Instagram is constantly changing and as we have seen it’s harder than ever to grow in 2019/2020.
In fact, if your goal is to get more website viewers, I recommend you sign up for this Pinterest Course and save yourself a lot of hours. (Take 30% off with the coupon “lorinadaiana“)
That said, Instagram is a great place to represent your brand and although it’s nearly impossible to grow as fast as you used to be able to, it’s still good to implement these tactics to help you.
I wanted to make sure I give you things you haven’t heard before so I put a lot of hours in narrowing this down for you.
#1. Use SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) is not only for Google or Pinterest but also for Instagram. People search for keywords for Accounts, Tags and Places. If you incorporate these within your name, bio, posts, & hashtags, you’ll be seen more.
For example, I searched the keyword “community” and our @GraceBelle account popped up:
#2. Use All Features on Instagram
Ultimately Instagram controls your algorithm and you have this invisible score that determines how your audience sees you. Instagram boosts the accounts that are using a variety of features. Here are the features you should be using, try to think of creative ways to do these for your own niche;
- Instagram Posts (this is a given, but you want to create highly engaging posts – look at your analytics to determine what people love).
- Carousel Posts
- Video Posts
- Instagram Stories
- Shoppable Posts (if applicable)
It’s always easier if you mix up the order and plan this ahead using a tool like Planoly to schedule & auto-post.
#3. Get Strong Accounts To Follow You
Did you know that if strong accounts (by that I mean accounts that are verified, never use bots, and have a good score) follow you, that it boosts your relevancy score?
Do you know how you can see similar accounts by clicking the tab on someone’s profile? Well, those are calculated by the connections they have, it can be the same followers or those accounts interacting with one another.
If you have any connections with those types of accounts in your niche, ask them to politely follow you. If not then try to make a list of the top accounts in your niche and see if they’re willing to help you out, you never know.
Here’s an example of a shop I recently found and as soon as I saw the similar account Free People, I knew this shop was legit and didn’t purchase followers but instead had a great audience. (This is a easy way to catch spam accounts too).
#4. Create Engaging Insta Stories
This is something people generally know, to create more insta stories. I wanted to give you a little bit more insight on what you can do even better.
We all know engagement is important and the more people engage with your posts, the more your instagram score goes up and you get shown to more people. However, did you know that your Story engagement counts towards that?
That means the:
- Reply (dms)
- Sharing your Post
All of these can help your overall score. You want people to engage as much as possible. In fact, dm’s are known as the way to beat the instagram algorithm because it allows you to create more loyal followers.
Try creating stories that have call to actions to them and watch your engagement go up.
One thing to keep in mind is Instagram stories IS VERY similar to telling an actual story. You need to have a hook, intro / background explanation, rising action, climax, falling action, conclusion. It might sound simple but too often I see stories that make no sence or feel like they never finished the story and I feel left hanging.
If you want some creative inspiration for story designs take a look at my Pinterest Board here.
** Last tip for Stories is to use popular hashtags so you can show up in the discover and searches. I always hide the hashtag from the story (make it small and drag it off the screen)
#5. Use Hashtags
I think the whole “shadowban” thing scared many people from using hashtags but I’ve seen the difference of engagement through hashtags and it would be a shame to leave them out.
My tip for this is to create a few hashtag lists and save them on your Planoly account to schedule them depenting on the content of the post. Planoly now let’s you schedule your hashtags within the first comment of the post vs the post caption itself.
#6. Share Your Posts To Pinterest
Pinterest has a bigger reach and a longer post lifespan so by building a strong account on there (learn how here) and sharing your Instagram posts, you can grow your numbers.
This worked wonders for our Disney @PixieDarlings account and even when we stopped posting for months we still got traffic and our account grew because it kept going viral on Pinterest.
Learn How to Grow your Pinterest monthly views to 500k+ in just 90 days!
#7. Engage Engage Engage
I remember the days that my team would spend one hour a day just engaging with potential followers. It used to pay off big time at first but then with the bots becoming more common, people had a hard time distinguishing real comments. It would take us way too long to create thoughtful comments.
So why would I recommend to engage? Well, it’s a little bit different. I recommend you engage with:
1) Your top accounts in your niche, this again builds that connection to similar accounts
2) Using dm’s! This is where people take an extra second to acknowledge you. The great thing is you don’t need to do 100 a day, just engaging with 5 a day and starting conversations is enough. Keep maintaining those conversations and your authentic followers, who engage back, will grow.
I also recommend making a nice greeting for your dms for new followers that quickly describes your brand and thanks them for following you then making that a “quick reply” in your dms.
#8. Setup Your Bio For Conversion
On websites, they say you have only 30 seconds to catch someone’s attention or they’ll end up exiting. Instagram is very similar, you want to be as clear as possible to what you do.
This means first and foremost to have a clear niche and even if you focus on multiple things, in your bio it should be ONE campaign at a time.
You want to constantly change your website and your call to action to that site. For example:
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#9. Cross Promote
This is such a simple way to grow but we tend to forget about it.
Here are some ways to Cross Promote:
- Between your social accounts
- In your newsletter
- On your blog posts
- Through other people in your industy (ask them to promote your account and you can promote theirs).
- In Facebook Groups
#10. Use Your Analytics
This is something that many people oversee and it can be so important for growing your Instagram. There are 3 places I’m going to recommend you look at analytics.
Your Instagram app
Content – Looking at your content analytics can show you what your audience likes to engage with most. You’ll want to look at different metrics depending on your business but in general, I recommend starting with Impressions (to find out why some of your posts were seen by more people), saves (to see what people want to remember – these can be transformed into great blog posts), and likes within 3 or 6 months to see what content your audience loves to see most.
Fun Tip: If you look at your TOP likes within the 2 year mark (you know, when the algorithm was a little better), click the top photos and go engage with the people that liked it. This brings them back to your account and pretty much guarantees more likes on your next photo.
Track your Followers, Reach & Impressions and stories with Iconosquare. I made a quick video tutorial here for you:
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Google Analytics is so important to setup so you can see where your website traffic is coming from. Head to Acquisition -> Social -> Overview to see what social channels are driving traffic.
Engagement matters more than follower count. Instagram releases your post to a small percent of your followers, if they engage with it then instagram knows it’s a good post and will share it with the second round of people. Now imagine if you have bots following your or people who are inactive or even brands that follow you. They will not engage which tells ig that your content isn’t relevant. It might look weird but removing your followers and pruning through them will actually help your brand grow in the long term. It also helps to monitor everyone that follows you, set aside sometime each week to go through them.
How to Spot Fake Followers:
- They usually follow more than 4000 people
- They might not have a profile image
- They have a lot of numbers in their usernames
- Many brands that are tacky also use bots
We hope these tips help you in 2020!
About the Author - Lorina Daiana
Lorina Daiana is a marketing expert who specializes on social media. She has over 6 years of experience working in Social Media and Digital Marketing and loves to share what she learned with people. She is also the founder of Grace Belle.