If you’re new to Instagram, it can be super overwhelming. Luckily, I know someone who can help! My friend Megan of Nana’s Shabby Attic gave me some amazing Instagram advice, and best of all, she gave me permission to share it here on my blog!
“Why should we listen to Megan?” You may ask. Well, Megan made learning Instagram her mission, and grew her followers organically. In one month, she was able to gain 3,500 Instagram Followers.
LET ME REPEAT THAT.
ONE MONTH, YOU GUYS.
So pull up a chair and grab your notepads, because Megan allowed me to condense her nuggets of gold exclusively for my amazing blog readers.
Harness the Power of Hash Tags
- If you have under 500 followers:
- Use hashtags that have between 5,000 – 20,000 posts (the number will appear next to your hashtag as you’re typing it). This will help you get seen and possibly get to the top of the hashtag category.
- If you have 1,000 followers, look for Hashtags within the 15,000 – 50,000 post range.
- Check the strength of your hashtags with apps such as Tailwind App, Hashtagger, or TagsforLikes
- You can use up to 30 hashtags on a post – USE THEM ALL. Using them all means that’s 30 different ways for potential customers to find you.
Converse with your Followers through Comments
When you’re a smaller account, it’s important to build relationships. Due to the Instagram Algorithm, you can post all day but it won’t get you new followers if you’re not engaging with them. Expand on the comments they post; ask questions back. Ask the Audience is a perfect way to get your audience talking to not just you, but your other followers, too.
Megan reports gaining sales and shop visits from the posts where people literally talked back and forth with each other most of the day.
It’s Not About Followers; It’s About Engagement
Organic followers aren’t really organic if they’re not interacting. And if you’re not engaging with them, chances are they’re going to get bored and go elsewhere to get their social fix.
So include stories about yourself, ask your audience questions, get their opinion; in short, talk to them and get to know them! 🙂
And while a high number of followers might look impressive, Instagram doesn’t really care if your followers aren’t social.
Megan reports that when you see accounts with 4,000 followers and 3,800 likes on their photo, that’s purchased likes. It’s nearly impossible to pull that off in Instagram.
Follow Back Your Followers… With A Few Rules
Follow back the legitimate followers that you’ll enjoy. For me, I follow back all of my followers (because most of them are awesome Handmade Sellers and a lot of fun to get to know).
But do this with a few caveats. Follow accounts that:
- Don’t have an out-of-whack follower count (they have 20,000 followers but are only following 200 people)
- You’ll genuinely enjoy following – the point is to engage after all!
- Aren’t just out for more followers and they share similar interests with you and your brand (for example: a social media growth account is something I wouldn’t follow back because I’m pretty sure they’re just going to unfollow me anyway, and they don’t really fit into my brand).
Don’t Play the Follow/UnFollow Game
I’m sure it’s happened to you; an account follows you, and then just as soon as you click the follow button (or maybe a couple days after) they unfollow you. So what are these people doing? They’re trying to inflate their follower numbers. And really they just look like the biggest, most uncaring jerks in the process.
The Follow/Unfollow game only causes hurt feelings and it’s a complete waste of time. Especially if the people they’re following then quickly unfollowing have an app to trac this. I IMMEDIATELY unfollow these opportunistic individuals and never look back.
You absolutely don’t want your brand to be seen as one that’s simply trying to build their numbers as quickly as possible. What you’re really trying to do is build relationships with your customers and do it organically.
Unfollow those who Unfollow You
Sadly, those people are no longer engaging with you and are definitely missing out on how awesome you are. It’s just not worth it to you or your brand to invest in people who don’t want to engage with you.
So how do you keep track of this? There are several apps to track follows and unfollows, such as Followers.
Consistent Growth is Important
To gain consistent growth, you should on a daily basis follow at least 20% of the people who follow you (if you gain 10 new followers, follow 2). If you go higher than that number, Instagram’s Algorithm can perceive it as spam.
So whether you’re an Etsy Seller, a Handmade at Amazon Artisan, or on a stand alone platform, these are tips that anyone can use!
Your Turn! Are you using these techniques already? How do you engage with your Instagram audience?