IT'S NOT HARD TO BE INSTA-FAMOUS.

IT'S NOT HARD TO BE INSTA-FAMOUS.

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*cues Famous by Kanye West* 

For a few years, I was intimidated by Instagram. With only a hundred or so followers, I didn’t understand how photographs of people’s average lives could garner thousands of likes and millions of followers. 

In working with outdoor influencers, it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t that hard at all. Instagram is purely a numbers game. Their lack of links on content keeps you scrolling through their feed, which is genius. The only places to click, to explore, to express our most human curiosity, are on profiles and hashtags. 

Within these two lies the secret to building a large Instagram following and driving traffic to your products.

Firstly, you have to explore on your own. Find accounts you like, that relate to what you’re doing. They can have more or fewer followers than you, but they’re a good gauge of what kind of content you want to provide. By actually engaging with these accounts (no spammy “ beautiful feed 😍” comments), you can begin to build relationships that support your business and drive customers through recommendations from these similarly-minded people. 

Secondly, you have to dive into the nitty gritty of hashtags. You may have seen accounts post a block of hashtags, sometimes in their post caption, sometimes in the comments. This is the same as tagging a blog post with relevant categories to direct traffic on google or a blogging site. I recommend the second method, as when you add five dots before hand, it tells Instagram to hide the caption from sight in the feed, but still categorizes your post with those hashtags. 

You’re able to send out 30 hashtags, but I recommend no more than 20. We don’t want to look like Louise Linton, now, do we? 

You should also include variations on spelling or wording that are popular for a hashtag and change out your hashtag bank pretty regularly, so you’re reaching a wide variety of users in your target demographic. I keep my hashtag banks in different notes, so I can flip through for each client to choose the most fitting one. I’ll also add time-relevant hashtags depending on the post’s content. 

I don’t think this is a sustainable method, as after a certain point, the engagement from your follower base will reach a point that you don’t need hashtags anymore. I’ve noticed that once I crossed the 1,500 market on my followers, my engagement remained pretty much the same, whether or not I use hashtag banks. You can always go back and delete your hashtags too, which makes it an easy, impermanent way to grow your audience. 

So next time you get follower-envy, just remember: everyone is at different places on their digital journey, but it’s not hard to get there. You’re on the way to sharing your amazing story with the people who matter. 

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