My tricks to growing on Instagram

A question I get asked quite frequently is: “how did you grow on Instagram?” and “how did you gain your following?

First off, let me give you my disclaimer: I am no expert! I’ve been finding it is way harder to grow organically on instagram these days than it was a couple years ago. Instagram has really cracked down and implemented a strict algorithm.

That being said, there are still ways to grow. Let me share with you some tips that have worked for me:


Consistency:

I try to post a photo every week day if possible. So Monday-Friday which equals five times a week. Once in a blue moon I’ll post on the weekends but not likely. Weekends I like to give myself a break.

Why is consistency so important? Think of any business. For example, restaurants. You can go to any Cactus Club restaurant. Whether it’s Kelowna, Vancouver, Calgary, the food and the service is the exact same. You are guaranteed to get the same tofu bowl in Vancouver that you would here in Kelowna. Why? Because they are consistent and that is why they are so successful because their food is always the same and people know that and like that.

Same with instagram. My followers can expect from me to post every day Monday-Friday. If I go four days without posting and then post three times in one day, and then not again for a week, it’s just going to confuse my followers. Whether it’s a food pic, a video, or a fashion pic, there is a post every day.

Hash tagging:

The strategy of hash tagging is constantly changing. Currently, I post 20-30 hash tags in my comment section when I post a photo on instagram. Sometimes i’ll post 1-3 in the actual caption if it’s required for a partner that I’m working with, but other than that, I’ll just post the hash tags in my comments. I also will use hash tags in my instagram stories. This pulls in more viewers to my stories.

What kind of hash tags do I use? Here are my rules. I need to incorporate hash tags that are local to me. So i’ll type in #kelowna or #explorekelowna. If you’re from New York, this won’t make sense obviously but you can try something local to you such as, #newyork. Point is, use a hash tag that is specific to your geographical area.

Next, I’ll use some generic popular used hash tags that are specific to my niche such as #foodie or #fashion sine I post a lot about food and clothes I am wearing. I also know these are hash tags that a lot of people look at it, so I make sure to plug them in.

Thirdly, I’ll use hash tags that are very specific to what I’m posting about. The other day I posted about my eggs benny blog post so I added #eggsbenny as it was very specific to what I was talking about.

Whatever hash tags you decide to use, make sure they make sense and are not random. Random or “desperate” hash tags as I call them make your account look spammy. For example, the hash tag #likeforlike. That will get you no where and instagram will see it as a red flag and show your post to less people.

Commenting/Engaging:

This one is huge. We’re here obviously because we want to grown on instagram. Instagram involves people commenting and liking your photos which hopefully, turn into a follow.

But…

You can’t just wait for people to come to you. A big part of growing is supporting others that are trying to grow as well. Yes, I know there is that follow/unfollow rule, and it might work temporarily, but not in the long run. You need to actually engage. I can think of at least 15 different accounts in my head that I am constantly engaging with on a daily basis. I engage by liking and commenting THOUGHTFUL words on their photos.

Typing “cool pic” doesn’t count. Actually giving a thoughtful response, maybe asking a question about the product they’re describing or telling them how much you love the hat they’re wearing. It’s totally dependant on what they’re talking about, but use your discretion. When you comment, they will most likely comment back and boom – you’ve created a conversation. That is the goal. You want to spark conversation with someone because the more conversation there is, the more the instagram algorithm will favor the account. Then when that person sees that you genuinely care about their content, they’ll take a second to look at yours.

So ask yourself:

How often do you like and comment on others posts? Do you go back and respond to comments people leave on your posts? Are you responding to your DM’s? Are you responding and engaging on other people’s stories?

Niche:

This has always been a struggle for me but is so important. You need to have a NICHE. And a specific one at that.

What does that mean? You need to speak to one individual or one specific audience.

There are so many make-up artists, bloggers, models, personal trainers etc out there. And a lot of good ones. But how can you stand out and have people want to support YOU?

You have to offer something specific. And once you figure out what that is, stick with that niche.

Let me show you the difference.

For example, a great idea would be a mom blogger that gives advice for finding cute affordable clothes for babies 6 months and younger. RANDOM right? lol. But you get the point. Something super specific that applies to a specific audience.

What I’m not saying, is to have your account listed as “blogger”. Okay cool you blog but for what. There are a billion out there as instagram is so saturated in this day and age. What does being a blogger entail? You need to offer something specific. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin talking about a bunch of things. Find your specific niche and keep it at that!

Ask yourself: What am I good at? What can I offer to people?

If it’s a mommy blogger that pumps out information about cute affordable clothes for babies 6 months and under – stick with that.

Pay to play:

Paid methods are one of the fastest ways to grow. Again, this is something I only recently started doing because instagram has changed its rules. But once in a while, I boost one of my posts so that it’ll be exposed to a new audience. This really helps if you want to target a specific audience. For example, if you’re wanting to target 15-25 year old females who love shopping, you can. Instagram allows you to do that.


And there we have it! However, a new algorithm can be implemented tomorrow. And maybe some of these tips won’t work anymore. Maybe a new app will come out and less people will be on instagram. Who knows! We can’t predict what will happen. So we need to tweak and make adjustments. Maybe your audience has changed. Maybe a certain hash tag has stopped working. Whatever it is, recognize it and make the adjustment. An account that is consistently growing is an account that keeps up with instagram’s rules.

Happy Instagramming!

-Jenna xoxo

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