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And if your Instagram account isn’t growing what you can do to help it grow and thrive.
Instagram is one of our favorite programs to work on here at South Street & Co. We love the interaction you can receive without advertising.
When we’re teaching clients how to use it, we often find they ask us why their Instagram account isn’t growing.
Instagram is a lot of smaller communities who come together to form a bigger community supporting each other. We’ve seen a lot of great growth for our clients and have also seen interaction improve and decline depending on our strategies.
For the novice Instagram owner, if your Instagram account isn’t growing, or for those of you who are not too involved in Instagram and are just getting your feet wet here are the essential tips to making sure your account thrives:
- Use hashtags
- Be social
- Set aside time
Using hashtags is so essential to Instagram’s network of users. Think of hashtags as a search method. Hashtags are used so others can find you. Think of them as a ‘mini Google search’ within your Instagram platform.
Hashtags are so important because they tag you with relevant content. For any small business, you should be using a minimum of 11 hashtags per photo. You can use these under your caption, or you can use them in the first comment of your photo.
Using hashtags relevant to your photo are so important. Let’s take a random photo from my favorite stock photo site, DepositPhoto.com and put hashtags with it. Here’s a great one of a pool (because don’t we all wish we were here!). If I were to upload this to Instagram I would use the following hashtags
- #Pool time
What hashtags should I use?
It’s important to use hashtags that are relevant to your photo. When posting on Instagram you should use hashtags that are three things:
- About the photo itself
- About your business
- About your location
Here’s an example: If I’m posting this photo to the South Street & Co. Instagram
I will use these hashtags:
- #Believe #BelieveInYou #BecomeSomeone
- #Entrepreneur #SmallBusiness #Marketing #MarketingDigital #BossBabe #SocialMedia
- #Orlando #ThorntonPark #DowntownOrlando #WinterPark #OrlandoLife
These hashtags will be under my photo and under my caption.
Proper hashtag use
- Hashtags should be used without spaces
- There should be no commas between hashtags
- Always capitalize the first letter of the word in hashtags like #HelloMonday not #hellomonday
- Space hashtags by using the space bar. They should look like this #Hello #Monday #Marketing, not #hello#monday#marketing
Research your hashtags
When deciding which hashtags to use, Instagram makes it easy for you. When you’re typing in a hashtag, that option and others appear as you’re typing. They look like this:
As I type in #SmallBusiness all of these options populate and will continue to populate until you hit the spacebar to space the hashtags out. This shows you which variations of your hashtags are most popular. As you can see, I want to use the #SmallBusiness because it has the most uses.
When helping clients who want to take the lead on their Instagram accounts, the one thing we always tell them is they need to be social. Being social seems so ‘common sense,’ however, a lot of people simply post to their account and hope that people find them.
What can you do to be social
Being social means interacting on a daily basis with your followers. Here are ways you can be more social on your Instagram account:
Search for people to like and follow
Finding people to like and follow is easy.
- Click on the magnifying glass on the bottom of your Instagram menu
- Type in a hashtag you use in your photos
- Click on that hashtag
- 4. See everyone else who has used that hashtag
- Click on the photos and start liking the ones you like
Like people’s photos. Liking people’s photos will (hopefully) help them come back to your photo and your page. The ultimate goal is to get people to interact with you and to follow your page. Like photos and topics that are relevant to your industry.
How to like
Liking a photo is very easy. All you need to do is click on that photo and click the heart button on the bottom left, or double tap on the photo itself.
Following people who are like you is also important for your strategy. You should find people who are similar to you using the search button which is also the magnifying glass at the bottom left of the Instagram menu.
How to follow
Following is easy too. Once you open the photo or find someone you enjoy, click on the top right of the page and the button will turn the opposite color. The buttons will look like this depending on the view:
Set aside time
Setting time aside to do all of the above is essential to your Instagram strategy if your Instagram account isn’t growing. When we’re coaching clients, we tell them to be on Instagram when they’re waiting, in line, after lunch, on break, waiting for an appointment, early for an appointment, etc. You should be interacting whenever you have a chance.
What we do is dedicate 15 minutes a day to post and five minutes two other times a day to interact. You need to be on the account and interacting as frequently as possible. We’ve seen the engagement peak on Fridays after 5:00 and at lunch time. So, we’ve tailored our posts to go out at those ideal times.
Everyone loves tools to help them be successful. We’ve found these tools have helped us keep track of the growth and interaction:
- This website helps with your numbers and interactions. It shows you which posts were popular and which days and times are best for your audience. It also helps with hashtag suggestions and compares yours to Instagram’s most popular ones
- This app helps you unfollow those who don’t follow you. You can also see who recently unfollowed you and who recently followed you to keep track of your followers and numbers.
- SimplyMeasured.com has a tool to help you see an overall view of your Instagram account. I use this for clients to help them see how they’ve grown and what is most popular on their account. Since this is a free tool offered by them, they do require you to ‘pay’ by following them on your Twitter account.
That about wraps up one of the most common questions we get on why your Instagram account isn’t growing.