(Photo: By Victor Hanacek on picjumbo)
Instagram is my jam! I LOVE love love Instgram. Plus, I’ve gotten rather good at it in a short period of time. So, today, my loves, I’m giving you some of my secrets! I’m going to tell you just how I grew my Instagram following by over 5,000 in 6 months.
Make a Killer First Impression
Your bio is so important. When I was first growing my Instagram account it was to inspire people and teach others how to rock at Instagram. So, my bio reflected that. Also, make sure your profile is public. Nothing deters people from following you more than having a private Instagram. Below you can see the evolution of my bio.
- Tell people who you are.
- Tell people what you do.
- Use Emojis to draw attention to your call to action….which is to get people to click your link.
- Do not ramble about everything in a paragraph. Space it out into smaller sentences.
- Or, keep it super simple (see far right). When I use a call to action in my posts I get *about* as much traffic to my site as I did when I had the Emoji arrows and hands. BUT, I do have a larger following now.
- Have a good domain name, not a Bitly or other shortened URL. People want to know where they’re going…shortened URLs scare people off.
- Make sure your profile is consistent with your branding online.
Post Often & Consistently
Post 3 – 5 times per day! Start with posting 3 – 5 times per day at consistent times of the day for 2 – 3 weeks, then change up your posting times for 2 – 3 weeks and compare. How, you ask? Well, let me introduce you to Iconosquare, my absolute favorite 3rd party tool for Instagram.
Once you have registered you can now optimize your postings by clicking “STATISTICS” and then “Optimization”. You will then get this cool graph that shows both your posting habits compared to when your posts are being viewed. I post most between 7:45-8:15am CST daily and then again whenever I feel like it.
But, if I were to optimize even more to drive engagement I really should get better at posting Monday around 10pm, Friday around 10am, Saturday around 8pm, and Sunday around 6pm. I’ll add that to my list :)
Create Unique & Original Photos
While I’d love to just post amazing photos day in and day out, I won’t lie, my days are rather boring, I don’t take the best pictures (I’m practicing!) and what I really love sharing are quotes, bits of inspiration, tips, and images I’ve created. You know what though, that’s totally ok.
Find your posting style and embrace it! Make your posts speak to who you are, the message you want to bring your audience, make it beautiful, make it share-able and make it stand out!
Add Call to Actions
Not only should you have your call to action in your bio but you should be using them in your posts, too. Are you sharing about your latest blog post? At the end of your description say “click the link in my bio to read this post now” or “head to beinspiredcreative.com now to check it out”. Also, after you post I have a tip top secret on how to add a call to action to the TOP of your post.
After you’ve posted, go back and edit, then click on the top where it says “Add location…”. You can type ANYTHING you want right here and it will show up at the top of the post.
Post things like “Double tap & tag a friend”, “Follow me for more inspiring posts”, “Head to the blog for this post”, etc.
#Hashtags Are Your Friends
In the world of Instagram hashtags are the be-all and end-all of driving traffic to your posts. Seriously. Unless you have a huge following established online and all you need to do is post over on Facebook or your blog that you’re now on Instagram then boom! that generates 5,000+ followers, you’ll need to use hashtags.
Let’s talk strategy. Do. Your. Research. You should have a niche figured out by now so sit down and think of, say, 10 keywords that are hot in that niche. Got them? Ok, head over to my favorite place, Iconosquare, login and right next to your profile picture search for your keywords.
This is where it gets cool. It’s kind of like Google Keyword Research where it gives you other ideas that contain your keyword. Click through these and you can see posts that have used this hashtag.
If it seems like this would be a good place for your style of post make a note of it. Get specific and do not go for the heavily saturated hashtags. Go for the hashtags that are fairly active (under the couple million mark is good). Do not use a hashtag that is so active that in 2 minutes your post will be hundreds or thousands deep into the hashtag (IE: #love, #instagood, #me, #follow, #tagforlikes, etc.).
Where You Should Put #Hashtags
Ok, you have an amazing picture you’re going to share, you’ve made a killer description and posted… oh crap, you forgot the hashtags! It’s cool, no worries. The best place to put all your hashtags is in the first comment right after you post. That way, when people are skimming through there isn’t this huge description with umpteen hashtags, it’s just a nice description with some comments under it and the more comments you get the further up your hashtag comment will go so you might not even see it.
(Photo: By Victor Hanacek on picjumbo, http://goo.gl/m4BcUg)
*BONUS* #Hashtag Tips
Add your hashtag comment immediately after posting. You used to be able to add hashtags to old posts and/or switch out hashtags and your post will be up at the top of the hashtag search. But, Instagram now sorts hashtags based on when the photo was posted, NOT when the hashtag was added.
The best way to keep your hashtags organized so you can have specific hashtags for specific style posts use TagsForLike (iPhone) or InstaHelper (Android). You can create handy lists of hashtags that you can copy and paste right into your comment!
15 second videos are an easy way to give your audience a peek into your personality and they’re really popular on Instagram. I love posting Instagram tips (#sarainstatip) as videos and I get a lot of engagement from them. https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/hphotos-xaf1/t50.2886-16/10911111_320511638158292_310904888_n.mp4 Best time to post video? After 8pm CST and always hashtag #video. It seems to help me get lots of fun traffic and engagement :)
Spread the Instagram Love
Like and comment on posts of your followers AND non-followers. To find new non-followers spend 10-20 minutes a day and go to the hashtags you post in your comments section, click through to get to the hashtag posts and go through and leave some insta-love on posts that you like!
Take another 5-10 minutes a day to reciprocate the love that you’ve received on your posts! Did someone Repost one of your posts? Go say thanks, give them a high five and go leave some love on their other posts. Did someone leave you a comment, go say hi, thank you, you’re awesome, etc.
Use the Repost App (iPhone/Android) to… you guessed it, Repost some cool Instagram posts. Not only does this give back to the original user who posted by putting their profile picture, their name, and their description and hashtags – it also counts as a post by you! So, it’s a win-win. They get some love, you get some love, everyone gets some love.
Above all, remember, this is another social media platform so we need to get social, people!