If I had a dollar for every single time I have been asked by someone how to grow their Instagram or how to have a "successful" account I would be well probably not a millionaire but definitely a lot better off than I am now! I get asked AT LEAST once per day through email or Direct Message what the secrets are to Instagram and so thought I would share a few with you today.... but ps. these really aren't secrets more just guidelines for effectively joining in the community that is Instagram. Oh! And these same tips have worked for me in both the new and old algorithm!
- The first tip is maybe the most important and true but what you put out is what you get from Instagram... having good pictures alone will not create community, it is going out and actively liking other peoples posts and commenting when appropriate that will benefit you the most. Also responding to comments on your own photos and engaging with individuals you follow really helps too!
- On that same note thought having quality content is important. I will probably do another post about just photo editing some time but for now please be consistent with the photos you take.... by that I mean edit your photos the same way, and post your best photos. You don't have to share every moment... imagine each individual story as your chance to share something beautiful so even if a moment is good if the photos didn't come out for whatever reason maybe save those for yourself and find another way to share the moment on Instagram
- Your greater feed matters just as much as each individual photo. Think of it like a tapestry, each individual photo you put out there is a strand creating a larger more beautiful story. So back to editing make sure that your photos flow and are consistent. I almost always take pictures with my DSLR so that the quality is consistent. If I do post a phone photo I make sure it is edited well and fits into the flow of my previous photos. There is no strict rule with this but find your style and stick with it... don't jump around it will make that bigger picture that is your entire feed look crazy and not something people will want to follow.
- Post constantly. I almost hesitate to say this because there is such thing as "over posting" so what I don't mean is for you to spam all your followers with 5 pictures at a time but.... post regularly, I read once that each Instagram photo has about a four hour window of maximum viewing so try to wait 4 hours between each post... your followers will thank you and your engagement will be higher! On that same note try to post at least once every day, this creates familiarity and participation within the community. Think of it like a coffee date... if you don't show up you won't make friends so posting once per day will allow you to become a regular face and familiar voice.
- Post during peak viewing times. The rule that I follow for this is only between 8am and 8pm. A good picture you feel like posting at 4 in the morning will still be a good picture at 8am and your engagement will be higher. Your photos especially in the new algorithm are only as good as the views they receive so posting during peak times is really a huge benefit to you and any brands you might be working with in a post.
- Hashtag, Hashtag, Hastag!! I cannot stress this enough... hashtags link your photos to other photos in the community and are how people with find your account. If you don't hashtag you will not be seen by anyone except those already following you... its basically like setting your account to private. You can use up to 30 hashtags per photo and honestly it looks way better if you just attach them in that first comment rather than cluttering up the caption of your post.
- Use relevant hashtags. If you hashtag every picture #girl or #happy those are really general and will not do much for your following or engagement. Take a look around you and use hashtags relevant to your picture.... please also don't spam a hashtag that isn't relevant nobody likes that... and it does nothing for your engagement. One way I find good hashtags is to look in the top 9 of a hashtag I am already using... seeing what others are doing can help you engage and really connect to the Instagram community. Using hashtags can also get your photos featured on other community pages which is a great way to interact and connect with new people!
- Don't buy followers. You might think this is a good idea, it might make you feel more popular in the moment but the reality is you are lying to everyone. I get super frustrated with this because when you purchase followers you cheat the system. Brands work with you thinking your following is large but the reality is you are lying. Also your engagement will suffer and people will notice if you have 10K followers because you purchased a large portion of them but you are averaging 300 likes per photo at best and few comments... people will start to notice and in the long run it will do nothing for your greater engagement in the community. Its just a bad idea don't do it! I would like to add that participating in loop giveaways though not the same as buying followers is essentially very similar and from what I have seen won't help your overall engagement in the long run and will just annoy all your loyal followers who aren't interested in a 500 dollar gift card or new lap top in exchange for following 50 accounts...
- Don't follow to unfollow. I literally have people who follow and unfollow me everyday... like I don't know if it is a bot doing it or what but everyday they come and go and have been doing so for month.... this is a bad method to grow your following and also is just rude... so don't do it. Follow who you want to follow and don't worry about the rest.
- ENGAGE!!!! I can't say that any louder... what you put out is what you get back. Go like every photo for everyone you follow, comment on as many pictures as you can, and maybe even try looking through hashtags you find inspiring and comment/like there. Instagram is about telling stories and creating community so put yourself out there and I promise people will respond and your following and engagement will grow.
Okay so I feel like that is a lot and there is still so much more I could say... but seriously if you want to be a part of the community put yourself out there in a loving way and you will meet so many wonderful people. You might meet a few creepers too so please use common sense but that is really the secret to Instagram new or old algorithm. If you have any of your own suggestions, tips, questions, thoughts... please leave them in the comments below!