Two years ago I started using Instagram and got hooked. It was different enough to most platforms and it was fun (something I never got to feel with Facebook).
I knew there was a huge opportunity there and I wanted my share. I used it voraciously and got some success but it wasn’t anything out of this world.
After 6 months of testing and learning, I got my first 1,000 followers and I felt very happy about it. The best part was I did it without the follow-for-follow method everyone seems to be doing.
Fast Forward to today and I’ve learned a lot. From a user’s perspective and business.
If you want to grow a following that actually cares about what you have to share, keep reading. I’m going to share with you actionable advice you can try.
3 Foolproof Ways To Grow Your Instagram Following
First things first, Instagram has now over 800 million users and it keeps growing. Here’s something you must consider:
The more time passes and a social platform gets older, organic reach declines. It’s always the same, so make sure to take advantage of the opportunity you have right now.
Strategy 1: Start Conversations
Let’s get off the bed with the right foot. It’s not about you.
Yes, it’s not about you.
Think about it for a moment, most people don’t know you exist. Much less care about you, or what you have to offer. That is until they know you can help them do something they can’t.
Focus on teaching and helping. Engage with people who have similar interests. And make sure to continue the conversation on your profile. 😉
Here’s how you do it:
Step 1: Search for hashtags related to your latest post (or type of content you usually share).
Step 2: Tap on the “recent” tab (not the top).
Step 3: Select the first picture and tap on it.
Step 4: Scroll down until you can see the description.
Step 5: Tap on “more” and read the description.
Step 6: Leave a meaningful comment and make sure to ask a question. This is all about getting them to engage.
At the end of your comment, let the person know you shared something similar and ask for their opinion. That should take them to your profile.
Step 7: If your profile is properly set up, you should have a new follower. Here’s what you need in your bio:
- State who you are.
- Mention what they can expect from you.
- Write a clear call to action to follow you.
In spite of your work, there will be people who won’t follow you and that’s ok. Continue to step 8.
Step 8: Repeat the process every time you post a new picture.
30-day comment challenge:
I while ago I decided I would start the commenting strategy but I made a mistake. I tried to make 250 comments per day. I thought I could do it and to be fair I did it but I was miserable.
It was exhausting. I could feel myself getting bored and annoyed. I didn’t want to do it again so I started to procrastinate. Does that sound familiar to you?
It’s what usually happens when we start a new project. We have high hopes and set up a huge goal only to fail.
The reason being we are not used to the type of work and we are inexperienced, so it takes us a long time to complete. That’s why I was miserable and odds are, that’s why you are as well.
Here’s something I did that worked for me and I know will work for you:
By the end of the 30-day challenge, you should have made 259 comments. Keep the 15 comments per day for the next month and you’ll make 450 per month.
The question is: Can you make 5 new comments per day?
Strategy 2: Guest Blogging
Three years ago I came across the concept of guest blogging. It sounded wonderful, but there was one problem. I didn’t know how to go about finding places to contribute content and I didn’t know what to write about.
I understood that in order to get the attention I wanted, I needed to go where attention was. Still, the knowledge eluded me. Fast forward to today and now I know how to find places to guest post on and what to write about.
I won’t get too much into details but I’ll leave you with great resources you can use to start your guest blogging.
- The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging? by Kristi Hines
- How to Use Twitter for Guest Blogging Outreach? by Adrienne Erin
- How to Scale Guest Blogging with Freelancers? by Sean Falconer
All you have to do is add a call to action on your bio. Ask people to follow you on the social platforms you are most active.
Strategy 3: Educational Partnerships
A few years ago, as I was learning about Instagram, I came across the term “S4S”. You may have heard about it before, but in case you haven’t, it means “share for share”.
The strategy is simple. Search for people who have an audience like yours. Ask them if they’d like to do a share for share (you share their content and they share yours). That way you both can get exposure to a new audience.
It’s simple and effective.
This strategy is a more advanced version of S4S. Here’s how it works:\
Step 1: Search for accounts that educate your ideal audience.
Step 2: Look at each account and filter down on your results. As a general rule, consider the following:
If you have 500 followers, don’t expect a 10,000 follower account to pay attention to you.
This is not always the case, though. If you have a high engagement rate, then it can be worth their time. But that’s something you should consider at a later stage.
Look for accounts with similar follower count to yours and engagement rate. The higher the better.
Step 3: Contact the owner of the account and make sure to make it worth their time. Ask if they want to start a partnership. Be specific about what you want.
Here’re some examples of partnerships you can try:
- Create a short video series.
- A share for share.
- Instagram takeover (only if you already have an existing relationship with the person).
- Create free content for them in exchange for exposure.
I recommend using email as a medium but if that’s not available then go for a direct message.
Step 4: Schedule their content and/or share it on your profile.
Step 5: Repeat the whole process.
There are many ways to grow your Instagram following. But there’s something that seems to elude most people who are getting started.
It’s all about getting people’s attention.
You can post 100 times a day but if there’s nobody who cares and consumes your content, what’s the point?
Make sure to develop a strategy that helps you get in front of people. Find those who have an interested in what you have to offer (or have similar interests).
“Dream big. Start small. But most of all … start.”? Simon Sinek