Not a day goes by where I don’t see at least a single post blabbing on about Instagram comment pods, “shadow banning” or stories of people miraculously growing their Instagram following overnight. Whilst getting new Instagram followers is harder in 2018 than it was back in, say, 2014, there are some simple things you can do to grow your Instagram following.
Back in the day (aka. 2016), we didn’t have to use any hacks or cheats or tips to grow an engaged Instagram audience. All we had to do was (1) consistently post good content and (2) engage with our target audience in a non-spammy way.
I can guarantee that if you’re ever subscribing to any influencer’s course on how they grew their Instagram following in 12 months, this will be what they tell you. Simply because it was a different game back then.
So, how can you get more Instagram followers in 2018?
Step 1: Stop making it more complicated than it needs to be.
Step 2: Do the following…
There are a ton of Facebook groups out there for just about every single niche imaginable. I should know; I’m only a member of around 150. Hi, I’m Steph and I’m a Facebook group addict.
Anyway, these groups are one of the quickest ways to grow your Instagram following. Many of them have specific days of the week where you can post your Instagram account, or share a post, or just promote any of your platforms in general. It’s simple – join a few Facebook groups where people in your target audience hang out. Set a reminder for when these weekly sharing posts go live, so you can be one of the first to share your Instagram account.
But, don’t leave it there. Check out the other accounts people are sharing. Follow the ones with good content, genuinely engage and be social with them, and chances are they’ll engage back.
Think of Instagram as a party. You wouldn’t go up to someone you’ve never met before and say “nice shoes” and then turn around and walk away. At least, I hope you wouldn’t do that…
This applies regardless of whether you’re trying to grow your Instagram following or not.
Blog posts are magic. Seriously. One of the start-ups I’ve worked with grew their website traffic from 0 to ~4k hits per week in under 2 months, simply by regularly posting good content and running strategic Facebook ads to it (with $0.01 cost per click, I might add). And they say content marketing is dead. Ha!
So, how does writing blog posts help with growing your Instagram following? You insert shameless plugs throughout your post. In a non-spammy way, obviously. Did you notice my little shameless plug earlier on in this post?
The other way to plug your Instagram throughout your post is by peppering your images throughout the post. A little something like this:
You’re probably bored to death hearing me say “marketing your business without a strategy is like going on a road trip without Google Maps” (I’ve only said it a few hundred times). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But, what does this mean when it comes to content? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Here’s one super practical tip for ya. It’s so practical, you can procrastinate all your other tasks today and do this instead: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Start by writing down your long term vision. I know it’s yucky and boring, but ya gotta do it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Then, go through every single piece of content your business has put out there and ask yourself how it brings you closer to your vision. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If it doesn’t, can it. Or re-jig it, or create new funnels. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Think of it as decluttering your content. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thanks @wordfetti for getting me thinking with your post yesterday about strategy 🤗 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Via @mija_mija
Not only does that make people interact with that particular post, it also makes them curious to check out the rest of your feed (assuming that the post you shared is not complete and utter horse poo).
Don’t have an active audience? Share your blog posts to relevant Facebook groups and check out this blog post for 7 ways to promote your content. My number one source of traffic to these blog posts is from Facebook groups. If you’re reading this, chances are you came from a Facebook group.
Don’t have a blog? Ouch. I’m not going to embarrass you in public, but you should really fix that. In the meantime, reach out to guest post on other people’s blogs and link to your Instagram in your by-line/bio.
Caveat: I don’t mean those spammy accounts with 100 million robot followers. I mean accounts like @darlingescapes that curate the best content in their niche.
(Warning: @darlingescapes may cause you to involuntarily pop over to Skyscanner and book a flight to somewhere your bank account doesn’t like).
The rules for getting featured varies from account to account. For most, all you have to do is tag them in your photo or use their brand-specific hashtag. It’s tough to get featured on some of these accounts as the bar is very high, but if you can then that opens up your account to SO many new potential followers.
Please know that you should NEVER pay to be featured on a curated content account. If someone ever offers you a feature in return for $X, run, Forrest, run! Almost all the accounts I’ve seen that are charging for features don’t have legit followers.
“Suggestions for you” is the little list of users that Instagram suggests for you when you follow a new account. Go do it now and see what it recommends. Follow a smaller account and it will recommend you follow your Facebook friends. But, if you go and follow a larger account it will give you recommendations that are similar to that account.
Instagram hasn’t spilled the beans on how you can get into this spot. But, I’ve been there and it’s freaking awesome. My story goes something like this…
On my personal Instagram account, I noticed my following was increasing by around 200 followers a day – even on days when I wasn’t posting anything. I got SUPER curious as to where all these followers were coming from, so I reached out and messaged a few of them to ask how they’d found me. Turns out that my account had made it to number one of “Suggestions for you” section of a rather large (300k+) account in my niche. Anyone who followed this account was shown my account as a recommendation, and they followed me straight away.
How did I get there? I still don’t 100% know, but my best guess is that we shared a lot of similar followers. I had been consistently engaging with people in this niche for around 1-2 hours a day for about 6 months. It was a long, hard slog. But, it paid off as most of our sales came from Instagram and I didn’t want to risk damaging the brand by using an automation tool.
Now, I’m not saying you should go out and engage with all your competitor’s followers in the hopes they follow you back and you get featured in the “suggestions” for their account. But, you should go and engage with a few of your competitor’s followers. When I say engage, I don’t mean “Nice pic” – I mean “That’s an awesome snap of your smashed avo – are you a homeowner?”. See the difference?
It was a total game changer when Instagram introduced location and hashtag Stories last year.
Hashtags have been a great way for strangers to discover your content for a while now, but it’s become a bit of a fight to get to the top of the most popular ones. Now, you can get featured in the Instagram Story for a certain hashtag simply by including that hashtag when you post the Story. Likewise for locations.
Give it a try – but make sure you’re posting content that makes people actually want to check out your feed.
If you’ve been following my blog posts, you’ll know we’ve had this conversation before.
At risk of sounding like a scratched CD; every man and his labradoodle has a beautifully curated feed these days. That’s not enough to make someone follow you! You need to stand out somehow. You can do that by niching down into a really super-specific topic, or you can do it visually by making your feed grid look so completely different to anything anyone has ever seen before, which is what I did with the Wildbloom feed You can see what I mean by visiting it here (see what I did there?).
My last blog post gives you step-by-step instructions on how you can create an “across-the-grid” Instagram collage (also known as a Puzzle Feed).
So there you have it. 6 ways to get more Instagram followers that don’t involve bots, comment pods or paying ninjas to sneak into Insta HQ and add a few zeroes to your account.
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