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10 tips to celebrate 10 years

Instagram has seen a surge in user number during 2020 and everyone is keen to know how to keep up with the algorithm and grow their Instagram account. 

Starting out as a platform to share photos along with a small description, Instagram has since developed into a platform to share photos and videos. It has a dedicated TV mode and, this summer, it launched Reels in a bid to take on TikTok

ALOT has change on Instagram over the past 10 years. 

In my last blog I outlined the 4 different ways to add original content to the platform and how to use them without feeling content creation overwhelm

But for many, the question remains, how do you grow your Instagram account?

There is no right or wrong way but I believe an organic (ie not paid for) strategy is the best way to find followers who will:

– connect with you,

-engage with your content, and

ultimately grow your Instagram account with the perfect clients for your business.

With this in mind, and to celebrate Instagram’s 10 birthday, here are 10 steps to help you work with the algorithm to grow your Instagram account. 

(You might also want to read this article to see how Instagram are celebrating the birthday!) 

1.BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR OBJECTIVES

The most successful accounts on Instagram have one thing in common…they speak clearly to a niche audience with a distinct voice. So,  before you start posting, decide what your message is and make sure you stick to that message every time you post.

For example, my business is aimed at helping other small businesses understand how to use social media more effectively to grow their audience and sell more.  Everything I post is relevant to this message.

I keep a separate personal account to share photos of my son, memes or other random posts.

2. OPTIMISE YOUR PROFILE

It’s important to get the foundations right to grow your Instagram account and that means getting your profile (or account ‘bio’) details clear.

When someone lands on your page you have the opportunity to tell them all about yourself:

  • Are you selling a service or a product?
  • Why would they want to connect with you?
  • How can they connect with you?
  • Have you injected some personality by using emojis?
  • Have you included a link to your website or latest offer?

If you want to learn more about copywriting skills I recently interviewed Gurpreet Bharya about the importance of your About information –  she kindly shared a fantastic summary which you can get here.

3. CREATE QUALITY CONTENT

This is one of the most important considerations when you are trying to grow your Instagram account.

You MUST have good content.

Instagram is a visual platform. If you don’t have beautiful, high- quality images, it will be much harder to grow.

If you don’t catch a viewer’s interest visually, they aren’t going to stop, read your caption, see what you are about, or follow you.

If your budget allows, hiring a professional photographer for a brand photoshoot will be one of the best things you can do.  Not only will you get some great stand-alone images but, with clever cropping and image editing you can mix them with other graphics to create a huge vault of posts for your account.  Canva is my go-to tool for this kind of creative work and will also give you ideas for other types of posts such as quotes and screen ‘mockups’.

4. PROVIDE VALUE

When you have honed your message and are using quality content you then need to make sure you are offering value to your followers,  For example if 

  • you write a blog – summarise the content and share it.
  • you create something, offer a practical guide, tips or a tutorial on how your readers can use it or make something similar.
  • Isomething funny happened, tell the story and share the laughs. 

Offering value to your followers is one of the best ways to grow your Instagram.

5. BE CONSISTENT

The next stage is one that can be tricky for small businesses but it’s important to be present, predictable, and smart about when you post.

People like knowing what to expect from you. Posting regularly helps to keep you top of mind.

If you haven’t done so already make sure you have switched to a business or creator account. This gives you access to ‘insights’ including when your audience is online and then best times to post.

Take a look at when your audience is active and plan your posts to coincide.  By doing this, you stand a better chance of your audience seeing your post and engaging with it.   If you don’t have engagement on the post, the algorithm will decide that it is not quality content and will show it to fewer people.

6. HASHTAGS  

Another way to make sure as many accounts see you as possible is to use hashtags properly.   Fundamentally you need to research hashtags that your ideal audience would be searching for.  How do their needs overlap with what your business provides?   

 If you’d like to know more about how hashtags work, how many to use and how to find the best ones to grow your Instagram, then check out my blog here.

 

7. MAKE USE OF ALL OF THE PLATFORM

To reach as many followers as possible, I recommend thinking about if and how you can use the 4 different format contents available on the platform.  Below is a summary of them and I recommend reading my previous blog to learn how to get the best out of each type

  • Grid posts:  The ‘original’ way to post.  These images appear on the ‘grid’ whenever anyone looks at your profile.
  • Stories:  Enables you to share multiple photos and videos that appear together in a “slideshow format”. 
  • IGTV: A way to share long-form vertical video on Instagram. Videos can be up to 60mins in length. 
  • Reels: The new kid on the block allows you to create and share 30-second videos. Rolled out as a rival to TikTok

 

8. BE SOCIAL

It may seem obvious but Instagram is a Social Network, so you need to be social and have conversations.   

Make sure you dedicate time to look at other peoples posts. ‘Like’ the content if it appeals to you and write comments as much as possible. 

Remember that every account, no matter how large, is run by a person. 

Just because someone has a large following doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a kind comment.

 

9. LOOK BACK

I mentioned the ‘insights’ tab earlier and I’d encourage you to build in time to regularly review the details provided there to understand how your content has performed. 

Aim to experiment with different types of content and use the insights tab to check if there is a pattern about what your followers like or don’t like. 

  • Do you find quotes always get good engagement?
  • Did people comment more when you shared behind the scenes content?

By doing this regularly you can refine what you’re sharing and continually explore different, and better, ways to reach your ideal clients.

 

10. BE YOURSELF – DON’T COMPARE

This is an important one.  Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others you see on the platform. There is always going to be something to envy.

If you start to feel negative or depressed – take a break.  Put your phone down and spend time with your friends or family.  Remember in the end, IT’S JUST AN APP 🤷‍♀️

Summary

Use these 10 tips to help you grow your Instagram account and take advantage of how powerful it can be for your business. Who knows what will change in the next 10 years but I can’t wait.

 

What about you?

If you’d like help building a social media roadmap for your business or are interested in my training or ‘done with you’ packages get in touch today