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You can do plenty to get noticed on Instagram, whether it’s using the perfect hashtags or engaging with the Instagram community, but there’s no reason to stop there. There are plenty more ways to increase your likes and follower count!
1. Create a Community
We’ve suggested joining a community in the past, but another approach is to create a community yourself. It will take some hard work, but it can turn Instagram users into engaged followers. If you’re trying to create a community on Instagram, you need to find common ground — a reason people will come back to your account. If you run a business account, get other users to submit content to share through your account.
Letterfolk is an excellent example of a brand that has created a robust community on Instagram. They even have followers submitting content in an extremely consistent style. Encourage your followers to tag you or use a specific hashtag for the chance to get featured on your account.
To create your community, one of the most important things you can do is to engage with other users. Comment, like, and respond to comments consistently, and always be on the lookout for other like-minded people to follow. Once you’ve created your community, you can think about using Instagram to make money.
2. Experiment With Advice From Instagram Studies
There’s lots of research out there about what, when, and how to post on Instagram. Experiment and see what works for you. Keep in mind that some of the research is actually contradictory so it’s really a matter of testing each one.
- Some research has found that the filter Mayfair gets 6 percent more engagement in the form of likes and comments than other posts.
- A study by Curalate determined that images with blue as the dominant color get 24 percent more likes than red images. The study also finds that well-lit images, images with a lot of negative space, a single dominant color, low saturation, and high levels of textures are more likely to get attention.
- There are tons of guides on the best time to post. A recent study by Later suggests lunch time (11 AM to 1 PM) and evenings (7 PM to 11 PM), and to stick to weekdays for the important posts.
- Hubspot social media scientist Dan Zarella analyzed 1.5 million Instagram photos and found that images with faces get 35 percent more likes. He also found that ditching filters was more likely to get you likes. (And you can definitely edit your photos on your phone before posting to get them looking just the way you want — and a consistently edited feed is also a good way to gain more followers.) On colors, he says avoid yellow, orange, and pink. Go instead for photos with grays, blues, and greens. And a stunning number from Zarella’s study: including “like” in your caption should get you 89 percent more likes. Photos with “comment” got 2,194 percent more comments.
The more likes you get, the more likely you are to end up in the top posts for the hashtags you choose. meaning more exposure.
3. Analyze Your Stats
After you try all these different methods, take a step back and see what’s working and what isn’t. There are several decent Instagram analytics tools out there that you can use to track which of your images do best. Take a look at the times posted, the types of photos, and your captions to get a better understanding of what leads to a successful Instagram image.
- Switch your Instagram account to a Business Profile and you get access to free Instagram analytics. Go to Settings > Switch to Business Profile and Instagram will guide you through the steps, which include connecting to your Facebook account (and page if you have one). You’ll see impressions, reach, profile views, and insights for each new post.
- SocialBakers has a free Instagram analytics tool which can show you your most successful photos — by comments and likes. When you find something that works, find a way to recreate it without being repetitive.
4. Tag Other People in Your Photos
There are many reasons to tag other people in your photos: they (or their products) are in your shot. If you’ve gone to a live event, tag the show organizers or entertainers. This is definitely a trick you want to use sparingly. Don’t spam other users. Tag them only when the image is actually relevant to them, and don’t tag the same users constantly.
5. Geotag Your Photos
Adding your location to your photos is a great way to get noticed within your local community. When uploading the image, you can add the photo’s location. For a very brief time, tagging your photos in Singapore was a sure fire hack to get your images to go viral, but Instagram put a quick stop to it.
6. Take Part in an Instagram Takeover
Looking for guest posting opportunities can be a good way to gain more exposure. Known as an Instagram Takeover, the experience, which can last for one or several days, can be of benefit to both parties. So how do you find these opportunities? The best way to get yourself an Instagram Takeover is to find accounts that already host them and reach out with a pitch as to why you should be given a chance to take over their account. Some tips from Dana Nicole, who has tested this method, include:
- Pick an account that features content in your niche.
- In your pitch, explain why you’re a right fit for their brand, what your takeover will look like, and what their followers can gain from the experience.
- Try to engage with the account followers by posting questions in the captions. Engaging with them makes them more likely to want to follow your personal account so they can see more from you.
On the flip side of this, you could host an Instagram takeover yourself. If you can get a high profile user to take over your account, they’ll definitely announce the takeover to their own followers.
7. Don’t Forget Your Bio
While your focus is undoubtedly on the photos you post, and for good reason, don’t forget to craft a strong Instagram bio. Include information that will make your followers connect with you. You only have 150 characters so make it count. Pick one or two hashtags at the very most to include in your bio so you show up in search results.
And don’t forget to use the website link wisely. Since Instagram doesn’t allow you to share clickable links in photo captions, this is the only place you can promote your external content. You can use a few tools to pair clickable links with your existing Instagram posts.
8. Think Outside the App
While it’s important to focus on what you can do in the Instagram app, you should also think about where you can cross promote your account. Include links to your Instagram account in other social media bios, and where possible, actually connect your accounts.
Go to Settings > Linked Accounts to link your Instagram account to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. When you post an image on Instagram, you can then automatically share those images elsewhere. Connecting your Instagram account to Facebook will also notify your Facebook friends, giving you a little more exposure.
Email is another powerful tool to consider to promote your Instagram account: just putting a link to your Instagram account in your email signature will probably gain you some extra followers who are more likely to be engaged. If you have a personal newsletter you send out to subscribers, include the link there too.
Before you can become a social media influencer, you have to build your brand and your community. Getting more followers and engaging with them is one way to get there. And now you have enough know-how to get more real Instagram followers!
Of course, while you’re tracking how many followers you have, you might also want to keep tabs on who unfollowed you on Instagram. And if you’re a TikTok user, here’s how to get more followers and fans on TikTok too.
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