You CAN grow on Instagram as long as you put time and effort into it. Hello, my name is Mahe. Starting a new Instagram account and growing it from scratch is fun and exciting, but at the same time, quite hard and challenging. But I want you to grow on Instagram so let me give you some tips.
KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
First, before you post anything on Instagram or if you have posted already, that’s okay, just take a step back and KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. Who are you making the content for in the first place? Who do you want to influence or help or entertain? If you need to, write it all down. As weird as it might seem, the more things you can think about, the more details you have about that ideal follower, you will get them as a follower.
You need to have a clear idea of who your ideal follower is. How old are they? Where do they live? What do they like? Why and how do they use Instagram? Do they post on Instagram? Don’t target everyone and anyone because you won’t get anywhere. Even if you do happen to get on the Explore Page or rank in hashtags and people check out your profile, if your posts aren’t clear about what you offer and if your Bio doesn’t state how you can help people, those people won’t follow you.
Yes, the more accounts you reach, the more followers you can get in theory, but if they’re not your ideal audience, they probably won’t engage on your content and if you don’t get engagement, it’s hard to grow on Instagram. Once you know your ideal audience, you will know what sort of content they want from you and what they enjoy looking at hence you can create that, they will see value in it and engage on it, Instagram will push it out to more people and the cycle goes on and on.
DO YOUR COMPETITIVE RESEARCH
How are they using the platform? What sort of posts are they sharing? How are people reacting to that content?
Once you know what’s working for them, you need to level up and be better than them in one way or another, so you can stand out on Instagram. If you don’t sprinkle an extra factor, you won’t be able to even compete with them. Don’t copy, just be inspired. Make sure there’s “you” in each post. Keep it original.
DECIDE YOUR CONTENT TYPES
Portraits? Flatlays? Product Shots? Quotes? What are you going to share on a regular basis? Single images? Carousels? Videos? Reels?
The colors you want to use and the fonts you want to use. Once you figure them out, you can stick to that and have a branding so people can identify your content when they see it and you will also know how many pieces of that content you need to make. It’s all about planning. I use an app called “Grid” and I have a preview of what my feed will look like. You don’t need to obsess about the “perfect” grid but if you plan it ahead, it is easier to maintain.
HAVE A THEME
I was going to say niche down because I do really believe that on Instagram. But, I think “theme” or “focus” is a better word. You need to tell Instagram what you offer and what you specialize in, otherwise Instagram won’t know who to show your content to. For example, let’s say you have “makeup reviews” in your Bio.
You post about makeup one day, but then, you post about your dogs the next day, your children the next day, what you eat in a day the next day, your outfit the next day, Instagram will get confused. They won’t be able to figure out that you’re a makeup account because you post about so many things. They won’t know who the right audience is and as a result, they won’t show your content to a lot of people because it’s not a safe bet for them.
Instagram won’t be able to benefit from you. Instagram is really smart and they collect data from the actual visual, the captions you write, the hashtags you use, absolutely everything. They try to push your content out to people who they think will enjoy your content so make it easy for Instagram to categorize you.
Because if you do, Instagram will push your content out to new people. Even if you have a small account, they will push you. So help them do that. Also, in my opinion, YouTube is a long form content platform so people are willing to spend longer on a video. But Instagram, is for “instant glam” and people want to consume a lot but in less time Basically you need to grab someone’s attention quickly.
I think people want instant satisfaction or knowledge or emotion from Instagram so the more focused you are on one topic, I believe that you can grab and hold someone’s attention. And, personality is sometimes hard to see on Instagram Account. But if the visuals are pleasing, people will stop and look, hopefully look at more of your content, read your captions and find out what sort of person you are. Once they find a connection with you, they will more likely follow you. If there’s no theme when people come across your profile page, it’s hard for them to decide if they like your content or not. And if they don’t like it, they won’t follow you.
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To grow an organic following, you need a decent number of content on your feed. People will look at your feed and decide if they want to follow you. So, let me ask you a question. How many people have you actually followed when that person only had 3 posts? Probably not a lot. In my opinion, you need at least 9 to 12 posts.
Basically when someone lands on your profile, 9 to 12 posts will take up the screen. If you’re not filling the whole screen with your content, you are wasting space. You want to show people what you can provide. And to have 9 to 12 posts, you need to decide on a posting schedule. Up until you post the 12 posts, I advise you to post everyday. After you have 12 posts on your feed, then go with a more feasible schedule. If you can, try to post 2 to 3 times a week so you can get in front of people so they don’t forget about you.
And to post with that schedule, you need to plan things ahead, basically batch content. If you keep creating the content on the day that you post it, it will be difficult for you to keep posting. You might think that it would only take a few minutes but it will actually take more and that time, should be spent on other things which I will talk about later on.
OPTIMIZE YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT
- Username:- Make it easy for people to remember and make it obvious what your account is about. Try not to include underscores or too many numbers. Don’t make it look spammy or like a bot.
- Your profile picture:- If you don’t mind putting your face out, make it your face. It’s easier for people to connect with. If you’re not that comfortable, it doesn’t have to be your whole face. Logos are fine, just make it pop and eye catching. And always use your original content. Never use celebrities or anime characters because it’s not you and because it doesn’t belong to you.
- Your display name:- This is searchable so have keywords in it. Let people find you in search.
- Your Bio:- You have 4 lines you can use in your Bio before people have to hit see more so make the most of it. Make it clear who you are and what you do. Give people a reason to follow you.
When you are still new on Instagram, nobody knows you, Instagram doesn’t know you. So you have to keep showing up and tell people that you’re posting. And when you post, you need to tell people that you’ve posted. Keep posting, like have a portfolio so when people do land on your feed, they can tell what your account is about. Also, when your latest post is recent, people tend to follow you.
When you are still new, again, nobody knows you. Even if you post a really good piece of content, you just posting, isn’t enough. People won’t find you, you have to find them. You need an audience that would respond to your content when you post. So be the one to follow, be the one to like, be the one to comment, be the one to respond to Stories, BUT please, do it genuinely. ONLY do it because you actually enjoy their content, NOT because you want them to engage back.
Most of them will probably follow back and like back but don’t let that be your main goal. Your main goal is to engage with the content you enjoy. Just try to help people in your way and build a relationship. Once you get comments on your posts, reply to every single one. People still don’t do it and I really don’t understand but if someone took the time to comment, the least you can do is acknowledge it and reply. You really should prioritize replying back to comments.
POST FOR THEM
When you try to give value, when you try to help people, when you think about the people who are your audience and you create content for them, that’s when you will see growth and engagement. If it’s all about you, people get tired. There needs to be something in it for them. Be relatable, share a tip, include call to actions. Try to involve them in some way. When you post, you should be proud of it, it can be for your own satisfaction but always ask yourself.
Will people benefit from seeing the post? Is it helpful or motivating? Is it aesthetically pleasing or breathtaking? Is it fun or knowledgeable? Will people get value out of it? Yes you can post what you want and have fun but if that’s all you post, people will get bored of you. You just need to understand that if people don’t see something that benefits them, they won’t stay. If you want growth, it can’t just be about what you want to post. There needs to be a balance. Once you start building a community and people want to see that content, then post more of it.
BE ON ANOTHER PLATFORM
You shouldn’t rely on just one platform. You don’t need to be on every single platform but I believe that you should be on at least 2 platforms. This way, you can navigate your audience from each platform. Also, if one platform crashes, you sort of have a backup platform so you can still connect with your audience. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket is what I’m trying to say.
It has definitely become harder to grow organically on Instagram these days but it’s not impossible, you just need to give it time and effort. Be patient because it’s a long journey but enjoy the process and don’t give up!