Instagram Best Practices For Steady Growth In 2018

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Everyone who is trying to grow their business is also trying to grow their Instagram following. These days it is hard to have one with out the other. I am on instagram a lot and I see lots of accounts that could use a little TLC. So I thought I would put together a list of Best Practices that will help you grow your followers, increase engagement and build a solid brand. 

  1. Don't play the follow/unfollow game. It is tacky, annoying to those you are unfollowing and huge waste of your time. Instead follow accounts you love and whose followers match your ideal customer. Then interact with them. Comment genuine things on their posts, reply back to stories, make friends with them and their followers. Be useful not sales-y, no one wants to see "love this" or "cool feed" as their first comment. 
  2. Put hashtags in the first comment. Now this can change as the algorithm changes but right now that is where hashtags work and look best. So as soon as you post have your hashtags ready to be pasted into the first comment. It makes for a cleaner look and if you are also sharing your post to Facebook it means you don't have to edit the post in another app. The trick is to add the hashtags within the first five minutes of a post being up. This is because Instagram adds it to the hashtag's page using the timestamp it was posted not when the comment was added. 
  3. ALWAYS credit other people's work. If you repost something make sure you credit the original account. If you post a photo of yourself or your products that you didn't take, credit the photographer and anyone else involved. And yes you need to do this even if you paid for the photos. When you are working with a photographer or someone else on a shoot ask how they would prefer to be credited. Do they just want to be tagged or do they want something added to the caption? Discuss it before hand so no one ends up disappointed. 
  4. Reply back to followers in a timely manner. Comments and DMs (direct messages) are great ways to interact with your followers but that only works if you are paying attention to what is going on in the comments. Having more comments on a post can signal Instagram that this is a good post and they could serve it up to more of your followers or put you on the explore page. As well if you leave comments for a week you may miss a good customer service opportunity. 
  5. Be Consistent. I am not saying you need to post 10 times a day or even everyday. What I am saying is that if you want to grow and reach new people you need to post regularly and keep a consistent brand. Someone should be able to look at a post without your face in it and say this feels like (insert your handle here)'s stuff. There is also a balance to strike with how many posts you can commit to making per week and how many will annoy your current followers. If they get annoyed by how much they are seeing you they may decide to stop liking the photos, stop commenting and possibly stop following you. 
  6. More engagement is better than more followers. Follower count can be handy in some cases, for example right now when you hit 10,000 followers and have a business account you get that awesome swipe up feature. But followers are not the be all to end all. Engagement is where it is at. You are building relationships with your potential customers and that will weigh a lot on their mind when they go to buy something from you. 

My final piece of advice is to stay in your lane, don't worry about what everyone else is doing, and find what works for you and your brand. 

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