If you’re looking to grow your business in 2020 whether you’re a blogger, an influencer, or a business, social media is a must. Social media connects you to your target audience and can help you grow exponentially. The sky really is the limit with all of the platforms available to us. You just need to know how to use them effectively.
This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. See my disclosure policy here.
For the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on Instagram. Let’s check out the ten best ways to grow your Instagram account!
Hashtags on Instagram are super important in the growth of your account because they get your content in front of your target audience. When you use hashtags, anyone who follows that hashtag can see your image. If they like what they see, they can tap on the image to access your account and see more of what you’re about. They can then choose to “Follow” your account.
The maximum amount of hashtags you can use in a single post is 30. The recommended amount is 18 to 30 to maximize the number of eyes on your content. You want to use a mixture of large, medium, and more niche hashtags for the best results.
Hashtags with 500,000 – 1 million followers are not going to be as effective because your content will be quickly replaced. Hashtags with 50,000 – 100,000 will get you a lot of views and your content will stay toward the top longer. Niche hashtags are small but you’re reaching your target audience. You need some of each to maximize your results.
You can find the number of people following a hashtag by searching the hashtag in your caption. However, I recommend putting your hashtags in your comments instead of leaving them in your caption for a cleaner look.
Especially when you’re first starting out, engagement is key. People won’t just come to you. Find your niche by searching popular hashtags and then ENGAGE. Engaging on other people’s accounts will get your name out there quicker.
According to the Instagram algorithm, it is best to leave a comment of four or more words, not counting emojis. And if they comment on your content, be sure to reply to the comment. Try to vary your replies and not just say, “Thanks!” on each one.
While you’re engaging, follow similar accounts that inspire you. A lot of times they’ll follow you back. I’ve found Instagram to be a very supportive platform!
3. Maximize Your Profile
If you’re a blogger or influencer, it’s best to use a headshot for your profile picture. People begin to feel like they know you when they can see what you look like, creating a more personal touch. If you’re a business, using your logo makes the most sense so people can get used to seeing your brand.
Your name is the only searchable part of your profile. Maximize this by using keywords from your niche so people can easily find you. I have a home decor account that focuses on our farmhouse style home renovations and DIYs so for my name I have “Modern Farmhouse Style and DIY”. This lets people know what my account is about and they’ll find it when they search keywords like “modern” and “farmhouse”.
My bio is where I put my name and personal details so people know who I am and what I’m sharing.
You’re only allowed one link in your profile. Since I have a blog and several other social media outlets, I use LinkTree . LinkTree is free to sign up for. They also have paid memberships so that you can have more customization, but I’ve found the free account works perfectly for me.
After creating an account, you’re able to add all of your accounts whether it’s a website, social media account like Pinterest or YouTube, etc. When people tap on your LinkTree link in your profile they’ll have the option to go to any of your accounts.
4. Hashtag Features
Many Instagrammers will do hashtag features. They will join with a few other accounts and create a hashtag and then encourage people to use the hashtag when posting their content.
For example, for the home decor community, a group may create a new hashtag like #farmhousestylekitchen. To play, you will be asked to follow each of the hashtag hosts, post a picture of your farmhouse style kitchen and use the hashtag. They will then choose their favorite and feature it in a post on their account. Depending on the size of the hosts’ accounts, you can reach thousands of potential followers and get your content out to a wider audience.
Once your account is more established you may want to join a host group or create your own to gain more followers as anyone who wants to participate has to follow you and the other hosts first.
5. Engagement Groups
Being part of an engagement group is very helpful in growing your account because you’re guaranteed a certain number of likes/comments/saves/shares. The Instagram algorithm pays attention to how many of each you receive when deciding how much your content gets viewed.
I’m part of four different engagement groups where we agree to either like, post a comment, save the image or send the image of each account and in turn they’ll do the same for you. Most of my groups top out at 30 accounts per engagement so that means I have the potential of receiving 120 (or more if they’re doing multiple engagements) actions on my post. This is in addition to other followers who just engage because they like my content. Instagram likes this and it will also catch the attention of brands.
6. Work with Brands
Once you’ve reached 2,000 or so followers (now you’re considered a micro-influencer), you start catching the attention of brands. Working with brands can seem intimidating at first but it’s actually really fun.
They may contact you through a direct message and ask if you’re interested in their product or you may choose to reach out to them if it’s someone you’re hoping to work with. Either way, you receive free or deeply discounted products in exchange for a post on your account. They also feature you on their account which gets your content out to their followers and can help grow your account.
If you’re looking at your account as an investment, giveaways in your niche work great to grow your account. I encourage you to stay in your niche because they’re more likely to continue following you when the giveaway is over if your content is something they were already interested in.
With giveaways, you join a group of accounts and pay a small fee that goes toward the prize. Popular giveaways in the home decor niche may feature a $500 Home Goods gift card with a cash payout option.
There’s usually an option for a regular or ghost spot. A regular spot costs less but you’re required to post about the giveaway a certain number of times and participate in the engagement. You can pay a little more for a ghost spot and not have to post. I do this when I know I won’t have time to do the required posts and engagement.
I usually participate in one giveaway a month but it’s totally up to you on how often you choose to do this depending on your budget and how quickly you’re wanting to grow. I usually gain 150-250 followers each time.
8. Use Stories
One of the quickest ways to grow your account right now is to use the stories feature. Stories are quick 15-second snippets that viewers can watch on your account. You can use it to feature other accounts, share a quick tip, show a product, etc. It’s another way to engage with your audience and other potential followers.
You can also do a live story or record yourself and then use an app like “Storeo” to break it up into 15-second segments for your viewers. Many influencers use this to share about products they’re promoting or projects they’re working on.
Stories last for 24 hours. If you want your followers to be able to access the story later, you can save it to your highlights.
Tailwind is a scheduling app for Instagram and Pinterest. It’s SO helpful because it allows you to schedule out your posts ahead of time. It will then automatically post for you on the selected day and time. This means I can schedule all of my posts for the week on Monday and be done. You’ll still need to engage but you don’t have to worry about coming up with content each day which saves time.
The Tailwind app also helps with hashtags. It keeps track of previously used hashtags so you can easily select them again. It also suggests new hashtags.
Tailwind codes each hashtag by color to help you choose a good variety. Dark green are “best,” light green are “good,” peach are “competitive, ” and gray are “niche.” The colors are based on how many followers each hashtag has.
You can try Tailwind free for 30 days through my affiliate link! Check it out here.
10. Support Others
That saying, “No man is an island,” applies here. Without the help of others, we can’t reach our full potential. Instagram is a very supportive platform so share each other’s work. Build relationships and post on their content. Share their content on your account and in your stories. Tag them in your posts. If you’ve taken time to build those relationships, they’ll be sure to return the favor and together you help each other grow.
Instagram: A Final Thought
There are so many different social media platforms to choose from these days. I originally started my Instagram account to grow my blog. It didn’t happen in the way I thought it would as far as bringing clicks to my site, but I met fellow bloggers on the platform that have helped me grow. We work together on group blog posts and when we need help troubleshooting a problem we know someone is there to help. It’s been so encouraging.
It’s also given me the opportunity to work with more brands. They see my content on Instagram and then usually end up checking out my blog, as well. This results in more collaborations which means more exposure for me not to mention free products or paid partnerships.
My goal this year for Instagram growth is to reach 10K+ and using these methods will help me get there quicker!
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