In this article we will look at growing your instagram channel and audience.
You’ll begin with your very first post, and from there the most important thing is consistency. If you go two weeks without posting a single thing to your Instagram, then any momentum you build up will get lost. You’ll find that your posts don’t show so highly, and that you lose the subscribers you had previously gained.
How often you post is going to depend on your goals, the nature of your content, and more. But the basic rule for this is to post pretty frequently. The ideal is one to three times daily, and the average for most businesses comes in at 1.5 times daily. You should consider the absolute minimum to be twice weekly, but you should definitely aim to go higher.
In short, posting more frequently means creating more opportunities for new followers to discover your page. Not only that, but it means that your existing followers will feel more engaged with your brand as they keep seeing it come up and keep getting reminded that you exist.
Engagement is absolutely critical to success when it comes to internet marketing. Something else to consider here, is that in one recent survey, it was found that the average user misses 70% of all posts uploaded. That means that if you post an image, then only a subset of your viewers will see it.
Therefore, you’ll need to post twice a day for the majority of your visitors to see at least one post. Going much higher than three times daily though can start to negatively impact on your growth. That’s because some of your images will inevitably be less successful and some of your visitors can end up feeling too bombarded by content.
Choosing What You Want to Be
That is not all we mean by consistency though. Just as important is being consistent in what you upload. What kinds of videos and images? What is the theme? How will you make them look? Aim to have a consistent look AND a consistent tone.
One piece of advice that is shared fairly often, is to try and make your images look as consistent as possible on your page. That means that you should have a particular style that you stick with, and you should aim not to vary too greatly from that. Take a look at the feed of a particular photographer that you like, or a fitness brand.
What you’ll notice is that all their pictures use a similar filter, that they are composed in a similar manner, and that they’re on the same topic. Sticking to just one topic is absolutely essential.
This is why it’s so important to have a business account that is separate from your personal account. If you don’t, then people who follow you for your fitness pictures/motivational quotes/business advice, will quickly get fed up of seeing photos of you in the pub or photos of your dog. That will lead to people unsubscribing. This is somewhat acceptable for a personal brand.
If you have a very successful blog or YouTube channel and people are interested in you personally, then occasionally showing a little bit of your lifestyle and personality won’t hurt. On the whole though, you should absolutely aim to post predominantly on the precise topic you have chosen.
Think about your target audience – the demographic you will ultimately be selling to. What are they interested in and what will they respond well to? And think about what you are passionate about. There are lots of angles you can choose for most niches, so pick the one that speaks to you AND your audience. Then stick with it.
Growing Your Audience – Best Practices, Tips, and Tricks
At this point, you should now have a business account that you are posting high quality pictures to on a consistent basis. Simply doing this will not guarantee success however, as at this point we still aren’t really providing an audience with any way to find our page! There are a few different tricks then that can help you to ensure that your Instagram account isn’t just a great one, but one that grows organically.
We’ll talk more about promotions shortly, but for now these are some easy things that you can do regularly to ensure you see consistent growth.
Instagram marketing is a form of content marketing. For those not in the know, that means that it’s all about bringing more people to your page by providing them with value. Typically, we think of content marketing in relation to posting to a blog, but in fact it simply means providing some kind of value via content in order to encourage people to listen to you and to keep coming back.
Usually, that content is going to be advice, entertainment, news etc. In the case of Instagram marketing, things get a little different. That’s because the main value you provide is particularly abstract: it’s ‘inspiration’.
How can you quantify inspiration? Keep in mind though, that this isn’t the only form of value you can provide through Instagram. Just as important, is how you provide entertainment and information – which you will do via the description. The word limit for Instagram is huge: up to 2,200 characters! That means you can get away with writing a short essay or story.
The image in this case is the hook, and the text then provides information and entertainment, along with context for the image that provides even more value. A great example of an account that does this is @LondonHistorian. As the name suggests, this is a British account that posts historical content about London.
A follower or user might see a picture of London that catches their eye because they like history, architecture, England, London etc. But they will then learn something by reading the description, which will make them feel as though they got something from the interaction. Keep in mind too, that a lot of growth on Instagram is the result of word of mouth. So provide tips, information, stories, and more and you will offer more value from your posts.
You don’t need to write an essay every time, but a hundred words is ample to get something of value across. Oh and another tip: ask people to share, follow, and subscribe. It costs nothing and if it leads to a few more actions, then it’s more than worth it!
Also: consider mentioning businesses and users in your descriptions. You can do this as simply as using the @ symbol in your post and typing the name out. If you trained at a particular gym, then mention the Instagram account of that gym. If you went to a particular commercial location, then mention that business too.
This will potentially lead to a re-post or a shout-out, either of which can be hugely beneficial! It also has the benefit of creating an association between you and that brand in the eyes of your followers and visitors.
So we’re halfway through the book and we’ve just gotten to hashtags! That’s because it’s crucial to lay the groundwork, but as you can imagine – hashtags are also a HUGE part of what will lead to your success. Hashtags are effectively search terms. By using a hashtag, you can help more people to find your content, and quickly define what your page is all about.
Hashtags help people find your images through search, but also by looking at the suggested images provided by Instagram. Instagram will base these on hashtags that are relevant to the user, as well as the feedback from other similar users.
Here is a quick primer on what you need to know about using hashtags
• Use lots – You are allowed up to 30 hashtags and each one of those could bring in a new viewer searching for something. Think about it this way: each one of your tags is like entering into a lottery. Why would you only enter once if you could enter thirty times for free?
• Choose a balance – The best hashtag is one that is popular, but not overwhelmingly so. Post an image with the hashtag #babygirl and you’ll be going up against 59,533,397 public posts! That means that your image isn’t going to hang around in the search results long at all, and will soon be drowned by the volume of new posts. On the other hand, a hashtag with 10 public posts likely isn’t getting searched much.
Something with 30,000 or so searches will hit that sweet spot of being popular, but also specific. Note that you can see these numbers as soon as you start typing out the hashtags when posting your image or video. Instagram will suggest relevant terms and show you the volume of posts for each one.
• Use a range – As well as having a balanced popularity for your tags, you should also think about using a variety of tags. Including a few massively popular tags won’t hurt and there’s always the odd chance one will go crazy. But by including some smaller ones as well, you’ll
• Be trendy – Think about trending topics (try Google trends at trends.google.com/trends) and also about the most trendy subjects within your niche.
For example, fitness is popular all the time, but ‘functional fitness’ and ‘mobility’ are topics that are currently hot in this field. Likewise, food is always a hit, but ‘avocado’ is winning. There are also common hashtags used within any niche that you can ‘borrow’ for your own purposes. Of course if you can use a trending hashtag that is linked to something that’s been in the news, or the cultural discourse, then even better!
• Be consistent – Consistent use of the same hashtags is a good strategy for communicating what your brand is about to Instagram’s algorithms.
• Don’t use them in your bio – This won’t make your bio searchable through those hashtags, so stick to using only your own branded hashtags here (if any).
As well as using hashtags, you should also make sure to use geotags. These of course tag the location that the photo was taken, and that can help a lot of people to find them. To do this, just choose your photo and then on the ‘New Post’ page, click ‘Add Location’. If lots of people attend an event, then they might look to see other photos from that event and this creates another new in-road for you.
You can also tag people, and this is a great way to get their attention – and even to show up on high profile pages (your photo will appear in a separate category on the users’ page. This is ideal if you want to get the attention of a big channel or brand (along with their audience), but it can also be extremely annoying and get you into trouble if you abuse it.
The best advice then, is only to do this if you have a very good reason. If you actually have a photo with that person, then make sure you tag them in it. Meeting influencers face to face as gigantic value for any brand or marketer. Likewise, if you want to issue a challenge, a response, or similar, then consider using the tag. But ONLY after you have considered the spirit that it will be taken in. And only rarely.
Medium and Presentation
You may think that Instagram is all about the pictures rather than the videos, but in fact video posts will receive 38% more engagement than images! So you know what you need to do: get your camera out and film!
Keep in mind that your videos will need to be short (up to one minute, though you can link multiple together) and that you should always choose a good thumbnail from the video that will help to communicate instantly what it’s all about and get people excited to check it out. Other specific formats also work really well.
We’ll get to memes and similar options later in this book, but one good example is Boomerang – which creates a short ‘bouncing’ video that lasts just a couple of seconds. You can download Boomerang from the Google Play Store or iOS App Store. If you’re going for arty, then you could consider using a pictogram – a still image with just one element moving.
For images, consider using a collage. You can make these using Instagram’s own tool (Layout From Instagram) or a third party solution such as the excellent Pixlr. Finally, keep in mind that when it comes to images, taller tends to work better. That’s because the feed is vertical and by using a taller image, you actually take up a larger proportion of the screen and stay on the screen for longer. All else being equal, crop your photos to be tall and slim!
The time you post your images can have a surprisingly big impact on their success. Research shows that the most popular photographs go out between 10am-3pm during weekdays in their local region (why aren’t people working?). But if you’re aiming at a global audience, then the most successful time is 6pm GMT+0 (11am PT). If you post twice a day, then aim to post during each of these times.
Remember: Instagram is a social media account. That means that it is a form of communication, and it works best when you remember that. Follow accounts, like them, comment on pictures, and be sure to answer any messages or comments you receive. Better yet, galvanize your audience into your own marketing team by running competitions, or getting them to use set hashtags!