5 Ways To Boost Your Instagram Following
Over the past five years, the rise of social media has caused a major shift in communications. It has lifted the curtain on industries and influencers that were once veiled in mystery and let us in with an access all areas, backstage pass. Editors and bloggers post the latest must-buy items straight onto their feeds. Everything is immediate now. There is never a delay in the content we are served.
We’re almost so caught up in this world though that a definite trend has formed in that everyone seems to be hyper-focused on one thing when it comes to their outbound communications – Instagram.
In 2017, we saw a sea change in the way Instagram worked. It stopped presenting content of our much-loved feeds chronologically and switched to an algorithm-based feed which it has continued to work with since, much to the confusion of many as the algorithm continually changes. One thing we know as mere mortals is that we will never know exactly how the giants at Instagram HQ calculate the presence of a post, but what we do know, are the numerous variables that influence it.
Here are our top tips on how to see results with your social media marketing based on some of the fundamental elements that are weighted more heavily with the new algorithm.
Make no mistake, engagement is the most vital aspect of the algorithm and with any updates, it will almost certainly always stay at the top. What does this mean? How many likes, comments and views your content is getting. Cast your mind back to the early Instagram days. Beautiful, high-quality content was all you really needed to drive serious engagement on your feed. As we’re evolving through social-savvy times though, these once-lusted-after feeds have become less unique so we’re having to take into account multiple other factors to drive engagement too.
If you pay attention to the updates and the new features that Instagram is continually rolling out, you can start putting the pieces of the puzzle together and seeing what flavour of the month the algorithm is favouring. As an example, when they introduced the ability to like comments, this was a clear nod that they were placing a greater emphasis on community engagement. It’s also key to remember it’s not just about you. An equal amount of time has to be invested in engaging with other peoples feeds too so get social!
2. Timing is Everything
Do you remember a time you used to be able to guarantee when your posts would receive the highest level of engagement? Pre or post work during commuting hours was usually the sweet spot. Keep an eye on your analytics. Instagram provides really great tools for you to easily see at the click of a button when your content has received the highest amount of engagement. What matters these days is when the audience you wish to connect with, are going to be most active. If your followers engage with what you’re posting quickly, it will snowball and continually serve your post to anyone considered relevant. This means that if you posted something at 10am and it has done really well, it will continue to be at the top of peoples feeds that Instagram think will like it, at 10pm too.
3. Instagram Stories
Do you ever screenshot someone’s story? Well this is being tracked by the powers that be along with DMs. Don’t worry – the users content who you have taken a snapshot of isn’t notified but it’s noted. This is because, the more screenshots and DMs going through for a story, the more Instagram can see the content is relevant and then the more chance of it appearing in the Discover page for thousands of others to see too!
A simple way to receive a little more engagement on your stories is to ask a question so you achieve a few DMs. Or another great way is to ask a user to screenshot your story and tag you in it when they put it up to be in the chance of winning something. This works especially well for brands we work with when they’re doing competitions.
4. Consistency is Key
We may sound like a broken record when it comes to being consistent but it really is KEY. Having a strong, visually appealing feed really matters. Remove your logo and your bio – do you think people will still know it’s you? Sticking to the same colour palette and serving the right kind of content that people are used to for your feed is rewarded. This is also true when it comes to frequency too.
When we work on brands feeds, we usually stick to the golden rule of posting once a day as standard. However, that being said we would never just post for the sake of posting. It’s important to have meaning behind what you’re doing. Quality over quantity always.
5. Never Buy Followers
EVER. This is a big no no. Why? Because that’s exactly what you’re doing, buying followers and Instagram knows it. You’re not buying genuine humans wanting to engage with you, just an empty number that really these days is meaningless and furthermore, you're being penalised for doing so with your content displayed. Some of the most successful brands we work with don’t rely on thousands of followers to achieve their business objectives. It’s simply not necessary. Be true to yourself, know you’ve earnt the number at the top of your feed and don’t feel the pressure of having to have a certain 'high' number, whatever you deem that to be. When working collaboratively with other brand partners, most can see past the followers now and look at the bigger picture. The moment you take the pressure off and realise the numbers game is worth very little, the more you’ll enjoy the process of Instagram too. Win win!
To find out how we can help you with your social media strategy, please click here.