What I Learned About Instagram After Getting 2.2k Followers In A Month
I achieved 1,000 Instagram followers in a month…without spending a dime on ads.
I still remember uploading my first Instagram post and getting just fifty something likes. Most of them were actually a favour disguised as applause from close friends and acquaintances.
Fast forward to one month. My posts were not getting tons of likes and I was able to achieve staggering 1,000 followers.
For any new business, achieving this number in a month without an ad budget can do wonders. Especially if your business is based online.
Right now, I have over 2,000 Instagram followers and counting. I am hoping to get this to over 5k by the end of December.
My journey from 0 to 2.2k has taught me a lot. And I am sure what I learnt will be valuable for small businesses, young bloggers, and social influencers.
Before curating or creating content, it’s pre-requisite to know what your objective is?
Once you know the answer to this question, start with your content curation or creation.
One thing consistent with each insta-famous account is that they bring their A1 game when it comes to content.
This means no compromises when it comes to posting pictures.
You can’t post blurry, poor resolution images and expect to get tons of likes.
Also, it is advised to stick to a particular theme for your Instagram account.
For instance, if you want to put food pics on your account and share food recipes.
Your followers will have a clear understanding that food is the theme of your account, and they will expect accordingly.
But, when it comes to personal accounts it is very tough to get likes and follows due to unpredictable nature of such accounts.
2. Insta Handle and Display Picture
After taking care of the content, it’s time to revamp your Insta-handle and display picture.
Both these are very crucial when it comes to gaining likes or follows.
Most users will weigh your worth whether to like your pictures or whether to follow your account based on your creativity with the content; it’s uniqueness, your insta-handle and display picture.
When it comes to insta handle, it should be relevant to the theme or content of the account. Similarly, your display picture should also go with your account.
Take a look at this image see how the insta handle and display picture goes with the content.
This ultimately helps users in getting a clear picture of what your account is about.
3. Public Profile
Say you posted your content, changed your display picture and Instagram handle as suggested above but still you didn’t get any likes or any followers.
I’ll tell you why you forgot to make your profile public.When you make your profile public what happens is that people who stumble through your account can quickly go through your images and easily like or follow you.
But when you keep your profile private, interested users first have to send you a “follow” request then they can see your posts.
This turns off interested users who are intrigued by your insta handle or dp, but they first have to follow you to see your content.
So, don’t overlook this small but significant step.
4. Hashtag It!
You probably have heard about hashtags and maybe even used them in your posts. But do you know, hashtags can help you in getting tons of likes, comments and followers?
Using right combination of hashtags increases the outreach of your content among like-minded users. It also creates awareness about your page.
Use those hashtags which are popular and are trending. You can pick few popular hashtags from websta.me and use it to grab eyeballs and expand the reach of your post.
Make sure you only use those hashtags which are related to your content.
Also, while going for popular hashtags go for those who aren’t too popular or not popular at all. This way your posts won’t get lost in the sea of pictures.
Another great way to gain follows through hashtags is by creating your own witty or quirky hashtag and then promoting it through contests or giveaways.
This way you can ask people to like, follow or comment on your posts. Alluring them with giveaway prizes or featuring user generated content on your account.
Take a look at Starbucks Red Cup Campaign.
Here they used #RedCupContest and asked users to pose with Starbucks cup.
Isn’t it a clever way to sell your coffee?
Hot Tip: At present, Instagram allows only 30 hashtags. But you can use more by putting hashtags first in the comment and the remaining ones in the caption.
Engagement is very necessary to gain followers. If you are just uploading posts and not indulging with your audience then posting content is of no use.
If you are just uploading posts and not indulging with your audience then posting content is of no use.
Start by reaching back to users who have liked, commented or shared your post.
Like their posts, comment on them. This way you are making your users feel noticed.
They will feel good they were able to get your attention.
Another popular way to gain followers is by Shoutouts.
Shoutouts divert attention to a particular page.
What happens in a shoutout is that you post a screenshot of the account who posts content in your domain and has a large following.
Similarly, you can return the favour by asking your audience to follow that account.
In this way, potential and real followers from both the accounts get exchanged.
Another, sure shot way to gain follows is through tagging.
You can increase your follows, likes and comments by tagging accounts who have accounts similar to your theme.
While tagging keep in mind that they have huge Instagram following.
This way your posts will show up whenever users will be looking through their tagged pictures.
Here presentation means, the overall look of your insta profile.
Remember people engage with what pleases their eyes. So it’s essential to choose your presentation style.
Stick to a colour scheme. For instance, in the image below you can see a particular colour scheme going on throughout the account.
Once in a blue moon, it’s nice to divert from the colour scheme to keep the followers away from getting bored.
Image size also plays a very crucial role when it comes to Instagram.
Try to stick to one particular image size to ensure uniformity and reflect an organised outlook.
Tip: Try to post pictures in square and landscape format. They look more appealing.
7. Keep A Track
Tracking gives you insight into what is working for you and what isn’t. It is useful to know what mistakes you are making and how you can rectify them.
I use websta.me (it’s free) to get a complete analysis of my profile.
From this tool you will be able to know:
- What is the best time to post
- How many people followed/unfollowed you in a day
- What is your engagement rate
- Which posts are most liked/commented
- Which hashtags are most popular
There are many other popular Instagram tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Later, etc., which can be used to analyse your performance.
8. Know Your Users
Know what your users like and what they don’t. By examining your posts, you can easily see which type of posts users are indulging more with and which ones they aren’t.
If you get more likes on a beach picture, you posted compared to a cute picture of your cat. Post more beach pics and not cats.
Also, it is essential to acknowledge your followers and appreciate them.
For instance, if you reach your first 100 followers, upload an appreciation post and mention few users who interact the most with your account.
This way users will feel more involved with you.
9. Don’t Overindulge
Don’t drive users away by posting too many posts in one go. Your followers will lose interest and won’t engage at all with your content.
Try to share 1-3 posts in a day. This way you won’t clog your followers feed and maintain their interest. It is also fine if you don’t post anything at all once in awhile.
Hot tip: Try to sketch out a schedule as you can post on Mon-Wed-Fri. This way users will be waiting for your posts.
10. Sharing Is Caring
Sharing is a necessity.
Link your various social media profiles with Instagram so that when you upload a post on insta, it is shared on all your profiles.
The key benefit here is that the post which you shared on Insta brings you follows from (say) Facebook who may have never stumble through your profile on Instagram.
Also, in your Insta bio, you have the option to add a URL. For instance, you are a writer, and you can put purchase link of your book in this space.
This way you can generate sales from insta also.
Patience is the Key
Give time to things to roll out. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Instagram is like a vast ocean in which endless fishermen are trying to catch maximum fish. And as you all know, fishing demands patience.