I will tell you anytime I go to a blogger event, Instagram always comes up and so do these questions: How do I get more followers? How can you post content that gets more engagement (comments, likes, follows)? I will tell you that Instagram has also been baffling me as I have been posting with different strategies since I started This Curvy Life. However I will tell you, the people that are successful are not that way by accident. I have been studying them and wanted to share the things I have seen that definitely work and lead to more followers and more engagement. I will also share the things that baffle the heck out of me. I hope you find the info helpful. Feel free to add your pointers to the comments. We are learning together.
- Your feed has to have a point. – If you are randomly posting and it does not complement your brand, you will have more issues with unfollowing than you can anticipate. You have to be consistent in message and post daily (sometimes more than that) to build a following.
- Follow for follow does not work for an engaged audience. It can make you have larger numbers in SOME cases but it will not lead to things I find valuable (an inspiring IG feed, nor an audience that interacts or has loyalty for your products or your service. This is crucial if you want to attract advertisers) Plus a lot of those buzzards follow and then unfollow later so you have some random girls selfies in your feed for no reason. BEAT IT!
- The algorithm has made it harder for new IG players like you and I. So basically the algorithm limits who will be seen in your followers IG feed. Basically, 30% of who they follow will be seen first and the chances of you being seen increases based on engagement (so if my post doesn’t have likes or engagement you are less likely to see it, this is why it matters when you post and what you post).
- If you have a business profile (which you should make sure you do if you are planning on monetizing a blog) pay attention to the analytics, they will tell you about your followers. While this is valuable, I want to increase followers so I follow the following adage –
- I can show you better than I can tell you…Your faves are not going to tell you all of their IG strategies but you can watch when they post. If you are not following bloggers or Instapreneuers that you would like to emulate, follow them immediately and pay attention to when they post. You post when they do. If you are about to post and you do not see at least 5 – 10 people you are wanting to be like posting, DO NOT POST AT THAT TIME. You will work hard on a post and get 10 likes. It will add to your feed but the point of IG is to gain engagement and follows. Don’t waste posts.
- Choosing when to post can be tricky. I am finding that the earlier you post (before 9 am) and the later you post (after 8:30 pm) the better, but there are sweet spots during the day. For some reason when I post on Thursdays at 12:59 the posts have great engagement. Post at 1:03 and it drops down. Even more confusing is that this rule does not work for each day. Monday evening before 8 is a trash time for me to post, but Thursday at 8:45 – 9:45 is a great night to post. What the heck Instagram! So my plan is:
- Track. Track everything and a pattern will emerge. Every post, every hashtag, every detail about the post. My post is about swimwear, I get this type of response, at this time of day I gained x followers, 50 likes, and 5 comments, lost 4 followers etc.
- Watch likes. You may have post last at 8:30 am and then you see an increase of likes around 3:30 pm, this also tends to be a good time to pick up new followers for me. Have some posts reserved that fit your overall brand. These posts I call bonuses and can net you a few followers that will help offset some of your IG churn.
- Churn is still baffling me. I hate it. Churn is your lost followers. You may gain 30 in a week but lose 42 during the same week so your net follower count is down. You will lose followers, but I am not sure what makes you lose some and not others. I can tell you I have cut down on some of that by blocking. I block IGs that I know are obviously trying to build numbers only with no plan on engaging (@freeIphone4U, @freefollowersnow or feeds that are in no way interested in your brand (you are a food blogger and they are @ihatefood with suspicious numbers: 6,000 followers while following 6,342 people. Honey you are going to unfollow me in 2 days. My numbers will just keep jumping. BLOCKED)
- Beware of the follow stalker. The vast majority of IGs I follow are magazines and lifestyle brands. One day I followed every major high fashion designer, every design magazine, you could imagine and within 2 hours I had an extra 50 followers. I did not know them or like their feeds, nor follow back and within 2 -5 days they all unfollowed. You may be minding your business but some folks aren’t. Buzzard stalker, you are adding to my number aerobics. We all want followers but every follow isn’t a good one, so you have to be careful of when and how many ppl you follow to avoid them. Ugh…Beat It, Stalker.
- Updated 7.18.17 The follow/unfollow method. So I didn’t know there was such a thing, but there are IG accounts that will follow you only for the follow and if you don’t follow back they will unfollow and sometimes they will unfollow regardless hoping you don’t care that they unfollowed. You can open yourself up to this by the hashtags you use. Hashtags like #newblog is a target for follow/unfollows. This method kind of annoys me but we have to know that since IG has made gaining followers harder for new accounts, people will come up with all kind of methods to beat the algorithm. I believe you should follow who you want or who inspires you and the rest will not matter.
- Be open to people who do what you do. I felt like maybe I should not follow bloggers at the beginning. This turned out to be wrong for me. Following and engaging only encourages your relationship with other bloggers and encourages them to engage on your posts. It is a give and take. Don’t be a selfish blogger. You know how hard it is in these IG streets. Like your fellow bloggers’ posts, congratulate them on their new partnership. Send a positive DM or comment on an IG live (every now and then, don’t be weird, lol). You will build a community and you will help each other. That’s what it’s all about.
I hope these findings help save you time. My point here is not that I am an expert because I am super not but learning from my many mistakes could help increase your following. Since I have applied this plan the numbers are increasing slowly but steadily with engaged followers which means a lot to me. Please share your pointers in the comments. Let’s grow together! There is plenty of internet for all of us to win!