It’s another Blogtober post today with the theme of EDUCATION, I use this theme lightly in todays post to help teach you all something you might want to learn. As before these themes are part of the prompts from Hex Mum Blogs Blogtober17 challenge which I am currently participating in. There are loads of other bloggers taking part so go check out her blog and see what everyone else is up to.
Back in July I decided to set myself the challenge of becoming more consistent on Instagram to try and increase my followers and interactivity. I love instagram but I have found it one of the hardest to grow and most time consuming of all the social media networks. I started July with around 1600 followers, I had been at this figure skirting up and down around 30 followers for around 6 months and it was annoying me a little. So I had read and read every guide I could find out there on how to grow you Instagram organically and decided July would be the month I start putting some of the tips into action and dedicate July to being Instagram month. My goal was simply to reach 5K by Christmas, I think setting yourself small manageable goals is a great way to motivate yourself to keep going and keep to a plan.
Here is a list of top instagram tips that I implemented to grow my instagram from 1.6K to 10K in just 3 months!
Be Consistent – I set myself the challenge of posting just 1 great shot every day throughout July. I decided 1 great high quality image a day taken from my camera would be better than 3 or 4 lower quality on the spot photos taken on my phone (I still used the odd phone shot but most were off my camera and edited on the computer). Being consistent and posting everyday means people started to expect new images daily from me, and I was ranking on hashtag top 9s every day and people begin to notice you. Some people chose to post more than once a day but personally I thought I was more likely to be consistent if I just stuck to 1 a day.
Curate your feed/Quality over Quantity – Post good quality, interesting photos. If it’s blurry, dark, just not that interesting, don’t bother posting it. If people find your feed because they found a single image they like, then they look at your feed and see lots of low quality images they aren’t interested in they won’t subscribe. Quality images have way more power over a large quantity of images. Your aim is to be noticed quickly and stand out images will be the clear and interesting ones.
Define Your Niche – As with all brand marketing (and that really is what your Instagram is, your marketing a brand, whether its you personally, your blog, a physical product, etc) you need to know your target market. Now this was something I honestly struggled with as I don’t feel like I had a niche as such, and I son’t see a filter or specific edit style as a niche, the content of the images is what is important, but the more I thought about it the more I realised that parenting and Elian really is my niche. I rarely post photos of my food, selfies of me or things like make-up, there is the odd shot obviously, but the majority are Elian and parenting type stuff.
Interact! – Like, Comment, follow (if you are genuinely interested!) Now this is a vital part and sadly the time consuming part. You need to be interacting, liking and commenting on other peoples images. Sometimes I comment on around 100 a day and like around 500! Sometimes more, just depends on the spare time I have on my hands. To get noticed by others you sometimes need to put in the effort. If you see a random photo on a hashtag you like you might like it but your less likely to visit the profile. But if someone has liked some of your images, commented on one or 2 and maybe even followed you then you are most likely to go check them out just to see what their feed is like.
Plus one of the key things with instagrams algorithm is that the more interactions you get on your image within the first few hours the more authority instagram gives your image so the more feeds you will be shown in and the higher up the hashtags rank you will be. The aim is to get your image into the top 9 of a hashtag, as that is when it will get seen by the most people. I hope that makes sense! Thats why its super important just after posting an image that you go and interact with lots of images and accounts. The easiest way to do this is to use some of the hashtags you have used on your image. Click through a few of the hashtags you have used, and like and comment on a batch of images, I usually do the top 9 then around 10-15 of the feed. They are likely to be images you are interested in as they are using the same hashtag.
Hashtag, Hashtag, Hashtag – These are key! You can use 30 and as far as I am concerned you should use the full 30! I also advise researching the tags you are going to use. I found the best way to do this was to search one of the tags you would use, then look for the suggested/related tags at the top of the screen, or click on one of the top 9 and see what tags they are using. You need to aim to find tags with a range of usage, from a few thousand to the more popular ones with 100’s of thousands. If you are a small account I wouldn’t use anything with over 500K images to start with (or just throw 1 or 2 in for luck!).
Now it is also super important that you don’t use the same 30 on every image you post as Instagram sees this as a bit spammy and can give you less priority. I have made myself a selection of 30 hashtags, a few depending on what the theme of the image I am posting is (Baby Led Weaning, Kids Outfit, Day’s Out, etc) and a few different groups along the general theme of motherhood. (I use Later to schedule posts and this gives you the ability to create hashtag groups, More on Later at the end!) I rotate these groups of hashtags so all my images don’t use the same 30. I have a few that I will use in almost every image, if they fit, but around 25 will be different.
I also suggest looking for Hashtag communities, for instance I share a hashtag community with Leanne Cornelius of Slice of My Life (go check her out she has an epic awesome Insta account too!) we have #MyTrendyTot which is a kids fashion hashtag. Join in with these communities and interact with them as again these are accounts that are within your niche and will be interested in your account. DO NOT randomly tag your images with hashtags that do not fit the theme!! People will hate you for this, and pissing off people is a bad idea!
Interesting Captions – Add some personality to your captions. People often want to read what the image is about not just see the pretty photos (although that obviously is key as it gets them to click on it in the first place!) so tell people what was happening at the time, what you were feeling or why you have posted that image. Often just an update on your life will be well received even if it doesn’t tie into the image. Caption in a fun and interesting way, I often find leaving a caption that is chatty and more like me talking, than a seriously written caption will be better received. If it suits you add emojis, lots of the successful instagrammers use lots of emojis in their captions, they are eye-catching when people are randomly scrolling through their feeds.
Plus ask questions in your caption as people will often leave comments if there is something to respond to. This can start a discussion and create interaction on your images, which instagrams algorithm likes and people like chatting to you and getting to know you, which might lead to them subscribing.
Follow Trains or Tribes – Now this is a controversial one, I’m not in any way saying to do follow for follow stuff with every random account going, as that will simply result in a ton of followers who never interact with your pictures which is pointless! What I would say is to keep an eye out for follow trains (sometimes called follow loops) that focus on a specific niche that you are targeting. For instance there is often mom blogger loops, which is who my target audience is, so following and receiving follows from accounts with the same niche means you are already interested in their content so will actually interact with them in your feed and them with you. Just be wary of unfollowers from things like this as ultimately there will be people who won’t play fair or who over time clear up their following and delete accounts they are no longer interested in, which is totally legitimate and something I myself do every few months. You want your feed to be full of stuff you actually care about and will interact with.
Be Prepared in Advance – Lastly I want to give you a little heads up of the app called Later. This app has been an absolute godsend for me. Now somedays even organising and posting 1 image can be hard for me as I am so blinking busy! Later, if you haven’t heard of it, allows you to upload your image, write your caption and add your hashtags, then schedule your post for when you want it to post. Now it doesn’t actually post it completely to Instagram as that is against Instagrams rules, what it does is send a notification to your phone at the time you have scheduled it for, when you open the notification it will ask if you want to post, then it will send you to instagram, upload your photo and automatically copy your text and hashtags so you simply hit paste and publish! So simple! The other major thing for me is the hashtag groups I mentioned above
So that was a whole shed load of information! It will be a lot to take in in one go so please PIN this post or share it so you can come back to it and take from it what you need when you need it! I’m hoping my instagram tips will help you grow your followers and interactivity too, it takes lots of work, so be prepared for that!