Over the past decade, I've worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and brands, helping them with everything from copywriting to website design. Instagram has become the sole focus of so many digital businesses. There is a very conscious and organic way that you can start growing your account.
Over the past decade, I’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and brands, helping them with everything from copywriting to website design.
In the past two years, especially, Instagram has become the sole focus of so many digital businesses. And from working with so many different brands and accounts, I’ve picked up on what works—and what very much doesn’t.
To be honest, I personally cannot stand “influencer” culture, unless it’s a parody and then I’m all for it. People who are obsessed with the number of followers and “beating the algorithm” give me a visceral, hell-no reaction.
BUT I do know there are so many really good, authentic people who just want to share whatever work they’re doing—whether it’s the art they’re making or the services they’re offering.
So, that’s why I wanted to share this—because it’s a strategy that’s been pulled together from the “marketing gurus” of the Internet and through trial and error—and I always see it work. And by work, I mean, if you try one or a few of these things, you will start building a real connection with your audience on Instagram.
Here are the conscious and authentic Instagram strategy tips I’ve seen work, time and time again:
Strategy #1: Focus on offering free resources in Instagram Stories, then adding to Highlights
500 million people use Instagram Stories daily. Gives followers the chance to feel more connected + great way to share free content.
- Plan out Stories to share:
- IGTV videos
- Podcast episodes (if you have them)
- Blog content
- Content that leads to a Swipe Up (if you have over 10k followers)
- Keep updating Highlights on your account page to feature latest topics + resources
Have lots of different Highlights, example names could be:
- Work With Me
- Home Office
- Or whatever you’re into
Strategy #2: Interact with other accounts on a regular basis
- Make a list of the top accounts you love
- Like posts + regularly leave relevant comments
- Watch + respond to Stories
- Share relevant content from them in your Stories
Strategy #3: Follow the followers of target audience accounts
- Go to target audience accounts and look at their list of followers
- Follow 3 to 10 new accounts per day. Watch their stories. DM them if you want to get really personal.
- Note: It’s basically a way for people who follow similar accounts to yours to be more likely to follow you by clicking follow back.
Strategy #4: Start using IG ads
Test out doing paid ads (even $5 to $10 for 1 day for 1 post). Start with Stories Ad or video ad because these get greater engagement.
Instagram likes it when users give them $, so they reward these accounts with more screen time (meaning your posts will show up in more people’s feeds)
Strategy #5: Get a post onto Instagram’s Explore page
Every person’s Explore page is different. One of the best ways to get listed on the Explore page is by getting your posts liked by a big account because then Instagram will show it in the Explore page to all the people who follow that account.
To get liked by a big account, the best way is through using hashtags and following the 10/10/10 hashtag rule: 10 mega hashtags with over 2 million posts, 10 medium-sized hashtags with between 100,000 and 2 million posts, and 10 small hashtags with up to 100,000 posts.
Strategy #6: Post feed posts when most of your audience is online
Instagram basically has a “love at first sight” rule, where posts that get the most engagement right away will see a bigger reach. For example, a post that gets 100 likes in 10 minutes will do better than a post that gets 100 likes in two hours.
This means you have to post feed posts when your audience is online the most.
You can check the most popular times in the IG Insights for each day of the week and post at the most popular time for each day.
Strategy #7: Add Polls + Questions to Stories
People tend to watch the same Stories every day. By adding things like Polls and Questions to Stories, it’s building more engagement and creates a dialogue, instead of a one-way conversation.
Strategy #8: Tag Feed Posts
The more people who see your posts, the more Instagram will share it in the Explore page and people’s feeds.
One way to get more people to see your feed posts is by tagging relevant accounts in your niche – which will get your posts listed under the “Tagged” section of these accounts and increases the likelihood of your content ending up on the Explore page.
Strategy #9: Add Hashtags + Locations to Stories
When possible, add hashtags and a location to Stories. This will help more people to see your story content.
Strategy #10: Incorporate relevant SEO keywords into your IG Bio
This will help you to appear in searches.
Strategy #11: Partner with other big accounts
To increase Instagram engagement, you can partner with high-quality people (that you admire) in your niche to reach their audiences.