Everyone wants social media growth, but very few are able to crack the code and experience the viral growth that leads to more brand exposure. You can't simply post content without a strategy and expect to attract followers and convert those followers into customers.
I often discuss social media, and specifically Instagram growth, with Lukas Kurzmann, the founder and CEO of Women's Best. The company's Instagram account, has growth to an impressive 2.2 million followers. As a result, they have been able to create multiple different revenue sources.
A few weeks ago, I decided to focus on growing my personal Instagram account, and the results so far have been great. During our last conversation, Kurzmann and I came up with the following list of six keys that contribute to successful Instagram growth hacking.
1. Focus on quality engagement.
With the launch of Instagram's new algorithm, it has become crucial for accounts to focus on their engagement. Under the new algorithm, content with poor engagement is shown less frequently. If your content is not engaging, it is not doing its job and you need to change something.
The biggest obstacle is developing a content style that builds engagement. Your creative team needs to come up with content that is so unique and high quality that people will want to engage with it over other posts. This is one thing that really turned my personal account around -- I simply started posting content that people wanted to engage with, rather than what I thought they should want to engage with.
2. Listen for feedback.
As you start testing content ideas, listen to your audience and pay attention to the comments on each post. When someone takes the time to comment or send you a message, they are telling you they enjoy what you are posting, so continue that theme and style.
Making personal touches, especially in the beginning, can help you gain solid growth traction. Taking time to like and reply to comments shows people that their engagement matters to you. Now, next time you post content, they are more likely to engage with your account again. Take the time to build a strong relationship with your followers because their engagement will cause more people to be exposed to it, and this can lead to a snowball effect in terms of growth.
3. Stay specific to your brand.
Kurzmann knows exactly what content styles and Instagram posts his company's audience wants to see, and which ones will get the best engagement. This is because he understanding his target audience, and it's no different than knowing what kind of Facebook ads or email marketing they will respond well to. Unless you truly know your audience, you will never find success in any aspect of your business.
Once a successful content strategy is developed, however, many people try to expand and publish general content, thinking it will attract more eyes. You need to resist these temptations, as it will typically lead to pushing away your current audience. As a result, you will lose followers and not gain any new ones.
4. Identify prime posting times.
Statistically, there are peak times when more Instagram users are online than others. Posting during these times leads to better engagement, since more people will immediately see your post. Savvy people recognize these engagement prime times by testing relentlessly, helping their posts hit the mark every time.
Begin experimenting with different posting times until you start to see a pattern emerge, identifying your content prime times. Ideally, you will want to optimize this, giving yourself a clear picture of what content styles work at what times of the day.
5. Always think of your followers.
Kurzmann warns that selling out is one of the biggest mistakes people make on Instagram. Users have all the negotiating power when it comes to unfollowing, so as a content creator, you need to think purely about what your followers want.
Just like an influencer, brands should never post content that their audience might not like. Doing so will push away followers and waste all the time and money it took to attract them in the first place.
6. Be consistent.
At the end of the day, Instagram growth requires content to be posted on a regular schedule and at optimal times for engagement. Establish a strict content calendar and be extremely committed to regularly posting. If you are sporadic, you are going to lose your audience quickly. The more content you publish, the more data and information you can collect and analyze to determine what works and what does not.
A lot of brands will post once every few days, and that just isn't enough. You have to be extremely active and consistent if you want to stand out. The competition on Instagram is at an all-time high, and there is no sign of it slowing down. If you aren't consistent with your posting, don't expect much growth.