15 tips for growing your tribe on Instagram
Popular – it rarely pays the bills. 100 followers or 100K doesn’t matter when it comes to profits. That person with a tiny following could have the most loyal tribe, while the 100K social influencer built their ‘audience’ stalking #FFF for months on end.
So how do you grow a real community on Instagram – one that will engage with you, and ultimately, buy from you?
Well for starters, you need to ditch the notion that the follow/unfollow strategy will get you anywhere. AsOlga Roba shared on iconosquare after diving deep into this strategy, it’s a never ending cycle, time consuming and just not worth it. Not even a little bit.
So what are some strategies that will work?
Top tips for growing your Instagram
1. Post with a purpose
Entice your ideal audience to double tap and give you a follow by posting what resonates with them. To do this, you have got to know your audience and what they want to see. If you’re stuck and feeling uninspired, have a look at who they are following and what they are commenting on and liking. To get a behind the scenes look into their activities on Instagram, follow a few then click on the heart icon, and then at the top flip from “You” to “Following”. You can also get some great inspo from competitors you think have their Insta game on point by using the same tactic. Seeing a lot of dog pictures or travel? Post pictures of those.
2. You can quote me on this…
Have a quick snoop at profiles like @intelligentchange or @aestheticsofjoy and you’ll see just how popular well-branded quote images can be on Instagram. I mean, just look at all those likes these typographical posts get in comparison to the images these accounts post. These aren’t filler posts, they are are a key part of these brands’ strategies for driving engagement. Give them a try and see how they work with your audience.
3. “No comment” is just not going to fly on Instagram
Not only do you need to respond to people who comment on your posts, you need to go out into the Insta-world and engage with others. Find 15 or so accounts that have the kind of followers you aspire to have and make a regular habit to comment on their recent posts. By doing so, you up your odds of your ideal audience seeing your comment and checking out your profile. Make sure it’s a good comment though. Don’t just do a heart emoji and call it a day. You can also comment on your ideal customers’ accounts too. Be interesting, witty, insightful and engaging and you might just find they become not just a follower, but a fan.
4. Take up extra real estate and post portrait
Simple, yet effective. When scrolling through Instagram, your followers are way more likely to give you a double tap when you take up most of their screen. Instagram’s algorithm means you’ll want to do all you can to get those likes in early to be seen by more of your followers, land in the explore feed, and be highlighted as a top post for your hashtags. So be greedy and post more portrait photos over square and landscape.
5. Share with friends
Make friends and cheer each other on by cross-promoting. You can share each other’s posts, host a contest together, tag each other, or do a photoshoot collaboration. For this to work, you’ll want to find accounts that are a similar size to yours and have a similar audience. When you find the right accounts to do this with, you’ll both get an instant boost of quality followers.
6. Start small and grow your influence
Consider connecting with micro-influencers, and as your following grows, work your way up the food chain – so to speak. Micro-influencers are typically happier to endorse your brand and test your products if what you offer fits their niche and adds value for their audience. As I said in the intro, those with smaller followings can often have a far more loyal following, thus making micro-influencers a great bet for growing your Instagram. Macro-influencers also often charge for posts (sometimes thousands!), so while running straight to them feels like the surest way to quickly grow a great following, you might be better off with local bloggers.
7. Play tag
Every profile has two feeds, and you can get yourself featured on at least one of those feeds – and instantly. Tagging also ups your odds of being seen by the person behind the account you tagged, and subsequently, featured on their main feed. But don’t be one of those people that tags everyone and everything. Use these with purpose and intention. You can tag products, locations like restaurants and venues, the host of an event or conference – you get the idea. But that’s not the only kind of tagging you should be doing…
8. It’s all about location, location, location
If you’re not adding a geotag to every post, you’re just being a silly billy. It’s the easiest thing you can do to help you get seen by a wider audience and grow your reach. Geotagging location can get you up to 79% more engagement than if you went without. Geotag restaurants, venues, shops, or the city you’re in.
9. Hash it out
Hashtags are the oldest and most common form of getting your posts seen. You’re limited to a max of 30 and some research suggests using 8 to 11 hashtags for optimal engagement, so you’ll want to find the best combo to maximise reach. Start by looking at influential accounts in your niche and the hashtags they use. You can then click into these hashtags to see how popular the hashtag is and can also find ‘related’ just below the follow button for more hashtag goodness. Oh, and while we are chatting about that button, we’ve got a bonus tip for you. Make sure you follow hashtags that your audience is using and comment on those posts that pop up in your feed. Refer back up to tip numero 3 for help with this!
10. Give everyone a free car
Okay, so you aren’t Oprah, but I bet you can get loads of followers by running some sort of contest offering up goods or services. You can even make entry requirements in which entrants must like the contest post, follow your account and maybe even post a photo to their feed using a branded hashtag to help grow your reach even more.
11. Get click happy
Generate and post content regularly. If you’re just starting out, post daily using the tips mentioned above. Once you’ve got a decent feed and rhythm going, try dropping down to three times a week and see what your engagement is like. Some accounts fair better posting daily while others see more engagement when they only post every other day or three times a week. Experiment to see what works for you and your audience. To help stay consistent and plan a great looking feed, use a tool like Later to automatically post on your behalf. With a free account you get 30 posts a month, and by following this referral link, you’ll get an extra 10 right off the bat.
12. Write captions that convert
Don’t just throw an emoji or two into your caption, hashtag like crazy and call it a day. You can’t expect people to comment and connect with you on a post if you don’t give them any reason to. So make sure you write engaging captions, ask questions, and encourage your followers to tag friends.
13. Use Instagram stories
Use Instagram stories for better visibility and reach. With the added benefit of being able to categorise your stories into highlight reels on your profile, you can showcase your business by doing behind the scenes shots as well as spotlights on products or services. You could also have highlights dedicated to answering some common FAQs, providing top tips and calling attention to any resources and guides you’re particularly proud of. You can also have a highlight dedicated to showing your audience the real person or people behind the brand.
14. Go shopping with Instagram
This doesn’t apply to every business, but if you sell any sort of product, make sure you take advantage of the shop feature in Instagram! It’s a great way to regularly promote your products but also keep your brand feeling authentic with lifestyle pictures and engaging captions.
15. Start analysing everything
When you have your profile set up for business, you can get great insights into the best times to post, your audience demographics, and what content performs best. With this information, you can fine tune what you post so that your content resonates with your audience. You can also see how well your hashtags performed for a particular post, and with a little experimentation, you can find which ones work best for your brand.
Just like plants, you have to nurture your account to see it truly thrive. Growing your tribe on Instagram takes some real grit and determination. But if you’re like most business owners and find yourself spending 30 minutes a day just taking the most insta-worthy photograph and another 45 writing the caption, it might be time to call in the professionals. You have a business to run after all!
The good news is you can either outsource your Instagram account completely to a business like Luku Creative, or just outsource your biggest pain points. For example, you could hire a professional brand photographerto do a shoot every quarter to provide you with a library of visual assets. That alone could really transform your business and the kinds of people you attract. Plus, just think of what you could accomplish with at least an extra 15 hours every week or the extra time you could spend with family and friends.
Need help with Insta-game? From pushing out a great brand with great visuals and captions to analysing what works, we can help you reach your goals. Get in touch