Im sure that you all know this by now, but a couple of months ago I launched my own brand of lashes and with that came a new Instagram account (@indigoroseebeauty in case you want to check it out). Instagram has always been my favourite social media platform and I was excited about starting a new account, although very apprehensive. Instagram is often the first thing that people see of your brand and it is not news to hear that it is VERY hard to grow your Instagram account now because of the algorithm. But I was very surprised to see that I hit 1000 within 3 weeks, which although isn’t super amounts of growth I am very proud of it, and I have continued to grow ever since. I know how hard it is to grow your Instagram account and I have accumulated some tips along the way that I thought to share.
Just a disclaimer: I am by no means perfect at this and my blog account (@indigorosee) has been sitting at just below 2k for about 4 months with no sign of growth. So please do not take my tips as final, this is just my advice to grow your Instagram account. I do genuinely believe that it is easier to share because a lot of my followers have come from other people reposting photos of my lashes because they are products, so it has been easier to grow than other accounts. Its like a mini shout out everytime someone purchases!
I always look at who is following me and try to follow back the people who support me, as well as accounts that I genuinely love. Accounts aren’t going to know you exist unless you follow and interact with them! I always try to reply to people’s stories and ‘questions’ that it is a feature of Instagram stories, because if you don’t interact with them how do you expect them to interact with you? Instagram is always about networking, starting conversations and building relationships with people, as ultimately it doesn’t matter how many followers you have as long as the ones you do have constantly support you. It is very much a two way street, and you can’t expect to receive support if you are just sat their waiting for it to come to you. I always spend some of my day scrolling through photos and replying genuine comments (not just ‘love this!’) on people’s post, as nice comments make my day so it will be making them happy. Plus it is also putting your account name out there and so helping to grow your Instagram account!
Engage, Engage, Engage-
If someone has been kind enough to interact with you, make sure that you engage back. I make it a mission to reply to all of my comments on both accounts, as I think if someone has taken the time out to send me a comment I can at the very least reply to it. In addition to this, I also try to reply to all of my DM’s and make sure that I have answered any questions/queries (even though at least half on my business account is just people asking for free stuff… thats a rant for another day). It helps me to put a face to names, and definitely encourages a relationship between accounts. Some of my best blogging friends now were originally formed purely through the comments section, so it definitely helps to grow your Instagram account!
I don’t know how long stories has been around now on Instagram (about 2 years maybe?) but it is definitely a fab way to bring the ‘instant’ back into the social platform. Plus my stories typically get more views than my main posts on my feed, so it is a good way to connect with your audience more and therefore grow your Instagram further. There are some people I follow just for their stories. I typically use it for behind the scenes (such as showing people when I am shipping orders), reposting customer photos or asking questions using the questions feature (which is a lifesaver). I know that as a consumer of Instagram as well as a user, I love when stories are real and not as perfect as the feed images so you get the best to both worlds. I love seeing behind the scenes, how people run their businesses and day to day life (@pollyvdsz springs to mind as someone who is amazing at this). Something that I really want to work on is feeling confident enough to livestream or take videos on my stories as I think it would be really useful… I’m just too nervous right now!
Think about what you are posting-
This might seem like something really obvious, but you need to think ahead about what you are posting so that you don’t run out of top quality content. I would definitely aim to have enough content for at least one main post every other day, but I always try to post more frequently than that because I enjoy it! For the business Instagram, I try to take flatlays once a week which gives me enough posts for that week, and then fill in any gaps with reposting customer photos. For my blog, I have a rough plan of the week in my head and where I could potentially get content (for example if I was going on a day out somewhere), and if it is a dull week I will often repost old travel photos or use flatlays. Its all about getting the balance right! You don’t have to plan it out intensely but having a rough plan means that you will never really be without photos, and posting reguarly certainly is a good way to grow your Instagram account. UNUM is a great (and free!) app for planning out your content, but I am actually going to be doing a whole post on my most used Insta apps soon.
Clear out inactive followers-
I never used to do this but I have definitely seen an improvement in my growth and overall user experience since clearing out inactive followers. Every few weeks I clear out people that don’t follow me back, rarely post or I have just fallen out of love with their content. Its nothing personal, but I like my feed being only people that I genuinely love and comment on their posts. My feed used to be flooded with content I didn’t even like and it made me fall out of love with Instagram, but now my followers (especially on my blog account) are only people that I genuinely love and are inspired by. We need to learn that hitting the unfollow button isn’t a bad thing! This in turn actually helps you grow your Instagram account too, because instead of being stuck in a rut with the same followers you start to look for new people to follow… who may return the favour and follow you back. Relationships are building all of the time!
Set up a business account-
There are plenty of debates about whether making your account a business account, as some people claim that it ruins engagement, but overall I think it is a worthwhile thing to do if you want to grow your Instagram account. That is if it is relevant of course, I don’t understand why some people have ‘public figure’ in their bio when they most certainly aren’t but it is useful to give people an idea of what your account is about. I also love that it unlocks a lot of analytical features that you wouldn’t have otherwise, and that is really helpful when seeing when your peak engagement is. I know that on my Instagram, my highest engagement is 7-9pm, so you will usually find me posting around that time. It also shows what kind of people are following you, and what ages. The majority of my followers are 13-17, so thats why I don’t swear very much over on Instagram… whereas on here my highest follower number is 18-24 so I feel more comfortable showing a bit of my potty mouth.
Host a Giveaway-
With the new ASA guidelines, I would definitely have a good research into disclosing giveaways to make sure that you are doing it above board, but I think that hosting a giveaway is a great way to increase engagement and following. I hosted a giveaway with the gift being a free bundle of lashes, and in the space of a week my followers had gone up by nearly 400. That is because it encourages people to follow your account, but also share your content to others that might be interested in entering the giveaway. Obviously be aware that after the giveaway you tend to lose a few followers (people who were only interested in the free shit) but overall you gain a lot more than you lose. Try and make the giveaway something that encourages sharing (such as tagging a friend or reposting it on your story) because it shares your page to as many people as possible, which is ultimately the best way to grow on the platform.
I’ve put this in here, but its going to be really short because I don’t do it myself! However it has proven to increase engagement and I really want to start doing it to, I just need to do some more research into which hashtags to use and when! However, I thought to include it as a way of increasing engagement and we can go on the journey of using hashtags together. I might do a whole post towards the end of the year comparing my engagement now without hashtags to my engagement with hashtags… let me know if that is seeing if it would grow your Instagram account is something you would be interested in! I read Kirsty’s post and it really inspired me, so if you want to read more about the benefits of hashtags then click here to be redirected.
Wow, that was a long post! I really hope that these tips were useful and let me know if you try any of them yourself, and the results of making some small changes actually do grow your Instagram account. None of them take a particularly long time but they are super useful, and its strange how little changes can help you get around the algorithm more. Don’t become too obsessed with the numbers though, its easy to start constantly counting but try not to. You need to do it because you enjoy it, not because of the growth. Obviously the numbers do matter to an extent, but make sure you are enjoying what you are posting, because no number is worth losing your integrity over.
Bit of self promo- but if you want to follow my Instagram account then click here to be redirected. It would be appreciated!