I think it’s going to be all about Instagram and Pinterest this year, so I want to take this week to focus on how you can up your Instagram game! It took me a while to get to 10,600 Instagram followers, but it’s my favorite social media platform and where I often get the most engagement. Another bonus– it doesn’t take a TON of time each day to build your account (you can use the MiloTree widget to help gain new followers while you sleep!) Here are some of my tips and tricks for boosting your Instagram following:
Decide if You Want a Personal or Business Account
One of the first decisions you need to make is whether you want to have a personal account or a business account. I’ve gone back and forth between the two accounts, and some may disagree, but I haven’t seen much of a change in engagement rates. One of the HUGE benefits of having a business account is access to analytics and the “Swipe Up” feature in Instagram stories (more on that later!).
Make the Most of Your Instagram Profile
Your Instagram profile is SO important when you are trying to attract new Instagram followers. You don’t have much space in IG for your bio, so make sure you think long and hard about what you want to include! Make sure you have a picture of your face in the profile photo since that’s what people will connect with. I know it’s tempting to use a logo for a business account, but if you’re a blogger, it should be a photo of you!
Be Strategic with Hashtags
People used to recommend maxing out the hashtags at 30 (that’s the most you can use), but the latest recommendations are suggesting using 5-6 hashtags. You also want to change up your hashtags frequently. If you use the same ones over and over again, Instagram may think you are spamming and you can find yourself shadowbanned!
Links in Instagram
There are only two ways to share links on Instagram: your bio and the swipe up feature in Instagram stories. Most often, bloggers place a link to their blog in their bio, but you can also link to an opt-in landing page for your mailing list or an affiliate shop page or whatever you would like!
Link in Profile
As mentioned above, unless you have over 10,000 followers, the only place you can have a link in Instagram is in your profile. However, if you use a free service called Linktree you can actually add quite a few more by linking to your link.tree in your profile. You can see how it works by visiting my Instagram profile. When a viewer clicks on my Linktree link they can see links to my blog, opt-in page, About Me page, Facebook group, etc. It’s very cool!
Swipe Up Feature for Stories
When you reach 10,000 followers and have a business account you can use the Swipe up feature in Instagram stories which is AWESOME. You simply add a hyperlink to a photo in your story and the viewer sees a “See More” option at the bottom of the picture to swipe up and visit the link! This feature is great for driving traffic back to blog posts that cover content relevant to your image or video or for linking to affiliate pages.
It’s All About Engagement
Instagram is focusing A LOT more on engagement rates now. Just as it happened with Facebook, posts that get more engagement will be seen by more people. There are a number of ways that you can get more of your Instagram followers to engage with your pictures. Here are a few:
Ask a Question
Try asking your followers a question when you post a photo. For example, if you are fashion/style blogger and sharing an outfit picture, ask for feedback or which item is their favorite. As a lifestyle blogger, I often share pictures from my day-to-day activities and ask my followers for advice or what they might do in a similar situation.
Use Instagram Stories
Instagram stories continue to grow in popularity and they are an AWESOME way to boost your engagement rate! I recommend sharing 1-2 max photos per day on your Instagram feed and putting the rest into your Instagram story. Stories are the perfect way to give your followers a glimpse into your daily life. There are cool features like polls which are also great for getting more interaction from followers. If you haven’t used the poll feature, I would definitely recommend giving it a try!
Interact with Other Users by Liking Their Photos and Leaving Genuine Comments
This tactic is more time-consuming but will pay HUGE dividends by helping you find interactive and engaged Instagram followers. A HUGE portion of my followers came from me liking their photos and offering genuine comments on them. Gary V. has some great thoughts on this tactic and you can read more about them in the $1.80 Instagram Strategy.
Use the MiloTree widget to Get More Eyes on Your Instagram Account
The MiloTree widget is a great way to get more people from your blog to check out your Instagram account. It’s not obtrusive and Google compliant for mobile devices. It shows a collection of your most recent pics and allows people to follow directly from the widget. You can choose where you want it to appear (I prefer sliding in from the right). You can also customize it to reflect your brand’s colors and use it to get follows on other social platforms or sign-ups for your mailing list!
Using Filters to Make Your Photos Pop
There are a TON of different apps out there that can help you create BEAUTIFUL Instagram photos and here are some of the most popular ones:
Some Instagram users like to use the same filter throughout all of the photos to give their feed a cohesive feel. There are so many different VSCO recipes out there, so if you decide to go with that app you will have many different options to get the feel you want for your IG feed.
Whatever You Do, DON’T Buy Followers or Use Bots!
One thing you NEVER want to do is buy followers or use bots to auto-comment on other Instagram users photos. When it comes to brands, they can spot accounts that have purchased followers pretty easily– they have a ton of followers and engagement that doesn’t match the number of followers. Bots are also a no-no because it is SO obvious when you get a simple emoji comment or “Nice pic!” I can’t tell you how many of these comments I get on photos and they drive me nuts! If you are going to put in the time to make a sincere and thought out comment, don’t bother!
I hope you have found this info helpful and that it helps you boost your Instagram followers. Let’s connect on Instagram– you can find me HERE.