Contrary to popular opinion, growing your social media account takes time, consistency and hard work (if you’re anyone other than a supermodel posting selfies). We hear lots of people getting disheartened that their accounts aren’t growing as fast as they wanted them too and we totally understand their frustration.
When it comes to social media, slow and steady often wins the race, along with consistency and the ability to connect with your audience. For any of you who feel like you’re shouting into a dark room we’ve put together a long list of tips to get you going. Of course, we’re not expecting you to be able to use them all at once but we’re sure there’ll be a few tips here that will change your Instagram game.
1. Build A Community
The most important thing to know about social media is about building online communities with people that share the same interests as you or your business. Posting into the abyss isn’t enough, you need to be an active part of the group, make your voice heard and start the conversation. Which brings us onto…
2. Join The Conversation
Taking at least 10 minutes everyday to like, comment and follow new accounts is really important and will help people to get to know you and your content. Reaching out to similar accounts in your niche is so important and showing that you have an opinion or interest will make you an authority in your chosen subject.
3. Be Clear About Who You Are
Your bio and profile picture is the first thing people will see when they land on your account so it’s important to make it really clear who you are and what you’re about. This should also be full of personality and something that will grab people’s attention so try and think outside the box.
4. Find Niche Hashtags
So many people have created small, niche hashtags for specific interests and these are the best places to find other people that share your interests. For example, I always look at the #sundaystyleedit hashtag for style inspiration and have started following lots of people from it on my @stylerarebit account. These hashtags have a more engaged following and aren’t saturated with photographs so your posts are more likely to get seen. The best way to find them is by looking on other peoples accounts and typing in key words in the search bar.
5. Start Your Own Hashtag
Starting your own hashtag and encouraging people to use it is the best way to build a community around your Instagram account. You could have a day a week where you share posts from this particular hashtag, comment on peoples posts or offer free advice. Just make sure to promote the hashtag on your posts and in your bio to encourage people to use it.
6. Utilise Insights
Instagram has free analytics about your followers and your posts which is worth checking on a weekly basis. This will tell you how many people have engaged with your posts and you’ll be able to see what content your followers like the most. That way you can keep adapting your content to resonate with your following and to boost your engagement. I would recommend checking this at least once a week and keeping a running log of your stats on a spread sheet.
7. Improve Your Photographs
There’s no excuse for bad quality imagery anymore and with the millions of YouTube videos on photography it won’t take long for you to step up your game. Iphones are good enough for social media content and by practicing your composition and editing skills you’ll quickly see a difference. Apps like VSCO are amazing for editing and I’d recommend using the grid on your iPhone camera to help you get the best composition.
Tagging people, brands or places in your photographs will help to show your content to more people and get you better engagement. By tagging a brand or business in your photographs they’re more likely to share your content too which is a great way to reach a new audience and find new followers.
9. Share User Generated Content
If you’re struggling to create enough content to keep your page going then sharing your customers content is a great way to stay active. If you’re selling a product then you can share photographs of your customers wearing or using it and tag them in the content. This is a great way to build your community, especially if you encourage people to use your hashtag and give them the incentive of being shared on your page.
10. Be Consistent
If you want to grow then it’s important to be consistent by not only posting often but posting content that’s relevant to your chosen niche. Posting once a day on your feed is a good goal to stick to and as often as possible on your story because it doesn’t have to be as considered. By being consistent in how often you post your audience won’t forget about you and will be more engaged with your content.
11. Teach Them Something
By offering value in what you post people are way more likely to engage with it. For example, giving advice or hacks that are relevant to your audience will help them to see value in your content and will show that you’re an authority in your chosen niche.
12. Schedule In Advance
Constantly thinking about what to post can kill your creativity and you’re more likely to skip posting if you’re having to keep on top of it everyday. That’s why it’s so much better to plan your content as far ahead as possible. This will also give you more time to engage with your audience and other accounts in your niche.
13. Speak On Your Stories
Filming yourself talking on your stories will help people to get to know you and will make it easier for people to connect to your content. Instagram stories don’t have to be as curated and polished as your feed are an opportunity to be more real and relatable with your followers. As often as you can just pick up your phone and share something instantly about your business/self/product and open up a conversation with your followers.
14. Use The Question Box
People love to give advice and a great way to open up that dialogue is by using the question box on Instagram stories. This is also a great resource for product development and feedback about your business or Instagram page too so it’s a great thing to utilise for product launches.
Polls are also a great way to feedback on your content and to ask your audience what they want to see. For example, you can post two photographs side by side on your story and ask your followers which one they like more before you post it. If your followers think they had a part in that decision they’re more likely to engage with the post on your feed too.
16. Use Story Apps To Improve Your Content
If you’re not a graphic designer then using Instagram story apps is the easiest way to make good quality content quickly. Apps like Untold or Over have pre-made story templates that you can add your own photographs to and change the text. These are great but just be aware to avoid any templates that your competitors and try to switch up the fonts and colours so that yours aren’t too similar.
17. Check Your Drop Off Rate
This can be disheartening but knowing how many people have dropped off your Instagram stories is a good way to see what is or isn’t engaging your audience. You can see this info on your insights and it’s a great way to keep track of the story content that’s engaging your customers. If you have over 10,000 followers you can also track how many people are swiping up on your links.
18. Hashtag Your Instagram Stories
Instagram shows stories on hashtag and location pages so whenever you’re sharing a story be sure to tag your location and any relevant hashtags. For example if you’re talking about a product make sure to use that brands specific hashtag in your story. You can hide them by making them the same colour as your background but don’t make the text too small as Instagram won’t be able to recognise it.
19. Run A Giveaway
Giveaways are a great way to grow, especially if you ask people to tag their friends in the comments. You don’t have to give away a physical thing either, if your business is advice or experience based you can offer people a free trial or package to test out your service.
20. Join A Like/Share Group
These are called Instagram ‘pods’ and are basically groups of accounts in the same niche that comment and engage on each others posts. These can be really beneficial but there are a few things you need to be wary of. Firstly, it’s really important to find a group that’s relevant to your chosen topic or business with other accounts that are posting similar content. Secondly you need a group that has clear rules that everyone sticks to in order for it to work. For example, if everyone likes and comments on every post that’s in the group so that it’s fair for everyone. A group with 50+ followers can also make a big impact to your following and getting more comments and likes will really boost your engagement.