A little while ago, I wrote about how buying Instagram followers is actually a really negative experience. I followed it up with a post describing all the ways I increased my Instagram following organically in the time around that. I held back a little bit, I must admit. There’s so much to say on this topic that I could actually write a whole book on it (read: I’m writing a whole book on it).
I haven’t increased by many followers since my last post, only 50 or so, but that is because my post rate has slowed way down as I work on more behind-the-scenes blog stuff. It should pick up again over the next few weeks, because I know the methods I’m telling you about work. They’re tried and tested, by me! Although my follower count hasn’t gone up much, my engagement is higher than it’s ever been. I am still getting likes and comments on posts from up to a few weeks ago, which is incredible. Remember, Instagram followers are pointless without engagement!
If you haven’t checked out Part 1 of this post, read it here: 5 Surefire Ways to Organically Increase Instagram Followers & Engagement
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So, here you are, 5 more ways to organically increase your Instagram followers (& engagement)!
1. Plan ahead
As with the content on your website or blog, you want to plan your Instagram posts in advance as much as possible. You should be posting on a schedule (more on this below) and posting regularly so you need to have a backlog of imagery you can use. This is handy when you need to post on a Monday morning, but it’s raining outside and you don’t want to leave your bed to take a fresh and beautiful picture.
Try to take a lot of pictures in bulk and upload them spaced out over time – this can help blend other images into your theme, a few random pictures and a few very similar ones blended together can create a sense of cohesiveness.
It’s guaranteed that you’ll lose Instagram followers by the dozen if you upload poor quality or meaningless imagery or if you aren’t posting on a regular basis!Instagram followers drop like flies if you aren't actively uploading quality imagery Click To Tweet
- Take images in bulk, edit in bulk, upload on a schedule
- Upload random, less planned shots every now and then to add more life to your feed
- Leave yourself scrolling through your phone 10 minutes before you planned to post to find something decent to upload. You’ll end up with a sub-par feed this way.
2. Schedule your posts
There are so many apps out there that can help you plan your feed and schedule your Instagram posts. Generally, anytime is a good time to post on Instagram, but if you have a business account you should check your analytics and see when you get most engagement and try to post around these times.
An Instagram scheduling tool like Tailwind can help you really plan ahead and schedule correctly. They’ll figure out your best times to post and even recommend the best hashtags to use for that time and situation.Feed planning tools let you see how something looks on your Instagram feed BEFORE you upload Click To Tweet
If you’re super into your theme you may want to check out apps like UNUM, that let you see what your images will look like in your feed without having to upload them.
- Check what your Instagram images will look like in your feed before you upload
- Post at the best times
- Use Tailwind for Instagram to help keep you on schedule
- Upload anything and everything to the point where you completely break out of your theme
- Post at random or low-engagement times. Post random shots throughout an interesting day, by all means – more imagery is better! Just try not to rely on random, spur of the moment shots to be the foundation of your feed. Failing to plan is planning to fail!
3. Ask a question
Your caption isn’t just a place for you to describe your picture. Spark engagement among your audience by asking them a question. Make your caption something relatable and finish by asking them about themselves. This has the double whammy effect of both encouraging your customers to engage directly with your post and showing them that you are approachable and care about them and their opinions.Increase Instagram engagement by asking questions and interacting in your captions Click To Tweet
- End your caption as a question or call to action
- Ask anything too personal
- Ask customers directly to buy a product or appear too salesy
4. Use tags
It’s nearly impossible to grow on Instagram without using hashtags, and if you haven’t started using hashtags in your posts you should download my free hashtag cheatsheet which will set you up for tagging success! But did you know Instagram has another type of tag that is almost just as useful? Geotagging.
Geotagging allows you to appear in the search results if anyone searches for the location you’ve tagged. If your post gets strong engagement, you may even end up in the Top Posts for that location! This is especially good because if it is a smaller location (e.g. a cute coffeeshop) you may end up staying in the Top Posts for a while, and anyone who searches for it will see your post.
Geotagging also gives you the chance to land yourself on the Explore page for anyone who frequently searches for that location, increasing your potential reach even further.
- Geotag everything, especially if you are at a location of interest that people may be searching for
- Geotag exactly where your home is. No one needs a stalker in their life. Choose a location that is suitable and tag it in any pictures you take at home. For example, I always geotag my pictures from home as Dundee, which is the city I live in. I don’t tag my street or even the area I live. The city is wide enough that it is relevant without giving away where I am.
5. Set a mood in every post
This follows on a little from theming your Instagram but can be applied to individual posts, too. When you post a really inspiring or thought-provoking image you will get likes, comments and Instagram followers in return. This has a lot to do with the imagery you capture – take photos that tell a story, and then use the caption to describe the story in greater detail. Your captions can be mini blog posts that describe the thoughts and feelings and situations of the imagery to the reader in a short form.
- Share imagery that catches the eye, and sparks an emotion in anyone who looks at it
- Tell the story of your image in the caption
- Overedit a picture to tell a story the picture doesn’t tell naturally
- Share an image with a lot of text on it (quotes are fine, but a summary of your day doesn’t cut it – that’s what the caption is for!)
So, there you have it
5 more things to focus on that I know will boost your Instagram followers and engagement. Remember, Instagram is an even playing field for everyone, so just because you may be trying to reach your customers or readers, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be engaging back. The easiest way to grow on Instagram is to put yourself out there and attract an audience by posting beautiful imagery and portraying yourself as someone your readers want to talk to!