Have you recently noticed a decrease in engagement on your Instagram account? It might be time to vary your strategy. Every once in a while, Instagram adjusts its algorithm to improve the user experience, and it often means businesses have to change their strategies to stay relevant.
If you’ve been stuck using the same strategy for your Instagram account, switch things up. Here are some unique, but highly effective account growth tips to apply now.
1. Use Automation
Rapid engagement is the goal for more Instagrammers. However, most business owners don’t have the time needed to organically grow their Instagram accounts quickly. That’s where automation comes in. You can use an Instagram bot like SocialCaptain to create engagement for you.
Automation should be used as a supplement to your regular engagement, not a replacement. You’re busy, but you can still make a good impression on users by liking and commenting on photos during the few minutes per day you’re online.
“My rule of thumb is that, when I’m scrolling through my news feed, I’ll like every photo (unless it truly offends me) – why should I be stingy with my likes? And if a photo catches my eye and makes me stop for a second, I’ll leave a comment,” says the mommy blogger of Happy Grey Lucky, pointing out that sometimes simple engagement is all it takes to make a long-lasting impression on clients.
2. Create a Good Hashtag
Hashtags are one of the best methods for building a community of Instagram followers. They make your content searchable while helping you communicate with a consistent voice and branding. You can use as many hashtags as you like, whether in the post itself or in the comments, to increase consumers’ ability to find your content through search.
If you want to speed up that growth further, create a unique hashtag, one that’s not already being used. Use it for your posts and then ask your followers to use the hashtag on relevant photos as well.
“Once people start using your hashtag (and YOU use it, too!), then you can repost images from your followers (giving them proper credit, of course!),” says Melyssa Griffin. “Not only does this build community by showing your followers that you appreciate their photos, but it also gives you content for your own account.”
Since user-generated content builds incredible engagement, this is another way that you’re going to naturally grow your Instagram account.
You could also try a hashtag exchange with an influencer or another Instagrammer in a related niche. You’ll use their hashtag and they’ll use yours, so you can both grow off each other’s audiences.
3. Use Instagram Stories Highlights
Instagram recently released an update to their platform called Instagram Stories. It’s like the feature on Snapchat that allows users to post a quick video or image highlight with captions. You can also do surveys and other interactive content to get followers to your page.
“You can think of Instagram Stories Highlights like a movie trailer for your Instagram feed,” says Benjamin Chacon of Later. “They’re a creative way to express yourself, show off products, drive traffic, or market your business!”
Instagram Stories highlights can be posted as regular posts or as advertisements. If you’re trying to maximize your Instagram advertising campaign, this is one of the most effective placements on the platform.
Instagram actually updated their algorithm earlier this year to prioritize businesses that use Instagram Stories, so if you haven’t been using it and have noticed a drop in engagement, that’s probably the reason.
4. Get on a Content Schedule
A 2017 study examined the key components of rapid Instagram account growth. They studied more than 100,000 Instagram posts for the space of three months. In that time, Instagram handles that posted regularly (at least once per day) saw an increased rate of engagement as well as a higher rate of followers.
A content schedule is designed to help you grow your content at a steady pace. It’s not always quick, but you’ll see a significant jump in followers as soon as you start posting regularly, aiming for when your users are online.
This is another instance in which automation comes in handy. You can use Instagram tools to schedule content for you so that you don’t have to hop on the platform at the same time as your users.
5. Have Instagram Contents
People love free stuff, and offering it is a great way to get your brand in front of your targeted audience. Contests motivate greater engagement and potential followers, and if you can sustain high quality content that your users love after it’s over, your brand engagement will skyrocket.
Contests happen all the time, and you don’t have to be super creative to get people on board, but it helps. The most important thing is to offer free prizes that your target audience will find useful or worthwhile. Otherwise, you’ll never gain engagement.
“You can get as creative as you want with your contest ideas,” says Shane Barker of Medium. “You could ask users to repost an image that you have posted previously. Along with it, ask them to mention your Instagram handle in the caption section to increase visibility.”
Barker also advises the use of hashtags that will make your contest searchable and help further the reach of your brand.
6. Have a User-Generated Content Strategy
As mentioned previously, user-generated content is one of the best strategies for creating engagement. Oftentimes, you’ll gain a rapid following as well as consumers that share with their friends and connect you with people you might not have found otherwise. Even more than that, it increases the likelihood that a follower will become a customer.
Buffer says that their user-generated content strategy was key in growing their content at the beginning. They grew almost 400 percent in a year thanks to the content they elicited from their users.
“The easiest way to think about user-generated content is this: brands taking the best-of-the-best user content from around the web and featuring it on their own social media or other platforms while giving credit to the original creator,” Courtney Seiter of Buffer said.
User-generated content, hashtags, a content schedule, and the other metrics you choose to employ will all contribute to greater branding and a better overall consumer impression. It’s the key to success in growth and consistency for your social media efforts.