If somebody has ever told you that all you need is to post beautiful photos on Instagram and the followers will come after you, they lied. Maybe that was possible a couple of years ago when Instagram hasn’t been as competitive as it is now. And let me tell you this, I am not saying that you don’t need quality photos because you do. All I am saying is that nowadays it is not enough.
But don’t worry, I am here to help.
What are 5 Must-do Steps to Grow on Instagram?
Instagram is a social media platform where people come to get some entertainment, chill, and get inspired. The latest trend here is to read real and authentic stories from people. Whether they are photographers, models, or dog owners, we want to find out what they think. What their life is actually about behind all those polished images. Here I will share a couple of main tips that help you reach your followers when you already have beautiful content.
1) Find a niche
When you scroll on your own Instagram and like photos, Instagram tries to remember and classify what you have liked. So that once you are shown new content, you will most probably like it as well. Let me give you an example, if you usually go to Instagram to check out cute puppy photos, that’s what the Instagram algorithm will try to show you. Easy, right?
There are a lot of secrets in regards to the Instagram algorithm but this isn’t one of them. Instagram profiles that focus on one specific niche, work better.
2) Hashtags matter
Okay, so you found a niche, now what? Hashtags. Make sure that your hashtags are specific enough. Yes, big accounts usually don’t even use hashtags. But they have already done their homework. You need to check out smaller accounts that have a lot of comments. There are a lot of tools that can help you with that. But the good ones are paid so if you are looking at how to find hashtags for free, you will have to find them manually.
So the general rule for hashtags is to use big (more than 500k), medium (500k-50k), and small hashtags (less than 50k). Instagram lets you use 30 hashtags in your posts. So ideally you would use 10 big hashtags, 10 medium hashtags, and 10 small hashtags. But you also need to test it out. I personally like to use the majority of the smaller ones and then include 7 medium ones and just a few big ones. Again, testing is key. Every niche is different and every account is different too.
3) Follow to be followed
Here’s the deal. Follow and then unfollow game is not working anymore. What you need to do instead is to follow people you actually want to follow. But first things first,
1. Create a list of ten really big accounts in your niche (100k+ would be ideal) 2. Get notified when these huge accounts create a new post,
3. Check out the list of people who have liked their latest picture and follow them. (I usually also check out their profile and decide whether or not I want to follow them because I don’t want to unfollow them later. Yes, it can be a lot of work.)
Now once you follow them, they will get a notification and probably will come to your profile and check it out. Before they do that they will see your profile picture. Your profile photo is extremely important and it’s always better to have your own face than your logo. This profile photo has to look professional.
Another thing that people will definitely check is the general look of your feed. Does it fit the niche? Your bio is important. And having a consistent Instagram grid is also extremely important.
How long does it take to reach 10k followers? Usually, it takes around 5-11 months to grow from 0 to 10k. Also, keep in mind that the beginning is always the most difficult part. Instagram doesn’t trust you yet. But don’t give up, it’s possible.
Comment and be part of the community
Writing genuine and long comments definitely attracts more attention than simply liking somebody’s photo. Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t like photos anymore. I am just saying that maybe your focus should shift towards writing genuine comments and sending a DM.
Whose posts should you like?
What I usually do, I post a photo and then immediately go through my hashtags. 1. I like the first 5 posts of the hashtag I used, 2. I leave five comments on each post, 3. I send a DM to a person I admire the most and thank them for inspiring me.
I will repeat this again, yes, it can be a lot of work. But it also can be a lot of fun finding people who have the same interest as you. We challenge each other and make our photos and posts even better. Let me know in the comments below what you personally do to grow your Instagram.