It's no longer a secret that Instagram offers a lot of ways to make money. Instagram has more than a billion users, a bunch of business features, a simple promotion algorithm, and diverse content.
Everything is great except for the huge competitiveness.
It was easier to succeed without investment in 2015 if one had a good-looking account. Nowadays we can't dream of anything like that, and that is bad news. The good news is it is easier and cheaper to promote the account now than months or years ago.
This article is a must-read for anyone interested in promoting the Instagram blog from a scratch in 2023.
Related post: grow the number of followers in your Instagram account
How to prepare an Instagram account to get more followers?
As we have already mentioned, the competitiveness for attention is extreme. The average Instagram user has already seen a lot. He doesn't want to waste a lot of time on an unknown blog and decides whether to read it in the first few seconds of an encounter. That's why you should first try to make the eye-catching page and then promote it. We suggest you read our points of a successful profile design and make your profile look better, if necessary.
So, the profile we need must have the following attributes.
Good nickname/user name
- distinctive and catchy;
- easy to spell;
- corresponds to the brand's nature and idea.
- it is catchy and prominent;
- with clearly written benefits for the follower;
- emojis can be added, but not too many. Up to 5 will be enough;
- with the website line used.
Tip: if you add #'s and @'s and redirect the user to interesting pages (post-contact, additional account, etc.), the reach will be much higher.
The longer the chain of actions, the better. For example, you could link to the introduction post, and mention the key sections in it by hashtags.
This trick will allow the person to spend more time in your account and be more engaged. Your posts will be higher in his feed and even if the user doesn't follow you, it will be easier for you to get into his recommendations. You can increase your reach with this simple, free method.
Instagram searches for matching results to the query in the search using this line and the nickname. I'll be looking for marshmallows, not wholesome goodies; an astrologer, not one who reads the way by the stars. Do not duplicate the keywords if they are already in the nickname.
Prepare content to start
You need at least 9 interesting diverse posts to start - nobody follows empty profiles. It's important to plan content based on your goals and to alternate between different types of posts and stories regularly.
You said preparing content? Check this article about how to prepare an Instagram content plan
It is better to prepare a content plan so content would work well as a complete system.
- feed, highlighted stories and profile pic in the same style and color, add up to a single beautiful picture;
- conveys the idea and values of the blog;
- photo in natural processing;
- the feed looks diverse, alternating phototypes (at least 3-4) and perspectives;
- the feed has evenly dispersed posts of color and accents;
- images with action alternate with more "empty", neutral images;
- the photos are arranged in a complex, irregular system (the checkerboard and columns are old-fashioned).
It is also recommended that you research your competitors before making a profile. Firstly, you can get ideas for content or notice what the niche is missing. Secondly, the best way to be remembered is to be distinctive. So, it is worth taking a look, following popular trends in the visual, and try not to repeat themselves and be unique.
One more thing: switch to a business account. So, you will have access to statistics and the function of promoting posts directly through Instagram.
How to make a Instagram account popular if you are starting with 0 followers?
Is that an impossible job? Well, it is difficult, but it doesn't mean it is impossible. Our tips are the following.
Ask friends and family for help
The hardest part is getting the first thousand followers. People are not likely to follow new accounts, so prepare a nice introduction post and also feel free to tell all your friends and acquaintances and ask for help.
You can even invite your friends to follow you from within the app itself. To do this, open the settings and go to "Follow and Invite Friends". Here you can invite friends via WhatsApp, SMS, email, etc.
Invite people to your Instagram account using other social networks
Take advantage if you or your company already have pages in other social networks or you have a mail base. Invite followers to a new Instagram account and offer a welcome bonus: a discount, a gift, or useful material. That way they'll move to the profile more easily.
Mass following (use with caution)
Mass following is considered one of the controversial methods of promotion. You can use it at the beginning when the budget is very limited but it is recommended to do it carefully.
It makes sense to manually follow the profiles of your target audience. Would not be a bad thing to wander through your competitors’ followers and follow them.
You should not use programs for automatic mass following. First of all, this is a direct violation of the rules, and Instagram bans this. Secondly, there is a great risk of gathering accounts of other mass followers and a non-targeted audience. These users will not like your posts, view your posts and watch live broadcasts. Most likely, they won't even see them. Such a thing can affect the reach and destroy even a well-promoted profile.
Mass following can lead to suffering a Instagram ban, use with caution!
We also recommend cleaning your list of followers over time. An account with more followers than the number of subscribers is more trustworthy. So, I recommend unsubscribing from your followers from time to time. Don't worry, they won't get a notification about it, and you won't offend anyone.
Send direct messages (also use with caution)
Send direct messages to relevant users with an invitation to follow.
Note: if you send the same text to everyone, Instagram may recognize it as spam and block the account. Slightly change the text and don't make a lot of invitations.
It is also important to know that people don't like newsletters. Do it creatively if you have time.
If everything is done correctly, then every 10-15th invitation can be converted into a follower.
Like your followers’ content
The reason is simple: you can't promote an account with a dead reach. The audience should see your posts and react to the content. You need to make as many interactions with your followers as possible to increase your reach. Even if you liked it, Instagram considers it as a contact and thinks you're interested in each other.
Be active in places where your target audience is
Sometimes an accurate comment can do more to benefit you than a small ad campaign. Don't be afraid to comment. Better to do it as quickly as possible after the post is published so the comment pops up.
However, comments like: "Come study with us, this month X% discount on subscriptions" on the page of another language school can cause trouble. Instagram may ban you if other users complain about a comment.
Hashtags were used to promote on Instagram 5 years ago and are used now. Properly chosen, a topical hashtag can give results.
How to choose hashtags?
First of all, you must know that they are divided by the frequency of use depending on their popularity: high, medium, and low. Millions of posts are published with highly used hashtags, thousands with low.
Three factors will allow you to get in to pool of highly used hashtags:
- The content has to be awesome.
- Native and non-native audiences should react to content much more warmly than usual.
- A little luck.
With experience, you will understand which hashtag works, and which does not in your particular case. Look at the hashtags related to your topic, choose a couple of high, medium, and low used hashtags and test them.
The Statistics section of the post says what source you received the most reach from. The source "Hashtags" will appear in the list if the hashtags worked. It will not appear if they were ineffective.
Experiment until you get results that steadily give you new, targeted followers by hashtags.
Use guest posting and mutual PR
Think about blogs that could share their audience with you. These should be your target audience places, but you shouldn't be in direct competition with the other account.
Examples of blogs with a similar target audience: SMM-specialist, copywriter, and marketer; comfort blog and cooking blog, etc.
Go through the profiles that might work, and pick the quality ones with almost the same audience size. These accounts are worth "befriending." Promote each other with stories or guest posts. Make an interesting post so the other influencer could publish it on his profile with a link to your account. You, accordingly, will do the opposite.
You can organize free and effective promotions on Instagram in this way.
Record the Reels
Developing video content is a priority for Instagram today. That's why there is a new section on the platform, which is intended to compete with TikTok. Instagram actively promotes Reels and willingly shows it at the top of recommendations.
Do you see what we mean? Friendly algorithms and little competitiveness. It's time for action!
Buy ads from influencers
This is one of the most effective ways to promote on Instagram, but also one of the most expensive. The bigger the influencer, the higher the price. The cost of advertising with influencers can reach tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, so it is important to consider the issue carefully.
If you want to find influencers that can help grow your account, check out post about how to find influencers to advertise your brand on Instagram
Choose influencers whose target audience is as similar to yours as possible. For example, if a company makes youth clothes, look for influencers who post about fashion, clothes, and social life.
It used to be that everyone wanted to buy ads from a bigger influencer, expecting a huge gain in the audience. By now everyone seems to have realized that this scheme works poorly. It's not the size of the influencer's audience that matters, but the amount of your target audience on the blog. Let's think about who follows Kylie Jenner. The correct answer is anyone. At the same time, advertising on the celebrity's blog costs a lot of money. Advertising is cheaper and the audience is much more uniform in a small account. Therefore, a speech therapist is better to order advertising in the mom blog, a bookstore blog, where they review books, etc.
Before cooperating with a influencer, assess the loyalty and engagement of the audience, and make sure that she/he did not advertise with your competitors shortly before cooperating with you. To evaluate blog activity, I recommend using the LiveDune service. You will find 100% honest statistics there and save time on searching for a trustworthy partner. You can also ask the influencer for statistics when negotiating.
Be careful and look closely to see if you are being scammed:
- On a "clean" blog/account without tweaking, real people make real comments
- Posts get about the same average number of likes (10 likes today, 560 tomorrow is not ok)
- Followers are active
If you feel lost about how to work your strategy with influencers, check our post about about how to design a good influencer marketing strategy
At the beginning of account promoting, evaluate whether advertising with influencers is effective in terms of the value of a follower. To do this, divide the cost of advertising by the number of followers for 2-3 days after its posting. This rate depends a lot on your target audience. (For example, the cost of engaging a teenager will usually be much lower than a businessman’s).
Use a good targeted advertisement
Targeted advertising is an effective way to gain followers. It is set up through Facebook Ads Manager, costs money, and requires special skills. It is very important to choose the right parameters, by which you will find the right people among all the users of Instagram. You need to know what sex these people are, how old they are, where they live, and what they are interested in. These parameters need to be specified in the advertising campaign settings. Test different audiences to see which works best for you.
It is also important to choose the right goal for the advertising campaign. We recommend using the “Traffic” goal to get more followers (rather than likes, comments, or post views).
As you can see, there are many ways to gain followrs on Instagram. If you have a budget for your promotion - cool, use that way. If not - there’s no reason to give up without a fight. It is quite possible to achieve the first results on your own and without investment with a fair amount of creativity and persistence. You just need to set a goal and work hard to become a real influencer.
And remember, you may also want to check these other posts about Instagram: