I get asked often many questions on how I started my business, so I thought it would be beneficial to put a blog series together on the subject! Introducing #GWJBusinessSecrets where ill discuss various business topics to help you grow your business! One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “How did you grow your Instagram following?” so lets get started!
I opened my @glamwithjess IG account a couple of years ago with only 293 friend (all of whom were my closest friends). I began to strategically grow my account and managed to grow up to 30k followers in less than a year (leaving me with a 22k interactive following after the IG clean up and a 2 year break), Here are some tips that have helped me grow the supportive and interactive following I have today:
1. Visual – Instagram was initially created as a photo sharing platform, but has now become one of the largest online mobile applications for photo sharing, video sharing and social networking. Although video sharing has trended, its platform is still dominated by photos! This is why its so important to invest the time (and sometimes money) to create quality visuals. What your followers initially see when they visit your page will determine whether or not you will get a like or follow. If your photos are not interesting, vivid or eye catching people will not have an interest in following your page or engaging with your photos. You can easily capture great photos by using the following tips and equipment:
- Take your photos in good lighting ( best time is usually during the day, but avoid direct sunlight) I find natural lighting to be the best (plus its FREE). I have used soft box lighting and its a bit more complicated to manage
- Investing in a good camera if its within your reach is a must, but if you are running on a budget using your phone is as great. I recently purchased a Universal Professional HD Camera Lens for less than $25 on amazon and the quality of my images look amazing!
- Use an editing app or software to edit your images – My favorite at the moment is PicMonkey not only is it FREE, it has great features for editing your photos. They do a have a membership for $5 a month, which unlocks additional editing features and graphics.
- Extra Tip for Iphone Users – Press and hold the screen to lock the auto focus (AF) on your phone. This helps lock the area you wish to focus on and you can adjust the brightness at the same time.
(Taken on my Iphone using AF and natural lighting)
2. Caption – Once you have a good quality photo, it’s time to post! But not so fast, a caption is also part of the visual experience. I think captions vary depending on the type of account and industry you are in. I follow many life coaches and love reading their captions (even if they are long), but I have found most people don’t read captions. Something that has worked for me is going straight to the point and adding a question at the end of most of my captions to engage with my followers. This way your followers build a more personal relationship with your page and engage (comment) more often. Remember, captions cannot exceed more than 300 characters.
3. Hashtags & Tags – My favorite part of posting is using hashtags and tags! Hashtags are used to identify specific messages and topics on social media. Millions of users scroll through tags to find new pages and content to follow. One thing Ive learned is that you have to be strategic with the tags you use and when you use them. Please remember the following when using hashtags or tags:
- First step is to identify popular tags for the type of image you are posting. If its an image of a Coffee cup hashtag #coffee its that simple! You can use up to 30 tags on each IG photo.
- Save your tags – if you have an Iphone using the note section to save you hashtags will help you to reuse them in the future
- DO NOT place your tags in your caption – place them in the comment section and add spaces (like the image below) so the hashtags aren’t visible to your followers.
- Timing is everything – you must post the hashtags immediately after you upload. Remember millions of people are posting at the same time using similar tags. Tags are ordered based on the time they are posted, so when someone looks at a hashtag the first couple of images that people view are the most recent. If you place the hashtags hours later your post will fall in the history and your photo will be less likely to be seen.
- Make your page public – your tags will not be visible to others if your page is not public. So if you are interested in growing your IG, public page is the way to go.
- If there is a specific brand you are featuring in your photo Tag them ! This will increase your chances of getting your image reposted on other pages and platforms. Repost = Exposure = Followers
4. Timing – The timing of when you post your content is very important. I have noticed an increase amount of likes and followers on specific days and times during the week. My favorite days to post are Monday and Wednesday at 8pm and Tuesdays at 10pm. I went a little further and compiled some data from a company called Later which helps plan your visual content marketing. This is what I gathered:
- The Best Times, On Average, To Post On Instagram
Instagram scheduling service Latergramme looked at over 61,000 posts to determine when they got the best “engagement” — meaning “likes” and comments divided by a user’s number of followers. This chart shows the most successful times on average: 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
- Which Days Have The Best Instagram Engagement?
The differences are slight, but average Instagram engagement — “likes” and comments divided by a user’s number of followers — does shift depending on the day, according to scheduling service Latergramme.
- The Best Times To Post On Instagram Every Day
Instagram scheduling service Latergramme looked at over 61,000 posts to determine when they got the best “engagement” — meaning “likes” and comments divided by a user’s number of followers. The data for each day is visualized here and sorted by engagement percent versus time of day. The higher the bar, the better.
- The Best Times To Post On Instagram Every Day
5. Consistency – this is vital to keep your IG page growing. Trust me, I took a long break and lost over 8k followers. So posting 2 to 3 times a day is very important.to keep your account active and relevant!
6. Follow A Theme – Last but not least, follow a theme. Your IG page reflects you or your business. Make sure photos have similar elements that reflect the style and look of your brand.