The Ultimate Instagram Growth Guide
Oh, hey guys! I'm finally back!
After being under the weather for what felt like forever, I can finally get back with you all and answer so many questions I've been getting. I sincerely appreciate the sweet emails I got making sure I was okay and I am now. I'm so thankful for such amazing doctors that figured out I had a failed Gallbladder. And, let me tell you, that is PAINFUL. But, now that I'm better I am so excited to bring some new content your way!
Today, I want to talk about growing your Instagram account organically. What does "organically" mean, you ask? Organically means NOT CHEATING. Okay..not entirely, but basically. Organic growth consists of truly working your heart out to grow your following, using your own carefully selected images, making sure what you say resonates with those you're attempting to grab the attention of, and sticking to a schedule. All growth shown from these things, should you stick to a strict routine, will be entirely organic. Now, say you go off and pay for followers - that isn't exactly organic, nor is it ethical (especially if you have a business or a blog.)
Please, hear me when I say this: do not ever purchase followers.
Do you know what happens when your purchase 10,000 followers? You end up with about 10 likes per post and people know you paid for all of your followers thus they don't really want to follow you nor do they care what you post because they feel like you're officially a fraud. Not to mention you're totally wasting your money.
So, since I've been seeing a ton of no-no's lately in the Instagram world, I wanted to dedicate this post to you: the ones who can't seem to grow their following no matter how hard they try.
And here we go!
1. Content is always your key.
What are you posting that selfie for when you own a clothing store? If you're posting it because you're showing off a pair of sunglasses you just got in the shop, then great! But, if you're posting it because you wanted to make a kiss face and say something random about life, you should consider deleting it immediately. Now, I'm all for connecting with your customers on a whole new level, but be weary of posting things that people just aren't coming to your Instagram account for.
My customers know they can find 3 things when they visit my Instagram account: light & colorful photos with exciting backdrops, funny sayings that are relatable to my target market, and new product images everyday that I've worked so hard on! And then there comes the voice behind it all. Are you speaking in "I" or "We?" Do you solely run your company and want that to be known or do you want to and give the illusion of a larger company? I've had people help me from time to time with my business but after a year of help and back and forth, I've decided I want it to be ONLY ME. Know why? Because my customers prefer it. I've found that they want to feel connected to someone (which is why I leave a hand written thank you note in every package!) If you're a larger company, you should mainly speak in "We" terms such as "We love this!"
For bloggers, the same thing goes & always stick to your guns! If you feel weary about posting a photo then don't. Nine times out of ten you'll know when a picture is perfect or not. Invest in creative backdrops & colorful poster boards for flat lays. Have a balance and an objective when it comes to what you want your Instagram profile to look like. If you're style is light and airy (aka girlie) you'll want your Instagram to convey that. If you wear pastels & light airy colors, keep your backdrops the same consistency. If you're a lover of black clothing and dark makeup, you'll then probably lean towards black backdrops or darker features.
And let me just say this: I have no issue when it comes to deleting photos that have failed me. Here I am..waiting for the likes and comments to roll in and they never. ever. come. Then, later on, I post a photo that really is more of my style and, looking at it from my full profile, realize it completely throws off the look of my entire page...it's getting deleted. I know some of you find that to be a big N-O but I would rather delete it then lose a potential customer because that one photo threw off the entire vibe of my business.
PLEASE do not post photos that have been reposted and have been altered so many times that they're blurry and pixelated. Try to find the original source.
2. Those quotes you always see...
Those quotes are beneficial, y'all! I mean I love a good laugh and I seriously chuckle to myself when I come up with some of them on my own but they are mainly two things: A: filler B: a way to get attention! Think I'm joking? Ask someone to tag their best friend next time you post a funny quote and watch the comments and follows start flying in!
I try to post something funny that my target market can relate to a few times a week and I always, always, always ask them to TAG their best friends, boyfriend, husband, mom, whoever the quote can relate to.
Giveaways are essential to growth in both blogging and business. Let me say that again. GIVEAWAYS ARE ESSENTIAL TO GROWTH. Okay, I think you heard me that time (hint,hint!)
When I first started my business, I jumped onto the loop giveaway bandwagon. A loop giveaway is a giveaway that is essentially a "loop" of accounts that you will have to follow to be entered into the giveaway. You'll be asked to follow whoever is next on the list, listed in the text, and continue doing so until you get back to the original instagram account you started with. Sometimes these loop giveaways are just too intense and get way out of hand. The first ones I was involved with had upwards of 15-20 accounts and I got a lot of negative comments about it. I totally get it, too. Who would want to spend their minutes following that many people only to not win (okay, maybe I'm the only one who never wins anything! haha!) Ain't nobody got time for that!
My suggestion is to start simple and host giveaways with bloggers and I recommend bloggers with good stats (upwards of 6000+ followers!) Then, when you've got a few thousand followers, host your own giveaways randomly throughout the week. Sometimes, if I'm feeling nice, I'll randomly do a giveaway for a $50 gift card or an item from the shop and I always have them tag up to 10 friends as one of the criteria to enter, along with following me of course.
4. Comment, Like, Comment
Do yourself a huge favor and look at #style on your Instagram (I'm assuming you're in some way related to style, if not then look up a hashtag that's relatable to your genre.) Now, double tap until your heart is full or your finger is tired - either way. You can also comment but please don't comment spammy things like "Style blog! Fashion tips here >>> @KaitlinFontenot!" Stick to things like "This is so cute! Love how you styled that!"
Dun, dun, dun.....the most hated thing in history of most Instagrammers! While many of you seem to hate following people to get followers, I've found it to be the most rewarding growth tool for me. Follow people who would be interested in what you're selling or discussing. That way, when they see someone followed them, they think to themselves "I wonder who that is!" and they go to your page. 99% of the time it works every time!
But please, be respectful, and do not steal customers from another business. If you see someone leave their email on an Instagram account of your competitor, please do not steal that email for your own spammy purposes. Thank you.
But in all reality, it's hard for people to just randomly find you unless they've A: been tagged by someone B: followed a loop giveaway C: found you through a hashtag D: are an existing customer and found your website via Google and then were led to your Instagram. So, sometimes it's an easy growth tool to follow people who may be interested in you or your business. What I suggest is:
If you want an app to manage it, consider CrowdFire! You can easily type in any account you want to look at and follow their followers at a limit of 100 per hour. Please, I beg of you, do not try and follow your competitions' followers. That's not nice.
6. Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
I saved the best for last! While I don't stick to a schedule for Instagram, I do have an idea laid out each day of what I need to be posting. I keep all holidays in mind and make sure I have an image or graphic ahead of time and ready to go. I'm sure some of you are shaking your head at my whole not sticking to a schedule thing, but I sincerely prefer it. For myself, personally, I am so much better thinking on my feet. I find that, in the past, when I've stuck to a schedule for social media it has never worked out.
I'm sure that for some people it's the total opposite but I have been doing Social Media Marketing for so long now it's almost like I'm programmed to know when I need to post (haha, so silly but so true!!) I like to post between 12:01PM-12:30PM and 5:45PM-8PM because my target market is not interested in anything early (my target market is 18-40 but my main customers are 18-24) because they are either in class, at work, or in bed still so I completely bypass early morning posts for the most part.
I keep my lunch time posts between 12:01-12:30 because through a lot of experimenting I've found that anything before or after is lacking with ROI. Anything from 12:30-5:40 is the same and very lackluster. I know that after 5:45 the majority of my customers are off work and on their phones. The sad world we live in, my followers are reallyyyy on their phones around dinnertime. Think of every single 18-24 year old girl you know and tell me the times she is mainly on her phone, and there you go.
Through experimentation, see what works best for you. Try different times throughout the day on different days for a few weeks and see how much feedback you get. Make notes of those times and the likes and comments versus other times on those days and be mindful that 12:00PM on a Monday is an entirely different ballgame that 12:00PM on a Thursday as crazy as it sounds! After a few weeks of trying different times for the days of the weeks, sit down and see which times for each days worked best! Then, use those times for each day.
I hope this helped you in some way or another and remember, growing your Instagram is not an overnight achievement so keep with it and your hard work will show!