It’s undeniable the power a strong online presence holds over the day to day of business. Social media and its correct usage have created a viable way for businesses to not only market themselves but generate enough leads to make a living! A healthy Instagram profile for example, can be used to promote your latest work, lifestyle, really anything you want! Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as creating an account, post a few snaps and watch the followers flock, effective social media is truly an art form within itself!
While building a healthy and engaging Instagram account from scratch is no small feat, we have picked up some helpful practices along the way. We would like to share our most effective tips for first-timers to organically growing your Instagram following in 2020.
When is the best time to post?
While this tip may seem simple it requires a fair bit of effort you need to work out when people are actually looking for your content! Don’t know where to start? Fear not, there are plenty of guides to get you started. Be aware, you won’t be able to avoid all legwork.
Statistically, before midday on a Wednesday or Friday sees the highest global engagement on Instagram and depending on your business, statistics such as this might not be relevant. Take the time to review the analytics of your posts a few days after publishing to gauge what works and what doesn’t. Take note when a post has higher impressions and interactions than others. Try replicating this success the following week! If the results were similar you could be onto something!
It may take time to get right but knowing your posts are being seen by as many people as people is rewarding enough!
Don’t buy likes or followers!
Believe it or not, purchasing followers and likes was a booming business a few years ago, that was until Instagram decided to crack down and delete millions of fake accounts. Despite the purge, it’s a tactic still used by those lacking time, looking for a small boost or attempting to appear larger than life.
While purchasing likes or followers may seem harmless, it can become quite the financial investment and unless you’re Jennifer Aniston you’re not jumping from 100 followers to 5,000 overnight. Not only can these leaps look disingenuous but it will affect your profile in the long run. A high number of followers with low engagement is something that Instagram’s algorithm notices. These algorithms are built to encourage genuine, positive behaviors on the platforms such as sharing and showing appreciation. They actively discourage abuse or hacks by allegedly shadow banning frequent offenders.
It may take you longer but organic growth is always best. There is no point having thousands of followers if you’re crying into the wind every time you post! Remember Slow and steady wins the race.
Post with small to medium hashtags
While you should always use hashtags that relevant to your field, you should always choose wisely to avoid being lost in the crowd. What do we mean? Say you’re posting your latest logo to Instagram with the hashtag #graphicdesign. At 34 million followers, #graphicdesign will likely highlight your post for a few moments before pushing it down the page, therefore a better practice is to use relevant hashtags with fewer followers.
Don’t be fooled, just because a hashtag has 100k followers, doesn’t mean it is any less active. Try a healthy mix of sizes to reach a larger audience, you would be surprised by the communities that exist within smaller tags. Be aware, not all tags will as beneficial so as with anything on Instagram, trial and error.
Hashtag sizes are usually defined as below:
Always rotate those hashtags!
If you like posting to Instagram daily or even just a few times a week this is a must to avoid Shadow Banning. Shadowbanning refers to an online platform partially blocking a user or their content in a way that isn’t readily apparent to the user. While Instagram has stated that they don’t [shadow ban accounts], there is plenty of [research showing the decrease in online engagement] while using the same hashtags on every post.
Sadly this practice isn’t widely known and can cause real problems. Our solution was to create a hashtag list that can be stored on a phone for easy access. We recommend a minimum of 5 or more different hashtag lists, created from a mix of sizes listed above, limited to 30. Every time you post, simply copy and paste a hashtag list and away you go! Effective and saves time. Again this will require fine-tuning as some lists will have a greater return than others, in this case simply review after a few weeks and edit the list accordingly.
Our final tip is simple, engage with your business community online. Much like word of mouth, the more you interact with those around you, the more visible you become on Instagram. Follow a few of those hashtags relevant to you and get into the habit of commenting and liking other people’s work. Not only does it take a few seconds but it puts your name in front of all their followers. After a while, Instagram will begin to notice the activity spreading from your account and place a higher priority on you.
Set aside a few minutes every day to consistently interact with your online community and you’ll be surprised at the effect it has on your otherwise unknown account!
These are our top hints to elevating your engagement from nothing to something on Instagram. We hope you’ve learned something new that can help build your business! It’s worth noting that Instagram has the habit of changing their algorithm on a whim so take these tips with a grain of salt.
The most effective method is to learn what works best for you through persistence and trial and error! Instagram takes time to get moving but can be an extremely effective asset, if managed well.
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