The other day, I decided to run an experiment on my Instagram account. I had been stuck at around 880 followers for a while, but it had partly been my fault because I have not been engaging as much on that platform recently.
24 hours later, I had over 100 new (targeted) followers, and finally hit my long time goal of 1,000 followers!
So what did I do?
I followed everyone! Jk. sort of.
One of the number one tips I give to my clients is to engage, engage, engage. It’s not all about you. Social media is about building a community and connecting with like-minded people. And that’s exactly what I did.
I started searching through my usual hashtags: #fitfluential, #sweatpink, #runnersofinstagram. I would follow people whose profiles looked interesting to me (as opposed to following random @$$ people through those #followforfollow or #likeforlike hashtags).
When you follow someone, sometimes a little drop down menu appears of people similar to that account who you might want to follow as well. I would go check out those people, follow, look at the drop down accounts, etc.
I didn’t stop there though. As I scrolled through those profiles, I would leave meaningful comments (not just “Cool pic!” etc.) relating to that photo. Sure, not everyone will follow back, but hey over 100 people did and also came back and commented on my photos!
I was talking to my sister about it, and she asked, “But isn’t it annoying to have a bunch of random people in your feed?” To me it isn’t, because it’s all content I would want to see anyway. I made sure to follow people in my “niche” and people I actually want to connect with and learn from. I love following any account that is running related because that inspires me daily to get out there and get my runs in.
It is important to note that I did not follow a million people within an hour. I spread it out throughout the day, following a handful in chunks, so as to not be penalized by Instagram or be marked as a spam account. After a few days went by, I used the app InsTrack to unfollow those who didn’t follow back (though I do keep many who, like I said, inspire me or motivate me in some way). My main reason for unfollowing after a few days is just to keep my feed unclogged.
I wouldn’t recommend following, unfollowing, following, unfollowing people. It will come across as spammy and you don’t want your account flagged by Instagram. Instead, just follow people in the category that interests you, and after a week or so unfollow whoever you want, and then let it be. Take time to now connect with everyone you just followed and get to know your new followers.
I feel like I just wrote follow, followers, following a million times in this post
So to recap:
- Follow new accounts that relate to your blog or your interests.
- Leave meaningful comments and connect with them.
- Continue to exchange comments, likes, etc. with your followers and who you’re following.
And a few other tips:
- Use relevant hashtags in your photos so people can find you. Apparently, now you can only hashtag once in Instagram. What I mean by that is, you can post, hashtag and then you’re done. You can’t go back and add more. Well, you can, but it will no longer show up in the feed of that hashtag. So if I could back on yesterday’s photo and add #igfitness, you won’t see it on the #igfitness feed. At least that is my understanding and I’ve tried it and can’t figure it out, so if I’m wrong please leave a comment!
- Search through relevant hashtags and leave comments on interesting photos. I have a few Instagram “friends” that I now regularly communicate with just because I found them randomly! If you’re a runner, look for your state and running, i.e. – #NJrunning. It’s a good way to see who else might be running in your area.
- Scroll through your feed. This is something I need to do more of. Lately, I’ve been slacking because I’ve been all over the place and managing client’s feeds so I feel like I’m never on my own! But scroll through so you can see what your other friends are up to.
- Put your contact info and website in your bio. Sounds obvious right? But I’ve seen many without it. Use that ONE place on Instagram you can put a website to put in your website! Or in order to drive more traffic to your blog, change it to whatever blog post you’re talking about in your photo “I wrote about X today, read it by clicking the link in my bio!”
- Put hashtags in your bio. I instantly follow back people who have #fitfluential or #sweatpink in their bios because I’m a fellow ambassador as well. If you have an affiliation, make it known so anyone else with the same affiliation can find you and follow you back!
- Make your account public. I know many people are still wary about having their stuff out there to the public, but if you’re a blogger and serious about connecting with brands, you need to make your account public. As a brand manager, if you enter one of our contest as a private account, we won’t be able to see your entry. Furthermore, we just won’t be able to find you period if we are looking for relevant photos to share on our account. I just saw a group thread on Facebook discussing this as well, and many people won’t follow back a private account on Instagram.
I hope these tips are helpful! I am working on building up my business Twitter account to share more tips relating to social media…please consider giving me a follow! I’m also creating a website under my name (pattyrivas.com) to blog specifically about marketing, my own experiences in the business, news (like Facebook changing it’s algorithms yet again), etc. I’ll let you know once it is live!
What tips would you add? Do you use Instagram regularly or is there another platform that is your favorite? Instagram is probably my #1!
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