Instagram is a fantastic social media platform, and its continued growth figures are proof that more and more consumers are using this platform to interact with other like minded people, and brands. And whilst Instagram is a relatively simple platform to use as a general user, requiring little effort to scroll through a feed and like great images or follow great profiles, it has never been without its challenges when using it to market your business. Some of the early day issues have been ironed out, including access to in platform insights and post promoting if you are set up as a business account . However, along with the good changes, there are a couple of bad including the recent changes to its algorithm  which now shows posts based on Instagram’s discretion as opposed to the much simpler chronological order. Their reasons for this are very Facebook-esque in that they want to deliver to its users the most relevant and best content based on the users profile and past behaviour, but what it means for business is that they now need to start behaving like they do on Facebook to ensure their posts get seen. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it will inevitably lead to you producing and sharing better quality posts, but it will add an extra dimension to your workload around managing your Instagram account. So, to help you work that algorithm and help you grow your Instagram profile read on.
12 tips to help you grow your Instagram profile in just 10 mins a day
  1. Engagement is key. Social media is not a one-way street so make sure you engage with those who are following you by liking/commenting on their content. There are apps that can help you track who are your biggest fans, it’s definitely worthwhile looking into using one. I use Crowdfire.
  2. Be polite. Thank everyone who comments on your posts, it demonstrates good manners and that you are engaged (see point 1).
  3. Learn. Go over your past activity and identify which posts were the most successful, see if you can figure out what they share and why they performed well. This is a good way of figuring out what rocks your followers boat so you can do more of it.
  4. Hashtag wisely. Do some hashtag research and use them well. It also pays to take a look at who you are following or want to emulate within your field and take a look at their hashtags. If they don’t appear to use any, tap the image to see if they are tagging accounts instead.
  5. Tag appropriately. Where relevant, tag other accounts into your photos. If you post travel photos tag in the destination account of where the image was taken. For fashion images, tag the designer, retailer or model – you get the drift. Just make sure it’s relevant to the post so it doesn’t seem desperate, or weird.
  6. Competitions work. Run a contest each day, week or month and share the winners on your social media accounts and your website. This type of activity helps you generate content, rewards your followers and increase activity on your Instagram account.
  7. Cross promote. Share your Instagram images onto your Facebook page, however if you post on Instagram more than twice a day, then cap the shares to just two.
  8. Promote it. Make sure you promote your Instagram account everywhere, including your website, retail environment, email signature and other social media profiles.
  9. Use the follow, unfollow strategy. It’s an oldie but a goodie. All you need to do is follow others and hope they follow you back, and if they don’t then unfollow them. Apps will help you manage this.
  10. Words are also important. Whilst Instagram is an image led platform and all images should be representative of the brand, it’s just as important to spend some time crafting a clever caption to go with it. Captions can illicit a ‘like’ response also.
  11. Be afraid of ghosts. Ghost accounts and spam is one area Instagram really makes it hard for you when it comes to account management. Anyone can follow you and unless you check everyone’s profile you are none the wiser to them being ghost or spam accounts. Whilst these followers will boost your numbers and make you look popular, they will impact on your engagement numbers as they are not liking or interacting with your content.  Again, apps will help you manage this to a degree, however the only way to get rid of them is to go through your followers, identify the bad one’s and block them. How do you identify a ghost account, see image below. Spammers are easy to spot, they are trying to sell you followers.
  12. Don’t buy your followers.  It’s an easy trap to fall into especially when you are starting out but purchasing thousands of followers just to look good will screw your real engagement numbers. Engagement numbers are a more important measure for the strength of your Instagram account and anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool. The holy grail however is a high number of both followers and engagement.

An example of a ghost account.

Follow these simple tips and in 10 minutes per day you will grow your Instagram account.

Do you have any great Instagram management tips you would like to share? We’d love to hear from you, just put them in the comments below.