You’ve probably seen videos like this one, promising you 100,000 followers on Instagram with “one simple trick”. But, much like any get-rich-quick scheme, the people telling you this lie are always holding something back. In this particular case, the YouTuber had to admit in a follow-up video that his experiment was successful because of a quid-pro-quo with a huge account he already manages. So, to combat all the misinformation out there, here are 9 Instagram hacks to organically grow your following.
Study Your Audience
I’d like to start these 9 Instagram hacks with, possibly, the most exciting – Studying. Like any marketing tactic, you have to know all about the audience you want to reach. Sprout Social does a great deep-dive analysis on this topic, but it’s ultimately a very simple process. You need to research your audience as you would on any other site. Understand your target profiles, create ideal clients, and speak to those people.
Clean Your List
Your engagement rate is the most important metric to get you to the top of the search & explore page. Engagement rate is (number of likes + number of comments)/number of followers. So if you have a bunch of inactive users on your account, your engagement rate is destined to stay low. Use an app like Cleaner For Instagram to quickly get rid of accounts that aren’t friendly to the algorithm.
Don’t Buy Interest
It’s easy to buy followers or likes for your Instagram posts. But it’s never going to get you the results you want. If you’re buying likes, Instagram will very likely be able to identify it, and you could end up banned from the platform. If you’re buying followers, the same is true, but also consider this: We’ve already established that engagement rate is the most important metric on Instagram. So if you have a bunch of fake followers that aren’t liking or commenting on your posts, you’re actually just diluting your own ratios and pushing yourself further down the list – you’ll never be featured!
Plan Out Your Hashtags
Hashtags are the easiest way for people to find your posts. This is because they’re already looking for exactly what you’re offering. So you need 10-15 hashtags at the end of every post. But you shouldn’t just choose them at random. You need to plan it out. Hashtagify.me is a phenomenal (and free) tool just for this. You can see up to the minute information on who’s using what hashtags. So plan them first, and form your message around them.
Pay Attention To Analytics
If you’ve been reading my blog, you already know how much respect I hold for data. And you can use it here to great effect. If you want to be able to see if a certain piece or type of content is resonating with people most, or how many people have liked your page in the last 30 days, you use analytics. There are many ways to get this information. Instagram even provides its own Insights for business accounts. But my personal favorite platform is Hootsuite. You can see up to the minute stats on followers, engagement, and more.
Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are fast content that you have to be engaged to notice. Often the picture or video disappears in 24 hours, never to be seen again. Stories are a great use of your energy because they seem more genuine. The things you share on stories will always be a bit rougher around the edges than your main content. The benefit, however, is that this content will make you seem more human to your audience.
Engage With Similar Accounts
If you aren’t engaging with others in your space, you aren’t showing real interest in your ideas. The community will see that, and they’ll start to devalue your opinion. It sounds contradictory, but our world holds real connections as the pinnacle of digital interaction. And building that brand around your account will only serve to send more people your way. Find the big influencers in your space and comment on their pictures. Try to say something thought-provoking or engaging, and suddenly you’ll see more people visiting your site.
Stay Up On Trends
The internet moves fast. You have to be on top of new occurrences on a daily basis. Debate me if you want, but Reddit is the best place to stay on top of these trends. And the comment section is the best place to see what’s coming. Spend enough time there, and you’ll begin to see trends as they develop, and avoid getting involved after a joke is long dead.
Get Featured On Big Accounts
This is a more long term goal, but getting featured on big accounts can be a huge boon. They won’t ever do it for free, though. It’s often a “feature for feature” deal. You agree to feature their content on your account if they do the same for you. If you do this, don’t just choose any old account. Make sure it’s in line with your brand, and the kind of image you’re giving off.
If you use these 9 Instagram hacks, you’ll be well on your way to improving your stats. So, next step? Influencer ads.