Long gone are the days when you could simply throw up a popular hashtag (RIP, #JustinBieber) or tag a famous account and see your engagement, reach, and follower count double.
While those tactics might have worked back in 2016, a couple of years are a few millennia in the social media world, and many of these growth strategies are now fossilized relics. From algorithms to savvier spam bots, you’ll need to try a few new strategies and tactics if you want to grow your account authentically and expand your organic reach in 2018.
1. Click “Play” on a Video Strategy
If you’ve been ignoring video, know that this media format continues to surge in popularity even though video platforms like Vine have been shut down. This can only be expected to continue as the two juggernauts we know and love — Instagram and Facebook — continue to invest in promoting their users’ videos.
On Facebook, videos get 135% more organic views than photos, reports Social Media Today. Similar stats can be seen on Instagram. According to analytics produced by Simply Measured, athleisure brand Lululemon’s videos have double the engagement of its photos.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a behind-the-scenes Instagram story that gives people a taste of your every day lifestyle or a curated, edited vlog posted right to your timeline, your followers just want to see more video. As your engagement on your video content rises, more of your posts will be seen by more of your followers, increasing your odds of being placed on the Discover page.
2. Be Loud When It’s Quiet
Common convention says that you should be posting when the most people are active on social media. What this ignores is that there are literally billions of people on social media, and even during so-called “slow” times, millions of people are still online.
Instead of trying to beat the big accounts who are crowding everyone’s newsfeeds during peak hours, be the loudest voice in the room when things are relatively quiet. If you wait for slower times, your post is more likely to break through the noise and rack up the engagement you need to be seen and heard by more of your followers.
Take a look at the busiest times that everyone tries to post at, and do the opposite:
- Post on any day except Wednesday and Thursday
- Post before 10am or after 3pm
- Evenings and early mornings are your golden hour
- Post on any day except Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
- Sundays are your gold hour
- Mid-day or evenings are key
3. Share Your Story with Other Influencers
We’re all in this together. Collaborations aren’t just between brands and influencers. Think of yourself as your own brand and try and find other influencers who share similar audiences, themes, and passions. It’s likely that their audience would be interested in your content and just haven’t found you yet.
Reach out to these like-minded influencers and find ways to collaborate. You could do a takeover of each other’s Instagram stories, or even do one post each promoting each other’s accounts.
Continue to engage with these influencers and create real, longterm relationships. It could lead to great things for all of you.
BONUS TIP: Harness the power of the re-gram. Many corporate brands love to repost aesthetically pleasing photos that promote their products. The next time you’re grabbing a drink with friends or enjoying your favorite product(s), take a quick snap that matches the brand’s look, color and tone. Tag the brand’s account (extra points for using a geotag at the brand’s location, too) and you’ll expand your reach and followers if they repost your photo to their own audience!
4. Go for the “David” Hashtags
While hashtags are no longer the magical potion to get you new likes and followers, there’s a killer tactic most people don’t think about: Similar to posting during unconventional days and hours that other people ignore, find the ignored hashtags.
Instead of using the giant “Goliath” hashtags that everyone uses (looking at you, #love and #beautiful), go for the smaller “David” hashtags. One easy way to do that is to start typing out a hashtag and looking at what Instagram suggests.
Tap the suggested hashtags and find related tags that have medium activity (aim for 300,000 posts or less in the hashtag). This means a lot of people use the hashtag, but not so many that your post will quickly disappear.
Take #vegan for example. It has more than 57 million posts, and many of the top photos in the hashtag have thousands and thousands of likes and comments. But the related hashtag #nomeatathlete has just 272,000 posts and the top photos on that page have engagement only in the hundreds.
By using these popular, but smaller hashtags, you increase your odds of being the featured post in that hashtag page so more people see and interact with your account.
Now that your account is blowing up with new engagement and authentic followers, put that social clout to use by collaborating with brands who need content. Join #ThePaidCrew community and start working with world-class brands.
By day, Josh Duvauchelle is the co-founder of Frey Union, a marketing firm in Vancouver, BC. By night, he’s a health and wellness coach featured in Teen Vogue, Men’s Journal, Shape, Men’s Fitness, and more. Find him on Instagram under @joshduv. Josh is a member of #ThePaidCrew editorial team.