We have been encouraged by the rise of Instagram as a communication tool and an increasingly sophisticated crop of “growth hacks” to boost both follower count and engagement. Instagram’s response, following its acquisition, to police black-hat and grey-hat on its platform has been equally encouraging.
Beyond the spectacular and abrupt departure of Instagress from the Instagram growth scene, the platform has been methodical in its approach to stemming losses to other platforms by removing “add me” links to Instagram profile pages.
What do the experts say?
With Instagram a part of the Facebook family, we know how territorial and hyper-competitive the social-media space can be. But heading into year’s end and with Social Media Week’s Chicago conference under one month away, we turned to the experts to reveal some of the best white-hat approaches remaining for Instagram Growth.
Nick Kinsports of the Notice Agency
“Start by upgrading your equipment. Amazon has some amazing packages with pro gear for under $500. Make the investment and watch followers roll in.”
Dan Salganik, co-founder at VisualFizz
“One of the best ways that I have seen Instagram accounts grow is through consistency, whether it’s nature, beauty, travel, or weird inventions. The goal is to stay consistent so that your audience can follow you through their interests or passions.”
Julia Weber of seoplus.ca
“Research your hashtags before posting and find ones that have been used around 100K-200K times. This is an indicator that the hashtag is active and you’re more likely to be seen for these ones than other hashtags that have been used millions of times and have constant uploads (and you’ll be lost in the clutter). This strategy will help more people find your posts and if the hashtag is relevant to your content than they are more likely to engage with your post.”
Diana Mitrea, New York-based personal trainer
“Tag large accounts that have a lot of followers to feature you. Being featured can lead to a big jump in followers, including anything from certain magazines to accounts that only repost photos or videos. I’m a fitness trainer so I always tag some of the “workout video” accounts that repost these types of things. I also tag Shape magazine or SELF magazine in hopes that they will feature me. Instagram seems to favor videos these days over pictures. So making sure that you have a mix of media is important. Posting just photos is not going to get you a lot.”
Meredith Butler, Instagram’s No Basis in Reality
“Engage with the people already following you. You can think of them as your biggest fans and greatest evangelists. If you’re regularly engaging with them, they’ll be more likely to share your account with friends, tag people in the comments of your posts, and boost your posts with their quick and consistent likes. That’s been my greatest growth hack with the new algorithm. If you have followers that are seeking out your account each day, the algorithm won’t matter because they’re doing a search for your name, not just waiting for it to land in their home feed.”
Anna McNaught, the founder of The Liked Photo
“Spend some time (or hire someone to do it for you) liking peoples’ photos. It’s especially beneficial to visit the pages of your competitor’s followers and like their first 3 images. This is a great way to engage with your audience and bring new followers to your page. Chances are if they like and follow your direct competition, they will enjoy what you are doing as well.”
Joel Padron, CEO of Surge Marketing
“Find other accounts similar to yours and reach out to them. By cross-promoting each other, you’ll both be able to quickly gain high-quality followers in your specific niche. It can be as simple as tagging each other in an Instagram story or caption of a post.”
Garland McAlexander, founder of SocialTools.io
“Look through your competitor’s post and create a list of users that engage. Next time you post, tag some of these users in the picture or comment section so they receive a notification about your content.”
Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com
“Be mindful of where you place hashtags. Rather than clutter a post caption with tons of hashtags, hide hashtags in a separate comment or use line breaks after your comment that look like this: […].”
Albert Renshaw, CEO Apps4Life
“Incentivize Instagram followings through mobile apps and games. While playing a game of ours you may be prompted to follow our Instagram for 100 coins. On our more popular games, we’ve seen some of our pages increase 50K+ followers in as little as one week.”
HelloNomad’s Chuck Melber
“Repost a screenshot of your IG profile page in stories shortly after you make a new post. In doing so doodle over the newest post and add text encouraging people to check out the profile. This seems to drive up engagement due to more people interacting with stories as of late.”
Talaya Waller, founder of Waller & Company
“Keep track of your content that is reposted by other pages (easy to find out if they retag you, but hard to discover if they don’t). This way you can engage with the users who like your content and hopefully attract them to your page.”
Jeremiah Boehner, director of sales at Adwizar.com
“Find an engaging piece of content post to your Facebook page and then boost it for $1 a day to large (10M-50M) audience in your target country. You can get engagements for $0.0001 which will improve the reach and engagement on your other content.”
Candice Galek, founder of Bikini Luxe
“If you’re an online retailer, focus on creating relatable lifestyle imagery as opposed to over the top glamorous shots. These come across as more realistic and attainable, thus making your customer feel comfortable with your brand.”
HelloFresh founder, Shara Seigel
“Sharing other Instagrammers’ content is a nice way to give back to the community. It will increase the shared account’s visibility, but also encourage people who want to be shared on your account to use your hashtag and tag your account. It’s a win-win because both parties gain visibility.”
Ryan Duranso, cofounder at Ivory Ella
“Leverage ‘Friendship’ giveaways that encourage the customer to ‘Tag 3 Friends’ and follow your brand in order to win. Create more opportunity by encouraging multiple entries. This will create a viral loop by which your product will be heavily promoted, your brand will gain followers, and you will spread brand awareness in general.”
Founder of The Growth People, Tom Osman
“Find 10-20 competitor accounts who have the following you want. Then use your favorite automation tool to engage with those people at scale. If your account is similar then there is a high chance of them engaging back. Make sure you are running a business profile so you can run retargeting ads to people who view your profile.”
“Find accounts in the same niche that you’re in and asks if they are interested in s4s, or in other words, shout-out for shout-out. By using the Instagram DM, Telegram or Kik apps, you can find many accounts in your specific niche. You can also make use of ‘powerlikes’ from much larger accounts, if you build a solid relationship with the account owners of these 1M+ pages. Or you can offer to promote them on another platform, by leveraging your following on other networks.”
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Source: Social Media Week