Friday, August 7, 2015

Grow Your Instagram Followers

As a relatively new blogger it has been my goal to grow my social media accounts and increase my reach.  Knowing the various routes to take to organically grow your social media accounts such as Instagram can be daunting.  So, I thought I would share some of the knowledge I have gained through a lot of research and trial and error.

First and foremost,
This will only hurt you in the long run. Fake/purchased followers don’t help your brand and typically don’t last. Growing organically is much more strategic. Your engagement and readers will be real, which is exactly what you want!

I know this may be a bit basic, but make sure your bio is complete. Include relevant keywords and hashtags, and a link back to your site.

Don’t be afraid to post often. I have found the following times to be popular and the most interactive.

Popular posting times:
Monday – 5am, 1pm, 8pm
Tuesday – 5am, 4pm, 8pm
Wednesday – 5am, 11am, 1pm, 7pm
Thursday – 5am, 12pm, 8pm
Friday – 5am, 2pm, 7pm
Saturday – 12pm, 7pm
Sunday – 5am, 9am, 4pm, 11pm
 {Sundays see the fewest images posted, so posting then may make your image more visible}

These times seem to work best and receive the most engagement, but these times may not fit with your audience. Trial and error is the best approach to really finding out which days/times work best.  A content calendar helps me keep everything organized and is a total lifesaver! I do not post at all of these times, I usually pick one or two.  A lot of my posts depend on any collaborations that I am working on.

Use Latergramme to schedule your Instagram posts. Posting consistently is key to growing your follower count over time.

Iconosquare is a great tool for analyzing your Instagram statistics.  It lets you know which photos had the highest engagement and at which times the highest interaction occurred

The dark rounds indicates when you usually post media (repartition by hour horizontally, and by days vertically). The light grey rounds show when your community has been interacting. The biggest light grey rounds are the best times for you to post.

I am new to using hashtags. I always thought they looked tacky and cluttered up a post, but in reality they do work. Instagram allows a maximum 30 hashtags so don’t be afraid to use the max.

If you are trying to get followers, try using hashtags that are known to help increase followers: #FF (Follow Friday), #instafollow, #l4l (Like for like), #tagforlikes and #followback.

For regular posts these are the ones I use most frequently:
#fashionblogger #fashionblog #fblogger #styleblogger #blog #bblogger #beautyblogger #bloggerswanted #ootd.   I also include anything relevant to the picture and/or product.

If you are having trouble thinking of hashtags to use you can use Iconosquare to analyze your most used hastags and also trending hashtags on Instagram.

Another suggestion is to tag well-known Instagrammers relevant to your picture or brand for increased visibility and sharing.

Promote your Instagram account on your other social media accounts and profiles. Tell people what they can expect once they’re following you (e.g., behind-the-scenes photos, sneak peeks, coupons, etc.)

Follow your suggested users. Go into your settings and click the gear icon in the upper right of your screen. Click ‘Find and invite friends’, and then ‘Suggested Users’.

Follow your Facebook friends on Instagram, and many will follow you back. To do this, simply go to your Instagram profile and click on the 3 dots icon on the top right of your screen. Select ‘Find Friends’ and then ‘Find friends on Facebook’.

 Network with Instagram influencers. Search for hashtags relevant to your posts, and pinpoint users with high follower counts and engagement. Leave thoughtful comments on their posts, and start developing relationships. You never know where these connections will lead!

Promote your Instagram account to your email subscribers. Periodically share an image in your newsletter and link it up to your Instagram account.

Really engage. All the tips, tricks and strategies in the world can’t compete without engaging others.  Be intentional about liking photos, and leaving thoughtful comments. Regularly find new people to follow, and engage with them by responding to comments, questions and photos.

Liking and commenting on other users’ photos. This is the most natural way to gain new followers.  I have gained so many new followers by using this method.

Use call to action in your photo captions. Ask questions in the captions of your photos. Get your followers engaged by asking them to take further action (e.g., “Let me know what you think in the comments”). And if you use the word ‘comment’ in your captions, research suggests these get significantly more comments than those without.

I hope these tips help your Instagram account grow. Feel free to comment. I’d love to hear your suggestions. 
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