How I Grow My Instagram

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

How did you grow your Instagram? If you would have asked me this question three years ago, my answers would be different. Blogging and social media have become so much more competitive in the recent years that it takes a LOT to get a break in the industry. 

Instagram is one of the main platforms most of us (bloggers) use – while I try and focus more on my content and increasing traffic to my blog – Instagram is a necessary evil. On average, I get 5-10 inquiries a month from brands, scouts or marketing agents that found letters to LA LA land on the platform. Most importantly, it cost ZERO dollars to be on Instagram and start getting potential clients.

I went from just over 10,000 followers (3 years ago!) with piss poor engagement rate to about 27K where I am today – I broke 10K because I was in bunch of giveaways hosted on over 100 blogs amongst a group of bloggers all over the world but those followers nor stuck nor actually engaged. If you were to ask me now was it worth it? NO. In all honesty, yes, my following grew on Instagram but that didn’t actually help engagement which is what we are all after. Honest answer: all that that was required was dedication, time and WHOLE LOT OF IT.
Here is what I think made all the difference for me, and hopefully will for you too:

First impressions matter. Instagram profile.

Your Instagram profile is the first piece of real estate that a potential follower or collaborations see. A good name, a good bio and link to your blog/you tube/etc are essential. I think your caption needs to be captivating and telling everyone what you are all about.

Quality over quantity.
Its 21st century, there is no excuse to have bad quality photos, funny cropped images, things you can barely read, fuzzy memes or quotes - we all have iPhones (or phones) that have amazing capture capabilities, canva is cents on a dollar and there are ton of free editing apps.  I see people post all the time (3-5 times a gay) which is cool (and good for them), but please please take some time to find your voice, your theme and post according to that, don't post for hell of posting.

Most people will tell you to have a balance between space and color or to have the same color scheme - but that does not work for most people in my opinion. Unless you are gonna be a "pink" blogger and all you want to know for it, power to ya, I would spend more time creating a feeling or a theme.

Community and engagement.
You need a community. Finding your community is the hardest part - it takes ton of time, ton of understanding of your niche/brand and ton of hours of miming for people. A strong community of like minded people is where you will see the most impact. 

In a perfect world, you will want to spend 15-30 mutes in the morning and evening to authentically engage with your community - comment, like, respond, repeat. You can add follow to that list as well, risk with following new people every day is that most people tend to un-follow, so I take time to build a rapport by liking and commenting and go from there. Commenting for just hell of commenting wont get your the return on time you are putting in, quality genuine comments will get you higher conversion rate and actually grow your community. 

Plan, plan and post.
This might have been mentioned already but be prepared, don't post for hell of posting but if you are looking to grow you have to post consistently. There are ton of way to prepare your content and there are ton of apps that can help you. (making a mood board, posting calendar, using planoly etc)

Planning a post is one thing, planning a caption, selecting hashtags is a whole new thing. Using a hashtag that has million tags already wont get your noticed, something smaller will. Use geo-tagging because according to some stats I looked, Instagram posts that feature a location see a 30% higher engagement rate.

Set realistic expectations. 
Saying I want to be at 10K followers in 2 months when you have 1000 followers today is setting yourself up to fail. What I did back in 2017 I set up a goal was to grow 5% growth month over month. So in the first month my goal was to grow by 500 new flowers (with weekly check ins/broken per week) and next was 525 on so on as so forth. 

extra tips:
These are the little things that do help - post daily, using hashtags, geo tagging, tag brands, have a call to action, and respond to all comments in first 72 hours.

Recently I was told by someone who worked at Facebook that by not using all the feature of Instagram you were missing out on how visible you are according to the algorithm. SO if you don't use ID TV you are 1/3 less likely to be noticed.

Growing Instagram is a numbers and times game - so put time into it because you will get there. I don't think that Instagram is as much about how huge your following is , and that the focus is and will be trending toward engagement. If you can master these tips above, I think you will see results in both number of followers and your engagement.

I would love to hear what you think.

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