Today, I’m going to show you the ultimate Instagram strategy that resulted in:
An increase of over 8000 followers.
Featured on Ask.com and local news.
Over 50 leads and 5 sales.
Boosted traffic by 750%.
Oh, and did I mentioned it all happened in just under 6 weeks?
Before we dive in (incoming shameless advertising), if you, or your company needs help with digital marketing, feel free to contact us here.
A Social Media Strategy That Works
- Pick a Theme.
Ideally, you want to post things that interest you, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. The most successful accounts on Instagram have an overarching theme to their posts, such as comedy, lifestyle, fashion, etc. People are more likely to search for accounts with themes that relate to their own personal interests and having a theme to your posts will make your account more reliable, leading to more followers!
Not to mention, when the posts are consistent with your theme or topic, it adds to the aesthetic of your Instagram page and makes it more appealing to potential followers. You can have multiple accounts for multiple themes-I’ve had about 5-6 different Instagram accounts running at the same time at one point-go big or go home right?
- Create a Profile.
Believe me, this is the hardest part. In fact, I put off this whole Instagram business for months just because I couldn’t come up with a good username. If you are able to land a catchy username with no numbers or symbols, congratulations, you’re already halfway there!
Once you have created an account, make sure to add a short but witty bio to your profile with a relevant user photo. You could also add a custom hashtag for your account so that anyone interested can immediately see what you’ve posted.
Luckily, this is rarely as painful as socializing with real people in real life. Socializing on Instagram is probably the easiest way to gain followers. Like the photos of your friends (or even randoms on your explore feed) because that’s a quick and easy way to gain awareness for your account. Go into the hashtags to find accounts and posts similar to yours and like a whole bunch of posts. Some brands even set up an auto-reply to automate this.
Make sure you follow lots of relevant accounts too. For example, for RSLW, I went to the page Artforthesick since they post similar images and followed them. If their page is private, you can use a private instagram viewer.
This will automatically influence the posts in your Explore feed (due to Instagram’s algorithms) and make it easier to find similar accounts to you. And guess what? By mass following the followers of that account, you have already built up a list of users that are interested in the theme (or similar theme) to your account.
Finally, find hashtags like #L4L #like4like #follow4follow, etc, and start the reciprocal process. Most users will like and follow your account too. Remember to also comment on other people’s posts to get your account noticed.
I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to come up with a unique comment every time you want to interact with someone new. For me, I actually just copy and pasted the same two comments when I first started out-no one suspected a thing.
You can even comment with just an Emoji:
- Sometimes You Have to Cheat (Sort Of).
I mean, sometimes, even your hardest efforts don’t seem to bring in enough followers and engagement on your account. If you’re feeling lucky, try sliding into the DM’s (Instagram lingo for “messaging”) of an Instagram “celebrity” by asking for a shoutout. A shoutout is a quick way to gain followers by having another account mention yours in their post. It’s not cheating, like buying active Instagram followers, really, it’s strategy.
Once you have gained a sizable following on Instagram, you’ll find that other users may ask you (or even pay you) for shoutouts too. Some of the most successful accounts on Instagram today only got there by doing shoutouts for others and receiving shoutouts in return.
- How Many Is Too Many?
It’s hard to say really. Random posting schedules do not attract as many followers because people want their social media posts to be reliable. They want to be able to find new Instagram posts on a regular basis and not have to look at old information. I mean, no one likes that feeling of scrolling through their Instagram feed and running into old posts. People are constantly searching for new information and fresh content.
Your account is only really as good as how often you post. Aim for 3-5 posts per day. Too many and you risk flooding the feeds of your followers. Too few and your account could easily become insignificant.
- Prime Time on Social Media?
It depends on your followers’ demographic, but the best time to post may be in the morning and in the evening. You can use apps like Iconosquare to find out what the prime posting schedules are according to the times of the day when your account has the most traffic or activity.
For me, I found that most of my followers were active in the morning (between 8 AM and 11 AM) and then in the evening (anywhere from 5 PM to 10 PM). Here’s an example:
- All About That #Hashtag Life
There’s a fine line between looking desperate and making sure your posts get the attention of possible followers. We all know that one basic friend who bombs their posts with a paragraph of (often irrelevant) hashtags. A good Instagram strategy is to try and mix it up with a couple of regularly trending tags (try this site) and unique hashtags that might not have as many posts in them.
Be sure to remember that the tags should be on topic. Pictures with unrelated hashtags just look like spam, like this:
- Spend Time on Your Content:
This one might be obvious, but no one is going to pay attention to the thousandth coffee cup post on their feed. Cultivating a creative and unique spin on even the most tired subject will end up bringing your Instagram account needed attention and follows. The key here is to make sure the posts are relatable, inspirational, funny, or all of the above.
Good content should be able to stimulate some sort of emotion from the audience. Often, to find this content, you may have to spend a lot of time scrolling through feeds. But don’t fret, many successful Instagram accounts with so-called “original content” actually just repost it from sites like Tumblr and Pinterest.
- Interact with your Followers:
Once you’ve worked on what you’re posting each day you should respond to comments. People are more likely to keep following someone who they feel they know, even if it’s all business for you. If there’s a follower who constantly likes or comments, arranging a mutual shoutout is definitely the way to go. Keep working the angle of personal interaction for attracting and maintaining followers!
Hopefully some of these tips will help you grow the amount of likes and followers on your Instagram account exponentially. Soon you’ll be busy liking photos, talking with your growing list of followers, and taking more photos for your account. Hell, it might even become a full-time job! Have fun implementing this Instagram growth hack!
Jacky Chou is an electrical engineer turned marketer. He is the founder of Indexsy, Far & Away, Laurel & Wolf, a couple FBA businesses , and about 40 affiliate sites. He is a proud native of Vancouver, BC, who has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, Forbes, Oberlo and GoDaddy.