Do you want to hear some GOOD NEWS regarding INSTAGRAM?
The numbers game on the world’s most famous picture sharing platform does not matter anymore.
GONE ARE THE DAYS were only those who had a massive following could profit from being an Instagram content creator. Now people with as little as 5k (or even 1k) can already start making money from the world’s most famous picture-sharing platform. YAYYY!
No, I am not kidding, guys! The trick to working with brands and getting the most out of Instagram is (you probably guessed it): ENGAGEMENT.
Truth be told, nowadays brands could not care less if you have 100k followers if your engagement is subpar.
Influencers that create an active community of followers and of people who stop to listen and interact are the ones making the most money online.
If you think about it, with so many automation tools such as bots and having the possibility to buy followers and likes, it has become quite ‘’easy’’ to buy your way into Instagram ‘’success’’.
(and it is also fairly easy to see when someone has bought followers).
As an example, if anyone has a following of say, 50k and that person doesn’t have much more than around 100 likes and 2 comments, you can most probably assume they took the easy way in (‘’shame, shame, shame…’’ – Sorry, irresistible Game of Thrones pun here).
Trust me: If we can easily perceive who is buying followers + likes, so can the brands you want to work with.
Sooo, if you are looking into making Instagram your long-term business, than it is crucial that you see each and every one of your followers as an opportunity to build a real relationship.
What I mean is, it is much better to 1,000 faithful followers that LOVE what you do, than having 10k that couldn’t care less about who you are.
I haven’t used bots, but I know there are so many people who follow me in the hops that I will follow them back, but they never actually engage with any of my posts.
That is why every now and then I go in a follower deleting spree (yepp, I actually remove followers who don’t engage much, just because I know that by having them there my engagement with other people will drop). Might as well get them out.
Numbers definitely fluff our egos (it hurts when we post a picture that we love and we don’t have the amount of likes we would have hoped). However, having alone a high follower number does not fill your pockets (at least not if you cheat your way in). You’ll be only fooling yourself in the end…
To finalize, by having people ghosting around your feed without really engaging or interacting with what you post, will do more damage than good to your brand (as this will most definitely hurt your outreach).
So with no further ado, here are the 5 things I did to GROW my Instagram ORGANICALLY from 0 to 5k FAST!
1.I CHANGED MY INSTAGRAM NAME AND BIO
I see a lot of people overlook this when starting out, or just filling it with fluff such as song lyrics (hey, if you plan show a screenshot of my own) –
Boost your actual NAME on ig to optimize your SEO and be more easily found by others who don’t know you (yet). So instead of putting only your name, write what you are about. This means that whenever people are looking for anything in particular in their Instagram search, you will be sure to pop up (insert screenshot)
Ideally, I would love mine to be able to say ‘’travel content creator and digital growth strategist’’ but the 30-character limits does not facilitate the message I am trying to send.
This is your space to tell the world what you are about.
If you look purely at my Instagram pictures one might think my focus is only about posting beautiful pictures of my travels around the world. Even though that is what the base of my Instagram account is, it is just a very small part of what I actually do (and plan on doing in the long-term, for that matter).
As you guys may know by now, La Belle Society is a community that inspires people to live the life they’ve always dreamed of (be it traveling the world, staying home with your kids, not having a boss creating your online business…).
So in that little space that Instagram provides us, I try to put as much relevant information as I possibly can to help my followers understand what they can expect from me.
Ahhh! And don’t worry too much if you are not sure what exactly to write in there yet, or even how to define yourself for the time being (believe me, I understand HOW HARD this can be). However, I will once again say the rule number one of succeeding online: You simply have to START!
ACTION ITEM: Go to you Instagram now and complete your profile. I will be here waiting for you in the next step.
2. I STARTED WRITING CAPTIONS THAT CONVERTED
It is very tempting to only leave a song lyrics, or an emoji that represents what you want to say. Yes, a good picture is what will make someone stop and check out your profile. But having a strong caption is what showcases your personality and makes you memorable.
Think of it as a dating analogy: Someone’s looks might be what initially attracts you, but if the moment they open their mouth they are void in in any type of personality, than you will probably lose interest at some point.
However, on the other hand, if someone cracks you up with jokes, or keeps you hooked with interesting facts, then you will undoubtedly not only stay to listen to what that person has to say, but you will most definitely remember that person in the future.
If you are aiming to create your own personal brand, keep in mind that you need to connect to your audience in some way and that people only buy from who they trust.
As an example, if you ever check my own captions in my own Instagram you will quickly notice how often I mention Cris, my boyfriend, or something unpleasant that happened to us during one of our travels (such as getting an 800 eur fine for speeding in Iceland).
By showing personal stories (and even vulnerabilities), I become more relatable and tangible to my followers. I want them to identify with me and to have faith in me.
See below an example of a long caption of mine and how good the engagement was. Within this post, I shared how stupid Cris and I had been to walk (and jog) in the rain under heavy wind to get to a certain location, and then we discovered there was a shuttle service that could have taken us in 5 minutes.
People went crazy for this story. Not only was it funny, but it gave a valuable tip about Iceland that many people appreciated knowing. You can see in the comment sections in the screenshots below some examples of how people were engaging with this post. I couldn’t be happier!
I treat my Instagram account as a micro blog, and this has sparked a lot of 1-1 conversations since I started doing this, and I measure my success on Instagram as the amount of private conversations and DMs I have with others.
The people who are engaging with you privately are actually your WARMEST leads
In order to get to that point though, I had to write vulnerable captions so that my followers can identify and relate to me
Having micro-blog captions are the way to go. Yes, not everyone will resonate with what you are saying (and sadly, not everyone will read your extensive captions), but the people who do will become your strongest clients (and even friends).
So with that, I would like to inform you about the ‘KLT Approach
KNOW, LIKE AND TRUST
- You want people to KNOW who you are
- You want them to LIKE what you are about
- Lastly, you want them to TRUST you
This is SO important in creating a sales funnel and to create a community of like-minded people.
ACTION ITEM: Think about what you are doing to establish Know, Like and Trust to your personal brand and start applying them TODAY.
KEEP IN MIND TO BE:
- Relatable (tap into emotions)
- Educational / helpful
Try to keep them interested in what is coming next. Give them a teaser, a promise about something coming up in the future (and be sure to ALWAYS DELIVER THAT PROMISE).
Nothing loses credibility faster that over-promising and not delivering. It will RUIN your brand.[mailerlite_form form_id=6]
3. I STARTED DOING HASHTAG RESEARCH
I see this SO MANY TIMES. It is hard to believe people in 2019 don’t know how to use properly their hashtags.
Yes, I know, only the word ‘hashtag’ can make a lot of people cringe.
However, if you’re serious about growing your Instagram, you definitely DON’T want to skip out on using EVERY ONE OF THE 30 hashtags that you can possibly insert. This will give your post maximum reach.
And so, the beautiful day comes that you finally decided that you will insert some hashtags in your life and you go about in your next post inserting hashtags such as #love or #nature….
In all honestly, I am truly sorry to inform you, but you might as well not insert any hashtags at all. What I mean is that these hashtags have been literally been used MILLIONS of times by MILLIONS of people around the world.
Chances of you being discovered in the news feed are almost zero.
That is why your aim is to come up with long tailed hashtags, that have been used (ideally) less than 1 million times.
Hashtags allow people to find you and to increase your reach. The problem is that people use very broad hashtags. I guarantee you that by the time you post it you will disappear from the explore page in about seconds.
In order for you to have some direction, here is a helpful rule of thumb for hashtag sizes:
VERY Small (super niched) = UNDER < 50K
Small (niched) = UNDER < 100K
Medium = UNDER < 500K
Large = Anything over 500K
How to research your hashtags using Instagram?
Go to the explore part of Instagram and type in a hashtag related to something you want to post. This will give you the number of posts to this hashtag (see below when I typed in #visiticeland I got a rsult that 435k people used that one, which is still a bit high for me).
Instagram then suggests a few hashtags on the related topic below the one you searched. Click on these one by and until you find something more suitable to your size.
I myself would be happy using either one of the below options (the last one being the most niched, as it doesn’t even have 100k posts yet).
Pro Tip: I would suggest to mix up you hashtag sizes to small to medium, within your niche and even though this might take some work, but I promise you it will be SO WORTHY.
Focus your effort on 80% to small to medium sized tags. Those are the more niche ones, and where the loyal communities can be found inside.
More importantly, this also increases the chance that you remain on that explore page for much longer, rather than using a broader hashtag.
Action Item: Go to Instagram now and start your hashtag research. Find hashtags tailored to your niche and audience size. Combine small and medium hashtags (80%) and broader hashtags (20%) for a perfect outreach combo.
4. I BEGAN ALTERNATING MY HASHTAGS
A big, massive, HUGE mistake I keep on seeing all the time is people using the same hashtags over and over and oooover again.
The issue is, if you keep using it too often in a row, IG will probably see you as a spammer and you risk being flagged in their system.
This might reduce the chances that you are found on the feed for your followers (ahem, shadowbanned).
Takeaway: Rotate the hashtags you are using every time.
Action Item: Create a system where you can insert your previously researched hashtags all in one place, but DON’T copy and paste them every time you make a post (remember you want to keep things rotating so you are not marked as an Instagram spammer).
This can be done in your notes section in your phone (or an excel if you post from your computer). Separate them in different groups and mix them up as you go.
As an example, I create groups on 1) different locations, 2) on branded hashtags, 3) on niched hashtags, and so on.
When I am ready to post, I am always sure to mix them up to create a unique group of 30 hashtags to post that day.
5. I FINALLY STARTED ENGAGING MORE
The last and final tip is about community engagement.
I know it is so dreadful, because it takes so much time and energy. But keep in mind that if you want to grow organically in Instagram, you absolutely MUST engage.
Reason 1) Algorithm – The more that people engage with you, if you take time to engage and give back with others during your day, that will show Instagram that is the content that they want to see and that will increase the chances of that post appearing on your feed.
Reason 2) Increase Your Reach – The more you actually interact with other people, especially if they aren’t following you yet, that will increase your reach organically, and people will be curious about you and will want to check your page out.
Careful, this is the part where a lot of people buy bots. But be warned that bots comments are very obvious and whoever notices it will probably lose respect towards your account.
Follow key hashtags that are in your niche.
This will allow posts to appear on your feed, even from people that you don’t follow.
Not only does this make it much easier to engage, as you don’t need to actively go out there and look for people, it is also a lot more enjoyable to interact with new people, since you are already scrolling through your feed anyway.
Below are two random screenshots I took from my feed to showcase some posts that appear to my newsfeed from hashtags I follow.
Because I follow hashtags that are relevant to my niche, a select few posts will automatically appear on my news feed. This makes it a HELL of a lot easier to find NEW people to engage with that currently AREN’T following me.
Did you enjoy this post? Discover more ways on how to grow your Instagram organically with the below posts:
Coming up this week: WHY your Instagram is NOT GROWING