Increasing your following organically is a long, arduous process. It’s not necessarily “challenging”, but you have to work for it. There is no magic bullet to gaining followers other than having an influencer tell their following to follow your account. That’s like winning the Instagram lottery. It’s not a viable solution for success.
- 1 So what should you do instead of “buying followers”?
- 2 Content Creation
- 3 Hashtags
- 4 Identify & Follow GOOD Accounts.
So what should you do instead of “buying followers”?
Set Up Your Account Properly
- Figure out your niche and STICK TO IT. The more focused it is, the better chance you’ll have of developing a following.
- Fill out your profile completely. If you have a blog, add the website. Use emojis (sparingly) to accent the description.
- Post GREAT content. No blurry, boring, or poorly composed photos. If you post great content, you will build a following.
- Post great content CONSISTENTLY. It doesn’t generally make a difference on the off chance that you post once per day or twelve times each day. Just be consistent. I’d suggest 3–4 times per day until you build up your following. You don’t want to spam your followers’ feeds.
- Utilize stories effectively. The fastest way to get someone to swipe off your story is to make it boring. Think of it as the B team to your posts. You post your best posts in your gallery. The photos and videos that you post in your stories should speak to your gallery. They should support it by following a similar theme.
- Use the location tag in your posts. This will help other users or people to easily find your profile when searching for the same/similar locations.
- Tag brands, organizations, and other accounts that are RELEVANT to your post. If I’m running a travel-specific account, it doesn’t make much sense to tag Good Housekeeping-type, does it?
- Give your captions PERSONALITY! Make your captions interesting. The photograph will catch their eye, the inscription will catch their heart (as it were). You want to build a following of engaged followers. Captions are how you speak to them. If you’re just mentioning the place you’re at and the camera you used, they’ll lose interest quickly.
- Include a Call to Action (CTA) in your posts. A CTA tells your followers to do something (i.e. perform an action). People are used to being told what to do; so this is a surprisingly effective technique. Depending on your caption, CTAs can be put at the beginning or end of it. You can use multiple CTAs, but they need to make sense or it’ll come across as spammy like a late-night infomercial.
Without hashtags, no one is going to discover your photographs other than your present adherents. The battle with hashtags is that they’re effectively misjudged by such a significant number of IG clients.
- Utilize a blend of hashtags to contact more individuals who will be keen on following your record.
- Broad Appeal – these are the big ones that will reach more people, but not as likely to turn into clients/followers as below (use #s that are between 150k-250k uses)
- Niche Appeal – the sweet zone, these will achieve a variety of individuals with normal outcomes (50k-150k uses)
- Highly Specific Appeal – will reach a good number of people, but more likely to be converted (15k-50k uses)
You can use up to 30 hashtags, just do so wisely with a good mix of the above. Using a bunch of #love or #travel that have like 100M uses will get your photos lost on those explore pages almost instantly. On the other hand, utilizing an excessive number of exceedingly explicit will leave you pitch to excessively little of a group of people.
Identify & Follow GOOD Accounts.
Use New hashtags to find other accounts in your niche and try to get them to follow you. Once you’ve identified an account that is relevant and “might” follow you back, use the following points to determine whether or not it’s a GOOD account for you to follow.
Have under 5-10k followers
- They’re likely to be trying to build their following
- As accounts get more followers, they’re less likely to follow back (i.e. The Rock)
- If you don’t have posted several days or weeks without posting, don’t bother
- If If you don’t have posted in the past month, don’t bother
Follow a reasonable number of accounts
- This varies by size – smaller accounts are easy to target to just starting out will likely be following more accounts than who have followers
- For larger accounts, look for ones that follow about 25-50% of their follower count
- For small-scale accounts, look for ones that follow about 50-200% of their follower count
- For very small accounts, look for ones that simply don’t look absurd (i.e. 50 followers and follow 2,000 accounts)
- Example 1: Accounts that have 3,000 followers and follow 3,000+ accounts aren’t necessarily highly engaged accounts — they are likely just the follow-for-follow type of account
- Example 2: Accounts that have 1,000 followers and follow 200 accounts are unlikely to follow back because they’re either elitist (want to keep their number very low to look desirable) or simply want to keep their feed uncluttered and are very picky with who they choose to follow
- Example 3: Accounts that have 200 followers and follow 450 accounts are likely trying to build their following and are good accounts to target
Engage with their followers
- Look at the comment section on a few accounts and see if they respond to comments
- No responses = not an engaged account and are unlikely to engage with you
- Consistent Responses = a highly engaging account
Post good content
- If you don’t like the content they post, don’t follow the account
- If the photos are bad, don’t follow the account — you don’t need blurry, poorly composed photos
- clogging up your feed
Comment on 1-3 posts
- Ideally, you’d comment on the most recent post, but that’s not always the case
- Make your comments insightful, not just “amazing shot” or “love this” or a bunch of emojis
- DON’T ask them to check out your profile and/or follow you…that just reeks of desperation
- You want to create a conversation, not a one-and-done statement
- Ask a question about the image or caption
- Share a personal connection to the post
Follow the account!
DO NOT, FOLLOW-UNFOLLOW. That’s a shitty tactic that people use to keep their follower or the following ratio down and it’s not a good practice. If, over time, the account becomes one that posts content you’re no longer interested in, then go ahead an unfollow. Also, you can do Advertise On Instagram to increase more followers easily.
Everything I just mentioned is a good way to get you started. Without putting in the work, you won’t build a following. As Instagram evolves, you need to evolve with it. Good luck!
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