I know, I know, we all want to know how to get instagram followers FAST! That's why we're all on the popular social media platform, right?
As small business owners, we rely on instagram to connect with the world and showcase our work online.
But understanding instagram and actually getting traction from it can feel like a real challenge sometimes. Who's with me on that?
I've read blogs, watched youtube videos and listened to a number of podcasts and through avid trial and error of my own, I've found 5 common things that we all do thinking we're being strategic when in reality - we might be hurting our instagram image.
So here are the secrets I guarantee you knew nothing about to seriously boost your instagram game!
1) FOCUS ON ENGAGEMENT (not followers)
You might be rolling your eyes right around now, but trust me, when you refocus your strategy by boosting your engagement instead of obsessing over the number of followers you have, you're doing yourself a gigantic favour.
The instagram algorithm rewards accounts with high engagement, which means it will push your content out to non-followers.
Your engagement is waaaaay more important because through high engagement, you'll actually get followers.
When your audience is engaged and active with your content, it is significantly easier to convert those followers into actual paying customers or clients.
Having an engaged audience means that you have a raving fan base and a step closer to developing your very own tribe and community.
Think about it this way, would you rather have 1,000 fake friends or 20 genuine ones?
That's exactly what your instagram strategy needs to look like.
2) SHOUT OUTS WON'T GET YOU FOLLOWERS
Believe me on this one! Shout outs (even from huge accounts) won't necessarily get you a flood of followers.
I've gotten shout outs and mentions from instagram accounts who've had very big followings like:
Indian Wedding Buzz (501k followers)
Toronto International Film Festival - TIFF (100k followers)
Hubspot (101k followers)
Shaadi Wish (69.9k followers)
Henna by Divya (315k followers)
Honey Book (41.9k followers)
Jasmine Star (247k followers)
Natalie Franke (60.6k followers)
And while it's amazing exposure, it only ends up getting me 3 - 4 followers from each account.
Shout outs is only good for awareness, but there's no guarantee in getting you a stream of followers.
It's a passive approach and not as effective as you think. Which reverts back to having your focus be on boosting your engagement since it's way more promising.
3) INTERACT WITH HASHTAGS (to boost followers)
When you're engaging and active on instagram yourself, you're increasing the chances of gaining followers and leaving a much stronger impression.
The best and most effective way to do this, is scan through specific hashtags and interact with them to seriously boost your followers.
I've found that when I leave a genuine comment or interact with a hashtag myself, so many more people check out my profile.
This strategy works wonders and becomes a subtle window of invitation for people who aren't following you.
4) STOP USING POPULAR HASHTAGS
Don't worry, I used to be a victim of this crime myself. The thing is, when you're using insanely popular hashtags, your post or photo will actually get buried within seconds.
Popular hashtags are a sure way for your content to not get found.
5) INSERTING BREAKS IN YOUR CAPTIONS
Captions are extremely under-utilized. And for those who end up writing long caption posts are doing a major "design crime" by not breaking it up in paragraphs.
When you fail to break your caption in separate paragraphs, it's like telling your viewer to skip through your post and move on to the next one.
People are on instagram to mindlessly scroll through, so having one block of text is not going to grab their attention by any means.
Instead break it up so it's visually pleasing to the eye and becomes much more inviting, like this image...
The bad news is instagram doesn't allow you to do that when you directly post through the app.
The good news though is that if you're an iPhone user simply...
Write your caption in your notes
Copy-paste it into your photo
And that's it! Your space breaks will appear
Instagram is an amazing social and visual platform and acts as a remarkable tool to showcase your work online. However, we need to be much more mindful of our approach. Sitting idly by waiting for the followers to stream in won't get you far.
Instead, you should be interacting, liking, commenting and engaging yourself to create a two flow of communication and invite more people to have a look at your page.
Make sure to break up your captions in paragraphs and create a compelling story to match with your photo - because people are so much more drawn towards a visual story than a stand alone photo.