Most businesses would love to have a strong digital presence of social media accounts that effectively promote their brand. Instagram is one of the best platforms for businesses to grow on social media and reach a new audience. There is the common misconception, however, that building valuable Instagram accounts requires a large budget and takes far too long to be worthwhile. While it is true that growing your brand on Instagram takes time and effort, there are some key strategies that have been shown to dramatically improve organic growth. This article explores some of the most efficient free strategies to help you improve your social media in 2022.
Create and Post Effective Content
The first step of organically building an Instagram account is deciding what type of content to focus on. Depending on your type of business or brand, the type of content you post may vary substantially. In general, your content should try to meet the following criteria:
- It should Entertain your audience - Creativity is key here
- It should Educate your audience - Your audience should learn something from your post
- It should Engage your audience – Your audience should be inspired to like, comment, follow, or be prompted with some sort of call to action.
If the content you post consistently meets some or all the criteria, it is more than likely to help your account and business succeed over time. It is also worth noting that you do not have to always create your own content. It is acceptable and can be highly effective to repost entertaining content from elsewhere on social media. A good way to find engaging content to repost is on TikTok and on the Instagram explore page. However, if you use someone else's content, it is important to give them credit in your post caption.
Once you figure out the type of content you are going to focus on posting, developing an effective posting routine is the next step in growing your account. Consistency of posting is an essential component of growing social media accounts. The Instagram algorithm rewards consistency and daily posting. To put it into perspective, it is better to post C+ content every day than it is to post Grade A content infrequently. The best-case scenario is to create a routine of daily posting where all of the content is great. However, there may be days where you need a “filler” post. This is where reposting entertaining content can be an effective way to keep your positive momentum rolling. Whether you decide to post 3-5 times a week, once a day, or 3 times a day, it is of utmost importance to stay consistent and on schedule.
Post at the Right Times
In addition to posting high quality content on a consistent basis, it is valuable to figure out when the best times to post on your specific account are. The best way to do this is by posting throughout the day, or at different times each day to test when your audience is most active. If your account is set up as an Instagram business account, you can go to insights section and see what time of day your followers are most active for each day of the week. Using this feature allows you to determine when the most effective times to post are for your account. It is recommended to structure your posting schedule based upon these times.
Use effective Hashtags to Maximize Reach
When posting on your account, the proper use of hashtags is another very important component of helping the post maximize its reach. For Instagram, it is best to find a collection of 30 relevant hashtags to use for your posts. 30 is the maximum number of hashtags allowed and creates the potential to funnel new users to your posts. When choosing which hashtags to use, make sure each hashtag has a connection to the content being posted. Additionally, it is best to use hashtags with different ranges of popularity. For example, some hashtags you use should have over a million uses, while other hashtags you use should have between 100,000 and a million uses, under 100,000 uses, or even under 1,000 uses. The important takeaway here is using a wide variety of hashtags with different levels of popularity. Your hashtags should be adjusted every week or two for maximum effectiveness.
Build Your Following
Once you decide on the direction you would like to take your account and have developed a strategic posting schedule, you will need to build a following so that your awesome content is seen by the right consumers. This should happen naturally as you post consistently interesting content, but there are other strategies you can supplement this with to give your account a boost. One strategy that can help you grow your following with engaging and active Instagram users is the “Following/Unfollowing Method.”
How this works is you start by finding and following a larger Instagram account with high engagement from your same industry. For example, if I was creating a Lamborghini focused Instagram account, I would find another car account to focus on. Once you find a good account, go to the recent posts and find a post with many comments. From here, go through and follow the users who are most active and have engaged consistently. You can follow up to 200 users per week when using this strategy. Many of these accounts will likely follow you back if you have good entertaining content on your account as they should be interested in your genre. This a great strategy to incorporate when you are first building your base of followers.
Engage With Your Followers
Once you begin to establish an audience, one of the most critical factors in retaining and growing your audience is how often you engage with them. Engaging with your followers includes liking their posts, commenting on their content, responding to comments on your content, and personally messaging people that have interacted with you. Another great technique is to post engaging content, such as a story that includes a poll, question, quiz, and other interactive features. You may even want to offer an occasional raffle prize to your followers to incentivize their loyalty and engagement. However you choose to engage with your followers, make sure you are creative and make them feel welcomed. It is always best to create a community that is centered around your social media account.
What You Should Avoid
On the flip side, it is worth mentioning what you should NOT do when trying to grow your Instagram account. Many businesses and marketing companies try to create the appearance of an effective digital presence by buying social media accounts, followers, and likes. This strategy is NOT recommended. Doing this may look effective to the untrained eye, but in reality, you are likely buying ghost followers. Ghost followers are fake or inactive users (often created by bots). They hurt the credibility of your brand and are likely to reduce the engagement of your account. This practice should be avoided as growing your accounts organically is key to sustained success.
Creating a strong digital presence is one of the most important factors in setting your business up for long term success. A key component of this is building an effective Instagram account that allows your brand to reach a new audience of consumers. Brands that take the necessary time to organically grow their following are wisely setting themselves up for long term growth and sustained success. The suggestions mentioned above in the article are a great start to growing your digital presence to the next level.