💌 004: How to build your Instagram following in 2021
Instagram (IG) is just over 10 years old, and it’s changed so much since its creation. IG ushered in an era of change in the way media gets shared, and brought us the concept of an influencer. It’s changed the lives of many.
With all that said, growing an IG following and standing out used to be a bit easier than it is today. Just think about how different it is now from the time when the only thing you could do is share a single photo (not even a video!).
Now there are other features like stories, IGTV, Reels, IG Live, and more to come soon. With every new sub feature and media type that’s released, it gets more complicated, as everyone’s attention is split between the different types.
The short of it is, there’s no magic bullet to grow your Instagram overnight. A lot of the core principles that we preach across all online marketing come into focus here.
As usual, this isn't a deep dive, but a helping hand on where to look and what to start thinking about.
High-level tips to help you grow over time
- Post consistently. Start with trying to post at least once a week, but then try to get that to once per day. People cannot engage with you, or find you if there’s not enough stuff to find. 🤷🏽♂️
- Split your posts across the various IG media types. As mentioned earlier, long gone are the days when IG is all about single feed photos. Now you have stories, IGTV, Reels, and IG Live. For the best results, try to post via a mix of all of them. Nobody really knows, but it’s assumed the IG algorithm favors creators that use all the tools available. 🤖
- With that said, you really need to focus on Reels this year if you want to get more followers organically. Here are some handy tips for using Reels.
- If you are running a business or a media brand, stick to your theme/niche, but also show off your personality from time to time. For example, if you’re running a food account, stick to that if that’s what people know you for, and then vary it slightly to show yourself. People connect with the humans behind brands.
- People enjoy content that is either: funny, entertaining, helpful, or inspirational. Aim to have your content fit into those buckets regularly. As a side note, the first two are why TikTok are really taking off the last two years.
- Use the right hashtags to get new followers. For Display Purposes will help you find the best ones for any given photo. Try for ones that aren’t used by millions, since there will be less competition.
- Post consistently. Yeah, it’s on the list twice because it’s that important ⚡️
Links that will teach you more than I can
I consider myself to be an internet marketing generalist — which is to say I have knowledge about a ton of topics, but don’t specialize in any of them. So, I’m going to share some links that can give you tons more information on not only growing your following, but how to mix formats and also how to get better photos from just your phone.
- How to Get More Followers on Instagram: 12 Tactics for Instagram Growth
- Later’s blog has all kinds of tips and courses you can take
- How to take great photos for IG using on your phone: Camera settings to try, and actual artistic tips from amazing photographers.
- If you need help designing for your feed or for stories, check out Canva. It’s what I use for light design work (and where I made the image for this post). They have tons of Instagram templates to choose from.
- The best for last, especially if you have some time to learn this weekend. "How to get 10K followers per week" live talk by Chris Do is about an hour long but so many gems are covered. This was made before Reels existed, but it really cements some of the ideas discussed here. Highly suggested!
What’s your favorite thing about Instagram
Reply and let me know your favorite (or even least favorite) things about Instagram. And hit me up on IG while you’re at it!
See y’all next week,
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