Let’s say you’ve read a ton of guides on running your Instagram profile, like the one about finding and reaching your Instagram audience. You put a great deal of effort into crafting your profile 🤸♀️, from name, description, to unique style of your content. But the followers are not coming and content engagement is really low. What can you do to remedy that?
It turns out that, while the above is extremely important, it’s not enough to grow your audience at a reasonable pace. There’s simply too much good content out there and everyone is fighting for that precious attention. Fortunately, there are safe techniques 🔨 you can utilize to achieve every Instagrammer’s dream: more followers and greater engagement. Below is a list of 6️⃣ proven growth techniques that you can start using today.
Liking posts of people following a specific Instagram profile
You will first want to start by identifying Instagram profiles of people (influencers) that operate in a niche (e.g. babies photography 👶, travelling in Asia) similar to yours or ones that exhibit style relevant to what you do. These can be both very popular profiles as well as smaller, but interesting ones.
Once you have that, you engage with followers of those profiles by mindfully commenting 👩💻 on and liking ❤️ their posts. The more relevant the comments and likes are, the better. Optionally, you can also “Follow” them, but only if your intention is to keep following them in the future (see why in Harmful Instagram automations to avoid). Keep in mind, however, that you should not follow more than 500 profiles, otherwise your content reach will most likely decrease.
The above can do wonders in terms of conversions. People you engage with will often like your content back and sometimes even follow you on Instagram. Time those commenting and liking sessions well and you will also observe greater reach of your own posts. In particular, employ this technique right after posting an awesome piece of content and witness your post getting more views, likes and comments than usual.
The key for this technique is targeting 🎯. The more common traits a selected profile and yours have, the greater the results will be. Afterall, followers already indicated what interests them by following the selected profile in the first place. That’s also the reason for this technique to be highly effective for influencer accounts.
One thing to note is to first define what the desired outcome should be. For example, if you care more about greater engagement than raw likes, you might want to skip mass followers (people who follow a lot of profiles, usually >1.5k) during your commenting/liking session.
Liking posts with a given hashtag
The second technique has merits when you care about a specific, possibly trending topic on Instagram. You can either go broad (highly popular hashtags) or narrow (very niche hashtags) with this one, depending on what your goals are. Typically, you will want to alternate between both categories of hashtags #️⃣ to reach both general audiences and people interested in (your) niche content. One example of a trending hashtag is “travel” – very broad, hard to break into with your own content, but has a potential of attracting entirely new followers from outside of your niche. On the other spectrum are “niche” hashtags that can range from places (#tatry), to topics (#wosp) and even marketing campaigns of various brands. Usually the more specific hashtag, the better chances of followers to like/follow you back.
The technique is in general less effective than liking posts of profile followers (less “targeted”), but can still drive reasonable traffic to your profile and content.
Liking posts tagged with a specific place
Let’s say you’re a local business owner (e.g. restaurant 🍱) and want to promote your business on Instagram. There’s a good chance that interacting with people interested in the location of your business (e.g. city or its district) can yield tangible results. By engaging with posts by such people, you increase your brand awareness and make it more likely that people will visit your venue. At the very least, your content gets more reach; at best you get new customers.
It’s also a great option when you’re an influencer and have a post tied to a specific location that you want to drive traffic to. As with hashtags, you can either be very specific about a place or opt for a more broad location. One thing to note, though, is that “zoomed in” locations have a bit better chance of converting people to your followers, since such places carry much more emotional weight (“Hey, I was there!”).
Liking posts of your own followers
The more people engage ❤️👩💻 with your posts, the greater your Instagram reach will be. While important for accounts of any size, it’s paramount when you have a lot of followers.
In that case, going through the list of your own followers and commenting/liking their content is the way to go. This will not only increase the chances of your followers staying followers, but also makes people feel appreciated and engage with you in a more meaningful way. Remember, in the vast sea of Instagram content, liking a single post will be akin to saying “Hey, I’m still here, check out what I do!”.
There’s hardly anything to do wrong with this one, apart from posting an inappropriate comment. The most basic form is liking 2-3 posts of each of your followers; a more demanding, but definitely more rewarding, is commenting in a meaningful way. Comments will usually lead to comments on your own posts and help build bonds between you and your audience, thus increasing the “stickiness”.
This technique is very important to influencers with high followers count wanting to boost their rating in the eyes of marketing agencies. Here high engagement and trustworthiness trumps followers count.
Liking posts of people who liked pictures in a feed
There’s also an extension of the above techniques. By only interacting with followers (your own, of a profile, hashtag or place) who actively engage with a specific type of a content (e.g. by liking ❤️), you maximize the return on time invested. These people are often very active Instagram users who crave for great content. Reach out to them and they will get back to you in the form of comments, likes or follows.
Similar to liking posts of your own followers, this method is great for targeting a specific, highly engaged audience. While it requires a few more steps when done manually, it’s extremely effective and attractive for influencers of any size.
Removing fake & mass followers
As mentioned earlier, high engagement drives organic growth. The one of the first things to do in this area is to get rid of fake & mass followers 🕵️, i.e. followers who follow thousands of profiles. Such followers are either fake accounts or people who follow en-masse. In either case your content won’t reach them and you can’t expect them to engage with you in any way. Having such followers might decrease your content reach and reduce organic growth.
Periodically grooming your followers list by removing fake & mass followers from your account will increase your profile health, increase your reach and result in a better score by marketing agencies.
What results can I expect?
Our customers, from across various niches, reported that when they post regularly and use the above techniques, they observe a steady stream of new followers, even +10k in a short period of time. Normally you would have to commit 143+ hours per month manually applying the above techniques to see such amazing results. One way around it is using an marketing automation tool, such as Followyst (shameless plug 😅). We use it every day. If works for us and our customers, it will work for you 😊.