Gaining traction on Instagram is no small feat. While most measly users have to be content with a couple hundred followers, some 32 million people deem Khloé Kardashian’s Instagram feed to be worthy of their time.
With hundreds of other celebs being able to rock Instagram so finely then, what can we learn from them?
Granted, we’ve written about Instagram a lot in the past. We’ve given you a general introduction to the app. Told you where to go to find out how you’re doing on Instagram. The science behind getting more likes. Even lists of Instagram role-models you should follow.
More recently, however, SimplyMeasured released its 2015 Instagram Influencer Report (signup required), which gives us the lowdown on exactly what celebrities are doing so well on the platform. We’ve shared a few of these with you here, so you can try out some of those tactics for yourself.
Use the Right Hashtags
Many influencers on Instagram use popular hashtags to increase the reach of their posts, or to reach a specific fanbase (or to promote a product or cause). Take the post above, which contains the #yeezy tag. This is a tag for Kanye West’s clothing brand Yeezy, which has over 1,000,000 mentions. By using this hashtag, Kim Kardashian not only reaches other people following that hashtag, she also promotes the hashtag, and thereby the brand, to her own immense following.
It’s worth noting that hashtags revolving around the names of popular locations, huge events, and more general hashtags such as #love, do particularly well. You can find other popular hashtags using Post Planner and Top Hashtags.
Someone knitted this sweater for me of a Polaroid of myself and gave it to my mom tonight at the show. It has very quickly become my everything. Thank you, mysterious knitter. A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on
By looking at the Instagram accounts of celebrities, it’s obvious that coming across as real, genuine, and authentic is a huge aspect of what can make these accounts so popular. People want to know what it’s like behind the scenes, or to be part of a person’s inner-circle. They want a true glimpse into a lifestyle they find fascinating, or the person behind the facade.
If you’re an incredible landscape photographer for instance, consider showing off your camera setup. Let people see the less glamorous side to a seemingly glamorous career; or at least the less usual. If you’re just using Instagram for purely personal reasons, try to show images relating to something other than just the highlights of your life.
Do Something Different
Fuck yea VMAzzzzzz!!!! #host @mtv @stfranciselevatorride A video posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on
Food may be your one true love, but only posting pictures of food can get tedious. Every so often, change things up a little.
A great role model here is Miley Cyrus (I never thought I’d say that). Rather than simply posting pictures of herself out with friends, or at a gig, or at a photo shoot, Miley posts a whole host of photos, some more creative, many of her just being… herself, with little pretense. In the world of celebs, this is different. And her fans love her for it.
Offer Something Exclusive
Eat first. #IronParadise #SlabTraining #ChaseYourGreatness #HardestWorkersInTheRoom #ThatGFunkEra A video posted by therock (@therock) on
This is especially valuable if you’re using Instagram to promote your brand. By offering something that no one else is offering (or can offer), you can build a loyal following very quickly.
Take The Rock for instance. For many, he’s considered one of the fittest men alive. And so, with this reputation, he’s able to legitimately and reliably share glimpses into what it takes to become such a mammoth.
Think of something you, and only you, can offer to your followers that will ensure they can’t wait for your next post. That’s exactly what the people who created these hilarious Instagram accounts did.
Mention Other People
Just a cute dinner situation with @joycebonelli A photo posted by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on
Instagram and Twitter are the main platforms where people very simply @mention each other in a comment (though it’s making its way onto Facebook, too). This makes the “tagee” aware of the content. Make use of this tagging feature, because it works.
By mentioning other people who are in your photo, or who may find your photo interesting, you’re far more likely to increase your reach. Celebs do this all the time. At parties, celebs will mention each other in Instagram posts “Chillin’ With @Beyonce“. “Loved kitesurfing with @RichardBranson this morning“.
These posts are often “regrammed”, and thereby seen by potentially millions more people (if celebs are involved). The results will be diluted for you, but it’s a great tactic to adopt.
Ask a Question of the Day (#QOTD)
Many people shy away from asking people to do something on social media. In marketing, this request is called a “call to action”. People fear they will be portrayed as too demanding if they ask someone to “retweet this” or “comment on that“. But including a call to action in your posts works. That’s why all the major brands do it.
Rather than simply asking for a tedious like or follow however, asking a legitimate question is far more worthy of people’s time. Ask people for their two-cents. Ask them to share a story. Ask them to think up something creative to share. Ask a question that will elicit answers that the audience will also love to read.
Shay Mitchell does this extremely well in the post above. You’ll find her occasionally throwing these questions out to her fans, and it’s plain to see the enhanced reaction that’s caused.
What Else Works for You?
These are just a few of the suggestions contained in the report. Many others relate more to what brands can do to increase engagement in order to build excitement prior to a product launch, for instance, so may not be highly relevant to you.
Yet the tactics mentioned above are definitely wise suggestions that you would be well advised to start adopting if you’re looking to build a genuine following, or simply increase the engagement over on your account.
What other tactics have been working for you on Instagram? What kind of posts do you see generating the most engagement? What has not been working?