Time for Growth Hacks!

Now that we have discussed the basics of Instagram, and all its little components, it’s time that you learn some hacks on how you can grow your Instagram. Sure, we have discussed hashtags, posting times, stories, IGTV and a whole lot of Instagram tools, but there are other things you can do to grow your account and gain new followers.

1. Steal them!
This might not sound good, and might even sound immoral, but trust me, it’s not. Stealing followers here doesn’t mean you will take their followers away from them, and make them follow you. No. It means that you will just make other Instagram users aware that you exist, so that they can follow you as well.

So, how do you steal followers? Easy. Turn on ‘post notification’ on some of the biggest accounts in your niche. Once you get the alert that they have posted something, rush to their Instagram post and leave a genuine comment. This ensures that you are one of the first few comments that people will see. If they like what you said, they will certainly visit your account and eventually, follow you if your posts bring value to them.

This is as organic as it can get, and what’s great is, its free traffic!

2. Using Alt Text
For those who are familiar with SEO, you know how powerful this tool is. Alt-text is a hidden label, mostly keyword enriched, that is attached to your photo. If you posted a photo of a dog, you can put keywords like puppy, fur parent, adult dog, golden retriever, etc.

So, how important are alt texts? Alt text makes Instagram and search engines “see” your photos. If you posted a photo of a dog, and you put some nice alt text keywords in there, it will help Instagram’s algorithm, thus, allowing your post to reach more targeted people.

It will also help you reach visually impaired people ‘see’ what the photo is about. Since you have an alt text, a visually impaired person will be able to hear the description of your photo, even if they haven’t really ‘seen’ it. Isn’t technology amazing?

3. Gary Vee’s $1.80 Strategy
Gary Vaynerchuck is one of the biggest Instagram personalities of today. Apart from running a very successful Instagram account, he is also a speaker and gives motivational talks all over the world.

He coined the term ‘$1.80 strategy’ in Instagram marketing. Though the name might be a little bit confusing for some, it’s a really simple concept to start with. It means that you are leaving your two cents on 9 posts, on over 10 hashtags every day.

$0.02 x 9 x 10 = $1.80

Still a little bit complex to understand? Here’s a simple explanation: Follow 10 hashtags in your niche. Look for the top 9 posts in each hashtag, and leave a genuine comment. That’s it! If you do this consistently, you will be able to build good relationships with the top Instagram accounts within your niche.

4. Buy Shoutouts!
We have mentioned shoutouts earlier, and that was the free version of the shoutout. The difference between the free shoutout (S4S) and the paid shoutout is that you don’t have to match the number of followers the other account has. If you have 100 followers and would like to buy shoutouts from Kylie Jenner, you can do so, as long as your willing to pay millions just for 1 shoutout. The price of each shoutout will depend on how big of an account the seller of the shoutout has, and how long the shoutout will last.

Start your research by canvassing small to medium-sized accounts. Send them a DM and ask if they are open to paid shoutouts. If they are and have done this in the past, they will send you a matrix of their fees. You can always haggle with them for a better price, but don’t be a low baller since they might get turned off and walk away from the deal. Remember, you need them, not the other way around.

But before you start messaging accounts, do your research on their engagements. They might have 100k followers, but their average likes and comments are below average. What you are looking for is a healthy account with an above-average engagement percentage. Ask if they can send you a screenshot of their insights. If they refuse, then that’s a red flag. You’re doing business with them, so transparency is key.

Once you have decided to use paid shoutouts, it is advisable that you buy in bulk and for the shoutout to go out all at the same time. The timing of when the shoutout will be done by, say, 10 accounts, is important, since your username will be boosted and marketed to different hashtags (by good-standing accounts, I suppose) all at the same time. This would mean domination in your niche for that specific time period.