You can have an Instagram account for many reasons. Maybe you’re only looking through the images of people you follow or you are also posting your own. People posting images mostly have one goal: Gaining followers to drive traffic or build brand awareness. This is possible, but not by just posting images without a plan: You need an Instagram growth strategy.
Did you know that 48.8% of brands are on Instagram. By 2017, this is predicted to rise to 70.7%. It probably has to work if it’s so widely used in marketing. And it does: A study showed that engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.
This is HUGE!
Focus on using Instagram for business NOW.
Driving traffic from Instagram works, if you have the right strategy. Follow along with me, as I show you the 5 Parts of an awesome Instagram Growth Strategy that helped me grow to almost 10.000 followers in the last 3 Months. Learn to build your following to constantly drive targeted traffic to your website!
The Elements of my Instagram Growth Strategy
Building a rather big Instagram following is actually really easy. If you stick to the following, 5 simple to implement elements of my strategy I can guarantee, that you will grow consistently.
The 5 things keys are:
- Regular posting – Form the habit
- Consistency and uniqueness of design & message
- Interacting with users from your target audience
- Using the right hashtags
- Collaborating with other users
If compiled the most essential elements of this strategy in a free pdf for you to download and print out. You can get it right here.
So, let’s get right into it!
1. Regular Posting – Form the habit
Honestly, this is pretty obvious, isn’t it? Instagram users follow others because they want to see the images and videos they post in their feed. If you post irregularly or not at all, nobody will follow you. If you stop posting for a time people will unfollow you.
ALWAYS stay on your posting schedule.
Next, you need to think about how often to post and at what times during the day.
How often should you post
I had great results by posting four times a day while some people even post seven times, leading to a huge follower growth. For the beginning you could start with four. You gain your first Instagram users very, very slowly, just as it is with every social network your growth will be rather exponential than linear. Nevertheless, four images a day is still a lot. I posted four images for a long time although I now reduced it to only two because of these reasons:
- If you post less, your images can have a higher engagement rate leading to bigger or the same growth rate.
- Four images a day is a lot of work. I do not have that much time and reduced the workload by a half without losing growth.
You need to experiment with this as this is pretty unique to every account and audience.
To monitor your growth during the experiments you can use a free tool called Socialblade. Just add your account name and from that day on you will see the stats.
If you are serious with growing your Instagram and want to pay for a tool, I recommend Iconosquare. It gives you a lot more information and really detailed analytics to supercharge your Instagram marketing.
Aim to post at certain times spread across the day. You do not need to post at exactly the same time, just use it as an orientation. I did not find an advantage for some posting times over others as I have followers from the US to India (Not surprising if you think about the fact that 75% of Instagram users are outside the US).
Rather post less images while posting consistently. Do not start by posting 10 times a day at the beginning, losing motivation and stop posting at all. This already leads to the next part of my Instagram growth strategy you need to focus on: Consistency.
2. Consistency and uniqueness of design and message
Consistency is almost as important as posting images on Instagram. You want people liking and commenting your photos. You want an audience that is always looking forward to your new posts and that like and comment on them as you post them. This sends positive signals to the Instagrams algorithms so that your posts will be shown in the Image recommendations and you will gain more followers.
How do you turn normal followers into raving fans?
Keep your content consistent.
What I mean by that is to always keep the following elements consistent in your images:
- Use the same font type and don’t vary too much on font size
- Use a similar color correction when creating the images
- Your Images should all have a rather similar look & feel. Always convey the same messages and feelings
- If you use a logo, use it on every picture
It’s also important to keep your images unique. Try not to post images like everyone else in your niche. If you post images with text, use a font that nobody uses. Post images out of unique perspectives or of unique motives, just be different.
If you follow these advices your followers will, after some time, be able to instantly recognise your images. They memorised the first elements of your brands. Just keep posting and they will become big fans.
When always posting images with a rather similar look & feel you create a great first impression for people visiting your profile because everything fits together. They will be more likely to follow you.
Remember: Instagram is a visual platform. So give your followers impressive and consistent visual content.
Next, we will use the social component of Instagram and get people to hear about your account.
3. Interacting with users of your target audience
Social networks are meant for, well, social networking. Thus, building connections between real people is what this social network called Instagram is actually about.
First of all, as I already said, you want your fans to support you, and send positive signals to the algorithm that helps new people discover you. One more thing you can do to build fans is to answer their comments and direct messages. Start real communications with them. Look after honest comments that are not generated by some kind of bots so that you can like and respond to them. Your followers feel great if you interact with them, they will become your fans.
It’s always difficult to organically reach new people on Instagram and social networks in general, especially at the beginning. If you get new people to see your profile and a certain percentage of them will follow you. Now, you can get all these new eyeballs on your content by following people in your target audience. There’s a 3-Step process that I use daily:
- In the morning I follow around 300 accounts of my target audience. You should consider Instagram’s rules for following and unfollowing when determining the amount of accounts you follow each day. To find your target audience, just find posts from big players in your niche, take a look at the people that like their photos and follow them.
- They will now become notified that you followed them. Many little accounts will be very happy about this and also check out your account. If they like the content or just want to thank you for following, they will follow you back.
- At the end of the day I unfollow users that do not follow me back.
The biggest part of my Instagram follower growth comes from following these people in my niche. I highly recommend doing this.
One more thing to do is to like and comment images of your target audience. You will also get their eyeballs on your content on this way although it’s a lot of work and the return is not as big as with following people, but if you have the time, give it a shot.
There are ways to automate this with apps like Instagress. I don’t recommend automating comments because this can cause awkward situations. It’s your own decision if you want to automate likes on other user’s images.
4. Using the right hashtags
Another way to rapidly grow organically is using hashtags, this needs to be part of your Instagram growth strategy. I will show you how to use the right hashtags to get the most out of the maximum of 30 hashtags per post.
First of all, how do you add your hashtags to your posts? That’s easy. After posting an image, just leave a comment containing all the hashtags you want to include for that post. This has the advantage that, once you get a couple of comments your hashtags will disappear. If you add them to your post description they will always be visible.
Secondly, you need to do a little research and some experiments on hashtags for your posts. All the tags you add to a post should fulfil two conditions:
- They should fit your niche. Choose keywords that your target audience regularly checks.
- They shouldn’t be too big and not too small. You can see the popularity of a hashtag by the number of posts that used it. This is the tricky part that requires some testing and research: You need to find tags for which your images can rank in the “popular posts” area, nevertheless you need to have hashtags of reasonable size so that people organically encounter your posts by browsing the hashtags.
You need to test different tags in order to find your optimal set of 30 hashtags to add to every post.
Find hashtag inspirations on this page if you want to use this awesome Instagram growth hack.
5. Collaborating with other users
This is so important, you should always be aware of this. I’m founded my first company with a partner I really greatly cooperate with. It’s so much more fun, and you’re just more productive. ✔ You always have to think win win. Just think of share for share, guest blogging and things like this. Like if you’re thinking win win! 🙏
This is the key to extraordinary growth that I should be using way more than I actually do. Collaborating with other users. Use their audience to extend your own by the shoutout for shoutout (S4S) technique. This means that you post one of the images of the person you’re collaborating with and recommends your audience to follow them while In return they will do the same. Now that’s free follower growth!
Sure, you need to make sure to partner up with the right accounts first. Try to look out for accounts in your niche that have roughly the same amount of followers as you, and contact them via Instagram DM or Kik. Just ask them for a shoutout, most users will be happy to do it, even on a regular basis. If you have a hard time finding accounts of similar size you can also offer other users a 2,3 or even 4 for 1 posts ratio (Meaning, you post 4 of their images and they post one because they have a lot more followers.)
The accounts you are looking for should…
- … have the same or a similar optical theme for their images.
- … convey the same or a similar message to their followers.
- … have real followers and engagements. Don’t go for S4S’s with accounts that only have fake followers and receive an average of 10 likes on their images
If you try to do S4S’s with other users on a regular basis you can be sure to grow your following a lot on this way. So never neglect the power of collaborating and make this a definite part of your growth strategy for Instagram.
So, what now?
Implement this Instagram growth strategy right now. Start creating your first images and get posting. Without posting you will not get any followers, I hope you know that 😉
Do you have any questions about my strategy? What else do you do to grow your following that I did not write about? What do you want to read next? Just leave a comment now and tell me about it! I would be happy to get in touch with you.
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