The Best Instagram Strategy For 2020

In this guide we will cover an overview of the strategy we used to grow our instagram account @itsourculture. Topics covered include setting up your account the right way, daily actions you should take to grow your account and the do’s and dont’s of Instagram explained.

 

 

Right now is probably one of the hardest times to grow an account due to many restrictions and Instagram being more saturated but do not fear, it is still possible! Our platform went from 0-20k followers in under 4 months, so take us as a case study for this method.

Instagram can be a very powerful tool for promoting yourself if done right, our aim is for our members to understand the strategy behind it.

By SeenbyG

Pick a niche and stick to it.

Wether you’re a photographer, model, performer or anything else creative, you need to figure out what type of content you want to be known for. Your followers will be attracted by the content you post, and although you may love that beautiful photo of your sisters baby, no-one else really cares. So, find what content your audience likes, create content that will attract the response you want, and keep posting it! You want to make yourself into a reliable source for good content, visitors will be put off if the content you post is not defined or lacks a structure. Do your research, pick a niche and stick to it.

Consistency is key

It is recommended to post between 2-5 high quality posts per day for maximum growth. It is common sense that posting more = faster growth but don’t oversaturate your feed and give your audience so much that they cannot take it all in. It is not an issue if you do not have this amount of content to post but it’s important to keep your profile looking active with stories, lives and other ways you can reach out to your audience easily on a daily basis. No-one wants to follow an account that hasn’t posted in 3 weeks.

Stay Friendly

Reply to every comment you get, interact with your audience, search relevant hashtags and engage with new people. Instagram is a social platform so keep it that way. By engaging with others you are not only increasing your profile visibility but also let your followers get to know you. In a world of terrible customer service, stay friendly.

Hashtags are important

Do not underestimate the power of hashtags! They are a very powerful yet often overlooked strategy that we urge you to include into your strategy. Using well researched, relevant hashtags can add tens if not hundreds of thousands of extra impressions that you could be missing out on by not using them! We wrote a member only guide on why you should use them and what the best way to find relevant hashtags for your niche here.

Follow/Unfollow

You may have heard about the infamous F/UF and for good reason. There are definitely benefits and disadvantages of this method, but if you’re creating an account that isn’t a personal brand, this may be worth a try. 

The psychology behind it:

You follow people that may be interested in your content in hopes that they will repay the favour. The idea behind it lies in the law of reciprocity, if someone feels like you are helping them out, they are much more likely to return the favour. Although this may be seen as bad practice, it is the best way to get your account off to a good start.

The Method:

1. Find a large account 50k+ with high engagement that is in the same niche as you (your favourite photographer/a brand you aspire to be etc)

2. Scroll through their recent posts and find one with less engagement than usual, the reason for this is that the people who are liking the worst performing posts of a user are usually their most loyal.

3. Spend 5-10 minutes going through the profiles of people that have liked that post and follow them.

4. After a week, unfollow them. You can decide wether to just unfollow people that didn’t follow you back or everyone you followed a week ago including those who did. The reason for this is appearance, if you follow a lot more people that follow you, your account can look spammy and unprofessional. We know this sounds lame but its the game you have to play.

Tips:

A little added extra to boost your follow back rate is to also like between 1-3 of the users photos before following. This way you don’t look like you’re just following them so they will follow back and also increases your visibility. 

Only follow people that have posted a story in the last 24 hours. You can easily find this out by seeing wether or not they have an orange ring around their profile photo. The reason for this is that you will now only be following active users that are more likely to see your notification.

Know your limits. There is no definite answer to how many people you can follow per hour, it is totally dependant on the age of your account and your Instagram ‘trust score.’ You will want to start off doing very limited actions (between 10-15 per hour) and increase it up to a maximum of 200 per day. Some accounts may be able to do a lot more but it is always better safe than sorry and the last thing you want is getting your account blocked or banned.

Like above, consistency is key. If you spend a couple of minutes 3 or 4 times a day doing this method over a long period of time you will see your results snowball.

Only do this until 5k~ followers. At this point your profile should start to grow on its own and doing this method for a long amount of time may create problems.

If you are a personal brand then this method could still work but you’re also more likely to annoy people as there is a face to the name, unlike a brand that can remain anonymous. Although still viable, you may want to lower the amount of actions.

Hitting Explore

Once you have around 5-10k followers, posting regular, high quality content and staying in Instagrams good books you should start to hit the explore page and by doing so get an extra funnel of traffic to your content. The more posts that hit the explore page the more your reach will snowball which is why it’s important to keep posting to a regular schedule. We still get followers from posts that hit the explore page a week ago!

Have more than enough content

We understand that having enough content to keep consistent can be hard but it doesn’t have to! There are many ways you can create content for your page without spending hours doing so. Personally we use two apps: Mojo and Canva to create visually pleasing stories of our features and also to let our followers know of any announcements we may have, using canva’s simple yet stylish graphics. We highly recommend downloading both of these (for free) and start creating extra content in your downtime.

Other ways to grow

Story Ads
Instagram story ads can be a powerful tool to reach a new audience and entice them to your profile. Using the apps, above you can make professional looking stories that you can pay to promote in the app itself. Do your research on finding the right target audience and spend a bit of money (start out with £10) and see if it works. This method works amazingly for some people and not for others, the only way you’ll find out is to do some testing yourself.

Story Ads are by far the cheapest form of advertising considering you can reach tens of thousands of people for £10, no other paid methods of promotion come close.

Getting Featured On Big Pages
This method is aimed at visual artists that can submit their work to feature pages (like ours) in hopes of getting your work posted on their feed. The obvious appeal of this is that is completely free and can be quite easy to get featured if your work suits the feature profile. Find relevant pages, take note of their personal hashtags and implement them into your hashtag strategy.

Paid Shoutouts
The same as above but instead of hoping to be featured you can reach out to pages and ask to pay for a feature. A lot of pages will accept payment  to post your work on their profile which may be a good idea to give your account the head start it needs but the results are also dependent on a number of things, such as quality, if it fits the page aesthetic and if it was posted at peak time for not and more. Prices vary a lot and we recommend paying no more than £25 per post. 

Don’t Do Black Hat Methods
Blackhat methods are practices that are against Instagram TOS that provide fast results. Although they are enticing due to their get rich quick approach, we recommend steering clear of anything that breaks Instagram’s rules. All accounts recieve a ‘trust score’ by Instagram that can diminish or grow, depending on your interactions on the app. You always want to be on best terms with the Instagram algorithm and by using black hat services you put yourself at risk of lowering your trust score, not reaching on hashtags or even getting banned. 

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