Instagram is still a popular source of Klout for influencers and a gold mine for marketers. However, standing out in the pool of talent does take skill. With the rise of so many influencers rising to the top is harder than before, but it is still possible. In this article, we will explore how to grow your Instagram following in 2020 with some hidden tricks, sweat equity and drive.
You shouldn’t expect to see your Instagram account jump to over 1 million subs overnight, but with hard work, anything is possible - especially if you are posting every day.
Before we begin, it’s recommended you dedicate yourself to your Instagram account rather than other social media channels. Spending your time here may be far more rewarding for your brand or business. To make the Instagram algorithm work, your account needs to become discoverable for the hashtags relating to your interest.
Use The Right Hashtags
Put together a list of hashtags which relate to your personal brand. The tip here is to look for hashtags that feature “top posts” which have the same amount of likes that your account may receive. This way, you can leverage the algorithm to appear at the top of the pile. There’s no use using hashtags that have a million likes if a photo on your account may only receive 100 likes.
Next, come up with a brand hashtag which is unique to you. Make it fun and catchy as your audience will likely look for this in the months to come. Then on your next post, feature your brand hashtag with around 10 to 14 other hashtags from your research. Even though you can add more hashtags to the mix - don’t! There’s something about thirty hashtags that looks spammy, and your audience can turn off rather quickly.
Also, while we are on the subject of spam, never use a bot to help you get more followers. This will instantly be a red strike against your account. Any automation is something you want to avoid as it can dampen your chances in growing your audience. Instead, your methodology needs to be putting in the time to build your audience.
Use Captions to Your Advantage
When we talk and engage with other people, we use sentences and stories. The Instagram algorithm is much the same. Although we can’t say for sure, it makes sense that whoever is talking the most and shares the most stories is the most popular one in the room. As Facebook tracks your eyeballs on each photo and the length of time you spend on each post having a compelling story to accompany your Instagram photo is certainly a magnet to ‘stop the scroll’. The more eyeballs you have interacting with your content, the better.
Use a call to action (CTA) sparingly on your account and be authentic. When starting your Instagram account, the last thing you want to do is have an account full of links. Instead, we recommend you add a CTA such as a website link in the caption area every 3 to 4 photos.
Stand Out With Your Profile - Level Up Your Bio
People are curious, which is why they head to your profile after viewing your photo. Therefore you must have a compelling profile to set up your Instagram account. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked by many creators. The following items are crucial to help you grow your following on Instagram.
- Add a keyword to where your name normally appears to increase your reach.
- Use a catchy photo that’s clean and has a simple background to help the foreground stand out.
- Include a list of four items in the description of your bio and on the fifth line add your branded hashtag. Think about using an emoji before each line of text to summaries each point.
- Add a short link to your bio that’s easy to copy and paste or have someone retype into a browser. Although this is clickable, it will come in handy when including the same link in other areas (such as captions).
Be Brave and Live Stream - You Never Know Who Will Be Watching
Don’t let your small numbers get you down. Remember, if you want to become influential on Instagram, giving every interaction demands your attention and helps build your audience! Stories are an excellent way to put a voice to your account and make things more personal.
To grow your Instagram, we recommend using Stories as a way to increase your daily interaction and reach. Before publishing any story, make sure you include up to 10 hashtags from your predefined list. Also include geotagging as this is going to help with your local reach. Here’s a tip, did you know you don’t have to tag your location? If you want to target a specific area, then geotagging a Story is the way to go.
If you get some excellent interaction on a specific story or it’s part of a product launch then ensure you add it to your highlight reel. Doing so keeps your video active past the 24-hour time limit. Also, while we are on the subject of interaction, it’s worth using a story to promote a new post you might have. This can help redirect followers to view your latest content.
Live Streaming is especially growing this year thanks to the pandemic. Hosting a Live session on your account not only increases your reach, but it also increases your engagement. People are more likely to comment on something that is relevant live than something which may have been published several hours ago. Like stories, live streams will also disappear after 24 hours so ensure you promote your live stream starting time on your Instagram Stories.
Keep Content Consistent and Targeted
When starting your Instagram account think about the overall look and feel of the account. Design a mood board with colours and imagery, which will become your style guide. Reference this will all your content and stay on point. While this may seem a lot of work, to begin with, it will be worth it in the long run. Your account will stand out by itself and draw a like-minded audience. Plus it will provide brands and anyone who wants to work with you an opportunity to know what their content might look like.
In summary, regardless of the year, we highly recommend you start your Instagram account sooner rather than later. Adopt all of these best practices, and in around twelve months when you look back, you will see steady growth and following. Remember consistency, quality and interactions are the keys to growing your Instagram following. If you put in the work now, it will be well worth it in years to come.