*Updated: August 4, 2022
Brands are recognizing the power of Instagram. Facebook is fab, Twitter is all a-flutter, and video is the purported King (hello YouTube, what’s up Periscope and Meerkat). Instagram is where it’s at. There are good (and not so cool) ways to grow an Instagram account.
More and more brands are hopping on the Instagram bandwagon, but more and more brands are expecting to see results on Instagram if you engage with them.
Followers are fun but engagement is the new norm. If you have 5,000 followers, but when you post there is nary a cricket to be heard, the brand hears that loud and clear. Have you ever heard the quote, “the silence was deafening”? Apply that in this situation.
Avoid the silence, engage with your followers, and while you are at it, here are 11 ways to grow an Instagram account. (Note: Anyone can use these tips, but if you blog about pets in any way, shape, or form, pay close attention)
11. Get to Know #TongueOutTuesday and #Caturday
There are gobs and gobs of hashtags, which are the name of the game on Instagram. Some of them refer to various trends that people have started. While many trends will come and go, there are always those that stick around.
Every Tuesday, a “dogs with their tongues showing” phenomenon takes over Instagram. Search for the hashtag #TongueOutTuesday to see for yourself.
On Saturdays, the cats come to town with the hashtag #Caturday.
As someone in the pet industry, both of these hashtags can be used to help grow your Instagram account. To do this, post at least one image that day and tag it with the appropriate hashtag. You can also search the hashtags that day to find other accounts to engage and build relationships with.
I do not recommend jumping on the latest social media bandwagon for the sake of being involved. I use Instagram to connect with like-minded dog lovers, help to grow my blog’s traffic, and for fun. If you’re interested in learning how to grow an Instagram account effectively, it’s about connection. Be sure to follow people, engage with them, and reply to comments that you receive on your content.
10. Be Creative with Clear Photos
Be different, be original, and be real. Think of what photos you enjoy seeing. Start following some folks who have similar interests and take note of what you like about their images. Experiment with filters, quotes, text, or frames.
Mix your mediums and occasionally shoot a video, which is a feature included in Instagram. You can shoot up to 15-seconds of video, so it’s fun and easy to do. Try experimenting with filters and even quotes, text, and frames. DeluxeFX is a fun and functional app for frames and filters. Oooh and that made for good alliteration, too.
9. Use the Video Feature on Instagram
You’ve probably heard all the buzz recently about video on Instagram. Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri recently released a statement on the platform discussing the role of video in the future of Instagram. While photos aren’t going away, the importance of video and its role when working to grow an Instagram account is undeniable.
As the number of people watching video content continues to grow, brands are taking notice. Many brands now prefer to include videos as part of their collaborations with influencers. Often when I do a product review, I will shoot a 15-second video to tease it. Perhaps I am working with a brand on a paid campaign. You’d follow all the instructions in the campaign, and couple the video with the #sponsored hashtag, too.
8. Connect with People in Your Niche
Finding related hashtags takes some sleuthing but it is not impossible. I love the site, Iconosquare.com. You simply type in a keyword, for example, cats. The platform gives you a long list of related hashtags and their associated volume. Cool, right?
7. Like and Comment
Did you ever go to a party and not talk to many people? It’s okay, but you probably didn’t go home with a ton of connections. I am a bit of a chatty girl, and on Instagram, this is my best advice to you: be the chatty girl (or guy). LIKE and Comment naturally and in the flow of conversation with people with whom you want to connect.
For me, I want to find like-minded Cocker Spaniel lovers, so I search on Cocker-related hashtags like:
Then I can find folks who love Cockers and connect with them. This is time-consuming. The key here is to find users that fit your target demographic and actually engage with their posts, not spam them.
I actually have some fantastic friends who like commenting on my posts. See where this is headed?
6. Have a Strategy
If you’re here to learn how to grow your Instagram page, it starts with having the right mindset.
I am continually in disbelief at the number of folks who clearly do not have a social media strategy. This applies to Instagram but also to other platforms you want to grow. Why do you want to grow an Instagram account? You can’t make it happen without a plan to get there.
Be prepared to commit to a long-term strategy and not just fuzzy photos that clearly do not represent your brand and image well.
Plan in advance for important events and holidays. For example, you don’t want to wait to mention Christmas until the holiday season is upon us. Instead, use the build-up to help draw in new followers and direct them to your holiday content.
5. Emulate Without Copying
Visit the accounts of those you admire. Look up some of the larger pet accounts. Learn from them, pick up tips from them, and see what it is that causes them great engagement.
We all love great photos and videos, and if you are unable to take them, in all honestly, take a class. You can even shoot awesome content with a cell phone if you understand your camera’s settings.
Here’s a great example. Meet MJ the Beagle all the way from France and what is making his account soar!
4. Contest Time
Pair with other Instagrammers and host a photo contest solely based on Instagram. Use the reach and popularity of your Instagram account to host competitions and attract more followers. Prizes need to be something folks WANT to win, and the same rules, clarity, and details apply as would on any other social media platform.
I would not recommend hosting a contest on Instagram if you are pretty new to it. Build a following first. But, this is a great approach for those looking to grow an Instagram account that already has a medium or large following.
3. Get to Know Tools and Apps
I could not survive on Instagram without photo editing tools, some fun swag apps to make cute quote designs, and of course, video editing. People love pretty images, and people love clean images. Show them off and scrap the crummy ones.
There are also many features available within the app itself when it comes to creating and editing content, especially video content! This includes text, stickers, layout options, and special effects. Take some time to play around and create different videos to learn how to use each of these options. You don’t have to share all your videos, but the best way to learn is by being hands-on!
2. Stay Away From Buying Followers
These accounts are fake, they will end up being deleted when the powers that be of Instagram find them, and you’ll be out a few bucks or more. Plus, the brands look at engagement. 500 followers you’ve purchased mean nothing if they are mute. The goal is to build a community of engaged and connected followers, and there’s no shortcut to making that happen.
1. Ask for Engagement from Existing Followers
This technique is often forgotten or perhaps overlooked, but often used on Facebook. Don’t forget to include a call to action! Folks will say “like if you agree” or “tag your friends if this made you smile.” Ask your users in the Instagram description to engage with the image. Don’t be spammy nor use this as a frequent technique; mix it up and keep it fresh. Most of all, keep it real.
What are your tips and tricks to grow an Instagram account? We invite you to share your advice in the comments!
Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own dog blog, Fidose of Reality, and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®