It’s no secret that Instagram has quickly become THE social media tool to connect with anyone, anywhere in the world. From fashion to food trends to new beats and artists, the platform has successfully established itself as the “go-to” place for people to share product reviews, ideas and inspiration – and there is no doubt that many of us are taking advantage of it and it’s strong engagement levels.
From bloggers, to creative entrepreneurs to digital content creators – most users who are active on the platform are fighting to make a splash with their unique content and have it seen by a larger audience.
With the ever increasing popularity of Instagram Marketing, comes also the army of people ready to cheat the system. For those just starting up, there are tons of tools that promise to help you grow your audience in exchange for a monthly payment. Many people are obsessed with the notion that numbers are everything in this game, but a fake following will get you no where, it’s only the organic numbers that actually make a difference.
There are plenty of tools that can help you grow your audience and measure your influence the right way. From image editing apps to scheduling and hashtag search tools, a quick Google search can lead you to some of the best Yep, that’s right. You can buy followers/likes, locate engagement pods, work with follow/unfollow bots, and so much more. Organic reach, however, is where the real authentic partnerships flourish.
While there are plenty of things you can do on a daily basis to ensure that you continuously – and organically – grow your engagement, I’ve narrowed the most important steps down to FIVE.
Say NO to Fake engagement
Let’s be real – Instagram is a competitive platform and many of its users are playing a popularity game, with the main goal of increasing their likes and landing their posts on the Explore page. In order to earn your “Top Post” badge, you need to amass a ton of engagement (likes & comments) in a very short amount of time. With the constant change in Instagram’s algorithm, it has understandably become harder to generate organic engagement and many users are turning to questionable methods to continue growth.
Instagram is on to these shady practices and has been enforcing temporary bans, essentially stopping these posts from achieving any organic reach at all. Instead of using a bot or paid likes, invest time every day to engaging with accounts similar to yours and building organic relationships.
The Art of Hashtags
Instagram is also penalizing accounts who use spammy hashtags, which is why performing a regular hashtag inventory is so important. In order to determine whether a hashtag is “acceptable”, do a simple search inside the Instagram platform. If the Top Posts section appears but no other results are displayed, chances are that hashtag has been banned.
Do this “inventory” every other month to ensure you are always equipped with the right hashtags for your target audience. The good news is, despite all of the algorithm change, hashtags are still one of the best tools to drive engagement to your posts.
There are a ton of pros to using a scheduling tool to post your images. The biggest being the ability to post at the times when your audience is most active, ensuring your post will be seen by more people. Instagram’s algorithm gives priority to posts with higher engagement, allowing them to show in Top Post searches. So, the more people like and comment on your post, the higher its chances to go viral.
In order to have your post seen by most of your audience, use Instagram’s tools to determine the times of your audiences activity and then use a scheduling platform like Later (it’s free!) to schedule as many posts as you need.
CALL TO ACTION
Add a call-to-action to your posts. It’s simple: ask your audience to comment on your posts and give you their feedback. Ultimately, you end up with both increased engagement and an idea of what your following really likes and wants to see from your account.
A CTA is a great way to encourage your audience to engage with you, provide feedback and – ultimately – spend more time viewing your posts, which is another key to paving your way towards the Top Post page.
Follow AND Engage
This one is simple – show your followers what it is that you like about them, too. Engage with your target audience by liking and commenting on their posts, as well as following those accounts that inspire you. By doing so, you are showing appreciation to both creators and brands and have the opportunity to place a small CTA to get those accounts to visit your page.
Tell them what you like about their page, comment on specific posts, and attract them to your account by letting them know what you have in common.
There are many steps that can be taken to guarantee a continued increase in engagement, but the main one is the most simple: ENGAGE! If you’re not engaging with your followers, you can’t blame them for not doing the same.
Feature Image by Sircle
Are you a digital influencer with a knack for growing an authentic audience? Join #PAID and start working with renowned brands today.
Raya is a Bulgarian-born, internationally-bred lifestyle blogger who’s passionate about all things music, travel and tacos. She is an aspiring writer with an affinity for hip hop [auto]biographies and is always on the search for the next “big” streetwear trend. She can be found on Instagram under @stylecontroversy. Raya is a member of #ThePaidCrew editorial team.