Over the last few months, I’ve been doing some freelance work managing the social media for an online business. They really just wanted to make sure new posts were scheduled and there were responses to followers comments and DMs.
That was all fine and easy. The account was always getting new followers daily, and of course, losing some every day. The account has always had at least more followers than quitters each day, so it continued to grow…just a little each day.
We have one competitor that has been growing quickly, mostly because of a weekly giveaway contest, which we aren’t doing since our goal is not to have a list of followers looking for freebies. Regardless, this one competitor became my personal arch-nemesis. So I started some new tactics to get more followers without giving away free crap.
My Theory…That Seems to Be Working So Far
Instagram’s algorithm is always changing. When I first joined the feed was just the most recent posts from everyone you followed. Now, unless you work at Instagram, you likely have no idea what the exact formula is for what is showing up at the top of your feed and the most frequent.
But…we can make some easy assumptions.
Ever notice after you like a post, leave a comment, or browse someone’s Instagram profile they end up near the top of your feed for the next few days? That makes it kind of obvious that the algorithm pushes content to you based on who you’ve interacted with. With that thought, most of my strategy to build this particular Instagram account was to get more interaction and to get current followers and new people to click on our profile.
The other theory is that the fast you get a lot of engagement, the more likely your post is going to be featured on your followers’ pages and on hashtag feeds.
How to Get More Followers Every Day —
You all should know by now two of the most important things for getting followers and keeping them…good content and proper hashtag use. So, I won’t get into all of that here. Though I will make a few quick notes on hashtags for Instagram…
You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, I err on the side of 22–25 just to be safe. Only use around 3–5 highly popular hashtags (examples — #foodie #solotravel #healthcoach) on each post since you’re just going to get buried in the other posts. You can see how frequently other tags are using by searching the hashtag. Each of those examples has millions of posts, which means there is a ton of competition.
So think of some less used hashtags for each post that you’ll be noticed in. If you gain enough traction in the smaller ones, it can push your post up in the bigger hashtag feeds. What you really want is to be on the hashtag search page in the “Top” section instead of just “Recent”
If you look at Instagram on your phone it will have a “Top” page and a “Recent” page where you have to click recent to see the newest stuff. On your computer you just see the top 9 posts then it goes right into recents.
Also, don’t overuse tags. Instagram can punish you if you keep using the same tags over and over. I just try to make sure I don’t post the same tag 4–5x in consecutive posts. This doesn’t seem count for your personal branding tags though.
If you have been overusing your tags and not getting a lot of eyes on your page, you might want to check if you’ve been shadowbanned.
Post Timing –
Are you set up as a business account or personal account on Instagram? If you just change the account to be “business” then you can get stats from your posts.
The important one is the time to post. It will show what days your followers are responding to your posts the most and also the time of day your followers are likely to be on. This will likely change as you get a lot more followers since it’s going to be a different pool of data, so just check on that every now and then to find the best time to post.
If the data shows that your followers almost never go on Instagram at 9pm on a Saturday night, then you should obviously not post at that time. If you see any times/days that your followers are very active, make sure to post then. This will give you a better shot at getting in front of them and increasing engagement from the get-go. This would help your post get more impressions from other followers and hashtag feeds instead of posting it at an off-hour and Instagram just letting it die.
Call to Action –
You don’t need to do this on all posts, but try and get people to do something on your post. Tag a friend that xyz. Leave a comment if you abc. What are your thoughts on blah blah blah. This increases engagement which pushes your account up in your followers feeds and on those hashtag feeds/searches.
This is the one that does best! You should definitely go to your followers’ pages when you’ve got the time to comment on their posts or like some. It will help with the engagement in the algorithm and start moving your stuff up in their feed. It will also start forming a connection with your Instatribe.
What will really get you followers is going through the recent feed on hashtag searches and commenting/liking posts of different people that have recently posted with that tag. Just make sure you’re authentic about it. Too many people just hit like or drop a thumbs up in every single post they see and it’s pretty obvious to the poster.
I’ve found the best time to do this is immediately after you post something new. This way you can kind of game the system and these new people will come to your page curious about who just left them a comment and see that shiny new post…hopefully with a like or comment. The faster you get a lot of engagement, the more likely your post will get featured on other hashtags. You can just go through the feeds on each hashtag you used in the latest post and use that to find people. Then there is the Related hashtag search that shows up at the top of the feeds on your searches.
Auto watching stories
Honestly, I have no idea if this works, but it doesn’t require any effort. I’ll open Instagram on my computer and on the feed page click on the “watch all” link above the stories and just let it run.
My thinking is that the people that I follow that don’t follow me will check who viewed their stories (because everyone compulsively checks that for validation) and might click onto your profile if they see you on that list. Or, if they already follow you, it might be a reminder to check you out because they haven’t seen you in a while…and once they go on your page Instagram will start pushing you up in their feed.
This is just a theory. But if it works, it’s worth the 8 seconds it takes me.
BONUS — Some things I don’t do, but (could?) help
Following a Bunch of Accounts
The easiest way to get a ton of followers is to just go and start following smaller accounts that like the kind of stuff you post. I don’t like doing this because it feels kind of fake and then you end up with a crazy feed of random people that you likely don’t want to see posts from. But hey…it works. You do you.
“New Post” Stories
Instagram seems to like people using their stories feature, so it makes sense to keep putting stuff up there. And every time you have a new post, there’s no harm and probably more beneficial to announcing in your story that there is a new post on your page. I just don’t do it myself because for some reason the company I’m helping doesn’t like posting stories. I can’t figure them out sometimes.
This is how our biggest competitor get as ton of followers each week. If you have a product you can give away, this is a fairly easy way to increase your follower count. The reason I don’t like this strategy is then you just end up with a group of followers there just for cheap stuff or a deal. I’d rather have quality followers who are engaged.
Speaking of engagement…that arch-nemesis of mine has a follower count almost twice ours, yet they never get close to half the likes or comments on their posts than I do. Hmmm I think I’m winning this battle.