Growing your following on Instagram is not an easy task and has gotten more difficult over the last few years. That is why we created this list of tips to help grow your Instagram account. Before we get started, we would like to note that these tips do not guarantee success, but they are what we have implemented to grow to over 35,000 followers.
The most important tip for Instagram growth is to be consistent and be willing invest the time needed to grow. You might feel like not posting one day or you might be too busy, but remember that every day you are inactive on Instagram it will take a toll on your reach and engagement. There are several reasons for this:
- Instagram prioritizes more active accounts and shows these accounts first and more often.
- Your followers are expecting your content and will not engage if they “forgot” about you.
- You are losing potential followers on the discovery page, hashtags or location feature.
Now, with that said let’s get down to the tips that have helped us grow our Instagram account and our clients as well. We do not believe that these ideas should be held secret or sold. Everyone should have the opportunity to maximize their Instagram potential and we are here to build a community of knowledge.
TIP #1: Stay relevant and produce fresh content
Instagram stories are an integral part of growing your account. The more stories you post throughout the day the more fresh content you are offering to your audience. Remember that people are following your account because they like what you share and they love to see the behind the scenes. It is a good way to connect and get to know your audience and for them to fall in love with your product, service or self!
Instagram stories also gives you the opportunity to show up at the top of the news feed and the discover page. This feature reminds your followers you are there and it is new content they can consume! It is also a good opportunity to get discovered by future followers. It seems that in order to show up in the explorer/discover page you need post stories often and with the right tools.
What do I mean by using the right tools?
Well, it is simple. Use hashtags and tag your location in every single story! The location tag is available under the sticker button and it is a only way to show up in the discovery page story for that location. The same applies to getting featured under different hashtags.
My recommendation is to vary the hashtags used your stories for higher chance to get feature in different ones. We use the Aa (typing) option rather than the hashtag sticker option as we can paste in the hashtags. You can use up to 10 hashtags per story and there is no reason not to use them all. When you use hashtags, you are giving yourself the opportunity to show up on that specific hashtag story. The more you use the more chances you have to be featured. It is a great way to be in the face of future followers!
While posting stories, do not forget about its additional tools. Take advantage of stories highlight, story polls and even follow other hashtags yourself. If you use stories highlights you will get people interested in an specific topic to watch or rewatch your stories when they visit your profile. This also allows you to leave as many links as you want, with the swipe up feature.
Story polls are my favorite as it requires your audience to interact where you can get to know them a little better and get some feedback from them. I love using the stickers from Instagram stories, especially GIFs as they make your story more fun when you might not have much to say. Keep in mind that every time Instagram feels like you are a using the app the “right way” it will reward you by showing more your content to other people.
Quick tip within tip #1: How do I hide the hashtags?
Nobody wants their stories covered in hashtags. Well, once you have your 10 hashtags make the font super small by pinching your fingers over the text, making them as small as possible. Then choose someplace inconspicuous where you want to put the hashtags and try to match the font color with the background. This can be done by tapping on the text and then selecting the eye drop tool to choose the background color and this will change the color of the text.
How often should I post my stories?
It is good to be as active as possible without looking like spam. It is best if you post a few stories every couple of hours, but it is important to post along the way rather than later. When you add the location you are near, you have higher chance of getting featured than if you are across the state. Try different combinations until you see what works best for your niche.
It is also good to watch other people’s Instagram Stories. Using Instagram is not a one way street. This means not only do you share your content but you also consume other people’s content. This sort of usIt is also good way to gain followers as other people will see that you are active on their account and they might be interested in your content too.
TIP #2: Build a community, not a following
Instagram’s newest algorithm promotes active accounts on their platform. Make sure that when you post you engage and reply to comments within the first sixty minutes. This helps drive engagement and the chance for your image to be featured.
This is a good tactic to boost your post to more of your followers and at the same time it will grow your audience into an active community. Sometimes we have full conversations in the comments under our photos, leaving a lasting impression on those followers.
TIP #3: What is done is done, be cautious before posting
It seems like Instagram penalizes you when you edit your caption or location within the first 24 hours after posting. It sounds crazy but it might be true, so do not risk it and make sure you have everything correct before posting!
Do not think about deleting the photo and posting it again, as somehow it has the same effect as if you were editing the caption or location.
At the same time as, your audience will start to see the post immediately and you do not want any potentially damaging errors in your post. Once something is on the internet it is there forever.
TIP #4: Use hashtags, but not all at once
This is a really odd tip, as I am not sure what is true or not. Some people post their hashtags in their photos, others post them in their comments and we do a combination of both.
The reason we do this is that when you post your photo with all 30 hashtags in the caption it looks spammy and it can be picked up by the algorithm as one. At the same time if you add the hashtags in the comments, we found these hashtags do not count as much.
So, we decided to be safe and do both ways. We post the hashtags that are relevant to the photo on the caption and the other ones in the comments. We have seen that with either method the engagement rate varies, so try and see what works best for your account!
TIP #5: Find the right hashtags
Do not use all the same hashtags over and over again. Not only will Instagram confuse you with a bot and decrease your exposure, you are limiting the opportunities to be discovered by different people. The more variety of hashtags you have, the higher chance you have to show up to different people.
I recommend for you to have a list of maybe 10 to 15 lists of 20 different general hashtags or a combination of shorter lists. Make sure to leave enough room for hashtags of the location or directly relevant to the photo.
TIP #6: Post regularly
This tip goes hand by hand with tip number one. The more you post, the more active you are on the platform, the more Instagram wants to show your content to your audience. By being active I mean posting either one or more times a DAY on your feed. It might be a lot of work but it will pay off! Instagram might be showing your content to only 10% of your audience, but when you post more you will reach to more people.
It is important to plan ahead to ensure you have enough high quality images to share, no matter your niche. There are times when we are sitting at home for a week catching up with work, but still regularly posting our adventures from previous trips.
Please let us know in the comments below what tactics and best practices you use on building your own Instagram account. Instagram is always updating and evolving how they function, so we would like your help to keep the community in the know.