Instagram, one of the largest platforms to build an audience on. Everyone wants to become “instafamous” and build a large following to generate income or spread their story and content to a broader audience. But not everyone wants to do the work. Some use methods that worked in the past but do not work with Instagrams 2018 algorithm. Some are stuck with a certain amount of followers, have people constantly unfollowing, or barely getting engagement and followers to see their posts. Let’s dive in and talk about ways to get you followers that stay.
Look at your page, look at the captions. Do you have a spammy mess of hashtags under your beautifully poetic written caption that took a while to come up with? Or do you use dots or hyphens to hide them? Because they still stick out like a sore thumb. The best way to hide hashtags is to copy and paste them in the comments section immediately after you post.
Are you guilty of coming up with random hashtags? Or do you get them from websites that give you the most “popular” hashtag for your niche? See, the limit is 30 tags on Instagram. Never use the most popular hashtags for all of them. They’re popular because other people are using them too. Which means once you post using them, your post is pushed down to the bottom of the tag in the first 20 seconds of posting. Then you have other people’s content who posted after you going immediately on top.
Unless your post trends on that tag and makes it to the “top” section, which can be challenging to pull off if there are 1 million posts on a particular tag. It’s fantastic when and if it happens which is why you need popular posts. However, to reiterate, not all popular. Unpopular posts should be most of your hashtag. At least if you post something, it’s given a chance to be seen by many people for much longer and has a much better chance of trending if your content is good since you’re not competing with 1 million other posts.
https://autogramtags.com is an excellent website for helping you create hashtags. Just type up to 10 tags that relate to what you’re posting. It will generate 30 hashtags all similar to that. You can mix it up with every post too, so if you post something that isn’t art, but about some exotic dinner you had at this 5-star restaurant you can get tags for it without having to overthink which ones to use.
There is no point having 1 million followers but only getting 500 likes and zero comments on your content. I have 20k followers, and there are times I post something great. But because I don’t engage enough with my followers, they don’t feel the need to like and comment. That’s perfectly normal, why should they? If you don’t text that girl or guy you like first, and occasionally start conversations with them, why should you expect them to be doing the same back?
A great strategy is one I learned from Gary Vee, the $1.80 strategy.
You choose 10 hashtags you generally use in your posts. Go to 1 of them. Go to the “top” section. Like and comment on 9 posts. Follow anyone you feel you genuinely like their stuff and want to see more of and reach out or DM them. Now I’m not talking about follow for follow or follow unfollow because that doesn’t work anymore. But following people you like without any expectations. Like Gary Vee would say, if you’re doing something like liking and commenting on other peoples stuff with some kind of expectation, you suck. It’s all about being kind and not expecting anything in return. It’s hard to be disappointed by people not following you or replying to your comments if you have zero expectations of them doing so.
But here’s the catch when I say comment. I mean a kind, meaningful comment — one that relates to the post or whatever caption the person typed. Something that would make anyone’s day, that you would like if someone said to you. Not “Hey I love your content, check out mine!” like REALLY?
Add a question at the end of the comment to make them engage back and reply in some way and not leave you with a heart. If they don’t reply, someone else will if it’s a broad enough question. Humans are curious creatures, along with that reply, they will also be curious and check you out. If your content is great, they’ll like your stuff and follow if they want to see more. The beautiful thing about this is if you’re commenting on a post that is trending and popular someone else might reply to the question and also check you out and then other people too, and it creates a ripple effect of checking out a particular comment by this person.
Traffic being generated to your page all from one nice comment you left. So that one comment could open up for a discussion that you started. So you do this for 9 different posts in that 1 tag. Basically, 9 comments 9 likes and an optional follow if you like the content. You do all this with 10 tags. So 90 likes and comments a day. It seems like a lot, but how bad do you want to improve your Instagram game? If you’re able to do it consistently every day, you’re guaranteed to get a lot of followers a day from that and loyal followers who care about your content. Not ones that feel obligated to follow back since you followed them and don’t care much about what you post.
Sometimes this works better in the “top” or trending section for some people; sometimes it works better for the “recent” section. Why? Well because in the recent section people don’t already have comments and likes. It’s all new posts, so here’s your chance to shine and say something kind and thoughtful that will make you stand out immediately after they post. And people in the recent don’t have thousands of millions of followers and aren’t repost/feature pages like most are in the “top” section. So you have a better chance of them checking you out.
Don’t Fall into This Trap
I used follow for follow back when it was trending, and it worked well back in the days. Now I regret it because I have a feed with posts I don’t care about. Recently I’ve been trying to clean up my following. Unfollowing people that I don’t connect with their content but followed out of guilt since they followed me. It resulted in losing followers and being stuck on a certain amount of follower count. But at least I know the ones who didn’t unfollow when I unfollowed them are the loyal ones who genuinely like my content and don’t care for that or take it personally.
You shouldn’t feel obligated to follow someone back after they follow you knowing you don’t connect with their content. If they like your stuff they’ll stick around. If they don’t, they won’t, and that’s fine. It’s better to have a small but loyal audience that is engaging than a large one of people who couldn’t care less about your art or funny videos.
If you’re an artist, influencer, business and you don’t have a business account get one! A business account opens you up to analytics on your content and insights on your audience. That way you know what works and what doesn’t. You also get information about your audience so you can figure out how to appeal more to them.
When to Post
Knowing what time to post to get the most out of your content is crucial. This website is magic and helps you do that, so I’m just going to leave that here.
While wanting to grow your followers is fine and dandy. Never forget about the people who are supporting and following you now. It’s so easy to get caught up on wanting to get more followers. You then end up finding ways to get the attention of people who don’t care about you or know you exist yet and forget about the ones who do. There is no excuse for spending so much time engaging with people who don’t follow you, that you neglect the ones who do. Now I’m not saying I’m 100% innocent and an angel at this but always reply to all comments and messages as much as you can. Building an audience starts with appreciating the people who appreciate you now and seeing them as a person, not a number.
Hope all this helped.
This was the basic yet crucial aspects of growing on Instagram that I recommend starting right now. There are other ways you can grow too! Like shoutouts, ads, competitions etc.. Let me know if you want a post about that.
DM me on Instagram @victorajayiart, let me know which tip you liked the most.