If you're a blogger, you need Instagram. Own a business? You need Instagram. Want to get free stuff to review... you need Instagram. If you didn't already know, you need to be on Instagram.
I started a brand new Instagram account a few months ago. Of course, this was right before the whole Instagram algorithm ordeal. The change in how Instagram works had me wishing I had started an account for my blog earlier. I was right to be worried that it would make growing my account hard. I didn't think I could compete with people that have thousands of followers.
Not wanting to give up, I read everything I could about increasing my Instagram following. Unfortunately, having good content isn't the answer to getting more followers. There are plenty of people with mediocre to terrible content that have thousands of followers. Good content helps, but it is only part of the solution to getting more Instagram followers.
- Obviously if you have gorgeous pictures it will be easier to get more likes and followers.
- No blurry pictures.
- Don't post too many similar pictures in a row. So please, don't post 10 pictures in a row of your kid doing nothing. Same for your cat.
- Don't only push your product.
- Post regularly but not too often. Most say to at least post daily and up to three times a day.
Captions and Hashtags
- Have a description, don't leave people guessing what you're trying to say.
- Use all the hashtags that are RELEVANT.
- Put the hashtags in a comment so your caption is readable.
- Like other people's posts.
- Your competitor's followers
- Posts with hashtags from your niche
- Your followers posts
- Comment on posts.
- See above
- Reply to comments on your posts
Follow/ Unfollow StrategyA lot of posts and guides will tell you to follow all of your competitors followers and then unfollow them after they follow you. Other guides will tell you to follow everyone that follows you. Do you see the problem here? It is a giant circle of following and unfollowing people. You follow A from your competitors list. A follows you. You unfollow A. A then unfollows you. That creates a whopping gain of 0 followers.
The only way that follow/ unfollow works is if you are targeting people that are not trying to grow their own Instagram following. These accounts exist but can be hard to find. Often they are the people that don't use a ton of hashtags if they use any at all. You can find these Instagram users by going through your competitors' followers but this process takes time.
LikestagramSeveral bloggers in my network have mentioned that they use Likestagram. Many of them attribute their gain of thousands of followers to their use of this liking bot.
Likestagram is a program that likes posts for you. There are several settings that you can tinker with to like the right posts.
Like by Tags: Like posts with specific hashtags
Liking by Instagram Accounts: Like posts from the followers of an Instagram account.
Liking by Location: Like posts tagged from a specific location
Liking the Newsfeed: Like posts of the people you follow
There are also options to exclude certain hashtags, users, descriptions, or comments.
Using a program like Likestagram would allow you to interact with those users that are hard to find. You can target one competitor's followers or just a certain subsection of their followers. You can even like posts that have no hashtags at all.
Before you rush over to sign up with Likestagram, you should know that there are downsides. First, using a bot is not allowed by Instagram. If they suspect you are using a bot, you can be banned temporarily and eventually you could be banned permanently. Second, you cannot control the pictures you like. If someone posts inappropriate content but used #momlife, the bot might like it for you. That can be pretty embarrassing. Third, your results might not be what you would like. Of the 20,000 likes you send out, you could potentially not get any new followers or just way less than the 1,000 your fellow blogger got when she used it.
Final ThoughtsAs Instagram is used by more and more people to promote themselves, their blogs, and their products, it is going to be harder to have real and engaged followers. Most people that use Instagram for promotion, want to have a lot of followers but don't want to follow many. This makes their ratio look better to potential buyers and sponsors.
I was able to grow my Instagram following from 500 followers to 1,000 by doing a combination of things I mentioned above. As for follow/unfollow, I don't use this method in the way that is suggested by most Instagram Gurus. For my blog account, I generally follow anyone that follows me, unless they are spam or have inappropriate content. I try not to unfollow first, but some of the time, I will unfollow you if you unfollow me. While I did try Likestagram out, I wouldn't use it again in the future. I feel that taking some time each day to engage people in my niche is just as beneficial, even if it is slower.