5 Tips to Realistically Grow Your Instagram Account when you’re just starting out
In June of 2018 I started a little test. I don’t know where the idea came from but it was something that just hit me and made sense.
You like drinking craft beers. Why don’t you start sharing them on Instagram?
A relatively simple idea right? So that’s what I did. Pretty much every day since then I’ve posted a picture on Instagram. Almost all of them of a different beer and grew my account to around 3.5k followers – in just 6 months!
You can view my account here: beer.me.up.please
Now that might not seem like amazing growth if you go by the thousand other articles on this subject. However I’ve achieved this with a small amount of effort whilst still enjoying my beers and it not becoming a chore.
In this time I’ve also been asked to promote on behalf of some big brands who were willing to share their products with me in return for an honest review.
So here’s 5 things that helped me grow my account.
1. Post Everyday
If you want to gain followers you’re going to need to post everyday. Posting regularly means people see your content more often and are therefore more likely to remember you.
You also give yourself more chances to appear in all the “top” and “trending” places such as the explore feed, hashtag top posts and your followers home feed.
For my account. Posting a picture of a beer everyday seemed like a daunting task. Drinking everyday wouldn’t be good for my health so I build up a backlog from weekend drinks or asking friends to share theirs with me.
For your niche this may be easier or harder. The same rule applies:
Even if it means posting memes, regramming someone else’s post or sharing a text post.
2. Use the Insights feature
If you haven’t already, make your account into a business account by going into the account settings.
This will enable the insights section and allow you to see how your posts are performing and at what times your followers are using Instagram.
You can then use this information to boost the chances of people seeing and liking your posts.
For example. I found that my posts got the most traction when I posted at around 11:30am or at around 5pm. My best days were Mondays. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were fairly decent and Friday and weekends saw less exposure. I was then able to plan my “better quality” posts around this.
3. Follow others in your niche
This might sound ridiculously simple but often, simple is best.
By following people in your niche you’re more likely to get followers back as they share your interest.
The best way to do this is to find popular people in your niche from the explore section or popular hashtags and follow people who have liked their posts. These people have not only shown an interest in your niche but also actively like posts, two things of interest to you and the growth of your account.
The Discover People section is also very useful once you’re established in your niche and Instagram starts recommending you relevant accounts, as these are often new accounts looking to get started so will be highly engaged and willing to follow back and like posts.
4. Use Hashtags Wisely
Hashtags are a funny one because they are vital to exposing your content to people who aren’t yet following you. However you don’t want to appear spammy and you definitely don’t want Instagram to punish your account (not show your posts to many people) for using bad or banned hashtags.
The solution to this is simple. I use a site called Display Purposes. The site allows you to enter keywords for your niche and it provides you with hashtags that are relevant and popular and as a bonus aren’t banned!
I suggest using 30 hashtags (the max allowed on a post) and finding the keywords that return the best mix of hashtags that provide both relevance and exposure.
5. Use Stories to nudge and remind
Posts are your bread and butter and should be where you focus your attention. However, in my opinion you should save them for higher quality content than stories.
Stories should be used to keep your followers up to date with what you’ve been up to in everyday life or maybe provide bonus content around your posts.
You should use them tactically too to re-expose yourself to your followers. By posting a story, you appear as a circle at the top of your followers home feed which will re-engage them with your account.
Stories, like posts, can contain hashtags. Find the one that is most relevant and gets you the most exposure and use it all the time.
I found the #craftbeer hashtag will mean I often appear in that hashtags story, meaning others who aren’t following me will see my content (see screenshot below).
I received 53 viewers for this story from the #craftbeer story. This is how I gain more exposure from other accounts even when posting stories.
If you post daily, use the hashtag tip and use insights to drive when you post your content you’ll see account growth in no time.
I kept my content simple. Take a photo of beer wherever I was, no fancy photography or anything like that and keep the review short, honest and simple.
There’s no silver bullet, it’s going to take a bit of time. Stick with it, keep it simple and have fun.
If you want to take a look at my posts and reviews for inspiration then you can see my feed here: https://instagram.com/beer.me.up.please