ARE YOU DOING ALL THE "RIGHT" THINGS
but still having difficulty growing your Instagram account?
You've read the articles and how-to posts, you've done your hashtag research, you post regularly and at peak times, you post stories, you like other posts and reply to every comment and DM... and your account still isn't growing. Sounding familiar?
I know first hand how much time and energy goes into these things and I understand how incredibly frustrating it is when you hit these plateaus. #beenthere
Combine that with knowing how much impact this little app can have on building a career, well it's enough to make anyone look for a quick fix (like buying followers).
But here's the deal -
If you buy followers, these are likely fake accounts. This means they will not like or comment on your posts, and they will definitely not convert to fans or clients. So as tempting as it can be to pay $30 for a shiny number like 5k new followers....in the long run I promise you it will do more harm than good. People will eventually figure out you bought followers + if you ever work with brands they will see zero ROI and yes, that word will get around.
Now before I get into my tips for growing an account, I first want to make a very important point.
HOW MANY FOLLOWERS YOU HAVE DOES NOT EQUATE TO $.
There are accounts that have 100k+ followers and make zero dollars from Instagram because they have no clue how to leverage it.
And then there are accounts like myself (as of today, I have just over 4k followers....so definitely not a large following by any means!) and I make OVER HALF of my total income from Instagram via my management, consulting services, and digital products. And one of my 2019 goals is to begin leveraging the influencer marketing space as well!
What it all comes down to is simply knowing how to harness the power Instagram provides all of us with. Whether you have 10 followers or 10k followers, you are an influencer. Those followers have raised their hand to say they want to hear what you have to say. That is influence, my friends. So don't get sucked into the number game, because yes of course having that "K" after your follower number and getting the fancy swipe-up feature is obviously #goals, but that does NOT mean you are going to start getting jobs or students or making money from the app.
But let's move on to why you are actually here....trying to figure out why the heck your account isn't growing!
As a social media manager and consultant, there are a few common issues I see with accounts that are having difficulty with growth. If you have been beating your head against the wall trying to figure out what you're missing, well.... real-talk incoming! I am peeling the sugar coating off and giving it to you straight. Because if you want to figure out where you're going wrong, the fastest way from point I'm-ready-to-delete-this-damn-app to point crushing-it is some good ol' fashioned tough love.
1. YOU'RE TAKING BAD PHOTOS
The number one biggest culprit I find is bad photos. I mean, think about it. Instagram is a visual platform completely over-saturated with stunning photography. If you want to get likes, comments, and new followers, your feed needs to look visually cohesive and your photos need to be appealing. But before you get overwhelmed and throw in the towel already....
No, your photos don't need to be professional and no, you don't need to look like a Victoria's Secret model. But you freaking bet your photos need to at least be eye-catching. Heck, you can take a photo of a soda can and make it look interesting....if you know some simple photography techniques.
Do you know the basics of composition and lighting? Leveling up your photography game is super easy (I promise!), even if you are just using the camera on your phone. Check out this post for some easy tweaks you can make to step your up insta-game ASAP, and I also recommend binging some YouTube videos!
2. YOU AREN'T BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH NEW ACCOUNTS
We know it's called social media for a reason, right? If you want to grow your account and attract new followers you should be engaging with other accounts daily, but more specifically - accounts that do not already follow you.
If you use your explore page, the Instagram algorithm will populate it with accounts and content similar to what you already like and engage with, so this is a great place to start. You can also search by hashtags and even location in order to discover new people that might be interested in the type of content you are sharing.
PRO TIP: It is incredibly easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole so I always set a timer for myself when I do this. I generally aim for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on how much time I have that day.
3. YOU AREN'T BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR CURRENT FOLLOWERS
If you want consistent likes and comments on your photos, then you need to be liking and commenting on photos of the people you already follow. Easy enough, right?
Want even more professional tips and advice on how to crush it on Instagram? Then make sure you download MY FREE GUIDE on the apps I use for my social media clients to save HOURS of time each week, maintain a cohesive and branded aesthetic, and take the insta-overwhelm out of the equation!
4. YOUR CAPTIONS AREN'T ENGAGING
This is a BIG one. When I do consultations or onboard a new client one of the most common complaints I hear is not getting any or enough comments on photos. So here's a truth bomb for you:
YOU NEED A CALL TO ACTION (CTA).
If you want people to comment on your photo, ask them to! Ask a question and engage your audience. Here are a few examples of great CTA's
-Caption talking about upcoming recital rep...could end with something like.... "What is YOUR favorite piece to perform?!"
-"Double-tap if you agree!"
-"Tag your favorite duet partner below!"
-"Click the link in bio to sign up now!"
5. YOU ARE NOT COMING OFF AS LIKEABLE
So I knowwww you probably don't want to hear this, but take a good hard look at your captions. If they consist of mostly emojis and a few quotes....well, you aren't sharing anything about yourself and who you are. This will make people feel zero connection to you. This will also provide zero incentive for new people to follow you or for current followers to continue following you.
You always want to make sure that you are providing value to your followers. Whenever I am crafting captions, I try to keep them in one of the following categories:
Inspire, Motivate, Educate, or Entertain.
If your captions can always fall within one of these categories, you will be providing value AND building connection with those who have chosen to follow you, making them much more likely to not only stick around but also to recommend you to friends!