When it comes to getting your brand or name out there to the world, there is no doubt that Instagram is one of the most powerful tools in the industry of visual marketing. But if you're having trouble growing your Instagram account and keeping up with the latest Instagram trends, you're not alone. And don't even get me started about that ever-changing, ever-so-mysterious and ever-so-unforgiving Instagram algorithm...which none of us will ever fully understand, so literally, I won't even try to touch on it.
So aside from the evil IG algorithm, I'm going to at least attempt to lift the veil on three Instagram tips and tricks I have learned, all of which are effective for Instagram growth in 2017 and have actually helped me grow my Instagram account, @theupbeatpath, organically. These three tips include:
- Have a consistent theme on your Instagram Feed
- Be part of the community by joining an Instagram pod
- Follow Suggested Users on Instagram
See below to learn more about how to utilize these three tips for Instagram growth and success!
1. Have a consistent theme
Much like anything else in life, the key to success with Instagram is to remain consistent. Take a look at some of your favorite Instagram feeds, and you will notice that most of them have one major thing in common: each Instagram post is consistent in theme all the way down to the filter that is used on each photo and the color scheme.
While there is no ONE way to make sure your feed is consistent, there are a few apps out there that can help. I personally use the app Preview to determine which photo to post next that will best go with my current feed.
I also like to make sure I’m using the same or similar filters or presets before posting a photo. I’m a big proponent of doing most post-processing in Adobe Lightroom and using the same presets each time.
If you don’t have Adobe Lightroom, using an app such as VSCOcam and picking your favorite filter will be an effective way to maintain consistency in your feed.
Perhaps more obviously, another important element for consistency on Instagram is the actual content of the photos you are posting.
If your Instagram is travel-themed, for example, posting a photo of your nephew at this birthday party is not going to jive well with your feed and will probably result in some unfollows. That is the exact opposite of what we're looking to do here, so if you’re ever tempted to post anything that isn’t relevant to your feed or your audience, it’s best to make a personal Instagram and post those photos there.
2. Be part of the community: Join a pod!
I’m about to let you all in on a little secret here, if you haven’t already heard: if you want more engagement (especially comments) on your posts, join a pod.
What is a pod exactly? It’s a group of IGers in a similar niche that band together to engage with each other’s posts, typically done through Instagram DMs or Telegram. It’s kind of a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” concept, and it works incredibly well. Some pods are for comments, some are for likes, but by joining the right one you can be sure to have your posts show up more frequently in the “Top Posts” for whatever hashtags you include, which is a great way to get truly organic engagement on your Instagram.
Maybe you're wondering if this is considered "inauthentic" or "cheating" somehow and while this is certainly open for debate, I think that as long as you are working with other quality Instagrammers within your niche that are truly interested in your content, it is simply helping one another grow and sharing content with one another. This community hack is similarly employed across other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Furthermore, the end goal of joining a pod isn't simply to have a bunch of "forced" comments and likes from your pod, but to aid in getting your post in the Top Posts within Instagram hashtags, thereby getting your content in front of your target audience and delivering you more authentic likes, comments and follows. If that's cheating to you, then so be it, but I'd rather take matters into my own hands than leave them to the wrath of the evil Instagram algorithms!
To find pods, search for and join some Instagram growth Facebook groups within your niche. Who knows, you may even make some good friends this way too!
3. Follow The Suggested Users Train
Following suggested users is the number one way that I have been able to grow my Instagram account quickly, aside from posting quality content as consistently as possible. Ever noticed that as soon as you click the "follow" button on someone's account, a bunch of other similar Instagram accounts will pop up under "Suggested for you"?
Next time you see an account you like, give the following a try:
- Follow the account from their Instagram feed
- When "Suggested for you" pops up, follow a couple of those Instagram accounts.
- Before following another account you find interesting, click into that user's Instagram feed.
- Repeat Steps 1 and 2.
Do this until you've followed between 20-50 relevant Instagram users. If done correctly, you should see some new followers roll in! The premise to this is that by following a number of similar suggested users, you should end up as a suggested user yourself. Just be careful not to follow too many accounts too quickly, or Instagram will temporarily block you from following more accounts.