Welcome Back Friend.
Everyone’s heard of Instagram. Instagram is the #1 photo sharing app on the Apple App Store, currently. And even better, Instagram is FREE. If you don’t have an Instagram account, and would like one, please sign up below by clicking on the button.
I have calculated and came up with 10 unique tips to instantly up your Instagram following, based on my own findings - through trial and error and just by way of social media trend, the ever so popular, Instagram Algorithm. Ah, I said it. The Algorithm. Instagram has changed a lot since I first created one, back in 2015 (with only 69 followers, the time hop app reminded me). I cannot believe how much the photo sharing platform has grown and changed. This fancy term, algorithm, has made appearing on the your followers’ timeline or news feed, much more difficult! So let me share a few tips and tricks to help you start showing up, and gain more traction, then what you currently have! Apply all of them, or just a few, and be sure to let me know in the comments how they impact your awareness and following on Instagram.
Disclaimer and Appreciation: I have to admit, although these tips help you utilize Instagram as a platform, I have to contribute a lot of my social media and business success to collaborating with everyone who has shared my photos and content, to as well as those who have tagged me as well. Word of mouth is one the best ways to help someone, or business achieve greatness. Without this important step, I would not be where I am today, as I currently have reached about 3,000 followers on my Instagram platform earlier this past week. I am thankful for every follower and like to keep them engaged on my business account through professionalism and pride for the sport of Motorsports.
Hashtags are a symbol, also known as the pound key (#) on the keyboard. The Hashtag is always attached to the beginning of a certain word, phrase or location. These are identifiers that make using Instagram so much more relevant to the average user. When operating your own business, you want to have your business’ photos being open and easily searchable within your industry. Hashtags are so beneficial to helping your business grow on Instagram and gain traction or a consistent following. You can use up to 30 hashtags to describe your images, but you don’t want them to be too vague. Specific hashtags driven to your niche, or subject, are ideally what you should be focusing on. You want to use popular hashtags within your niche, but ones that don’t use millions and millions of types of meanings, such as “#green” or “#instahit”. You want your account to show up at the top of some of these hashtags when people search for certain hashtags. People started following hashtags, making it more easier to find specific content and photos that they are drawn to or have shown a higher interest in the past. If you show up in top 9 photos(photos that appear without scrolling up), you have started making it easier for people to find you and your company. Eventually this will start showing progression in your follower and like count on the photos that you are posting! Also, enter the hashtags separate from the actual posted photo in the comments section. This way, the hashtags won’t distract your follower, or viewer from the photo they are looking at.
If you own a business, you should never have a “private” account, for the business. Private businesses accounts make things more difficult than what it’s worth, and most times it turns people away. I have dabbled in and out of having a private account, and it just many times confuses the Instagrammer. This is one trend that needs to stop, with business accounts. For personal accounts, that’s fine. Have at it. On the flip side, for business accounts it should never be used. Believe it or not, nothing in 2018 is private, unless it’s just not posted to social media at all. Think of Instagram in the same way. Just because you private an account, doesn’t mean, someone else isn’t just watching for something you are going to post so they can screen shot it to someone else that doesn’t follow you. It’s a very odd way to think of it, but it’s the sad truth with social media and society.
So in 2019. On Second thought, just start now. Un-private those business accounts, now!
Best Images ONLY
Your account shows the most recent posts, first. So make them your best images! You don’t want to post poor images with no real story, and then good images with a banger story. You want all of your images to be the best of your work. Think of Instagram as an up-to-date portfolio, away from your website for people to look at. It is great to share behind the scenes and up-to-date images from what’s going on that day, but remember this is how people get a first a impression of your business or profile. So, let’s make it the best one!
Behind The Scenes Content
I mentioned Behind the Scenes content in the Best 9 Images, above. Instagram has this feature called “Stories”, and that is the perfect way to utilize showing behind the scenes content from the day. The secret behind the stories concept are: They show up first, on Instagram. They are always located at the top of the Instagram feed. What could be an easier way to broadcast what your doing? Be sure to show behind the Scenes footage, video or photo, from the day. This is a great way to show your followers a little insight and keep them excited about the content you are providing them!
When I’m normally at a race track, I will post behind the scenes content, such as hot laps, a time trial session, the beginning of a heat race right before they cross the chalk line. These are all exciting times during the night, and I like to make my followers feel like they are right along the fence, or right there for the action! It keeps them entertained, and shows them how close you are to the action, even if they are hundreds of miles away.
Interact With Your Followers
You can’t expect to post an image, and then just hop off Instagram the second after. The Algorithm doesn’t work like that. In order to smash the algorithm, you must interact with your followers. Come on, it’s not that hard to go and like someone else’s image, or drop them a comment, and if it is, drop your phone. Right this second! Instagram is a social media platform. It wouldn’t be a social media platform, without being social on it. That’s what it’s all about. You can’t just expect everyone to like your stuff, without showing some love back in the process. You can only take so much, before you expect to grow, without being active. Being active can dramatically improve your following. Try it out for yourself, I promise you - I have proven this tip with my own business page.
Pick A Clear & Consistent Niche
In my case this is a little difficult, but I had to make the decision. I primarily focus on sprint car racing and other types of photography. I had to make a decision which I would like to showcase on my instagram, and build my instagram or my “main focus” around. So I decided upon Sprint Car Racing/Racing Photography, and that has been my clear and consistent niche.
I have spoken with several other photographers who shoot anything and everything and post exactly that. This is overpowering for anyone on social media that wants to follow you. I’ll explain my reasoning behind this concept. Say you shoot: Wildlife, Portraits, and Weddings. One person may see your post pop up from the Wildlife, and only follow you because they think you just post photos of Wildlife, without thinking to look at the other stuff you have been posting. Then a few days go by and you post a Portrait. That same follower, now just unfollowed you, because they don’t understand that you take photos of multiple categories. This happens to so many profiles, it’s crazy! Not because they take terrible or outright bad images, most cases, they take great photos, but because they do not have a clear focus on their timeline and posts. This technique called “shooting within a niche” prevents the confusion and the unfollowing of “short term” followers.
Business vs. Personal Accounts
The question of “Should I have multiple accounts? Such as, one for my personal life, and a separate account for my business”. The answer should always be, “YES.” The reason behind this is most people follow your business for your business, and what you’re doing there, not because of your personal life. Most of the time, I would say make your personal page private, if your hesitant to have your prospective clients checking into your personal life and thinking that would change their opinion of you. But. It’s 2018, and well, privacy is a thing of the past, or so it seems. This helps narrow down the niche of your business account, as well. Many of my followers I’m sure wouldn’t like to see what I’m doing in my personal life, away from the race track, so that’s why I have a personal account, aside from my Killer Mile Motorsports account. However, it’s not private, because I think making an account private is pointless in this day and age. Most people get comfortable with following an account when they know what to expect on it. Just like I wouldn’t want to post sprint cars, and then all of a sudden post my dog - it’s unexpected and most would probably lose interest and unfollow. Same concept with having two accounts.
Also, with a business account, you can actually see insights, and when your followers are actually interacting with your posts, versus when the best times to post are. All of these are inside the insights of instagram accounts.
GEO Tagging Locations
Geo Tagging Locations happens when you tag a specific location in your photo. I like to tag the tracks that I took my images at. This is very useful when potential followers are curious to come to the location your tagging, and they can tap on that location, and find all the other photos that are “geo tagged” to the location, to show other interesting and creative shots. This is very useful if I went to a different country and was trying to plan interesting locations to shoot at. I can just search by Geo Tags and see what areas are unique and not oversaturated with other photographers. I can also see what shots work, and what doesn’t work. For ex. if I have an idea of what angle I want to shoot at, I can do research using Geo Tags, and see if any one else has tried out the angle.
Utilize Instagram Stories
Some of the most popular features on Instagram platform. This is mostly because it’s a cross between Snapchat (images and videos disappear after 24 hours) and Instagram. This is a great way to appear at the top of the Instagram feed for your followers.
Utilizing Story Highlights
Utilizing Story highlights may seem really hard. In fact, it’s really not that difficult. These are generally the 3rd thing a potential follower will notice when they click on your account name to view your profile. First, they generally see your photo/follower amount, then they see your bio area filled with important information about your business, and then they see your story highlights. You can put anything in this space. I have specific “bubbles” or circles designating several main places for my followers to look at that have been previously posted to my story with a unique cover photo, covering each category, to add pizazz to my account.
These house special features in your business that you want to showcase. Mine are as follows: Blog. Twitter. Facebook. Website. These showcase everywhere that people can find me on social media. In order to post links on your stories, you must have over 10,000 followers. I do not, but I am working my way to that. This allows you to add your website and unique links to story posts, so all people have to do is slide up, and the link will take them straight there. For right now, I have to post “Link in Bio” if I want to direct my followers to whatever important post I have.
PRO TIP: THE FOLLOW/UNFOLLOW
This tip has been the most useful, but with a twist! In the past, people would use the follow and quickly unfollow method, in hopes to gain quick followers and grow their following. Due to the new algorithm, this really isn’t proven effective anymore. And honestly, this really doesn’t help you keep real viewers and potential partners later on. This just makes for an unstable profile. Not to mention, you’re all but spamming people who would not typically follow your account, and may not even be a “real person”. There are so many bots on Instagram, and it makes it harder to figure out which accounts sometimes are operated by actual people. So just be aware.
I hope with sharing some of my key tips to helping increase your following, you can start to increase yours. Of course, the best advice is to be patient, it doesn’t happen overnight. At least not for most of us.
Share with me in the comments section below, if you have tried any of these tips, and if it starts to help you out on gaining a following. I think they will!