Instagram: #Hacks to Grow your Following through Strategic Interaction
You have it downloaded, it’s pretty and glossy with nice filters, and you’re beginning to think you’re an insta(nt) sensation with your 11 like #average.
Take a moment to pause, check your Fitbit, and consider the bigger picture – Instagram is one of the fastest growing online social communities, and the platform just clocked in at over 400 million users.
Regardless of your industry, I can guarantee that the potential for your brand’s growth is ginormous. Stop paddling around and jump into the Olympic pool where over 1.2 billion likes (ahem…’interactions’) occur a day.
You’re going to be great, we promise.
HACK #1 Content Strategy
This is the fundamental hack we couldn’t avoid mentioning. It’s the bread and butter of your Instagram account, and if you’re doing it wrong, then the rest of my recommendations will be void…and that just goes against my productivity mantra.
Whether you’re the schedule-and-forget-about-it or the on-the-fly type, I encourage you to consider the following very basic points before posting:
- Does this image have a strong connection to my brand?
- Would I ‘like’ this image?
- What value am I providing by posting this image?
A key mistake we see time and time again is brand-washing. It’s okay to include your branding if it takes up less than 10% of the image, however, any more focused and an alert will sound off in the user’s head.
Focus on: personable, real-life, relatable, artistic
Avoid: logo, stock images, selling, overly serious tones
Not quite sure what this all means? The below side-by-side example of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream sums it up.
One of the Instagram images shows a mountainous bowl of ice cream with sharing spoons (#yum #foodporn #YASS). The other image feels slightly awkward, with a group of people in a circle appearing to be presenting the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream tubs to the Gods (#WTF).
The bowl of ice cream image received 70% more interaction than the unrelatable brand focussed image, within the same time frame.
Clearly, the proof is in the ice cream.
HACK #2 Follow, Like and Comment
There is a profound quote that goes along the lines of ‘what you give out you will receive back’.
If you’re not already, you need to apply this sentiment to Instagram.
By following, liking, and commenting on content in a similar subject area, you are opening up to other people who may stumble across the same post and see that your brand has commented.
Where liking another individual or brand’s image may get you a like or follow back from that one source, commenting gives your brand more exposure.
Think of it as…sitting in the right place at the right time.
But enough sitting around, you’re going to have to hit the ground running with this one. You need to be aggressive by first searching hashtags relevant to your brand, whether it be location, industry, or interest related, then complete your approach by following the below formula.
Search hashtags that are in line with your brand
Contevo’s Formula for Following, Liking and Commenting on Instagram
Unless you’re Gigi, Kim, Kylie or Kendall, it’s not enough to just put images up on Instagram 5 times weekly, you need to do more, you need to want to do more, and you need to understand that it’s for the greater health of your brand.
Think of it as a daily ‘brand workout’. This exercise will only take 45 minutes out of your day (or your assistant’s…).
20 Follows + 30 Likes + 20 Comments = 45 minutes output.
If you follow this successfully, you should experience an increase of at least 10% interaction within 1-3 days (#Winning).
Yes, it’s that simple.
HACK #3 Etiquette
There are a few ‘unspoken’ rules that I need to point out to you when it comes to Instagram, and I’m #sorrynotsorry if you’re already clued in on a few.
Just like the etiquette a parent may teach their child (i.e. wash your hands before eating, thank you and please, not to swear), there are a few etiquettes that specifically apply to Instagram.
When it comes to doing business on Instagram however, tips like ‘don’t use the Kelvin filter’ and ‘don’t post too many selfies’ just won’t cut it.
The team at Contevo have got together and come up with the top 11 unspoken rules that you need to know now.
See: Rule 4
Contevo’s 10 ‘Unspoken’ Rules For Instagram
- Do not like your own image
- Do not like images more than a month old (#stalker #creeper)
- Keep comments positive, short and sweet
- Do not comment or like an image with a conflicting interest area (I.e. If you’re a gourmet butcher, commenting ‘Yum’ on one of PETA’s images is not appropriate)
- Do not post controversial comments or opinions on your own Instagram account nor others
- Always credit someone’s image or art where credit is due, either by ‘regramming’ or mentioning their handle in the caption text
- Do not use more than 11 hashtags when captioning your image
- Never use low-quality hashtags such as #like4like #comment4comment #follow4follow
- Post on Saturday and Sunday (Instagram is open for business 24/7)
- Complete all the sections in your profile, including the very important URL field
See: Rules 3, 5, 6
The final sentiment I really want to send home is that there is no point in just reading this and doing it that one time.
You need to become an experienced ‘Instagrammer’. The more you use the platform, the better you will become.
Moreover, you need to understand that your efforts and overall communication on this platform is a direct reflection of your brand.
If you fail to follow a system and strategy and post poor-quality images with half-cut copy, you’re saying to the world:
‘Hey my name’s Flakey Jake and I didn’t get dressed up for the occasion, please don’t judge me.’
However, if you take it in your stride to improve things, stay consistent and produce some pretty fine #Instapics, the world will hear:
‘…*sizzle*…’ Because damn, you’re on fire!
There you have it, some simple hacks to fuel your
fire following. It’s time to belt-up, connect and engage because you’re on the road to success.
If you’re looking for a more detailed Instagram strategy, we would be happy to send something to you, just contact us here.