With the recent updates to Instagram and being able to follow hashtags, it’s become even more important to follow by your interest demographics. Besides Sendible mentioned down below, you can also use a stream in Hootsuite to make comments easily within the stream and even “heart” the posts, as well. Hootsuite is definitely more price-point savvy for beginner users, and I would recommend that one for ease of use in getting going.
Besides capturing amazing pictures that create a theme, it’s simply important to be social and comment on others’ posts, as well, without spamming their photos with your services. Make your comments genuine and authentic. Be appreciative of their work and effort and you may just see some improvement in your Instagram follower count.
If you feel like Instagram is where your audience primarily resides, then by all means put in the effort to establish a following. Some people make the mistake of following a bunch of people in the hopes that they’ll follow back. This only works to a certain degree and isn’t what I would consider a long-term strategy.
Instagram has an element of social-ness to it, so it’s important for you (and others) to remain social and engage. Others will appreciate the effort, and you will, too, once those comments and hearts start rolling in.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned while building my own Instagram account.
- Use Instagram stories – specifically ones that are animated.
- Don’t buy followers – Instagram cares about your engagement rate and will bury your posts if you buy followers. They don’t benefit you anyway, and are just ghost accounts, so why even bother?
- Create a theme and a pattern for your images
- Curate your posts based on your interests and those your followers would be interested in.
- Comment on others’ posts daily. Not just sporadically.
- Make an effort to comment 25-30 images at a time to break up your quota in a given day. It’s really simple and easy to do once you get the hang of it.
- Ask to reshare and tag people.
- Stay positive.
- Research hashtags and avoid ones that are in the millions – use niche hashtags to truly find your following, and comment on those instead.
- Stop worrying about trying to be an influencer before you learn how to walk on two feet on Instagram. And for Pete’s sake, don’t put yourself into debt just to reflect you have a fabulous life. It’s SOOOOO not worth it.
If you’re feeling like your engagement rate is low simply because of a bunch of ghost accounts following you, here’s an app I recommend to get rid of and block the ghosts: Cleaner for IG. Trust me, you’re better off having fewer followers and a higher engagement rate than a ton of them that never comment because they’re not “vested” in you.
Using a combination of automation and a hashtag search, you can easily get 200+ people to follow your Instagram account.
Here’s the catch: you’d have to do this Every. Single. Day.
Now. What I typically do is just keep things automated using my Sendible account that auto likes and auto follows/unfollows accounts based on pre-defined settings (hashtags, content, etc.). But if you want an extra boost to get things moving, here’s what you need to do. It’s perfect for boring days when you have nothing else better to do or are putzing around Instagram.
- Set up your Sendible account (PS – you get a free month trial and 10% off your first month when you use my discount code). After hooking up your Instagram account in services, add the service “Instagram Automation” under the yellow Apps menu. Then follow the form instructions (super easy) and choose a hashtag your account is most affiliated with and click save. Under their trial, you can have up to 5 Instagram automation settings (unless they’ve changed things without notifying me – gasp!). You’ll see grow within 24-48 hours. Be sure to select the unfollow option so you don’t mess up your Instagram account.
- Do a search for hashtags your account is most affiliated with. Find 50-70 pictures that are deserving of praise and commenting and write some genuine comments on them. You’ll find gratitude from the account owner on most occasions with a follow. Don’t just leave emoji comments or “Cool”. Genuine comments that actually help them are more than 7 words long. They’ll appreciate it. This will take you about 2 hours of time.
I recommend step 2 ONLY if you have the time to do it and are really doing a push of a product or signup. If you’re like me, a super busy person who needs 8 arms and hands just to make coffee in the morning and are surrounded by loud little people (children), then step 1 is definitely more of a long-term solution for you. But popping onto Instagram 1-2 times a month to give shout-outs is definitely recommended, and something I do when I have genuine time to do it.
Happy growing, my friends! If you want more information on how to grow an authentic Instagram account, I recommend the following reading:
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