
This can be a great way to identify what type of content you should post more of: either live stories, boomerangs, videos, or types of image content. Using statistics to identify what posts are doing well can guide your content strategy and increase your followers’ involvement in your content.
It can also let you know who your audience is. You may have pictured a young, millennial cohort primarily in the south, and are surprised to find that most of your followers are in the 45-55 age range in northern states. Knowing who is engaging you and on what platform can inform your captions and how you tailor future content.
- Followers – The app will let you see who is following yo back, who has unfollowed you, and who is following you that you are not following back.
- Tagomatic – Allows you to find and save hashtags for the account you are working on. It also recommends additional hashtags to use based on your search.
- Motion Stills – Great app for creating boomerangs from Apple Live photos.
- Video crop – Let’s you crop videos to fit in the Instagram frame.
- Instagrids – If you are trying to create a grid out of one photo, this app will automatically divide the photo into the sizes you need.
- Re-post – Allows you to re-post content from other people’s pages. Make sure you get their permission before re-posting any of their content!
- Later – App and site to schedule Instagram posts. If you are pressed for time, this will prompt you when to post and let you see what your grid will look like if you post in a any given order.
Don’t use robots to do your engagement for you.
These tools come off as fake, not genuine, and leave comments that don’t make sense. While the comments can be vague, when they don’t make sense it can be a red flag for followers.
Don’t buy followers.
Don’t buy someone else’s account or following.
By doing this you may be growing your numbers, but you are lowering the impact that posts have since the majority of the people following you will be fake or not interested in your content. And if your post is not performing well, social media channels may decide it’s not that great of a piece of content and lower it in people’s feed. Especially since a channel’s goal is to match posts with level of interest from consumers, having poorly performing posts or people who are not interested in what you have to say will not benefit your account.
It’s about quality over quantity.
A highly engaged 1000 followers over a not engaged 20000 followers is where you want to be. Find the people who enjoy, share, and identify with your message to leverage growth for your account.
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