Instagram was one of the hottest social media platforms of 2016, and 2017 shows no signs of slowing in the Insta-Space. We are often asked how to get more followers on Instagram. Dispensing advice such as “engage with other Instagrammers” is common sense, and we are so over articles that give you theoretical but not actionable tips to make it happen.
Pick 4 and Shadow Them
Choose 4 Instagrammers with a reasonable amount of followers and shadow them, one Instagrammer per week. Are they someone in your niche or outside your niche? This is a question you should answer first, and then dive in. Watch for:
• What types of images they are creating: Lighting, indoor/outdoor, pets, people involved, quotes? Get to know the type of image.
• What text do they use to accompany their images? Is it long or short? Funny or serious? A combination of both? Pay attention to what they are saying in conjunction with the image.
• What hashtags are being used and where are they placed? I use my phone’s Notes feature to store hashtags for different platforms and then copy and paste them as needed.
• What are followers saying to the Instagrammer? Is there engagement and likes? You might want to follow some of your favorite Instagrammers followers, too.
Take notes as to what you are finding. You are likely to see patterns emerge, even if you chose four Instagrammers in four different niches.
At the end of four weeks, you’ve tailed four successful Instagram accounts and had a silent mentor of sorts in helping you to grow your Instagram account. You should not be a copycat to their account, but you can develop your own style and content strategy on Instagram by looking at what those you are admire are doing.
Engage with influencers who drive activity on relevant topics.
Check Out OPF
Other People’s Followers can be a treasure trove of new followers for you. Some people collect followers and boast about numbers. Numbers mean nothing if engagement on your posts is low. What good are 10,000 followers if 10 people show up to your posts? This is also a good time to decide why you are on Instagram. Is it really a network for you? Not all social media platforms are necessary; know why you want to be on Instagram.
Dive into the followers of other accounts. You can also dive into engagers of specific hashtags by searching on hashtags within Instagram. For example, search the #bloggers hashtag. Is there anyone there you want to know better? Follow them and start engaging in a natural, organic, non-pushy way.
Engage With Those Who Engage With You
One of the best tips we can impart is this one: If people like and follow you, then do the same back and at the very least, engage with their content. Look at one of your recent Instagram images or videos. Click on the LIKES. A screen will appear of LIKERS. It will also show you who you follow and do not follow.
Engage with their content. Follow some of these folks. Say something meaningful to them. In other words, engage with them as you want them to engage with you.
We said in the first paragraph that we would not tell you simply to engage, and we are steadfast in our promise. However, you must know HOW to engage. This is a big shortcoming in the social media space. A simple “cool” or “nice” is not engaging. It would behoove you to pick 100 Instagrammers who faithfully engage with you and with whom you plan to consistently engage. Grow your list from there.
Time management wise, most of us cannot afford to spend hours a day on one particular social media platform. This is where a virtual assistant can be of help. If you are unable to afford one, consider using time management blocks, as discussed in a previous blog post.
There is no shortcut to being engaged. You need to put your words on social media and be thoughtful in how and where you put them. Most folks will reciprocate.
Rotate that Bio URL and Shine a Spotlight On It
On Instagram, your bio is your calling card and Insta-billboard. The call to action should be clear, concise, and deliver on what it promises. I’ve been using a weekly call to action to my blog.
Short and sweet and a clear snapshot of who you are: That is what an Instagram bio is for, so use those characters wisely. Remember those four Instagrammers you shadowed earlier? Check their bios out. Use Emojis wisely, too.
Include your email if you are a business or a way to contact you in some form.
About that photo: Use a headshot, as a logo does not properly show the world who you are. This is a hotly contested topic, so use what works best for you. You have one chance to make a first impression.
Become an Instagram Business Account
Instagram Business Tools allows accounts to be verified as a business account for the first time, and this feature rolled out in 2016. Currently, a Business Profile on Instagram can only be connected to a single Facebook Page.
According to Facebook, “A Business Profile on Instagram will help your customers connect to your business When converting to a Business Profile, you’ll be able to include additional information about your business on your profile. For example, you’ll be able to add a phone number, an email address and your business’s physical address. Keep in mind that you must include at least 1 contact option.”
Should you do it? If you want to be seen as a business, you are a business, you want the contact button in your profile, and you want access to basic analytics, yes. If you ever want to switch back to a regular profile, you can do so in Account Settings.
Use Apps to Find Hashtags and Make Instagramming Easier
Build Instagram Into Your Social Media Calendar
Do you have a social media calendar? It’s a time saver to the max!
The folks at Tailwind designed a 2017 Instagram editorial calendar, so make use of their month-by-month hashtag and editorial themes. You can use these across social platforms, too.
They also have a free Pinterest calendar there, too!
Don’t Stop There
Go one step further and read these three blog posts dedicated specifically to having a social media plan and growing your Instagram account:
Why Bloggers Need a Social Media Plan
Get the scoop on Social Media Predictions for 2017.
What is your biggest Instagram obstacle and how can we help?
BONUS: Put your Instagram profile in the comments, follow @BlogPaws on Instagram and we will follow back.
Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own 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.®