Ya’ll it’s hard.
I’ll give that to you right up front and center. Literally! Instagram is not only the HOTTEST platform right now but its also become one of the HARDEST to grow on. I honestly am shaking my head writing this line because I don’t get it either. I’m not sure WHY Zuck is trying to make it so hard for creators to get their content seen. I can’t tell you why nor am I even going to try and figure it out. Instead, I am going to give you MY tips on how I have grown on Instagram despite the algorithm!
Focus on your theme
(P.S This is the PREVIEW App, @previewapp on Instagram. They are amazing!)
I honestly was posting once a week. MAYBE twice a week if I was like feeling good. I was getting average likes and comments, nothing crazy though. I was focusing on my e-course so I didn’t really think that Instagram was really that important but oh was I wrong.
If your interested in knowing more about my course you can check out my post here!
It wasn’t until I took more pictures for Instagram and actually challenged myself to post every day that I realized two things. I hadn’t grown in four months and my content wasn’t good. The individual pictures themselves were good but not the actual theme.
My advice to you if you are struggling with growing on Instagram is to start with your theme. Your individual pictures but ALSO your overall theme. Don’t forget that part. (I won’t go to into themes because I have a whole post about it!)
Want to seriously up your Instagram Game? Check out my Instagram Girl Boss eBook that shows you the ins and outs of Instagram as well as how to grow your account! You also have access to a list of over 3000 hashtags that I compiled for you to help you grow!
Post as much as you can
The next thing I suggest doing is challenging yourself to POST EVERY DAY. Maybe not on Sundays if those are your lowest engagement days but do your best to post every single day. You will be so surprised how much this helps your engagement and how many people will find you if you are posting at the same times every day!
Later you will see how I track my posts, but I challenged myself to post every day (except Sundays) for 30 days. With that, I decided to track my posts too!
This is so important I put it twice. Engage on your posts. Engage on other’s posts. Engage on hashtags. Engage on accounts like yours. ENGAGE. The reason why I say this is because not only will it help you grow, but it will also help your engagement rate go up.
ALWAYS reply to every comment you get on your posts. It helps your engagement rate, helps you grow and tells Instagram your active. YOU NEED TO DO THIS.
Go through hashtags you post in and like peoples photos, if the photo looks good to you, go to their account and like some more of their photos. If you love their account, comment and follow them! Most of the time you will just get likes, sometimes a comment back. Sometimes you will get follows back or sometimes you may get followers that you didn’t follow first! ENGAGE PLEASE
I wanted to share this tip here even though I have a whole post on how to raise your engagement rate on Instagram (you can see it here) but make sure you are liking and commenting on the posts from people you are following. I know that seems weird. But you really really need to be doing this.
The algorithm will start showing them more of YOUR content because YOU are engaging with theirs. I promise this will help you.
To share how much these tips have helped me, I went from posting at 12 PM when I first started this posting everyday challenge to getting maybe 10-15 likes in the first hour… Now, three and a half weeks in, I’m getting anywhere from 40 in the first HALF HOUR! Yeah… I’ve come a long way from those 10 likes in the first hour.
I went from getting 60-70 overall likes on posts to now over 150 –200 likes. I am getting comments from my followers! Something I NEVER thought was possible. I say my followers because obviously, I get comments from my friends, but I am talking about actual comments from people who just want to engage with me!
My engagement rate has skyrocketed and it’s all because I am engaging with my audience and others that I follow!
It. Is. Impossible. To. Grow. Without. Hashtags. Please don’t make me say it louder. If you are not using hashtags. Please just start using them today. You may be saying, “I use hashtags, but I honestly don’t know what I am doing.” Or, “I use hashtags, but they aren’t doing anything for me!”
Hashtags don’t have to be hard to use. You just have to put the TIME into finding them. You can use Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder, Preview’s Hashtag Finder or even just search for hashtags on your own. Do a mixture of them from super large hashtags to really small. Super large is anywhere in the millions, and really small is in the 10k region or even smaller.
USE ALL 30 HASHTAGS PLEASE. There was a little while where I was very much misled, and I feel so ashamed for just believing someone I didn’t know; however, you should be using all 30. Don’t go over 30 but use all 30. I will be making a how to find Instagram hashtags post soon but to get started, go through hashtags and start with ‘lifestyleblogger’ and just work your way from there! Try and search hashtags that work for you and your content and if they exist use them.
Facebook groups have gotten such a bad rap because of all the like for like and comment for comment stuff. I have met some of the best people from Facebook groups
Before you attack me, let me explain.
I am talking about the Facebook groups that allow you to participate in follow threads but DO NOT REQUIRE YOU to follow everyone. Aka, you go through and follow who you would like, and they can follow back if they like you.
Like I mentioned, I have met some of my FAVORITE people that genuinely engage in my content in those groups. They aren’t all bad. One that I am talking about specifically is Instagram Influencers. I encourage you to check it out! Participate in a follow Friday thread and meet some people that GENUINELY want to engage with you.
Just like Facebook groups, Engagement pods have the same bad rap if not worse. THEY AREN’T ALL BAD. I have met some of my best friends. My GIRL GANG through these pods.
Again, before you attack me, let me explain.
I’m not talking about the Telegram pods that have 1000 people in them that drop their post and say Dx24. I’m not talking about like for like or comment for comment pods. I’m talking about meeting some girls, enjoying their content and wanting to beat the algorithm together. I’m talking about 10-15 girls in a group that ask questions and chat and love talking to each other and getting each other’s opinions about things. I’m talking about my blogger/Instagram GIRL GANG. These ladies have helped me grow, helped me pick my posts, helped me get collaborations, helped me in so many ways I can’t even explain or thank them enough for.
They aren’t all bad…
Stop listening to the rumors about Instagram shutting you down if you join an Instagram pod. Stop listening to the people saying brands won’t work with you. It’s not an engagement pod if they are your friends. I genuinely enjoy EVERY. SINGLE. PERSONS. CONTENT that I comment and like on the daily. Every single one of my comments are authentic. I read every caption that I comment on. I don’t participate in engagement pods. I participate in Girl Gangs and I comment and like on my FRIENDS photos.
TRACK your posts
Tracking your posts is a must. I highly recommend it. It’s a lot of work but it is soooo helpful. Not just for growing purposes but for YOU purposes. You are able to see where you started and how far you have come.
So, I mentioned above that I challenged myself to post every single day for 30 days except on Sundays, right? Here is how I set it up:
|Post||Likes Day 1||Comments Day 1||Likes Day 2||Comments Day 2||Engagement Rate Day 1||Engagement Rate Day 2||Notes|
This is how I would set it up, but I actually went for three days of likes and comments and four days of engagement rates. I would also take my overall engagement rate from InfluencerMarketingHub and track that by the week.
The first day I started, I got 105 likes, but it was a picture of me which always does well. The next day I got 70…
Three and a half weeks later, I am getting 146 and 166 likes…
I now realize that I made it all the way here and didn’t even tell you how much I have grown! I started at 1800 where I had been for about four months. Now, three and a half weeks in, I am now at 2224 followers. For me, this number of followers has seemed like a blessing because I stayed at 1800 for so long. It’s not a crazy amount like 10k or anything but it takes time to grow on Instagram and you really need to work at it! My goal is to hit 5k by January this year, but I am also currently going through and getting rid of the inactive accounts because while that makes me stay at the follower count I have and doesn’t allow me to grow as much, It helps my engagement rate and helps other followers see my content! The pros outweigh the cons!
It would have been a lot harder for me to track this stuff if it wasn’t for me keeping note myself. I know it seems like a lot of work and I get it I really do but at the same time, I learned SO much about my engagement rate, my audience and how Instagram works from tracking.
*****If you have any questions about setting up a tracking spreadsheet, please shoot me a message on Instagram here and I will help you in every way I can!******
Don’t be afraid to follow people back
I know the whole following to follower ratio is important to brands so it’s important to you. However, do not be afraid to follow people back! Following people back allows you to grow. This doesn’t mean to follow everyone back but if someone follows you and you like their content, give them a follow back and engage in their content a little!
Don’t be afraid to follow people either. That is how you GROW!
THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP OF ALL
Please. Please. Please have fun with your account. There are so many girls I know that are struggling with their Instagram and its because they are posting content for their followers. Don’t post content for them, post content for you. That you love. Make it a creative outlet for YOU!
It can be hard, but I promise you that it’s extremely important to focus on you instead of your followers. You can’t please everyone, but you can please yourself!
If these tips helped you, let me know! I love hearing that they did! Also, please give me a follow on Insta and follow along with me on my journey to 5k!
If you really want to up your Instagram game, you can check out my Instagram Girl Boss eBook that tells you everything you need to know about Instagram! From growing your account to getting paid for working with brands, it is all there! Also, I have compiled a list of over 3000 Instagram Hashtags that you can use to grow your account! For a limited time, get the whole package for just $15 with code BOSS15!