When did Instagram become such work? If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent a scary amount of hours researching posting times, algorithm secrets, follow/unfollow methods, caption ideas, follower counts, etc etc… Maybe–and you don’t have to admit it if you did–you even entertained the idea of buying followers. *gasp* Where does the madness end??
It’s hard not to let that number besides the word followers affect you. If you’re in this game to make some money or make an impact (or BOTH!), you may believe that all golden opportunities lie on the other side of 5k, or 10k, or 100k. Well friend, I’m here to tell you that just ain’t true.
Sure, a bigger follower count can mean more advertising opportunities but there is one thing that’s more important than that number. That’s your engagement.
Anyone can buy fake followers to get their follower count high. You can even buy likes now. But a potential sponsor can look through your profile and see the red flags, leading them to not work with you. When it comes to a company spending money or resources on advertising with you, it all comes down to one thing: ROI. Return on investment. Is it worth it to them to spend the money or comp your hotel stay? The whole point of advertising is for a business to get in front of more people that are likely to buy their product. That’s why companies are now looking at engagement when deciding whether to work with an influencer.
Engagement refers the amount of shares, likes, comments, and follows an influencer has. If you’ve bought followers (no, no), chances are they’re mostly bot and spam accounts that aren’t likely to interact with you in a genuine way. Those followers probably won’t be running out to buy the products you post about. When you have real, genuine followers who enjoy reading your captions and commenting on your photos, that’s when you have engagement that can make a difference. They may see something you’re talking about and make that purchase for themselves. That’s the kind of engagement companies want to see when deciding to work with influencers.
I have a friend who has less than 400 followers. But she’s consistently getting 50-100 likes on every photo! And every single post has genuine comments. It’s not always the quantity, folks, it’s the quality.
OK, so how do I grow my engagement?
How do you get genuine engagement on your posts? Well, as my mom always said, “to have a friend, you have to be a friend.” It’s important to build a community by liking, following, commenting and just interacting with accounts you enjoy and that are in a similar category as yours. When people feel appreciated, many times they reciprocate the effort. When you’re actively reaching out, you are putting yourself in a position to be seen. This is obviously not the ONLY way to gain more genuine engagement on your Instagram, but to me it is an important one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Here’s my 10×10 method for guaranteed Instagram growth.
- Set aside some time every day. I find it works best if you intentionally schedule it into your day, so you don’t get stuck mindlessly scrolling Instagram (happens to the best of us).
- Make a list of 10 hashtags that you believe your ideal follower would be interested in.
- Open Instagram and type the first hashtag into the search bar.
- Go to the top 10 pictures that come up, like and leave a genuine comment on each one.
- Repeat with each hashtag on your list.
- Do this every day for 10 days.
I guarantee you’ll see results within a week.
This is how I’ve found some of my favorite accounts to follow. I have made friends with people who’s content I seriously love and all because I took the time to find them and interact. In my article 9 Mistakes You Could Be Making with Your Blog, I talk about building a community. It’s important to have people in your corner. This Instagram game takes involvement, plain and simple. I know you can do it, because I know your content is badass and people need to see it.
Do my 10×10 exercise every day for a week, and let me know how it works for you. I’m excited to for you to share your results! Email me, comment on this post or tag me in a post on IG and I’ll check out your profile. I can’t wait to see your IG sky-rocket!
Bonus strategy: Find a large Instagram account that targets your ideal audience and look through the comments on their posts. Check out the profiles of the people that have commented on the big account’s posts then like and leave a few genuine comments on some of their posts. You’ve just touched base with someone who may not have known your account even existed, but that would probably like your content.
And when I say genuine comment, please don’t leave anything like “Please follow me” or “Check out my account.” That’s a little sleazy. And you, my friend, are not sleazy. Remember, be a friend.