Last updated on November 14th, 2017 at 11:01 am
Instagram is one of my favorite social media channels out there, and my love for it keeps growing every day despite all the news you hear about changing algorithms, features, and shadowbans. I’ve been able to grow my followers and those of my clients’ significantly while following some simple Instagram guidelines. I thought it would be a great idea to share with you some of the “Do’s and Don’t’s” of Instagram that could get more Instagram followers for your account as well!
Pro tip: If time constraints are preventing you from properly maintaining and growing your Instagram account, feel free to contact us regarding our Instagram Quick Growth service. The client accounts we manage gain between 1500 and 2000 real and engaged followers per month.
1. Do get Instagram followers by posting quality content:
Instagram is crowded, just like all other massive social channels out there. These days you can only stand out with high-quality content – you have to figure out what that means for your target group. I suggest posting a mix of video and photos. Video is becoming increasingly important, and you don’t want to be left behind on this trend. It is also important to plan and create an aesthetic feed with your posts. This may sound vague to some because… what is aestheticism, exactly? And isn’t it subjective? It is. Which is why, although there is a standard, there are so many different ways your Instagram feed can be aesthetic, beautiful, or eye-catching. Here are a few of them.
Use consistent colors and/or filters.
This Instagram account below by food and travel blogger, Fazril Hafiz, is eye-catching because, not only are the images themselves artistic and sharp, but there is a consistent look in the colors which creates a theme for the feed and looks appealing to the eye. In other words, you don’t need to go crazy with different filters, contrasts, and vignettes which will only serve to make your images look mismatches and unorganized. Find an image style you like and stick with it. You can follow Fazril along his journey here: @wandering_balt.
Create a pattern
Ok, maybe you’re not so great with matching shades and using consistent colors in your pictures. There are other ways to be visually appealing, like this one: Create a pattern. Use templates which can be easily created in Canva and post them on Instagram in a specific, recurring order. Tuff Mutts, which sells dog products and accessories, uses their branding and colors to organize their Instagram feed in a way that creates a noticeable and eye-catching pattern. Follow them here: @tuffmuttpets
Use bright colors
There is a whole topic you can google about the psychology of colors for marketing: Colors have an effect on our mood, behavior, and purchasing decisions. And what’s more eye-catching than beautiful photography in bright, vivid colors? Seeing an image with bright colors is said to make you feel energized and evoke a reaction. In this case, the reaction could be to follow the account or to visit their website. The Instagram account below belongs to American department store Kohl’s and looking at their feed immediately tells me their marketing department did well in implementing this strategy.
If you want to read more about creating an aesthetic feed for your account, refer back to this post: Instagram Tips for Brands.
2. Do get more Instagram followers by engaging with your audience:
A big number of Instagram followers is not always important. Preferably, you’ll want to focus on your engagement rate, which is what many large brands and agencies do when they’re looking for bloggers or influencers to promote their products. Are you liking and leaving genuine comments on your followers and other people’s content? Do your followers like and comment on your content? If they do: you are doing well! However, your account won’t appear to be in great standing if you have 42.6K followers and averaging 300 likes per photo. There are plenty of instagrammers out there that are buying followers, and there are tons of fake accounts around – follower numbers matter less than engagement rate.
Pro tip: Use an app like WEBSTA to track your engagement rate. The account below does not have a huge number of followers, but these analytics tell me the followers they do have are engaged and interested in the content posted.
Try and invest some time in engaging with your followers. Reply to their comments, and like comments of your most engaged followers. This may take some of your time, but it is time well invested.
3. Do use hashtags to get more Instagram followers:
Use hashtags, but use them wisely. Rumors are going around about a “Shadowban” that Instagram supposedly imposes on accounts that misuse the hashtag feature. Read in the “Instagram Don’ts” section of this article to learn more about this mysterious ban.
When you use hashtags, do use ones that relate to your image, and not the ones that you think are popular to bring your image more exposure.
Pro tip: Claim your FREE Instagram Hashtag Basics PDF from the sidebar.
4. Do get more Instagram followers by sharing who you are:
You don’t always have to be business-like or sales-y on social media and Instagram in particular. If you have an Instagram account for your business, don’t be afraid to break up the monotonous flow of work or product pictures with something “behind-the-scenes” and fun, like a picture of your workplace or what you’re doing on your day off. Humans generally (hopefully) don’t connect on an intellectual level with robots, and don’t like to be sold to all the time, so make your passions shine and share that which is important to you! Your followers want to get to know you, the person behind the screen, and will engage more with you (and your brand) when they achieve that human connection.
5. Do get to know your followers:
It is totally okay to experiment on your Instagram by posting different types of content. Not only can you vary between photos and videos, you can also vary between the types and angles of photos and videos. Try and experiment with aerials, landscape scenery, flatlays, head-shots, informative videos, funny videos, you name it! See which content evokes the best response from your followers and fine-tune your strategy to create similar content which will have a ripple effect.
6. Do use captions
Instagram is a platform for pretty images but, while pictures do say a thousand words, that’s only half the story. Take advantage of this space to speak to your followers personally by writing out an engaging caption. Explain the significance of the picture, ask your followers a question, type out how you are feeling that day. It’s much easier for someone to leave a comment when they are prompted to or could relate in some way to what you are saying.
1. Don’t work with brands you don’t like:
Your followers are intelligent people, and they will notice when you’re collaborating with brands you don’t genuinely like. It will resonate in your tone, your caption, and in the way it may look out of place among other brands you’ve worked with. This can seriously affect your own branding, something you most likely worked really hard for to build. Quick cash is tempting but consider your theme and style before getting into a collaboration with a brand.
2. Don’t buy likes or followers… ever:
As already mentioned in the Do’s of Instagram, people have the ability to buy likes and followers for ridiculously cheap.
These companies will even go so far as to send a high number of likes or followers to your account for free, without even asking you, as a sample of what they can provide. Your huge increase in followers overnight wasn’t a blessing – it was a curse. Block those accounts immediately. You will be followed by fake/dead accounts and it will kill your engagement rate since these accounts will never interact with your content. It will result in Instagram continuously showing your photos to fewer people. Please don’t fall into this trap. Engagement is extremely important now after Instagram switched up its algorithm in 2016 when it used to display photos in chronological order.
3. Don’t Follow to Unfollow:
Another thing to avoid is following people, and then unfollowing them as soon as they followed you back. Besides the fact that it is an unprofessional way of managing your account, it also doesn’t help you gain valuable followers. Your aim is to get followers that follow you because they like you or your brand, not because you followed them first. And the same goes for you, as well. You should want to follow people because you’re genuinely interested in their content, not because you want them to follow you back. There are plenty of free apps out there to let users know who unfollowed them and almost every one has one these days so don’t think you won’t get caught. The follow to unfollow game is time-consuming, frustrating for the other party, and won’t get you very far.
4. Don’t use banned hashtags:
As mentioned in the Instagram Do’s section, Instagram is imposing a mysterious but temporary “Shadowban” that some users were unfortunate enough to experience. While no one knows the exact criteria Instagram uses to shadowban you, we do know that it happens due to specific posts, rather than a ban on your entire account. Interesting to note is that Instagram went after and shut down at least five companies that provided automation services to grow your account at around the same time frame the shadowban came out. On top of that, they banned a number of hashtags. Some hashtags with sexual connotations such as #instasex and #foreplay are obvious. But Instagram also banned some normal ones that seem just plain strange, such as: #costumes, #boho, and #dogsofinstagram. Really? #dogsofinstagram? Yes, really. How do you find out if you’re using banned hashtags? You can use Smaudience to check the status of a hashtag. The free version allows you to check up to 10 hashtags per day. Keep in mind to not use any banned hashtags you find in the future. It’s recommended that if you find out that one of your posts is being shadowbanned, delete the hashtags you are using for that post and switch up the hashtags you’re using for your next few posts so they’re not always all the same.
I hope this gave you some insight on some of the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to Instagram. If this post helped you out, share it with a friend.
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