10 unconventional ways to grow your Instagram account
1. Don’t use banned hashtags
Using the wrong hashtag on your post could get your account shadowbanned. This means your post won’t show up for any of the other hashtags and evidently your engagement will decrease dramatically. There’s over 100 banned hashtags, and some you probably use! Some examples are #Asia #Cheeky #KillingIt #NewYears #PushUps #Snapchat #TGIF. Weird, right? Just do a quick google search before you hashtag your Friday night drinks. Here’s a full list of banned hashtags.
2. Always use a location tag
Using a geotag is particularly beneficial for a business that has a physical address as more and more people are using Instagram as they would TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google etc. Have you ever looked at an Instagram location of a cafe to see what dishes look best? You can also search in the “Places” section like Google for what you’re looking for. Here is an example of a search on Instagram for “Vegan Restaurant”.
Don’t forget about adding the location to your stories. When someone clicks on the tag, it will not only show all the posts tagged in the location, but also a live stream of people currently there.
3. Join or create a pod
If you’re engagement is lacking on Instagram and you can’t seem to get the comments rolling, join (or create your own) comment pod. Many influencers keep this as a secret trick to and a way to “hack the algorithm” and boost your post to the top of the feed. A comment pod is a group of 10-15 Instagrammers, bloggers or businesses that share similar content and have the desire to get more likes, comments and followers. When you share a new post, you DM it to your group for everyone in the thread to go and comment something genuine and positive, hopefully encouraging others outside of the pod to comment too!
Hosting a giveaway or a contest on your Instagram account is a great way of boosting authentic followers quickly and has the potential to give your business huge exposure if run correctly. If you’re looking for a super effective way of running a contest, try partnering with an influencer or another company that would compliment yours. Run the contest for a minimum of a week so you have time to build up some traction and make the prize something that people couldn’t refuse. A great example would be as below:
Making it mandatory to follow your account and tagging friends will boost your followers rapidly. Keep it simple and only have 2-3 steps that they have to follow.
Whether you’re a brand or an influencer, collaborating is a win-win situation to help gain exposure for your account and the brand or other influencer. For example, a brand may gift an influencer product for them to share to their account FOC. This provides the brand exposure and content for the account, and the influencer receives free product and something different to share with their followers! When collaborating, take a look at the other account and try to match their theme so you’re reposted and receive the benefit!
6. Creative captions
A picture is worth a thousand words but don’t skip the words entirely! Photo captions can be really hard- there’s so many layers - should it be funny, deep, long, short, what emojis, hashtags and tags? Your caption should be something that people can relate to, and should reflect the image that you’ve posted. Add your own personality to your caption through your writing style and try to write something that will prompt people to reply, agree, or even disagree (engagement remember!) Here’s some of our favourite:
7. Interact with top influencers
Instagram is all about consistency and exposure. Don’t be afraid to leverage off other influencers to help build you own account up by commenting something short and sweet on their pictures. Keep it as relevant as possible to their photo so others will see it as genuine and it will create a feeling of community and you can also like other people’s comments to gain their attention! Identify your key influencers and turn on their post notifications so you’re one of the first to comment.
8. Unique visual style
You don’t have to be a photographer to have beautifully edited images. Develop your own unique visual style so when someone sees your image in their feed they will instantly recognise it’s you. When someone visits your account you want to be leaving a lasting impression and having your own theme will help with the aesthetics of your account. Take a look at the examples below:
9. Respond to comments
This may seem like a no-brainer but it’s actually really important and not many people do it. By responding to comments within the first hour helps boost your post up the feed according to the latest Instagram algorithm. It also shows that you care about your followers and people will be more likely to comment if they receive a comment back! It can be as simple as an emoji or a “thanks”.
10. Use Instagram stories
Stories provide viewers a more authentic experience because the footage is often unscripted or raw, unlike the traditional feed, which can be edited or posed. It's just one more way to share spectacular photos and videos with your loyal audience. Get creative and take advantage of the different types of stories:
• Live video– allows you to broadcast through the app while your followers are able to watch, comment, and like the video all at the same time
• Boomerang– loops your video into a 3 second GIF creating a quick and soundless video.
• Rewind– will reverse your video.
• Stop-motion– uses multiple pictures to create one seamless video.
• Superzoom– this silly new effect automatically zooms in with dramatic music.