In 2018, Instagram officially announced that it has over 1 billion monthly active users.
This milestone signals the importance of businesses to have a presence on the platform.
However, this number also attracts large number of businesses onto the platform making competition highly saturated.
So, how do you grow your Instagram account in a saturated market? Here are the 3 fundamental principles of making it big on Instagram:
Leave at least three comments
Being an entrepreneur, having the best offense is the best defense. It sounds corny – but very true.
If your business is new to Instagram, it’s essential that you make the first move. Don’t wait – your business does not have the luxury.
Start by browsing through the photos of people you follow in the industry. Select 3 photos and leave intriguing comments.
Stop leaving generic comments like “Awesome pic!” and instead, say something that warrants the user to reply your comment. Make yourself stand out than the rest.
Having the engagement gives you some notoriety that will put you on people’s radars.
With the right comment, there is a good probability people could return good gesture; by returning Likes and Follow.
Don’t stop there. Continue engaging these people by sending DMs. Extend to offer exchange ‘shoutouts’ on your Stories too.
By agreeing to exchange ‘shoutouts’, you will be able to tap into another user’s audience to expand your market reach that will help your account to grow.
Remember! Always do what it takes to maintain continuous engagement with these people e.g. comment on their latest posts, do collaborations if necessary and so on.
Post at least once per day
I’ll be honest with you, I read through numerous amount of debates about how often you should post.
Profiles with large followings post 3 or more times daily.
On the other hand, profiles between 10k-100k followers post 1 time per day.
The study, performed by Quinty, concluded that you need to at least post once per day. The more, the better – obviously.
Consequently, it’s best your account has a steady flow of content.
So, don’t leave a gap between days without a post as research has proven that brands which post often tend to have larger followings.
Post at the optimal time
With the help of Instagram Insight, you probably already know the best time and day to post update on your account.
According to Later,
Instagram announced that they would be replacing the chronological feed with an algorithm that gives more priority to posts with higher engagement, which means the more likes and comments your post receives, the more people will see your post!
Here’s a confirmation from Instagram’s blog:
So, what can we learn from these updates by Instagram?
For each post you upload that gets a lot of Likes and Comments, this helps Instagram to determine that it’s a quality content which helps move your post to the top of your followers’ feeds.
Also, pay attention to “On average, people miss 70 percent of their feeds.”
This is a clear indication that you need to figure out the best time to post.
There are a number of factors in figuring this out; such as where majority of your audience is located, when they’re most active and so on – which you can find these details using Insight itself.
Having said that, there are a number of studies that found the optimal posting times.
Referring to a study by Mavrck, they have found that “…midnight, 3pm and 4pm were the most popular times to upload posts.”
They have also found that “Thursday, Friday and Wednesday were the most popular days too.”
The study also found that posting between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. during off hours could potentially help gain exposure since users are still browsing their feeds.
The reason I’m sharing you this is to help you see the thinking behind the study findings.
You can use these logic to determine your own optimal time to post updates since different audience behaves differently.
I’d recommend conducting your own experiments to figure the best time and days using Google Spreadsheet.
Start posting based on the information available from Instagram Insight; take notes of the number of Likes and Comments for the day and time you posted. Do this for a week.
The second week, try posting on different time for each day. Do this for a couple of weeks.
Once you feel you have done sufficient experiments, start comparing the data you have. You’ll begin to see a trend of which days and time your audience are mostly active.
This is what you need to determine the optimal time of postings for your audience.
Use 11+ hashtags
It’s a no-brainer that adding hashtags to your posts allow you to increase interactions with people.
Questions is; how much hashtags are considered good?
While some recommend to add one or two hashtags, others argue that you should use as many as 30 each post.
However, I went through an interesting study from TrackMaven that suggests 11+ hashtags on each Instagram posts give the highest interactions.
While the study does not guarantee you’ll gain 25,000 followers, adding 11+ hashtags to each post definitely give the edge to reach more people for engagement and account growth.
My Final Two Cent
Growing accounts on Instagram can be a very challenging task with its constant algorithm changes, shadow-bans and the existence of bot followers.
However, if you continue to add value to your audience and remain patient as you grow it, people will start paying attention to you.
Remember, creating awareness takes time.
Once you channel reaches beyond that point, you’ll start reaping the rewards.
So, keep hustling!