During the past few years, Instagram has done its best to adapt to changes in the social media landscape. More videos, more stories, and more algorithms have progressed Instagram to its goal of creating a platform that is nearly all-encompassing. But what do all of these changes mean for your Instagram account?
Building up a loyal following isn’t as easy as it used to be. The introduction of many new algorithms have made it harder to reach your audience organically, but that doesn’t mean its impossible.
In fact, there are a plethora of ways you can connect to your tribe. Let’s dive in.
1. Don’t Use Bots
Ever wonder why you get those random comments that have no relation to your post? You can thank bots for that. Bots are automated accounts that are used to like and comment on posts and even follow accounts – all done automatically. Recent years have brought Instagram to discourage this method through tougher algorithms that punish accounts for utilizing bots.
2. Use Hashtags Strategically
Before you pick a group of hashtags and stick to them, make sure that they align with your target audience. Do some research and put together a list of effective hashtags that your followers actually engage with. Of course, you’ll need a great post to pair with your strategic hashtags to get the most engagement possible.
Your goal is to be featured in the Top Posts section of Explore on Instagram. These photos are usually the top 9 performing photos using a particular hashtag. The key to landing a spot on the top is to choose a popular hashtag to target, utilize beautiful photography in your post and get high engagement (and quickly!). Each of these factors matters to Instagram’s algorithm, which will decide if your post makes it to the top spot.
3. Know When Your Audience Is Online
Study your past posts and your audience’s active times to know the right times to post. Once you’ve found that sweet timeslot, create a schedule of Instagram posts that are targeted to drive engagement during these highly active times. Instagram’s new algorithms give priority to high performing posts and keep posts living longer in the newsfeed, so it’s important to post at exactly the right time to make your post is getting the optimal engagement to stay ahead of the algorithm.
4. Join an Instagram Pod
What the heck is an Instagram pod? A new feature on the app? Not exactly.
An Instagram pod is a group, usually located on Facebook, that links Instagram influencers together to build their engagement together. These groups usually communicate via your Instagram DMs, in which you’d share your new Insta post in the group for others to like and genuinely comment. The members of your pod should include similar audiences to your tribe, so each group members’ content is complimentary and exposed to each other’s audience’s.
You can find pods by exploring Facebook groups for communities of Instagram influencers that are similar to you. The Instagram Marketing Mastermind group and the Instagram Marketing Community group are great examples of thriving groups driving engagement for Instagram influencers.
5. Post More Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are a very useful tactic to utilize while trying to extend your engagement. Although your followers can’t like your story, you can use stories to engage with your community in ways that simple posts cannot. Through Instagram stories, you can share your favorite song, conduct a poll, and share a side of you that is exclusive for your story viewers.
With stories, your brand is featured at the top of Instagram’s Explore page where your followers can prominently see it and it can potentially reach new members of your tribe.
6. Engage with Your Followers
Keep in mind that your followers are following you because they are getting something of use of out it for their lives. If a follower takes the time to comment on your post, don’t think that you are too big of a brand to respond back. In fact, today’s mega-influencers like Gary V got to where they are on social media by responding to all communication he received on social media. Always reply to your comments with a genuine reply that makes your followers feel welcomed to comment again in the future.
Hosting an Instagram contest is another way your brand can engage with your audience. By directing your followers to tag two or three friends in the comments for a chance to win a prize, you’ll introduce new people to your brand and develop a prominent post with high engagement – two big wins for your personal brand.
Have a Question? Reach out!
Your resource for all things personal branding, MyModernBrand, is here for all of your branding questions. If you want to dive deeper into this topic, let’s start a discussion on Instagram! Reach out to me, @themodernmami!