This post originally appeared on The Professor Is Out. It has been updated and modified.
Building a loyal following on Instagram is about creating content your audience will love and developing a community through two-way communication. This post will focus on developing your community through interaction.
Building your following on Instagram in 10 minutes a day
Set your timer for 10 minutes and do the following (listed in order of importance). When the timer stops, you stop. Be the tortoise and have long term sustainable growth rather than burn out like the hare. Start again tomorrow at the top of the list. It will take time to build your following however they will be the right and engaged audience.
Note: This strategy assumes that you are batching your posts and scheduling them weekly or monthly. Check out this post on scheduling tools for Instagram.
1. Reply to all mentions and comments
If someone has taken the time to reply to your post or tag you in content (other than spam – report that shit!) then you need to take the time to respond. Try to continue the conversation with a question to get even more engagement.
2. Live update or picture/video on Stories
Live update or Stories content is a behind the scenes look at your life. They are less structured than your posts and allow your followers to get to know you intimately. Video is so popular right now so give the people what they want.
3. Like 5-10 images for hashtags you follow
Find the hashtags that your potential followers (target market) are using and follow them. Each day of the week scroll through the new posts for that hashtag and like 5-10 that resinate with you. For those who have a small number of likes they will be curious about you and most likely check out your profile. If you have quality content on your page then they are also likely to follow you for more.
4. Comment (meaningfully) on images for your followed hashtags
Social media is so named because it is about being social. Commenting on posts allows you to connect with your potential audience while giving your name exposure. Answer questions, provide insight, ask questions – just make sure you are being genuine and relative to the post. Nothing says spam quicker than genetic comments such as ‘great post’ and ‘keep up the good work’.
Other ways to increase your Instagram following
- Add a follow me on Instagram on your website
- Add a stream of your latest Instagram posts to your website sidebar
- Ask your Twitter/Facebook followers to follow you on Instagram (once every 6 months maximum – we don’t want to spam them)
- Add a link to your Instagram to your email signature
- Add your Instagram handle to your business cards
Tactics you should never use to increase your Instagram following
- Follow4Follow hashtags – you will get spammy short term followers with low engagement
- Asking people to follow you on other peoples posts