How the Instagram Algorithm Works And How to Beat It

In the past, visibility and engagement on Instagram were fairly easy to achieve because the algorithm posted everything in chronological order.  However, the shift away from chronological to a more complex system based on user preferences and engagement has made the algorithm harder for businesses to understand.

Here we break down top hacks to help you see everything you need to know about it so you can improve your Instagram marketing strategy and develop ways to stay ahead of future algorithmic changes.

How It Works: Predicts How Much You Care About a Post

Instagram doesn’t base your feed just on who you follow but also on who and what you like. The more the algorithm believes that you’ll like the post, the higher it will appear in your feed. This is based on past behavior on similar content and potentially based on machine vision analyzing the actual post content.

Therefore when a post receives a lot of engagement through likes and comments, the algorithm learns that your post is quality and is willing to show it to more people.

Though this explains how viral content spreads like wildfire on the platform, it doesn’t mean you have to reach thousands of likes on every post to get the algorithm to work for you. Instead, you just need to focus on creating quality content that your current and future audience will enjoy and want to engage with.

How to Beat It: Post Consistently

When you post new content consistently to Instagram, you’ll see improved engagement but also tell the algorithm that you are a quality account. The more consistently and frequently you post, the more likely your audience is to see and engage with your content.

However, when it comes to your ideal posting frequency, it depends on you or your business’s goals and the amount of time you have available to dedicate to your Instagram marketing effort.

If you start by posting multiple times a day and then transition to posting only a few times a week, your followers will start to leave you and you will see less engagement on every post.

As such, the best posting frequency for Instagram isn’t posting frequency that you can consistently maintain for the entirety of your brand’s life.

How it Works: Determines Follower Relationships

Many people believe that Instagram not only prioritizes posts with high engagement but might also restrict post-exposure based on your relationship with your followers. If you comment on a lot of someone’s posts or are tagged in photos with them, this tells Instagram that they probably fall into your friends and family category.

So both commenting on other profiles and responding to your own direct messages and comments is important if you want to grow on Instagram.

How to Beat It: Comments are Conversation

You can beat this by treating comments like a conversation – always replying and engaging with comments on your feed to alert the algorithm that you have relationships with your followers. If the comment doesn’t require a response, at least acknowledge it with a heart.

You can make sure you’re not missing anything by adjusting your account settings to include notifications about comments.

How It Works: Timeliness Matters

Instagram’s algorithm is paying attention to how long ago your photo was posted. It’s starting to care more about when you posted rather than just the content or post engagement. The algorithm always aims to serve you with the most interesting and latest posts.

It’s possible to hack the algorithm and increase your reach so you get more likes and followers by posting at a time when the majority of your followers are online.

How to Beat It: Pay Attention to Your Audience Insights

 Use your Instagram insight and activity metrics to find the times of day and days of the week when your audience is most active online. Schedule your Instagram posts to go live during times when the majority of your following is available to see it and engage with it shortly after it is posted.

This signals the Instagram algorithm that the content is popular and increases the chance that it will reach more people.

How It Works: Frequency Sorts Your Posts

Instagram uses how often you use Instagram to sort your posts. If you find yourself frequently scrolling through the platform, your feed looks more chronological because Instagram tries to show you the best post since you last visited.

However, if you check the Instagram I have less often, your food will be sorted more to what Instagram thinks you like.

How To Beat It: Change it Up

If you want to change how your Instagram feed displays itself, start using the platform a little more or a little less depending on the type of change you want to make.

How it Works: Pays Attention to Your Following

How many people are you following on Instagram? if you follow a lot of people, Instagram has more options to choose from so it’s highly likely he will not see all posts from every single account.

How to Beat It: Use the Mute Button

if you don’t think that your feed is showing you the account you want to see, you can start unfollowing them. Or, you can use the mute button to alert Instagram that while you still want to follow this person or account, you don’t want to see as much of their content. 

Engadget calls this a “soft unfollow”. Muting an account allows you to still see posts on their profile page and get notified about any comments or post you’re tagged in. it just removes their posts from your feed.

Any accounts you mute will not receive notification that you’ve needed them. You always have the option to unmute an account if you wish to see their posts in your feed again.

How it Works: Determines Your App Usage

the more time you spend on Instagram,  the more post you’ll see as the algorithm goes deeper into its catalog. If you’re only spending a few minutes each day in the app, then you’re just going to get the highlight reel from the algorithm.

How to Beat It: Change it Up

 If you want to change up the kind of content and how much content you’re seeing, you’ll need to adjust through usage up or down depending on the change you want to make.

It’s also worth noting that the Instagram algorithm determines what you see in your Instagram Stories feed, IGTV and on the explore tab. Its goal is to ensure you are presented with the content you are most likely to enjoy.

Content selection for these areas is based highly on your previous activity on the Instagram platform as well as the engagement rate of the content shown

A Step-by-Step Guide to Instagram Creator Studio

It’s finally here! the new Instagram Creator Studio is designed to help you manage all of your Instagram posts, get insights from your desktop, monetize your content and more. 

Before now, Creator Studio was only available for Facebook pages.

Using the new Instagram Creator Studio, content creators get access to a variety of new features and tools, including the ability to schedule their IGTV videos.

Here’s what you need to know about how to use the Instagram Creator Studio.

What is the Instagram Creator Studio?

In late 2017, Facebook launched its Facebook Creator app and Facebook for Creators website to help influencers and content creators manage their presence on Facebook. In August 2018, Facebook announced the launch of the Creator Studio which gave creators the ability to manage and publish content for Facebook.

In December 2018, Facebook said they were testing a new Instagram Creator feature that would allow users to access flexible profile controls, simplified messaging and additional growth tools.

Facebook has now incorporated Instagram into Creator Studio so that creators can post, manage, measure and monetize content across their Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts.

Facebook has recently discontinued the creator app, but the Creator studio is still available on desktop.

“Creator” refers to anyone who creates and publishes original content to Facebook or Instagram. A Facebook press release says one of their biggest goals is to help their creators earn money from the content they create through the support of fans, brand collaborations, and ad revenue.

Though the tool is fairly limited in terms of analytics, team collaboration, and visual planning, it is still useful For those who have already optimized their overall Instagram strategy.

1. Connect Your Instagram Account to Creator Studio

Before you can manage posts, see your Instagram analytics, or publish Instagram content from your desktop, you must link your Instagram account to the Creator Studio.

Before you get started, make sure you have an Instagram account and Facebook Page that your Instagram is connected to. if you haven’t already done so, switch your Instagram account to a business profile or Creator account.

Open Creator Studio on your desktop. Click the Instagram icon at the top of the page. The next steps depend on the relationship between your Instagram accounts and Facebook Pages.

  • If you manage a Facebook page that’s already connected to the Instagram account you want to use in Creator Studio, click to connect to that page.
  • If you’re not already managing a Facebook page that’s connected to an Instagram account, click connect to Instagram. Then follow the on-screen instructions to log into the Instagram account you want to connect.
  • if you manage a Facebook page this connected to an Instagram account, but want to use a different Instagram account you do not see listed, click “Connect another Instagram Account” and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • If you have multiple Instagram accounts that are already connected to your Facebook pages and you want to manage them in Creator Studio, click “Continue with Connected Accounts.”

Once someone has connected to an Instagram account and Creator Studio, anyone else with a roll on the Facebook page connected to that account will automatically have access to it in Creator Studios Instagram section so this is good for Instagram accounts that are shared by multiple people for an organization.

 after you complete the steps to connect your Instagram to Creator Studio, you’ll automatically get access to the new Instagram tools in the platform.

2. Manage Your Instagram Content Using the Instagram Content Library

The Content Library tab in Creator Studio provides you with an overview of all your Instagram videos, photos, stories, carousel, and IGTV posts.

 Use the search bar to find content quickly or use the filters to organize the content by your post status or date.

You also have the option to click any of the items on your list to get a more detailed view of the content and its performance.

This includes inside and how many people have seen the post and how they’ve interacted with it. You’ll also be able to see what actions people have taken when engaging with the post.

Generally speaking, you’ll see the same individual post analytics that you would see within the native Instagram app. However, Creator studio is lacking when it comes to evaluating your content as a whole.

The information you see when clicking on an item in your Content Library will vary depending on the type of post you click on. You’ll see different information about a story you posted compared to the information you see about a video you posted.

3. Post Content

One of the greatest things about Instagram’s Creative Studio is that it adds publishing tools for both Instagram feed posts and IGTV. Creators now have a unified place to manage their presence across both Instagram and Facebook.

To use it to manage your own content, all you have to do is click “Create Post” in the top left of the page. You should see options for both the Instagram Feed and IGTV.

The publishing flow very slightly between Instagram posts and IGTV videos. Let’s start with Instagram posts.

Instagram Feed

 Select “Instagram Feed.” A window opens on the right of the screen where you can upload your image, or images if you’re making a carousel post. You also be able to write your caption and add a location. If desired, you can crop your images to different dimensions.

 Once you’re happy with the post, click the down arrow located beside of the publish button and select “Schedule.”

 From here, you’ll see a calendar and time settings box. All you have to do is add the day and time you’d like your post to go live on.  when you’re happy with that setting, press the schedule button. The Creator Studio will publish your photos to your feed at the selected time.

IGTV Videos

At this time, IGT videos are not included in the Instagram API so no third party platforms are currently available to schedule or publish IGTV videos,  Making Creator Studio the best option right now.

From the Instagram dashboard, press the “Create” button in the top left-hand corner of your screen and select “IGTV.”

A new window appears on the right side of your screen where you’ll be able to upload a video, add titles and captions. You also set the time you want your video to go live.

You can either upload a video from your computer or choose the video that already exists on your Instagram profile. If you’re uploading from your computer, you will need to choose an MP4 file.

You cannot upload a .MOV file, which is a problem if you save your Instagram Stories to your camera roll. You’ll need to upload them from your phone to your computer and convert them to MP4 if you want to use them with Creator Studio.

After it has been uploaded you can add all of the video details. You can also choose your IGTV cover image.

Take time to set your publishing settings. Decide if you want to share a one minute preview to your Instagram feed. This is a great chance to get more people looking at your videos, boost engagement and drive even more traffic to your channel so it’s worth it in most cases.

 Select the “Share preview to feed Button” if you’re ready to share a preview on your feed. You also have the option to schedule your igtIGTV video to your Facebook Page too. Just select the “Your Page” button to do it.

Once you’re ready to schedule your “IGTV” video, click the down arrow beside the publish button and select “Schedule.” From here you’ll see a calendar and time settings box so you can add the time and the day you’d like your post to go live on. You can schedule your videos up to six months in advance.

Once you’re happy with the date and time, press the schedule button and you are good to go. Your video will publish to your feed when the time comes.

If you want to take a look at your scheduled posts and IGTV videos in the Content Library, click the “Scheduled” heading in “Post Status.”

4. Track Your Instagram Insights

The last thing you can do within Creator Studio is look at your Insights to help you understand your audience and how people are interacting with your content. Creator Studio only collects insights from the past 7 days and only at the account level. Other Instagram analytics platforms provide you with up to 3 months worth of data.

You can see the activity at the post level and get audience insights with information about your followers such as their age range, location, and gender.

Instagram’s Creator studio is a wonderful tool for creators to manage their presence and engage their fans.

Want More Instagram Followers? Here’s 25 Easy Ways

The sheer size of Instagram is staggering when you think about it. Last year it smashed past the 1 billion monthly active users mark and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. That’s over an eighth of the world’s estimated 7.7 billion population. Soon it might even reach a fourth.

With its mouth-wateringly massive user base, just about every business has set its sights on Instagram. Their hunger has been rightly justified, too.

According to Instagram, 80% of their users follow a business. Its engagement rates are also among the highest of any social network. So it’s to be expected that everybody wants a slice of that pie while it’s still fresh.

Sitting at the table doesn’t guarantee you’ll get any of it, though. Sometimes you’re lucky just to catch the crumbs.

Are you tired of being starved for followers? Here are 20 easy ways that you can fill up your plate.

1. Buy Instagram Followers For Social Proof

If you want more followers, then you could simply buy more. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. Thankfully there are services like ViralRace that will gladly supply you with exactly what you need.

Engagement is another important factor to consider. ViralRace can provide this for you as well. As your posts accumulate likes and views, they get elevated towards the top of people’s search results. In turn, this will also promote further follower growth.

Think of it as a way to get the ball rolling and instant social proof. All it takes is a little shove to put things into motion, and soon enough you’ll have an unstoppable amount of momentum.

2. Optimize Your Hashtag Usage

Hashtags serve as Instagram’s primary means of organizing content. If somebody wants to find anything, they’ll likely search through a few hashtags first. This can be a bit scattershot in practice as there are often several hashtags for the same topic.

In other words, to maximize the visibility of your posts, you’re going to need to optimize the way you use hashtags.

Don’t assume that the largest hashtags are always the best bet. You’re actually going to want a mixture of hashtags of various sizes. The smaller ones will put you in front of niche communities, while the larger ones are for the more general crowds. Both have their own advantages.

As for how many hashtags you should put in your captions, the sweet spot seems to be about a dozen. Make sure that they are all relevant to the content of your post. Spamming unrelated hashtags is a surefire way to get ignored.

3. Find the Right Time To Post

This is something that gets frequently debated between experts. Ever since Instagram switched to an algorithm-based feed rather than a chronological one, it’s been uncertain how much posting at specific times of the day affects anything.

The best advice on the subject comes from Hootsuite. They assert, based on the data they’ve collected, that the right time to post depends upon your industry and when your audience is the most active. Their recent study goes into further detail on the matter.

You might need to do some trial-and-error research of your own to confirm their findings. Then, once you’ve found a time slot that yields the best results, you should stick with it and try to post at least once a day. Two or three daily posts would be even more ideal.

4. Maintain Consistent Content Quality

Quantity has never been a substitute for quality. A handful of high-quality posts will make more of an impact on viewers than a flood of low-effort content. There’s enough of the latter on Instagram as it is right now.

Take a look at what other similar brands are doing. Hold yourself to a higher standard than the average. That’s the only way that you’ll stand out from the rest.

If you make your own content rather than hire professionals, then you should research the principles of photography. There’s a myriad of tutorials out there that are only a Google search away. You should at least have a basic understanding of lighting, composition, color theory, and editing techniques.

5. Follow Other Users, Like Their Posts and Leave Comments

Never lose sight of the whole reason that social networks exist. They’re meant for socialization between individuals, as well as the creation of communities. So when you have a presence on Instagram, you are expected to interact with others like everybody else.

Start by following the accounts of anybody who seems likely to be interested in your brand and follow you back. Then you can continue to develop your connection with them by liking their posts and leaving friendly comments. Many will appreciate being noticed and treated in a personable manner.

Performing these actions will show them that you’re there for more than just promotional reasons. Giving other people attention will go a long way in humanizing your brand and gaining a positive reputation on the platform.

6. Make The Most Out Of Your Bio

Your bio is one of the first things that a viewer will look at when they visit your page. It’s the space at the top of the page where you explain what your brand is about and provide any important information.

You only get 150 characters to work with, so you need to make each one count. Try to make an attention-grabbing, single-sentence description of yourself and what you do. Don’t sweat the minor details if you can’t fit them in.

You’re also allowed to include a clickable link in your bio. This is the only place that you can do that on Instagram. While most just put their main website here, you could use Linktree to make a hub containing multiple links.

It’s been said that it only takes a few seconds for most users to decide whether they want to follow somebody. Having a strong bio might be what seals the deal for them.

7. Have A Visual Identity

Aesthetics are key to establishing your brand’s identity on Instagram. Having a unified visual style will hook viewers in, as it gives them an idea of what to expect from you. If your content lacks cohesion and jarringly switches styles at random every other post, then they might be less inclined to follow you.

There’s a lot of different ways to build a visual identity. It could be as simple as the colors that you use, as many brands have a certain palette that’s unique to them. There’s also many different approaches to photography, whether you go more composed or spontaneous.

The most important part of choosing a style is that it conveys the personality of your brand. Instagram users tend to be more receptive to accounts that are willing to be expressive and unique.

8. Engage With Your Captions

Captions don’t have to be just dry, boring descriptions. They can be as fun and compelling as the content itself. In fact, a perfect caption can push a post over the top and win over new fans.

There are numerous ways to spice up your captions. You can joke around and make puns, or tell an interesting story that provides some context and background information. Feel free to add emojis and talk in an informal tone if it suits you. Unless you’re discussing serious topics, a lot of social media tends to be light and humorous.

You can try asking questions and soliciting opinions, or telling your followers to tag other people who they think would relate to the content. All of these are good ways of generating comments on your posts.

9. Feature User-Generated Content

User-Generated Content is anything made by other users. When it features your brand, it essentially acts as free advertising. That’s why it’s a wise idea to encourage people to make more of it.

One way to do this is by featuring User-Generated Content on your feed. There’s a lot of users who enjoy seeing their work get the spotlight from their favorite brands and influencers. It’s a mutually beneficial interaction where both parties get exposure with each other’s followers.

Always remember to give proper credit in the captions where it’s due. You don’t ever want to be accused of stealing content. Even if it’s totally accidental, something like that could damage your reputation for awhile.

10. Hold Contests and Giveaways

It’s difficult for anybody to resist the siren song of free prizes. It’s especially true if you don’t demand a whole lot of effort to compete for them. That’s what makes contests a tried-and-tested method for obtaining more followers.

A basic Instagram contest typically involves asking participants to follow your account and leave a comment on your post in order to qualify. You can also require them to tag some of their friends. That will assist in spreading buzz about the contest to more people.

If you want to get more complex, you could do contest based around user-generated content. In that case you should ask them to follow your account, tag you in the captions of their submission post, and include a branded hashtag.

11. Tag Your Locations

Location tags function a lot like hashtags on Instagram. Anyone can type in the name of any city into the search bar and look at all of the posts under its tag.

As a result, many people browse around these tags to see what’s going on in their surrounding area. It’s where they learn about upcoming events, make new friends, and discover local businesses that they can support. You might be missing out on lots of these types of followers if you don’t tag your locations.

If you have a physical store and take pictures in and around it, you should tag it so that people know where to find it. You should also tag photos whenever you travel and create content in different locations.

12. Partner With Influencers

The power of influencers can’t be underestimated. There’s a good reason why they have their own dedicated followings. They know what content will perform well with their audience and how to foster tight-knit communities around them.

Working with the right influencers can send your follower numbers skyrocketing. However, you shouldn’t jump into a partnership with just anybody

The first thing to ask yourself before reaching out to an influencer is whether their attitude and public image aligns with your brand. You should also consider whether their followers will mesh well with your own. If you can confidently answer “yes” to both of these, then it should be okay to proceed.

An influencer partnership can take on many forms. For example, you can send them products to review, let them takeover your Instagram for a day, or ask them to participate in a hosted event. Spend some time brainstorming together to come up with a plan that suits both of you.

13. Collaborate With Other Brands

Keep in mind that you’re not alone in the quest to get more followers. There’s an incalculable number of other brands that are in the same boat as you. Rather than treat each other as rivals, you could team up to become invaluable allies.

Collaboration campaigns tend to succeed when they’re between brands that offer complementary products. Let’s say that you sell supplements for athletes. It would only make sense if you worked alongside another brand that sold training equipment or fitness apparel.

Don’t worry if the other brand is bigger or smaller than you are. Both sides have access to a considerable amount of followers that the other doesn’t. By combining your strengths you can reach greater heights than ever before.

14. Get Verified

If you’ve been on Instagram long enough, you’ve probably noticed that some accounts have blue verification badges next to their names. This symbol means that the account belongs to the actual person or brand that it represents.

While it might seem like a small thing, a verification badge can have a major effect on how many followers you get. It reassures any cautious visitors to your page that you’re the real deal and that it’s safe to trust you. Without one, they might become suspicious that you’re some sort of shady copycat trying to deceive them.

All you need to do to receive a verification badge is apply for one. That involves going into your Settings, then Account, and finally Request Verification. After submitting your name and proof of identity, Instagram will check your eligibility and decide whether or not to verify your account.

15. Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories started off as the platform’s answer to Snapchat. Eventually it outgrew its competitor and became one of Instagram’s most popular features. It has an average of over 500 million active users on it every day.

The best thing about Instagram Stories is that anybody could stumble upon your posts. Users don’t need to be already following you or searching through hashtags to find them. Stories also tend to garner higher levels of engagement than regular Instagram posts. That means that each Story has the potential to bring in a lot of new followers.

Instagram Stories only last 24 hours before they disappear. So your content on it can be less polished and more casual than the stuff you put on your main feed. You have the freedom to be more relaxed and playful with what you put on there.

16. Share Live Video

Over the last few years, live streaming has taken off as a medium. Platforms like Twitch, Mixer, Livestream, and Periscope have become giants in the internet world. Now almost every social network has their own live video feature, from Facebook to YouTube.

What attracts viewers to live video is that it’s unpredictable. Given that its recorded and broadcast simultaneously, there’s always a chance that something unplanned is going to happen at any moment. That makes it far more exciting than any pre-made and edited form of video.

Instagram Stories has a live video feature called Instagram Live. You can use it to make special announcements, reveal products, share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your operations, or capture events as they’re happening.

Live video opens the door to countless creative opportunities that could reel in tons of new followers. The possibilities are endless.

17. Promote Your Instagram On Different Social Networks

A common mistake that brands make is that they assume that they have the same followers across all social networks. That’s hardly ever the case. Most of the time they tend to be distinct groups with little crossover.

If you have followers on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you might have an established presence, then let them know about your Instagram. They might have been totally unaware of the fact you have an account on it too.

Be sure to include it on your website and blogs as well. If you use WordPress, there’s even plugin options to embed your Instagram feed right onto any page of your site. That can be a great way to draw traffic straight to your profile.

18. Include Your Handle On Printed Materials

Don’t limit yourself to promoting your Instagram on other networks. You can do it offline too.

Most brands do this by reserving a small section of their printed designs for a list of their social media handles. All that’s necessary is an Instagram logo with your username next to it. Any Instagram user who sees it will understand it immediately.

You can include your Instagram on business cards, flyers, posters, billboards, newsletters, and any other printed material you can think of. There’s a high probability that it’ll lead to some people noticing its inclusion and deciding to check out your profile.

19. Keep An Eye On Trends

Social media moves fast. Much faster than anybody can catch up with. Don’t feel discouraged if you can’t keep track of everything. Just try your best to follow the things that’s important to your core audience.

Take a moment every other day to browse through your feed and see what your mutuals are talking about. Check out the Explore tab whenever you get the chance. It’d also be a good idea to follow a handful of accounts that post about the latest news and trends. This might give you some ideas for possible content.

Just be careful about controversial topics. Don’t risk your public image by wading into something polarizing that could cause a major backlash. Play it safe and go for subjects that you can relate back to your brand. Seasonal trends, for instance, can be fun and bring lots of viewers to your page.

Following trends will also show you what kind of content is attracting the most attention on Instagram. You could use what you find in order to further develop your own visual style.

20. Target Niche Communities

Not every brand should cast their net wide. In reality, attempting to do so can be a detriment to the effectiveness of their marketing. That’s because not all products and services have the ability to appeal to everybody.

Sometimes it’s better to limit your scope and hone in on a specific audience.

With niche groups, you’ll find that individuals are much more passionate about their interests. They tend to latch onto anybody who shares it with them. This translates to more engagement and brand loyalty on a platform like Instagram.

So try to make a profile of your ideal follower. Narrow it down as much as you need to when it comes to age, location, gender, or any other defining traits. Create a mental image of them that’s clear enough that you can use it to search through hashtags and find the users that match it the best.

21. Advertise On Instagram

There really isn’t any reason why a business shouldn’t be using Instagram Ads. They’re incredibly affordable, quick to set up, and Instagram does most of the hard work for you. You can depend on their advanced targeting capabilities to boost your visibility and get the right eyes on your content.

Instagram has a wide variety of ad types that you can choose between. You can create photo and video ads that appear in people’s feeds. These can be expanded into multi image/video Carousel ads. Additionally, there’s also ads for Instagram Stories and the Explore tab too.

You don’t even have to create new material for an ad, as you can even choose older posts to promote. It’s about as effortless as you can imagine.

22. Join An Engagement Group

There’s one method to getting followers that’s not discussed enough: you could join an engagement group, which are sometimes also known as Instagram pods. These are groups of Instagram accounts that agree to interact with each other’s content to expand each others’ reach.

To find an engagement group, you usually need to look around messaging clients such as Telegram and WhatsApp. Some of them specialize in specific actions, such as likes and comments. It might take a little searching to find and join them, but they’re most certainly out there.

Be careful and selective about which groups you join, though. Make sure to talk with a group’s members so you can understand what’s expected from both sides before agreeing to anything.

23. Be Responsive

Sometimes in the comments you’ll see people asking questions or voicing complaints. Don’t ignore them. That will only make you seem uncaring and impersonal to other users.

Take the time to write out a thoughtful response that addresses all of their concerns. Keep a polite and respectful tone with your words. As long as they aren’t an obvious troll trying to provoke a reaction out of you, they at least deserve your serious consideration.

Responding to comments will demonstrate that you are a brand that cares about their customers’ experience. Also, you should be willing to admit mistakes and try to make up for them. Honesty is a rarity on the internet these days, and it’s one that’s often rewarded.

24. Moderate Your Comments

There’s a reason why the phrase “never look at the comments” has become a motto on the internet. That’s because they frequently become spaces for needless negativity and antagonism. You can make an effort to change that, however.

Don’t be afraid to moderate your comments when necessary. If you see anybody using hateful language or harassing another user, then it would be best to delete their comments. You should also consider reporting abuses from any repeat offenders.

Spam comments from bot accounts are also another nuisance you’ll commonly run into. Feel free to report both the comment and the account before you delete it. That will help Instagram with detecting and removing them from the platform entirely.

Making a good first impression with viewers is important. Your comments are the best place to start with accomplishing that. You’ll find that the more inclusive and inviting your community appears, the more people will want to follow you to join it.

25. Tag Other Accounts

If you ever share content with other people or brands in it, you should definitely tag them. That will send a notification to the tagged user, who can then repost and share it with their own followers. It’s an easy way to encourage crossover between your audiences.

To tag somebody, simply choose Tag People on the Share screen before publishing a post. Then all you have to do is select the person in the photo/video and enter their username. If it’s a post you’ve already shared, then you can go back by tapping Edit in order to add the tags.

You should also mention the tagged accounts in the captions as well. That will ensure that viewers will know who they are and be able to visit their profiles.

13 Instagram Tools Every Marketer Needs

Running a successful Instagram account takes a great deal of time and dedication. It can be a full-time job in many cases. Fortunately, there are a number of useful tools on the market that can truly streamline your Instagram tasks and make them more enjoyable.

In addition, some tools can even help you to increase your follower numbers and engagement. If you want to make your Instagram marketing a more enjoyable task, take a look at these 13 Instagram tools every marketer needs.

1. Iconosquare

Iconosquare is an online tool that can help you to monitor your brand and track your competitors. Its insights give you pertinent information that lets you see how you’re performing in comparison to others in your niche. One unique ability this service provides is a way to monitor your hashtag performance.

Another really handy feature is its scheduling ability. You can schedule your posts in advance so that you don’t have to think about it every day.

2. Have2HaveIt

Have2HaveIt is a resource that increases the ecommerce abilities of Instagram. This is great because it makes it even easier for your business to use Instagram to make money. It does this by allowing you to create a shoppable page that looks much like your Instagram account.

You can then link it to your Instagram profile as a way for users to check out your products directly from your Instagram feed. They just click on the links to be taken to your ecommerce website.

3. Buffer

Buffer is a well-known name in social media scheduling and account management. You can use it to schedule and monitor multiple social media accounts at once.

They’ve been around for a while and have made a name for themselves. This service doesn’t stop innovating, though. They now offer more Instagram capabilities within their app. You can add numerous team members and assign unique posting abilities to each.

4. Boost

Boost is a unique tool for ecommerce. It actually allows Instagram users to purchase your products directly from the comment section. It works by creating a unique hashtag for each of your company’s products. Boost then adds a three-digit code to the end of the tag.

Let users know in the caption of your post that they can type this unique hashtag code in the comments if they wish to buy the product. It’s as easy as that.

5. Magisto

If you create a lot of videos, you’ll want to check out Magisto. All you have to do is upload your content to the service.

Then the AI-driven system of Magisto does the rest for you. The site claims their video creation can be done as quickly as writing a blog post.

6. Sendible

Another great tool for scheduling your posts in advance is Sendible. From one central dashboard, you can schedule and monitor social media accounts across various platforms.

This is an ideal option for anyone who works with a team or manages several social media accounts.

7. Tagboard

Tagboard is perfect for you if you need to filter posts in order to monitor activity in a certain niche or related keyword.

You can also search by hashtag to see an all-in-one type grid of posts using that hashtag across various social media platforms. Tagboard lets you block users and websites you don’t want to show up in your results.

8. Boomerang

Boomerang is an app that’s actually by Instagram. It lets you take up to 10 snapshots and compile them into a mini-video. What you get actually looks a lot like a GIF. This is a fun app that lets your creativity shine.

9. Social Rank

Social Rank allows you to segment your Instagram followers. There are a number of ways you can sort your audience. These include by the number of followers, specific demographics, keywords, geographic location, hashtag and even by the device they use.

You can even get a snapshot of which users are most and least engaged. You can then create a list-like report based on the parameters you choose.

10. Tailwind

Tailwind is a popular social media marketing tool that can save you a ton of time. You can use it to post automatically to Instagram. It also can recommend relevant hashtags within your niche. You can even analyze how individual posts are performing. In addition, it’s available for both iPhone and Android.

11. Crowdfire

Crowdfire is a helpful app that lets you see which of your followers isn’t following you in return. This information can be quite useful. You can choose to unfollow those who aren’t following you or it may make sense to attempt to engage with certain users in order to get their attention in hopes of attaining a follow.

Crowdfire also lets you copy the followers of other users in order to easily find new and relevant people to follow.

12. Soldsie

This tool gives you some pretty unique insights. Soldsie lets you generate reports on things like clicks from your bio link and conversion tracking.

It’s fantastic for ecommerce sellers because it can actually sync with your Instagram product posts to manage your inventory.

13. Later

Later is another scheduling app, but it’s unique in its use. It has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop feature that works with a calendar interface on your screen.

This is perfect for those folks who are more visual in nature. You’ll have a lovely and orderly calendar when you’re done that’s easy to navigate and to determine what’s coming up in your editorial calendar. This app will help keep you on your toes.

These 13 tools for Instagram will be lifesavers in your social media marketing arsenal. Take a closer look at them to see which might work best for your particular brand, style, and team.

You won’t need to use them all, but combing tools can be useful, depending upon your particular needs. Some may even work together within their interfaces. Don’t rely on scheduling, monitoring and researching your Instagram account by hand. Give these tools a try.

12 Killer Instagram Hacks You Need to Know

If you’re just starting out in Instagram marketing, you may find things are a bit slow going. Even experienced Instagram users may find their growth becoming stagnant sometimes. Fortunately, you don’t have to sit back and hope for new followers or try worn-out techniques that don’t work.

There are lots of new strategies out there that are helping businesses and influencers grow their following like crazy. Read on to discover 12 killer Instagram growth hacks you need to know.

Then you can begin putting them to work for your brand and gaining the engaged following you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Outline Your Strategy

Perhaps more important than any other activity when it comes to growing your Instagram account is having a detailed marketing strategy. Having a plan in place will increase your chances of success far more than just winging it ever could.

You’ll want to determine precisely what you hope to achieve with your Instagram account. Things such as follower numbers, increased engagement, and lead capture might be on your list. Try to be precise and specific. Knowing what your exact goals are in advance will help you to best meet them.

2. Include User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is, as its name implies, content that comes from your users. It encourages followers and other Instagram users to post images that contain your business or brand. You can encourage people to make these kinds of posts by creating a specific hashtag that identifies user submissions.

Having a product that lends itself well to social media also helps. You can find creative ways to encourage people to submit such content such as with contests. Just giving them a shout out offers an incentive for many, as it helps them to feel validated and connected to your brand.

An added advantage is that user-generated content increases your reach and allows users’ followers to discover your brand.

3. Tell a Story

People are naturally drawn to stories. Our brains respond well to a narrative. So it makes sense to capitalize on this fact by incorporating stories into your Instagram posts.

When users hear your stories, they will feel more connected to your brand and also more inclined to follow through on things like making a purchase or signing up for your newsletter to stay in touch. Know your audience and strive to tell stories in a way that resonates with them.

You can do this by appealing to their emotions or by showing them how your product can add real value to their lives.

4. Use Video Content

Video is a powerful medium. People tend to watch videos more frequently on their phones and tablets than they do on their computers these days. You’re missing out if you aren’t using this form of content in your Instagram posts.

People love video content, so it’s important to get in on this trend while it’s hot. Videos can be uploaded to your feed, Stories or Instagram TV.

This gives you a number of outlets to share your creations and those of your fans. You can give a behind-the-scenes tour of your business, introduce your staff or offer a product demonstration. This type of content lets followers feel more connected to your brand. Tutorials are also extremely popular. People enjoy learning how to do new things.

5. Consider SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a common online strategy for boosting results in search engines. It involves using certain keywords in a strategic manner so that your site ranks higher in the search results.

While SEO is typically used in blog posts and website content, you can also put it to strategic use in your Instagram posts in order to boost your account’s rankings in the search engines. The more people who can find you, the better chance you have of gaining higher follower numbers and engagement.

6. Work With Influencers

Influencers can do a lot for your brand awareness. Working with these popular Instagram users exposes your business to their followers and offers a great deal of social proof for your offerings. People already trust these individuals.

When you collaborate with them on marketing campaigns, you’re gaining their seal of approval. This type of marketing does cost money, but it’s proving to be well worth the investment as more and more people are using Instagram and connecting with these influencers.

Another advantage of these types of collaborations is that you can usually see the results relatively quickly. Once your collaboration goes live, people will start to visit and engage with your business account. Give it a try!

7. Run Sales Promotions

Everyone loves a sale, right? That’s why you should be running them on your Instagram account. Giving people a discount is a time-trusted way to gain new business. People are willing to try something when they feel they are getting a good deal.

Contests and giveaways are also good promotions to run. Who doesn’t love a chance to get free stuff? When it comes to giveaways, an added bonus is that you can require entrants to follow your account or to tag a friend as a way to enter.

This gains you more followers and the potential for future sales. Providing discount codes or time-limited sales provides a sense of urgency. Folks will be more apt to try your product when they know their chance at a discount will go away soon.

8. Don’t Forget to Tag

Instagram’s tagging features offer you a goldmine of possibilities when it comes to account growth. You can tag up to 20 users in your Instagram post. Just be sure that you’re tagging relevant accounts so that you don’t come across as desperate or spammy.

Tag people who are featured in the photograph or who would be interested in some specific reason. Acknowledging loyal customers or tagging user-generated content is always a good idea. Geotags are also a helpful way to get noticed on Instagram.

These tags allow you to let users know where you are. You can tag by city or even by a particular venue in that city. Users may search that geotag to discover relevant posts within that area. This is a great way to be found by those who have something in common with your brand.

9. Get Local

Speaking of geotags, local marketing is a social media strategy that is all too often underutilized. Be sure to take time to do some local demographic research on Instagram. Check out the folks in your area or ones who frequent attractions near you.

These people have a common tie with you already. They may be more than willing to follow your business and engage with your brand. Find local events to follow through geotags and engage with attendees. Perhaps you may even consider creating your own locally branded event.

10. Engage With Regrams

A regram is when someone shares your post or content with their followers. These are a great conversation starter for you to start building relationships because these users have already shown interest in what you have to offer.

So don’t neglect your regrams. Take time to notice who shares your content. Then be sure to interact within the comments of their post. This will ensure that you show your appreciation and will allow you to be noticed by those who are following the post.

11. Mix Up Your Hashtag Game

Hashtags significant increase Instagram visibility. People use these tags to find topics that interest them. If you’re not using them, you’re missing out on a key segment of your marketing plan. Try to use hashtags that are specific to your niche.

This will increase the odds that relevant users will find you. Avoid using the most popular ones or else you’ll just blend into the crowd. Mix it up and try different strategies to come up with a hashtag plan that works for you.

12. Promote Brand Awareness

For too many businesses are hyper focused on sales. Yes, sales are your bottom line, and they matter. However, content that is constantly promotional is a real turnoff to most people. You’re likely to lose followers if you’re over-promoting yourself.

Instead, strive to create a brand awareness strategy. The goal here is to let people know who your business is and what you can offer them of value. When you show you can help people, they will be more apt to consider purchasing your product.

These strategies should give you a good start on increasing your Instagram account’s growth tremendously. You don’t have to remain stagnant in your social media activity. Give these techniques a try to get things moving.

12 Advantages of Micro-Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing began with celebrity marketing and endorsement. For years, brands of paid celebrities to promote their products for them. Why celebrity marketing may work well for a few large brands, it doesn’t scale well for the mass market.  there are only so many celebrities available, and they usually charge massive amounts of money. This puts them out of reach for most businesses.

 Another issue with celebrity marketing is that there is often no genuine connection between the product they’re endorsing and the celebrity. Why should consumers trust a celebrity’s word on a product if he or she clearly doesn’t use it themselves?

That’s where macro-influencers come in. Macro-influencers have anywhere between 10,000 and a million followers with a focus on a particular niche. Many professional bloggers and critics can be considered as macro-influencers. Though they aren’t quite celebrities, they are well known by those who are interested in their topic of expertise.

 They don’t count as celebrities but they are certainly recognized by followers in their niche. They’re busy people who can afford to be picking and choosing the products they endorse and they can get away with charging quite a bit of money for their endorsement.

For many marketing firms and small businesses, this too is out of reach. If they want to engage in influencer marketing they must work with micro-influencers. These are people who have between 2,000 and 10,000 followers depending on their niche and main social media channel.

Though they may have considerably fewer supporters than celebrities or macro-influencers, their followers are strong in their support and highly engaged.

Here are 12 advantages to working with micro-influencers, regardless of their chosen platform.

1. Better Engagement Rates

Though micro-influencers may not have as many followers as the superstars, they have a strong active relationship with their followers. The benefit of being small enough is to still be able to keep things relatively personal.

Generally, they work in highly vocal and active Niche groups with followers who regularly respond to post on social media or blogs. The supporters are often very interested in what the micro-influencer has to say and take their recommendations seriously. Micro-influencers have built up tremendous trust with their audiences

2. Higher Conversions

When a micro-influencer promotes your brand and monetizes their following, you are likely to see an increase in conversion rate. The majority of micro-influencers are experts in their niche. Whether it’s lifestyle and travel or tech and gadgets, their views on the topic are considered trustworthy and genuine by their followers.

 As a result, micro-influencers Drive the most traffic into conversions. If a brand decides to work with micro-influencers in a specific niche, there is a high chance they will attain better conversion rates as compared to working with bigger influencers across various platforms.

3. More Affordable

The vast majority of micro-influencers are relatively ordinary people who use social media and blogging as a hobby next to a regular job. Because of this, firms can generally work with them for a substantially lower cost than they can micro-influencers and celebrities.

 In some cases, brands work with micro-influencers for the cost of some free samples.

Some influencer marketing platforms provide a market for a relatively low-cost campaign. With a database of thousands of micro-influencers who have signed up on the platform, brands come up with a proposal for the influencers whether it is a free product, a discount, early access to something or small cash payment.

The influencers who wish to be part of the campaign apply and the brand chooses who they want to work with.

In this situation, your company has to pay a subscription fee to be a member of the influencing marketing platform but the cost is still substantially cheaper than paying macro-influencers or celebrities huge fees.

4. More Authenticity

The advantage of working with micro-influencers is that they are highly similar to their supporters. This is usually what makes them popular to begin. If a micro-influencer genuinely appreciates the brand, then the odds are high but their fanbase will be just as interested in the product promoted.

The issue with macro-influencer and celebrity endorsements is they never feel authentic mainly because they are always distanced from their supporters. If you are interacting regularly with a micro-influencer who has the same interests as you, you can feel their happiness, understand them, and empathize with their pain.

You believe that they can also understand you and your problems. You trust them far more than some distant person with millions of followers that you couldn’t imagine meeting in real life.

There is a catch-22 here. If an influencer accepts payment for a clearly identified sponsored post there is the danger that they lose the feeling of authenticity.

It’s up to the micro-influencers to be selective about the products they choose to promote sticking where products that truly like and are happy to receive for free rather than being paid a cash amount.

If an audience sees an influencer who is constantly taking any and all sponsored campaigns they can get their hands on, they may be turned off and choose to no longer interact with that person. If this happens, the micro-influencer loses its influencer status.

5. Long Term Relationships

Long-term relationships are more meaningful to your brand than one-off relationships. 71% of marketers say they believe ongoing ambassadorships are the most effective for influencer marketing.

The communication appears more authentic and genuine when an influencer supports the brand they have come to love over a long time rather than a couple of weeks of a one-off campaign.

What the cost of macro-influencers and celebrities being so high, it is harder and more unrealistic for brands to be able to maintain those long-term relationships that will provide the long-term impact. Micro-influencers offer a more cost-efficient approach for long-term campaigns.

6. Reach Where Ads Don’t

A lot of people have ad blockers and those that don’t are becoming increasingly ad-blind. This means they’re not paying attention to the ads that are in front of them because they are more focused on the content and experience of the social media platform.

Influencer marketing puts ads in front of the right people at the right time, as part of the native experience.

7. Reach a Specific and Targeted Audience

Because of the variety of influencers available, regardless of the audience,, you’re trying to target, someone out there has built trust with the audience you’re trying to reach.

Working with influencers gives you access to that specific and targeted audience you need, to increase sales.

8. Earn a Higher Return on Investment

Because of the increased authenticity, trust, and potential for higher conversion rates when working with micro-influencers, you can earn a higher return on your investment than if you had sunk a ton of money into working with a macro-influencer.

Plus, you can spread the budget across multiple influencers and platforms to see where your audience responds best.

9. Larger Pool of People to Work With

A report from Mention shows that nearly 16% of Instagram users fall in the micro-influencer pool. Applying that across the 1 billion user count on the platform means that on Instagram alone, there are 157 million micro-influencers you could possibly work with.

And the good news for you is that no matter what your niche, there’s someone there to work with.

10. Humanize Your Brand

Humanizing your brand is important for building brand recognition and customer loyalty. Working with micro-influencers that are just like your customers definitely adds that element.

When people connect with a company they can see as more than just a corporate office, it goes a long way toward fostering a strong relationship.

11. Expand Your Backlink Profile

This is most relevant for micro-influencers who blog rather than those who operate on social media, but the links created through influencer marketing campaigns will always help your website’s SEO.

if you receive links from websites in the same niche as your business, Google will recognize it as being a genuine link and give it some weight.

Those links from social media have less weight, if people follow the links from social media, then Google will accept it for Lindsay and your site should get some benefit from them as well.

12. There Are Micro-Influencers on Every Platform

Every platform – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. has micro-influencers. Some may have a large following across multiple platforms, but for most businesses, it makes sense to work with micro-influencers who focus specifically on one platform for the sake of engagement and authenticity.

There are also bloggers who have lots of traffic to their website and a trusted social media following to consider. If you’re ready to get involved with influencer marketing, start with micro-influencers. You may find that there’s no need to aim for the higher tier influencers.

11 Steps to Monetize Your Instagram Following

Instagram started out as an image-sharing app. Over the years, it has evolved into something much more valuable to marketers.

After Facebook acquired it, it grew to become number 3 on the list of the 15 most popular social networking sites with more than 1 billion monthly users. It falls behind Facebook and YouTube.

Step One: Define Your Audience

If you’re starting from the ground up, it is crucial to define the audience you want to attract. Unless you know exactly who your target audience is you could be wasting time and effort and end up attracting the wrong type of people. If the audience you cultivate isn’t in line with what you want to sell, you will have a hard time monetizing your Instagram following.

Think about what it is you want to market and sell through Instagram whether it is through sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, or your own products. Take some time to develop customer avatars for the various personas in your target market. The more well-defined these are, the better off you will be when trying to build your target following.

Step Two: Start Building Your Following

Whether you build your following before or after your marketing efforts doesn’t really matter. Before you can monetize your Instagram following, you have to have one. The more you have, the more you are seen and the greater your chance of turning leads to sales.

There are many ways you can grow your Instagram following. These include liking photos in your Niche, simply asking people to follow you, running contests, and running Instagram ads. it’s also important to research hashtags that are relevant to your niche and use them in your photos to extend your reach.

Step Three: Always Include a Link and Call to Action

Though you can only include a single live link on Instagram in your bio, It’s always important to include product links and links to your blog if you want to make money on Instagram through sales.

All your posts, whether they are images, videos, or stories should include calls to action with information about where your followers can go to purchase the item. Make sure to use product tags linked to your Facebook catalog to allow users to make purchases directly from Instagram.

Step Four: Create a High-Quality Feed Aesthetic

No matter how many new features Instagram adds, it is and always will be about sharing beautiful images. Nothing will encourage your prospects or monetize your account more than high-quality images.

Focus on sharing images and videos that show your followers what your brand is about and appeal to the visual senses. Tell them your brand story, and show off your products.

But beyond the individual images, think about how each piece plays into your overall feed aesthetic. Pay close attention to the colors you use as research indicates color influences buying decisions by around 85% and color increases brand recognition by 80%.

Spend some time planning your feed so you can see which posts look best to each other and which post do not. Though it may seem like a waste of time to plan, planning your Instagram feed could save you time and enhance your overall aesthetic.

There are free tools like Planoly available that allow you to drag and drop without actually posting anything until you’re ready. Once you find out where you want everything to go, you can use scheduling tools to save even more time.

Step Five: Make Use of the Right Hashtags

Hashtags help categorize and improve the discoverability of your content. Instagram allows for a maximum of 30 hashtags but it seems using 10 to 15 helps you get the maximum effect.

 While it may be tempting to use random hashtags, you’re better off conducting a bit of research beforehand to use the ones that are relevant to your post and will help you reach bigger audiences.

Remember, some hashtags even those that are seemingly innocent such as #dogsofinstagram are banned because of high spam activity. Check your hashtag list to make sure you’re not inadvertently using any that has been banned.

If you want to ensure the hashtags don’t ruin the aesthetic of your captions, you can place a few line breaks between the end of your caption and the list of hashtags. You can also include them in a comment on the post.

If you choose to do this however, it’s worth noting that images are shown based on the time they are posted rather than when the hashtags were added. This means that you will want to immediately add the hashtags in a comment as soon as the image or video is published to your feed.

Step Six: Build Relationships With Other Content Creators

As someone who is just getting started with monetizing Instagram, quality content and compelling captions are only going to get you so far. An important part of growing your influence and reach is building relationships with other content creators inside your niche.

You could always get in touch with them and ask for a shoutout on one of their posts or you could actively engage with them and their followers on their posts. Better yet you can work together with them to create content together that you can both use.

Step Seven: Choose Your Monetization Methods

 There are numerous ways to monetize your Instagram following in the ways that work best for you depends highly on your Niche and your overall go. If you are a brand that has products and services to sell, it makes sense to use your Instagram following to drive traffic to your website and promote sales there.

If on the other hand, you are an influencer, it may make more sense to focus on sponsored posts and affiliate marketing.

Instead of randomly trying monetization methods with your audience, focus on what you think your audience will respond best to the next steps, we will focus on various ways to monetize your Instagram audience.

Step Eight: Offer Sponsored Posts

Once you have cultivated a large enough following to reach influencer status whether it is a micro-influencer or a macro influencer, you can leverage that influence to promote Brands. After you have established thought leadership within your Niche, you can start monetizing your Instagram audience with sponsored posts.

 Brands often partner with influencers for sponsored posts that help them spread the word about what they’re offering. Typically these posts revolve around the product itself with a small review from you.

Though it may be tempting to take every sponsored post you can get your hands on for the sake of money, it’s important to remember that doing so will cause your audience to alienate you. And without an audience, you are no longer an influencer.

 As such, you should practice moderation with your sponsored posts and carefully consider whether or not it’s a good fit for you and your audience. Your sponsored posts need to blend in with your content so there is not seen as overly promotional.

Step Nine: Use Affiliate Marketing

One of the easiest ways to monetize your Instagram following is to become an affiliate marketer. Essentially, you are a brand ambassador for the products and services you use and believe in.

Your audience may find it helpful if you share a discount code or link within for the products you’re promoting on your page. Whenever someone makes a purchase through your link, you get a percentage of the revenue.

Affiliate marketing is a good starting point because there were any real barriers to entry. Most products have a self-enrollment program so all you need to do is sign up and they will provide you with the link to share on Instagram and other social platforms.

 The key is to use compelling copy and attractive photos that give users a reason to consider the product you’re marketing.

Step 10: Sell Your Own Products

If you have a strong personal brand and would rather not promote other companies on your page, you could always use it to market your own products.

As long as you have a strong following, you can design and sell your own products such as books, merchandise, cosmetics, and clothing. As long as the items relate to your niche and speak to your audience, you can use Instagram as a platform to sell them.

Step 11: Keep it Real

Above all, regardless of which monetization methods you choose, the key to maintaining a highly engaged audience is to keep it real.

Authenticity and transparency are important to Millennials and Gen Zers, so if you come off as nothing but a constant sales pitch, you will turn off your audience and likely decrease the chances of making any kind of money with the Instagram platform.

10 Ways to Build a Massive Instagram Following

If you run any kind of business, you know social media is a necessary part of modern marketing. In order to be seen and make sales, you need to have a presence where your audience is. Chances are, your target demographic is on Instagram. After all, it’s the second most popular social media site, right behind Facebook.

Having a profile on the site won’t do you any good if you don’t have an audience. Let’s take a look at some of the fastest ways to build an Instagram following. These ten ideas should give you a good start.

1. Post at the best times.

Remember, a post is no good if no one sees it. That’s why it’s crucial that you post at times when your audience and potential followers are online most. This is a process that will take some trial and error.

You’ll need to try posting at various times and then analyze which seem to get the most engagement. If you have a business account, you can use Instagram Insights to discover such important metrics as reach, impressions and interactions.

Adjust future posting according to the patterns you see and then continue to monitor your progress.

2. Use relevant hashtags.

If you’re not using hashtags, you’re missing out. These short phrases help people to find the topics they’re interested in and care about most. Hashtags are key to growing your audience.

However, you won’t be likely to attract the followers that fit your target demographic unless you’re using hashtags in a strategic way. You can find tags relevant to your industry by doing a search on Instagram for keywords people might use to find you. That’s a good start.

Another way to discover popular hashtags within your niche is to check out accounts similar to yours to see what they’re using and what seems to be getting engagement.

Try to use a variety of hashtags in order to increase your chances of reaching your intended audience. Broad tags will get you more eyes, but using ones that are more specific will attract those who are most interested in what you have to offer.

3. Use consistent filters.

Cohesiveness matters in the look of your Instagram feed. You want people to be able to recognize your brand as you begin to grow your followers. The filters and colors you use in your images can help tie things together and provide brand recognition.

You can try different filters as you’re starting out and use Insights to see if one outperforms the others. However, you’ll want to find a filter and color scheme and stick with it consistently in order to create the aesthetic that fits your brand and is recognizable by your audience.

4. Work with influencers.

When you need to grow your following, Instagram influencers can help. These are users who have grown large and engaged followings within their particular niche.

Take a look at some of your current followers or profiles you find through search of your keyword. See who has decent sized followings and which seem to get a lot of likes and comments.

You can then approach them through direct message or email, if they have one listed, to discuss the possibility of collaboration. You’ll want to ask their rate per post. This type of marketing isn’t free, but it can provide a strong ROI, as you can get exposure to their followers and may gain some new ones of your own.

5. Engage with your competitors’ followers.

A strategic way to find followers who are interested in your product or service is to research the competition. Take a look at the feeds of your closest competitors.

See who is engaging with their posts, and then take time to reach out to those people. You can do this very simply by following them. Folks will often reciprocate and follow you back.

Liking or commenting on their photos is also a good way to get relevant followers to notice you. In addition, by engaging with these users, you’re working to create a relationship. This is crucial to both social media and business success.

6. Add Instagram Highlights.

Instagram Stories are a fun way to feature multiple posts, but they only last for 24 hours. You can extend the life of your Stories by adding them to your profile as Instagram Highlights.

These are tabs featured at the top of your page that allow potential followers a deeper look into what you’re all about. You can organize your Highlights by theme or use them to showcase some of your featured products.

Clicking on your Highlights gives users an idea of your style and content so they know what to expect should they decide to follow you. If they’re like what they see, they’ll be more likely to give you a follow.

7. Use geotags so locals can find you.

If you want people in your area to find you, geotags are the way to go. A geotag is simply a hashtag that includes a location. This can be as broad as a city or it can be very specific, such as a venue or building. You can use these tags in your posts and in your Stories. Geotags are searchable.

When a user searches for a particular location, your post or Story will show up in the results. It’s a great way to be found. You can also search by location as a way of interacting with users who are in the area.

8. Follow the trends.

Following relevant things such as holidays, current events or other trending topics can help you to engage in a timely manner with new followers. Fun hashtag holidays like #CheeseLoversDay, #WorldEmojiDay or #TalkLikeaPirateDay are also a great way to get creative and generate interest among new potential followers.

You’ll expand your reach to people who may not otherwise have come across your profile, and there’s a good chance they’ll become your follower if they like what they see. Stick with trends that are relevant to your niche.

Otherwise, your current audience may be turned off or annoyed. You can research different holidays and events ahead of time. Then add them to your posting calendar so that you’ll always be prepared with fresh, timely content.

9. Ask for followers.

It may sound counterintuitive, but simply asking people to follow you on occasion is an efficient way to gain more followers. You can find creative ways to work the ask into photos or add it to a caption as a call to action.

Sometimes this simple reminder will spur users into action and get you the follow you seek. If someone likes what they see, they’ll likely take you up on your suggestion.

10. Run a giveaway.

One strategic way of gaining followers is to have users tag a friend in the comments of your post. This increases your reach, allowing you to potentially gain new followers. It also gains you engagement on your posts, which is favorable when it comes to Instagram’s algorithm.

More people will see your posts when you have higher engagement. Contests or giveaways are  useful when it comes to encouraging people to tag their friends. Just make this a requirement for entry, and you’ll see your follower numbers rise.

These are just ten of the best ways you can build a massive Instagram following for your business. Give them a try and see which are most successful for you.