To build any business on Instagram, you need to grow your account. No matter how much effort you put into great content, if nobody is seeing it, you are wasting your time. In this post, I am going to teach you how to grow your Instagram account in 7 simple steps that won’t require you to spend multiple hours on the platform each week.
Step 1: Switch to a Business Account
If you are serious about learning how to grow your Instagram account, you need to switch your account to a business profile. For a while, there was a myth that business accounts didn’t receive as much engagement. I am pretty sure this isn’t true.
Moreover, the analytics provided for business accounts are invaluable. I like to use the following data to refine my Instagram strategy:
- Profile visits: Profile visits mean more opportunities to grow your Instagram account and your mailing list. Don’t miss out and keep track of your profile visits. See how often you need to post to increase your profile visits. Take notice when your number of profile visits decreases.
- Discovery: The section discovery provides very useful information you can use as you learn how to grow your Instagram account. For example, you will discover the percentage of accounts you reached that was not following you. This will allow you to refine your hashtags strategy (keep reading for more info on hashtags).
- Saves: The more times your followers save your posts, the more useful they were. It’s good to take notice.
- Shares: Same thing with how many shares you get. Shares are a sign of great content and they increase your chance of getting new followers.
Step 2: Provide Useful Content
Yes, people will always tell you to create great content to grow your Instagram account but how do you do it? How do you decide what to post?
It starts with your bio. Once you understand to say in your bio, you know what to post. If you need some inspiration, look for hashtags in your niche and check out the accounts that use them. Look for the most popular accounts. What posts are the most popular with their audience? Take notes of the topics and the types of posts. When you have enough to get inspired, pick 3-5 main topics for your own account and write your bio.
Create a Bio That Converts
There are many ways to write your bio and chances are you will re-write it regularly. Here are some helpful guidelines to keep in mind:
- Describe who you are (for example, mom of two, health coach, writer, blogger, etc.) Whatever it is you do, tell your audience.
- Say what your followers can expect from you. You could just list the 3-5 topics (like recipes, simple living, inspiration for healthy living). Or you could describe what you are about in a sentence. Again, you can look at other accounts in your niche to give you ideas.
- Invite your followers to connect with you. The link in your bio should be a freebie that you give your followers in exchange for their email addresses. Learn more about growing your mailing list on Instagram in my Instagram Workshop:
Your feed will not receive as much engagement as it used to. These days, many Instagram users watch stories more than they scroll through their feeds. However, your feed is the best way to grow your Instagram account and present a good overview of what your followers can expect from you.
- Make sure you post pictures that relate to your 3-5 categories. Sure you can experiment to see what your audience engages with the most.
- Make your feed pop. Use a consistent filter (I love using the Lightroom app). Quotes may be helpful to give your feed some space and uniformity.
- Use the right hashtags. Hashtags on your feed are still the best way to grow your Instagram account. Keep reading to learn more about how to choose the right hashtags.
- Get inspired by posts that are already popular on Instagram. Getting great engagement and growing your account has become much more difficult than it used to be. The competition is fierce. I have seen beautiful accounts with very little engagement. I have found that the best way to increase my engagement and grow my Instagram account is to save popular posts and use them for inspiration. Posts that have already done well in your niche will most likely do well with your audience.
- Write inspiring captions. Your captions can be just as important as your pictures. Share some inspiring words, tell your story, give tips. Your captions can be like a mini-blog post.
- Post consistently. Post once a day or at least 5 days a week. With your business account, you will be able to see how many profile visits you get from each post and from your hashtags. If you don’t post consistently, your profile visits will decrease significantly and your Instagram account will not grow.
Stories are incredibly useful to build relationships with your followers. However, from my experience, they are not as important when it comes to learning how to grow your Instagram account.
Stories take your followers behind the scenes and make you more relatable. Here are my favorite ways to grow my Instagram account using my stories:
- Hashtags: You can use hashtags in your stories. If you pick the right hashtags, you will notice a huge increase in story viewers. Did you know you can use up to 10 hashtags on one story? You can conceal your hashtags so your followers will not see them. Learn how to do this in my post How to Grow your Network Marketing Business on Instagram. I created a short video tutorial to show you how you can conceal hashtags on your stories to grow your Instagram account.
- Tag other accounts: When you tag other accounts in your stories, they can share your story on their stories. If it’s relevant and useful for their audience, they just might share. The added exposure may help you grow your Instagram account.
- Geolocation tag: You may be able to get more story viewers you you tag your location. Experiment with that as well.
To learn more about how you can grow your Instagram account using your stories read How to Use Instagram Stories to Build Your Audience.
For more inspiration on what to post to grow your Instagram account, read What to Post on Instagram to Get the Most Engagement and Grow Your Account.
Step 3: Be Social on Social Media
Social media is a two-way street. If you want to learn how to grow your Instagram account, you need to learn how to be social on social media. Don’t expect people to interact with your account if you never interact with them.
Like and Comment on Photos in Your Niche
This is one of the best methods to grow your Instagram account apart from using the right hashtags.
The $1.80 Strategy
Gary Vaynerchuk came up with the $1.80 strategy and I love it! This strategy allows you to grow your Instagram account and increase your engagement without it feeling overwhelming. All you need to do each day is:
- Find nine posts in your most relevant hashtags each day. Look for the right hashtags in your niche (more on hashtags in step 5).
- Leave your two cents on each of these nine posts. Write meaningful comments on your nine chosen posts and you are good to go!
The 3-1 Formula
Another excellent option or something else you can do in addition to the $1.80 strategy is the 3-1 formula. Find relevant accounts, like three of their posts and comment on one. This strategy increases your chances of getting noticed.
Step 5: Use the Right Hashtags
For a long time, I thought hashtags didn’t do anything for my Instagram account. That’s until I learned how to use my Business Account Insights properly. I discovered that certain sets of hashtags made it possible to increase my reach by at least 50% while when I used other sets of hashtags only 4% of the accounts I reached were not following me already.
Using the right hashtags requires some experimentation, but here are some guidelines to help you learn how to grow your Instagram account:
- Use all 30 hashtags you are allowed to use. Some social media experts say that 10-11 hashtags are optimal, but most recommend you use as many as you can. It makes sense, why would you not? Each hashtag is a chance to be found out.
- Look up one hashtag in the Instagram search bar and see what other hashtags come up. It’s a good way to pick your hashtags. If you search a hashtag and they are no related hashtags, try another one. They don’t always show, but when they do, they look like this:
- Try best-hashtags.com. It works pretty well to get you started, but don’t copy the set of hashtags and use it as is. Modify it to fit with your hashtag strategy.
Here’s what I recommend you start with to experiment with hashtags sets:
- Use 2-3 hashtags with more than 1 million posts, but don’t’ waste your time with hashtags that have more than 10 million posts. You will just get lost in the crowd if you use these hashtags.
- Use around 5 hashtags that have between 500,000 and 1 million posts.
- Use 5 hashtags that have between 50,000 and 500,000 posts.
- Use 15-20 hashtags that have less than 50,000 posts.
Then, keep track of which sets give you the best reach using your Instagram Insights. For a more detailed version of my hashtag strategy, read How to Pick the Right Instagram Hashtags to Grow Your Account.
Step 6: Promote Your Instagram Account on Other Platforms
A simple but important step. Make sure you link your Instagram account to your other social media profiles. Talk about it and invite people to follow you on Instagram.
Step 7: Become Someone Somewhere Else
If you are consistently posting and engaging on Instagram, you will grow your account. Show up daily on Instagram, but don’t spend hours there each day. Instead, put your time and effort into building your online presence somewhere else. Whether it’s YouTube, a podcast, a blog, or anything else, provide value and content there. People will find you and follow you on Instagram. These will be your true fans! I love using Instagram to strengthen my community for sure, but growing your Instagram account for the sake of growing your Instagram account isn’t worth the time and effort. Anyway, that’s my two cents!
How you grow your Instagram account in a few words: repurpose your content from another platform and provide value consistently. If you post on your blog or your YouTube channel, create an Instagram post that shares the same value. You don’t need to create brand new content for Instagram. Re-use what you are doing on other platforms and focus on solving people’s problems. Make sure you educate, entertain, and inspire your audience. Connect with your followers and enjoy using the platform for the sake of using the platform, not necessarily with the goal of finding customers.
To learn more about using Instagram for your online business, check out my Instagram Workshop: