How to grow Instagram followers (and why it really matters)
About 9 months ago I never thought about how to grow Instagram followers. I reached out to a company that had a product that I really wanted to review for my blog. The product was expensive so I inquired about potentially getting the product in return for a video review.
The company responded by asking me what my social media numbers were. I let him know at the time what my facebook likes were and my IG followers (at the time around 20k). I thought it was pretty good. Not amazing but not bad!
Boy did I get a heavy dose of reality! I was informed that sponsored products where usually given to influencers who had 50k-100k minimum on Instagram. OUCH!
Up until this point, I hadn't really paid much attention to any particular strategy when it came to my how to grow instagram followers. I tried to post content when I had it. Random food shots and lifestyle photos peppered my feed. But my growth was pretty slow from when I started my account around 2 years ago. I started to do some research and some experimenting (my favorite thing to do)
How to grow Instagram followers quickly
Since I have started using these simple techniques, I have grown my feed from 20k to 52k in 9 months.
And what I discovered is that growing your Instagram is pretty easy and only takes about 5-10 minutes a day to do. Since I have started using these simple techniques, I have grown my feed from 20k to 52k in 9 months. I know I still have a lot of work to do but I'm pretty happy with my growth so far!
I now average about 80-100 new followers a day. My posts average about 500 likes per image and I get about 300 clicks on my bio link that leads to my website per week. That's a HUGE bump to my business and my monthly income. (update 5/23/2018. I now get about 1,000 followers a day!)
So here they are! My 3 tips for Instagram success and instant growth...
#1 To grow Instagram followers, you have to post Every Day
This might sound like a no-brainer but honestly, that is the number one issue I see with most people's feeds. They go days or even weeks without posting anything. Think of your feed as a television show. Your viewers like to see what you're doing regularly. Go too long without posting something and before you know it, viewers have moved on and have forgotten about you altogether. Posting every day also increases your chances every day of gaining new followers. Every time someone likes your photo, comments or even shares it, IG shows that photo to their followers or it might even show up on the explore page (more on that in a later post)
What should you post to instagram to grow your followers?
So what do you post? That can vary. The main guidelines is keep your feed restricted to things your audience will appreciate. If you're a cake decorator, keep your feed to cakes. Does that mean you can't post pics of your pretty face or a meal? Nope! In fact, people love to see occasional peeks into your personal life but never, ever break the "but is it pretty" rule. If the photo isn't well-lit, pretty to look at, or related to your audience's interests, don't post it.
I take photos throughout the day and categorize them into a few different types of pots. WIP (work in progress) in my studio, finished cake tutorials, recipes, travel photos (related to the cake industry) and personal photos (our business is our family so it makes sense).
Have a hard time remembering to post? Make it a part of your routine. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to post either first thing in the morning or at night, whichever feels easiest and natural for you.
#2 Be Authentically Engaging
If you want current followers to stick with you and for new followers to find you, you must engage with them. Every time someone comments, make sure you respond. The first 2-3 people that like your page, go to their profile and leave a comment on one of their photos. Go to your favorite IG accounts and post comments on photos you like. It's like saying, "Hi, I like you! Wanna be friends?"
Now I know you might say, "but I don't have time for that!" but really, you do. I am willing to be you spend more time mindlessly scrolling through FB or IG than it takes to leave a couple of comments. This literally takes me a couple of minutes and honestly, I don't do it to get likes, I do it because I love making friends with people of like mind: people who like making cool cakes and hustlin' in the cake world just like me.
Another great way to grow your Instagram followers is to share! I don't make enough content on my own to fill my feed so I spend time sharing other people's amazing cakes and videos to my own feed using a phone app called Repost. Not only does it keep your feed interesting but it shows support to other creators. Just make sure you always @ tag the original creator!
#3 Use Captions and Hashtags Properly
And this is where most of you just mentally checked out. I get it. Hashtags can be SO confusing! They were to me too for a LONG time. But if you really want to know how to grow Instagram followers, hashtags are a must. We're all searching for that magic formula or simple plan and really, there just isn't an easy answer. But I can tell you what has worked for me and continues to work.
Keep your captions short and sweet. Describe WHAT your photo is. Is it is a recipe? A cake featuring a certain technique? Do you have a tutorial? If so, then I really hope you say so in that caption. Trying to sell more cakes locally? Say that! No one wants to read a book but a caption should literally describe the photo and give viewers more insight as to what you're trying to show here.
And what of those pesky hashtags? In the caption, under the caption or in the comments? What works best?
I can tell you hands-down, hashtags in the comments are the MOST successful. Have your hashtags ready to go and post them IMMEDIATELY in the comments after you post your photo. Keep your hashtags to under 20 but more than 10 for the most success.
What exactly is a hashtag? Think of a hashtag as a category that you're putting your photo into as a way for other people who enjoy that category, can find you, follow you and potentially contact you! Whether it's other people in your industry or clients looking for that #birthdaycake
You can research how effective and popular a hashtag is by typing it into the search bar and then seeing how many posts exist with that tag. Some have MILLIONS and the chances of you being seen under that tag are slim to none. Under your chosen tag you can see related tags. Find one with 200k or less but still popular and that's a good choice. Having a mix of popular and not-too-popular tags is a good mix.
Don't have time to research all these tags? Guess what?! I have compiled a list of the 30 best hashtags to use for cake decorators on how to grow Instagram followers and you can get it for free by opting-in to our newsletter! I also send out yummy recipes and valuable cake news so it's win-win 😀
If you commit to doing these three steps every day, you will see an EXPLOSION of growth! I'll be posting more blogs in the following weeks about social media and how to utilize it successfully in your business.
If you enjoyed this post on how to grow Instagram followers please share with your cakey friends and don't forget to come say hi on my IG page 🙂
Oh and ps, I DID finally get that sponsorship 😀 #bosscakers