Growing Your Instagram Following
Individuals and entrepreneurs often struggle today to grow their brand on Instagram. Instagram is quickly becoming the key social media tool to build your brand. Unlike Facebook, many people use Instagram to follow brands just as much as they do to follow their friends, which creates a huge opportunity for companies trying to grow an Instagram following. Unfortunately, due to Instagram’s increasingly complex algorithm, it can be difficult to expand and reach new potential followers. Here are three effective practices to avoid the limits of the algorithm and grow your audience: comment and save pods, use Instagram influencers, and grow by following similar accounts.
Work With Groups
An innovative new way that Instagrammers have found to grow their accounts is to support each other through forming “comment and save pods.” “Pods” are direct message groups, in which members alert the rest of the group when they have posted. According to Mashable, “A pod is a family of dolphins who live together in harmony and support one another. The members of your pod become your Instagram family and work to support you as you grow your platform. Think of pods like a group of cheerleaders who help one another on Instagram through likes and meaningful comments.” Pods ensure a steady stream of comments and saves, which promote your posts on the Instagram algorithm. It makes your post more visible to your followers, as well as on the explore tab. This practice is commonly used by photographers; however, the practice can be beneficial to anyone. Unfortunately, Instagram has recently started deleting accounts which participate. In order to avoid this, form a group as usual, then turn on post notifications from users in the group. This way, you can comment and save as usual, but without violating Instagram’s terms.
How do you create a pod?
There are many ways to create a pod. You can use Facebook groups to organize similar accounts. Mashable also suggests, “Pods are formed by creating group messages of around 10 to 20 users, usually bloggers, influencers and content creators, with the occasional business in there too. Users are expected to follow one another in the group. Once that’s done, they send over a photo they’ve just posted so that other pod members can like and comment on it.”
An easy way to create one is to reach out to people with content similar to your own, as they will be more likely to join with a desire to spread their own content. This can also grow relationships with other influencers for future collaborations.
Instagram influencers are people who have developed their own personal brand and have established a large following. Influencers can be anyone from mommy bloggers to CEOs. In an effort to brand themselves and make their content more recognizable, many influencers use some sort of theme and color scheme. For instance, Olivia Poncelet (@oliviaponcelet) is a fashion blogger and wedding photographer whose feed is mostly pinks and other pastel colors. She has an even mix of self-portraits and lifestyle and travel photos that have a light and airy tone. Influencers like Olivia can be used in a variety of ways.
One of the most common ways is Instagram giveaways. A qualifier of the giveaways is always to follow all the accounts involved. More influencers involved means more followers. The only stigma is that if there are too many influencers involved, fewer people will have the patience to go through the process of entering. Another qualifier of most giveaways is to tag one to three friends in the comments. These friends will see the tag, and possibly enter themselves in the giveaway.
Another tactic for working with influencers is “Instagram Takeovers.” Influencers will alert their followers that they will be taking over another account for a short amount of time, usually a day. The followers then have the option to go to your account and follow their influencer’s work.
Follow More People
The last helpful technique to grow your following is to just spend time following other users. There are two techniques to grow your following: find and follow accounts similar to yours, and then find their followers. Engaging with these other accounts will create visibility for your page. The more other users see your comments, the more likely they are to follow your page. Writing relevant comments (not just “Good job!”) creates real value and make you look more genuine, which will draw people to your account. Another way to increase your audience is to follow others who are commenting and engaging with these similar accounts. Often, people will follow an account that follows them if they find the content interesting. If a person follows a self-help account, they might be interested in another self-help account.They probably won’t be interested in following a costume designer, though.
This is why it is essential that these followers be of similar accounts since it guarantees that they will have an interest in your content. There are many ways to find similar pages to follow. For example, you can search by hashtag to find and follow all the posts that use that tag. Another great way to find new content is to click on the little heart at the bottom of your screen that shows you who has liked your posts, then click “Following.” This will show you all the recent posts that your followers have liked. And finally, if you are really looking to scale and invest in a social media strategy for your company, you need a social listening tool like NUVI. This tool gives you the ability to track specific keywords and pull in all the public posts containing those keywords. In addition to keywords, you can monitor hashtags and specific usernames as well. From one screen, you can like and comment on these posts in real-time.
All of these techniques are great for growing your following, but everything boils down to engagement. The more followers who engage with your content, the more your content will be visible with the Instagram algorithm. Always gear your content toward your goal of selling your brand, whether to sell a product or to sell yourself.