There are many ways people define Instagram growth. By the number of followers, likes or comments and some even by their hashtag performance, estimated reach or engagement. Overall they are all insightful KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). I’m going to share with you today some tips and strategies on How to Grow Your Instagram.
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How to Grow on Instagram
First you need to know the algorithm and create a strategy. The easy way out if you don’t want to spend time learning everything is to hire a SMM (social media manager). You will just focus on taking photos and create quality content while your SMM does the rest. A SMM already knows the algorithm and will help you build and implement an Instagram growing strategy. It can be overwhelming to keep up with Instagram algorithm updates and change your growing strategy everytime that happens.
You can’t give 100% on every platform you own so it’s only natural to delegate tasks to others while you focus on your blog / Youtube channel. Otherwise you will be juggling several platforms without giving your best to any of them.
Soon I will start offering social media consultations for Instagram and Instagram management services so if you are interested follow me on Instagram. When the time comes I will make the announcement also on Instagram!
A few years back, posting photos with an amazing setup or a breathtakingly beautiful view was enough to get your audience sky high. Today it takes so much more than that and the photo represents only 30% of your Instagram growing strategy. The rest 70% is knowing and working the Instagram algorithm. Make sure you implement religiously the tips and strategies I’m sharing with you today and know it takes time for results to show up.
Results from an organic growth strategy are like a snowball rolling down the hill and getting bigger. At first the snowball is small but in time it grows bigger, faster and without so much effort like in the beginning. Trust it me it works, as I’ve been working this strategy for over 6 months and I got amazing results! In the past week I got 900 new followers!
Now let’s get started with the most important strategies that will help you grow your Instagram!
1.Post Quality Content
Many Instagrammers focus only on the quality of photos and believe a beautiful feed is all it takes. I must disagree and say the quality of your content is extremely important. We all heard the saying “a photo means a thousands words” but many times words are really necessary.
While a beautiful photo cathes your attention instantly, the quality of content in the caption will generate your a targeted audience. In order to maximize your Instagram strategy you must focus on delivering content that stands out! What does that even mean? Followers love easy to read, informative and on point captions. Tell them more about what they see in the photo and help them discover the details they’re missing out on.
Offer them relevant information, a sneak peek of your reviews and impressions so they will feel intrigued to read the rest on your blog or watch your Youtube video. When it comes to travel or food, I like to find info about the place the photo was taken or details about the dessert photo I’m drooling over. When it comes to fashion or jewellery tells us more about the pieces you are wearing or presenting in your photos as we may add them to our wish list for future purposes.
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2.Know and Work the Algorithm
Everytime Instagram algorithm changes you are required to change your strategy and implement new techniques if you want to keep growing. I’ve seen many accounts that weren’t able to grow after the last Instagram algorithm update. What was their mistake? Not learning about the new requirements and refusing to create and implement a new strategy.
As much as Instagram algorithm changes one universal rule to keep growing your account is to constantly do the math. I know math sound complicated and you may have dread it in school but I’ll make it simple for you.
This is how it looks and you must learn it by hearth if you can’t do the math!
- Good Hashtags + Engagement – Good content = Brand Damage
- Engagement + Good content – Good Hashtags = Slow Growth
- Good Hashtags + Good content – Engagement = No Growth
We are all aiming for the ideal scenario where Good Hashtags + Engagement + Good content = Fast & Quality Growth! Explaining everything in detail will take me several posts and many of you will probably be bored by the technical approach. This is when a SMM comes in handy and you’ll just go back to the fun part of Instagram without bothering with equations and algorithms. 🙂
For those who want to work the algorithm on their own here’s what you should know:
Good Hashtags: use relevant #hashtags based on a keyword search, match hashtags with likes and use a strategy
Good Content: must grab attention, add value, be authentic and audience targeted
Engagement: is represented by your followers, community, content creators from your niche
Instagram loves long captions and the algorithm will reward you with true, organic followers. Your main goal is to build an organic audience and this takes time and hard work. Only true followers who are interested in your content will appreciate the microblog posts and will LIKE, comment and share. This is one way to get Engagement!
The more informative your caption is the more value your Instagram page has. While you may be a talented photographer and make everyone jealous with your breathtakingly beautiful photos, you must add value to your posts by providing a quality description as well.
A microblog post means a longer caption, more information where you express your opinion and thoughts. Try to stay relevant within your content and not blab just so you can make your caption seem longer. This is a common mistake made by many who post totally irrelevant, boring or confusing captions.
Instagram appreciates Microblog Posts and statistics show they tend to get more engagement and attention because they are providing more value and more information. Followers will also be inclined to comment, like, save the post and even share it with their own audience.
Keep in mind that your content must add value, be authentic , grab attention and targeted towards your audience!
Using a good amount of relevant hashtags is a must, especially if you want to grow fast. Using the right hashtags within your niche has proven valuable for every Instagram growing strategy. How many hashtags are necessary and how do you choose the relevant ones?
The answer to the first question is simple! The maximum number of hashtags you should use in a post is 30. A good balance would be using between 11 and 30 hashtags while some social media experts recommend sticking to the max.
How do you choose the relevant hashtags? The answer is longer so you should take notes and start doing your homework ASAP. Picking relevant hashtags is very much connected to your number of followers. If you are a small 5k followers account a powerful hashtags ( #makeup has 287 Millions images) will be irrelevant for you. In order to grow you must select those hashtags that are not too popular, but also not too infrequent. It’s quite a challenge to balance this and doing a research to find the most relevant hashtags in your niche is a must.
TIP: I save my most relevant hashtags in a note on my phone so I can easily copy and paste them on every new image. Like this I’m saving time and make sure to add only 2-3 new hashtags depending on the particularity of the photo. I have saved different hashtags depending on what I’m going to post: makeup, skincare, blogging tips.
If you have over 50k or 100k followers you can easily compete on stronger hashtags and get your image popular. The universal goal is to get your images in the Top 9 for every hashtag in order to increase visibility. If there are too many images for that hashtag, it will be close to impossible to achieve this if you are small account. I managed to grew the engagement rate on many of my images by using the right hashtags and keeping in mind the number of followers I had at the time.
5. Post Daily
You need to be constant in posting on Instagram. If you don’t have time to do it everyday a good idea is to use a schedule planner. Take a few hours on a Friday and plan your content for the entire week. I use Tailwind for Pinterest to schedule content in advance but it also works for Instagram. The key is to be constant and ideally post 2-4 times a day if you can maintain the quality. Otherwise just post 1 time a day as you’ll do more damage to your account.
Is not good to leave gaps and take days off from Instagram but most important is not OK to fill your feed with low quality posts just for the sake of posting. In a future post I’ll address at least 10 mistakes Instagrammers make. I see many Instagram accounts who have only 4-5 quality content posts in a week although they post 5 times a day.
In my previous 10 Mistakes New Content Creators Make article, I talked about quality over quantity when it comes to blogging so the same applies to Instagram. If you are just posting irrelevant content you are going to have a low engagement which will affect your overall growth.
Instagram experts recommend that per 1-2 posts per day you should post 5-30 Instagram stories. That seems like a lot? Then how about 1 live video per day? Yes, I’m not joking! Make sure to start your live broadcast at the exact same time each day. Like this you can get more people to join in every day but make sure to check your analytics for the best time. It would be ideal if you can go live during the time frame where you have a high engagement.
Many neglect uploading videos on IGTV when they should take advantage of this feature. IGTV is basically Instagram’s answer to YouTube in that it’s designed for the mobile-optimized viewing of long-form videos. Any user can set up their own channel and share video content that’s up to an hour long.
If you already have a YouTube channel consider sharing a short preview of your videos on IGTV. I’m not saying you should do it for every video but try uploading content to IGTV. Soon everyone will be able to monetize IGTV videos just like YouTube videos. Now Instagram offered only a few influencers the possibility of testing the adds so I hope they will soon be available for everyone.
I don’t have a YouTube channel but I’m uploading on IGTV videos of my skincare routine, empties, unboxing, live swatches or anything relevant that I’m not showing on my blog. On my IGTV I like to create content that will complement my articles and reviews on the blog.
Keep in mind that a video must be at least 1 minute long and max 15 minutes when uploading from a mobile device. 60 minutes when uploading from the web.
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7. Stay Relevant
if you have a personal account and you are on Instagram just for fun, totally skip this part. Pay attention if your IG account is tied to a business, blog, website or YouTube etc. Keep your images and content relevant to your audience! Unless you want to change the niche completely or start adding another type of content on your main platform, I don’t see any reason why you would post irrelevant images on your grid.
If apart from posting makeup you’ll soon introduce skincare or perfume articles, it makes perfect sense to start training your audience by sharing a different type of content. Do it slowly and gradually. What I’m saying is unless you are about to open a coffee shop soon or switch to a travel niche, stop posting lattes and landscapes on your grid so often.
It’s OK to post some personal photos now and then but keep those for Instastories mostly. Create a Highlight section and add those photos there if you like but keep your grid neat and relevant.
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When new followers come to your page, they will browse your photos and may get mixed feelings if they see a mixture of makeup, food, fashion, gossip, accessories or pets. Your grid is your business card and it needs to be neat and show straightaway what type of content you are providing. Posting mixed images will bring you a mixed audience that won’t be relevant for your page. Your posts won’t be able to achieve a good engagement if today you are posting a new makeup collection and after you create a drama post or you share your breakfast with us. You will divide your audience and this is one mistake that leads to no-growth on Instagram or slow growth at best!
8. Instagram Bio
Your IG Bio is very important, especially before you reach 10k followers. You get to tell your story and inform your readers on why they should be following you, what’s your expertise and experience. In reality, it’s the first impression you’re giving off when someone comes across your page.
Make sure to fit the most important things about you or your business and keep it relevant because Instagram allows only a very small number of characters. Adding a LINK in BIO is very important and is your BFF until your get to 10k followers. Make sure to play this card right as it’s the only link your followers can click on. Add a new one everytime you post a review on the blog, a video on YouTube or you want to link to any relevant website.
Everytime you publish an image on the grid for which you’ll add a LINK in BIO make sure to mention that in you image caption!
9. Work the 10-5-1 Method
I’ve recently heard that 10-5-1 is an organic growth strategy but I was using it for months without knowing it has a name. I can say I personalized it to even 20-3-1 method. 🙂 How does it work?
Search for the top 10 profiles in your niche, follow them and activate notifications. I did it for at least 20 profiles and worked this method for a few months. As soon as they publish something, you have to make a meaningful comment with at least 5 lines. I know it may seem a lot but your comment needs to be real and relevant in order to work.
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10. Engage with your Followers!
Be active and engage with your followers by replying to their comments and DM. Now is not enough just to post content like it was a few years ago. You also need to engage with your followers, other content creators, those who support your and even brands. This is a great way to gain new followers but most importantly get targeted users that will engage with you back.
Make time everyday to engage with your audience, respond to their comments and DMs but also to communicate with other content creators from your niche. Make sure to like their images, videos, share their content and leave relevant comments. Followers are more likely to visit your page and interact if they see you are doing the same. Otherwise your page will be just one way communication where you are only sharing info but not getting back to your audience.
The more popular your account will become the harder will be to interact with everyone as risk spending the entire day on social media. If your account is still small you should be able to do it easily in less than 30 minutes per day. Use the time when you are riding the bus the buss or the tube and make it meaningful. I used that time not only to reply to comments but to edit photos or prepare posts. 🙂
11. Share Content from your Niche!
I saved the best of last! Although I realize some creators want to grow on their own, sharing, networking and partnering with other creators from your niche is an important part of Instagram growing strategy. Sharing content from your niche will bring you a higher engagement, increase visibility, help you network but also sends a powerful message to your followers.
Remember having between 5-30 Instagram stories for every 1-2 posts on the grid? Those instastories shouldn’t all be about you, otherwise your audience will get tired and even perceive you as being selfish. I’m sharing content from at least 7-8 different creators in a day to get a higher engagement on my posts.
Many creators will thank you, check your profile and even re-post your content which will bring you more visibility, engagement and followers. Keep doing this regularly and even popular accounts will notice you and start interacting, sometimes re-posting your content on their Instastories.
I often post relevant images from other creators on my niche directly on my grid. Why would you do that.. you may ask now? Do you want to hand over your followers on a silver plate to your competition? If you think this you have the wrong mentality and you may want to change it asap.
By sharing other people’s content on your stories and occasionally on your grid, keeps your account fresh, engagement rate goes up and your followers will appreciate your recommedations even more. In the beauty industry is hard to keep up with all the new launches, how about reviewing and swatching every single product. You can’t have them all!
Why not repost from a creator in your niche, her swatches or first impressions on a product you didn’t buy. This helps your audience, especially when you are sharing from other content creators who have a different skin color, skin tone, skin type or even makeup and color preferences. 🙂
Your followers won’t run to the other content creator and stop following you, on the contrary they will thank you for diversifying your content, providing more info and help them making a smart purchase. Isn’t the beauty community about helping eachother and sharing the love for our passion?
Everyone will benefit from this strategy, big or small accounts alike and create more visibility on their pages. After several conversations with some of my followers they opened up and told me they appreciate that I’m constantly sharing other accounts, regardless of their number of followers. Even though followers may not always tell you this, trust me they observe it and enjoy seeing something different on your page.
I started implementing this strategy after a few months from opening a new IG account. It was not easy in the beginning but after a while I started seeing results. Now after reaching 10k followers in less than a year this strategy paid off as I get a higher engagement on my posts with less effort.
There are many more tips and strategies that should be used in order to grow your Instagram account. I’ll keep a few aces up my sleeve for now but try to work on the ones I told you about today and write me back and tell me the great results you had! The most important advice that I can give you is to newtwork, share and engage with your followers as well as other Instagrammers.
Some photos used in this posts are from Unsplash