This is the 1 million dollar question everyone wonders. I have grown several instagram accounts above the famous 10K followers milestones in less than a year and worked with Instagram for the past 3 years as the main promotional channel for my business. Today, I can say that I know enough about Instagram to tell you a few tips to grow your following. However, I’d like to highlight that you do not need thousands of followers to earn a living on Instagram. Focus on the quality, rather than the quantity. That being said, in my opinion, growing a following on Instagram lays on 5 pillars:
Content is THE most important aspect of Instagram. It needs to be tailored to your ideal audience. So before even posting your first photo on Instagram, make sure to first define your ideal audience or niche.
Who do you want to promote your content to?
Do you like to travel and want to share your travel tips and hacks? Do you like fashion and would like to inspire people how to dress better? Or maybe you are into fitness and would like to use Instagram as an accountable platform to do your fitness challenge?
Instagram is a visual platform where everyone posts photos and videos on daily basis, and in order to catch people’s attention, your content not only needs to be of good quality but also have a purpose.
Do not post just for the sake of posting. Post to encourage your audience to take an action.
How to make sure that your content is relevant?
Identify what problem your niche is facing, find the solutions and promote them. Also, make sure that your first 9 photos show who you are and what you do as it will be the first thing people will see once they land on your profile.
And finally, create a boss bio! Fix your bio before your feed! Your bio is like your business card, in a few words it needs to describe, who you are, what you do and what you offer.
Once the content sorted it is time to go to step 2.
In order to get loyal fans and followers, you will need to be consistent.
No one ever became successful overnight. It takes time and practice. Repetition is key to learn a new skill. And posting consistently will bring you 3 things:
Loyal fans — by posting consistently, you will gain brand awareness. People will start expecting your post as if they are waiting for their favorite TV show new episode to air. You will then be able to notice who your loyal fans are and start engaging with them.
Better engagement — Engagement is the golden key to get noticed on Instagram. If you want your post to be ranked among the top 9, you need a great engagement rate. The engagement rate is the percentage of followers or viewers that engage with your posts. Generally, if you want to calculate your average engagement rate for Instagram, you would divide the number of likes and comments by your follower count, which will give you a percentage. The higher it gets, the better.
Generate leads — By posting regularly, you will be not only be able to reach your fans but also people who do not yet follow you. Tell yourself that every post you post has the potential to bring a new customer to your profile and to your website if you have a link in your bio.
On Instagram, as all social media platforms, your content has a very limited lifespan. The good news though is that the lifespan of posts on Instagram lasts longer than other social media platforms. The average Instagram content lifespan is 48 hours, during which time most posts receive 75 percent of their total comments.
So, if you have not yet migrated your account to a business account and are running a business, what are you waiting for?
The main benefit of having a business account is that you get insights directly from the Instagram application. No need to use a third party platform. Thanks to the insights you will be able to know exactly what posts your audience like the most.
Know who they are and at what time they are the most active so that you can tailor made the content for them and post it at the right time to get the most engagement as possible on your posts.
Knowing your analytics will allow you to have a content marketing plan, rather than shooting in the dark and hoping for the best.
Consider hashtags as your SEO for website. This is what will allow your to get discovered. Instagram allows you to post up to 30 hashtags per post. And despite what many people online says, using them all won’t affect your account and won’t make you look spammy. There is no official communication made by Instagram that using 30 hashtags could affect your reach in a bad way. So use them ALL!!!
The second thing you need to do is to use targeted hashtags that match with your brand and the content you are posting. Using hashtags with a smaller reach, say 10K to 50K will allow your content to live longer and reach more people rather than going for the most famous one that reach millions of people. Your content would just die in matter of seconds and no body will see your posts. So focus on niche hashtags related to your brand.
The third thing is that if you want to keep a “clean look”, you can post your hashtags in the first comment section of your post. Your post will still be posted to each one of these hashtags like if it was directly posted in the captions of your post.
Despite how much you are trying to convince yourself that you can do it all on your own. You can’t! We cannot be great at everything.
Therefore, it is important to be surrounded with the people that can complement your skills. Same thing applies for Instagram, if you want to reach a bigger audience, you need to work with similar people working in your niche with whom you can do collaboration and cross-post content on each other’s account to reach your respective audience.
Not only collaboration will help you to network with like-minded people and open you new doors for your business but this will help you gain more brand credibility and more interest so that people come and visit your profile.
Also, engage with the content of your followers and top influencers you follow. This is a great way to build connections.
Instagram is, in my opinion, the best platform to run a business nowadays, if you know how to leverage it the right way, and is accessible to anyone for free!
It takes time and practice to setup a marketing plan but once you know your target market and know what content to post, it will become easier.
Many people nowadays make a living from Instagram either by promoting their own products or services by driving traffic to their websites or just promote brands products as brand ambassadors. Instagram has opened new doors to creating new online careers.
If you are interested in learning more about Instagram and how to monetise it, I created an online course called “The Instapreneur Academy” that breaks down everything you need to know to create, set up and scale up your business on Instagram to start earning a living out of it.
What about you? What other tips would you give to someone willing to grow their Instagram following?