If you’re trying to grow your Instagram account to include followers beyond your friends and family, you want to think strategy when it comes to posting. How you present yourself on the channel, whether a business or personal brand, is everything. It’s a visual medium after all. So when you set up your account and start planning killer content that will make the kiddies come a runnin’, there should be one question on your mind. Why would someone follow?
There are a few answers–you’re account is freaking beautiful (loaded with a stunning color scheme and unique, clear pictures), your content is aspirational, it gives followers a warm fuzzy feeling, it makes people laugh, offers tips or tricks or exposes them to something cool like new music, and/or people are intrigued by your life/brand journey. These alone won’t get you followers though. That’s why you need to say goodbye to these 7 crap actions you’re doing on the channel that’s preventing your Instagram growth, and annoying your existing followers.
1. Bleeding the feed
I’m leading strong here, because this one actually makes me exhale in anguish every time I see it. Unless you’re at a live event and giving people a first hand look at what’s up, DO NOT post more than one picture per hour. Posting all throughout the day won’t hurt your engagement, but back to back Instagrams within a few minutes of each other, major no-no. Posting multiples this close together cannibalizes your per post like potential because people are bombarded with content and will often only like 1 picture from the bunch. If you want a high engagement to follower ratio and don’t want people to unsubscribe from your account, then cut it out.
2. Not Engaging
Throwing a cool pic up with a witty caption and then snobbishly waiting for devotees to follow is only part of the battle (and a little delusional, if you ask me). Like every other social network, if you’re not engaging with others on Instagram, then you’re using it wrong. Regramming, commenting and liking other people’s photos can earn you a great deal of followers if you’re not a household name already. There are a few golden rules when it comes to this that we’ll be sharing in the future.
3. Not using hashtags
You want your account to look clean and like you’re not trying, right? That’s stupid. You are trying! You’re trying to get your name out there, get customers to buy your product or readers to obsess over your style. How do you think they’re going to find you if you don’t pop up in explore without the use of hashtags!? So yeah, use them. And guess what? You can’t use too many, so come up with specific ones (this is key) that relate to you and add them in a new comment below your caption.
4. Using too many filters
Instagram offers 23 filters, but you definitely shouldn’t use them all. In fact, one or two is all you need. A cohesive account is a desirable one–if your content is going to differ a great deal, the least you can do is keep the tint of your images consistent. Cool hues, warm hues and stark contrasts rarely look good together when viewing your entire feed. Tons of awesome accounts skip Instagram’s filters all together and embrace photo apps like Afterlight and VSCO Cam to get the job done. You can also let the photo speak for itself by going the #nofilter route.
5. Over-posting quotes
We love quotes. They’re huge on almost every social channel and inspire us to be better people. They are also overkill when they show up too often, that is unless your account is an inspirational message one. So if you want to use them and not muck up your account with different fonts on a million different backgrounds, set limits. Keep to one a week (or fewer) and either custom make them yourself or only post ones with the same font and similar color schemes.
6. Not posting daily
All of these other don’ts aside, one of the worst things you can do is skip days between posts. Instagram was once an app for in-the-moment updates, but now more than ever that no longer is the case. It’s now a channel of promotion, which means many of those huge accounts you follow have had their Instagram images banked days in advance. When you don’t post daily, people forget about you–or worse, you stop appearing in their feed. Don’t let them miss future posts!
7. Not thinking outside the box
All too often we play it safe, but when you’re building your Instagram you want to be someone who is a little risky or covers a niche that isn’t saturated. I’ve definitely gotten bored with my feed at times because too many people I follow all post similar content. The trick is to diversify, try new things, create a unique angle–it could be color palette or style. People like Michelle Phan and brands like Hatsu Tea do a great job of making their feed look cohesive and truly original when you scroll through the tiles. You don’t have to go this far, just don’t be afraid to try something you’re not already seeing.