With 1 billion monthly active users on Instagram, growing an engaged audience can be difficult. But just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here’s our advice for attracting people to your account and convincing them to click that follow button.
Decide on a niche
Do you have a specific niche for your content? Would you be able to describe it in just one sentence? Knowing your niche, and sticking to it, will increase the chances of people following your account and engaging with your content. They’ll follow you because they like what they see, and they know they can expect more of it in the future.
If you want to take this a step further, and really focus your content, why not create a persona for your followers. Fully flesh out a personality and demographics for them so when you’re creating content you tailor it to them. This will add extra focus to what you’re creating, and as a result people will more likely connect with you and your content.
Your personality should also play a big role in your niche. Are you the laid-back quiet type? Or the life and soul of the party? Incorporating this into your content will give you a USP in your niche (especially if you’re in a saturated market, like fashion or beauty) and will also make people far more likely to follow you as they relate to your personality traits.
The only way to grow your following is by getting your content in front of new people. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using hashtags effectively. I’m not talking about stuffing your captions full of the most popular ones, though.
Having a hashtag strategy will really help you to gain the attention of the right people, and build your following. The hashtag limit on Instagram is 30, so if you have 30 relevant hashtags to use why not use them all? This will increase your chances of being discovered and it will boost your impressions. The key is to make sure that they really are relevant to what you’re sharing.
So, how do you find relevant hashtags? There are websites and services that offer to help you find the right ones, but I think a manual approach is always best as it allows you to be really specific with your strategy. Decide on 3-5 keywords for your image and then type the hashtag in for them and see what else Instagram recommends. For example, if my keyword was #zara, Instagram may then recommend #zaradaily, #zarawoman and #zaraoutfit as hashtags for me to also use. Use 4-5 hashtags for each keyword and before you know it you’ll have a set of 12-25 for you to use in your caption.
When choosing which hashtag variations to use, make sure you select ones with a variety of popularity. Being seen on a hashtag with only 1,000 posts is far more likely than one with 10 million. That said, the 1,000 post hashtag may not get as much traffic, so a balance of popularity in hashtags will increase your discoverability and likely increase your impressions.
Share the journey
It can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling like your content has to be perfect and polished. But if we are honest, is this the style of content we really relate to or invest in? We all love a journey. We like seeing people build and grow into their success stories. So why not share yours?
Instagram Stories is a great place to be real and honest with your followers. Share with them how you’re feeling, any challenges you face and where you’re aiming to get to. When you share this your followers will invest in your journey and they will be far more likely to engage with you or share your content with their own audience.
Even if you’re feed is curated and aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t mean you can’t be more real or authentic with your audience there. Why not share your sense of humour or honesty in your captions? You could also use the carousel feature to share some behind-the-scenes content to your main image. Sharing the realities of your life, and the content you create, will always be endearing to an audience and will make new people who find your feed more likely to click follow.
Sharing your journey doesn’t mean you have to share all aspects of your life. Maintain your privacy, and just focus on sharing the realities of your ‘content journey’. If you’re a fashion blogger, why not talk about your editing process, or outfit fails? As a beauty YouTuber, share when products don’t work for you or your journey towards learning how to improve your makeup skills. It may not be polished content, but it’s still valuable to people in a similar situation to you and will increase your chances of being followed.
Talk to your audience
In order to keep growing your account, it’s important to listen to what your followers want and talk directly to them. It can feel a bit awkward and vain to walk around chatting to our phones, but those Stories tend to perform best as people feel far more engaged by them. When you’re creating content, make sure it is directed at your audience and includes CTAs (call to actions). For example, if you’re planning a trip, why not talk to your audience about your dream cities to visit while you try to narrow them down? Put polls and question boxes up so they can help you choose where to go. This will make them feel far more invested in the trip when you do go, and they’ll be excited to see the content from it because they’ve had direct input in the decisions you’ve made.
It can be easy to get stuck on the treadmill of just churning out content, but putting your audience first will make them far more likely to engage with your content and share it. This increased engagement will do wonders for your discoverability on the app, and will in turn help you to build a following.
Talking, and listening, to your audience will also help you to refine your audience persona. You’ll learn more about what they like and therefore be able to create the perfect content for them. This will mean that when the right people stumble across your account they’ll be more likely to follow you and get invested in your content.
Analyse your content
Once you’ve got into the flow of your content, and your account has begun to grow, it would be a good idea to analyse what is performing well. Take a look at your Instagram analytics and take notice of the posts that have the most impressions and engagement from the past couple of months. Is there a lot of overlap there? If there’s some anomalies have a think about why they’ve underperformed on one analytic and how you could have improved it.
Looking at the content that is performing well will help you to identify any common themes or trends. Do people prefer long or short captions from you? Do they like detail shots or full-length ones? Taking all of this into account will help you to niche down, and honing in on your most successful content will make you more likely to increase your analytics and therefore attract more people to your
Once you’ve been sharing content for a while, look at what is performing well. Look at engagements and impressions, how can you match them both up? This will also help you to niche down and give people what they really want. Once you start to really target your brand towards your audience, the people who discover your account will be far more likely to follow and rave about your content to their own followers, friends and family.
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