Looks unreal, right? Especially, if you are not that viral winking girl, who added record 606K followers within a single day! Or, an extremely popular celebrity such as this, who launched herself recently on Instagram.
For all mere mortals like us, it becomes a frustrating and uphill story about how to build that precious following base on Instagram that engages with you, likes you, comments about you and follows you.
It was the same story with us as well.
We started our Instagram journey with Eventila somewhere in the mid of April 2016. We thought it to be just another medium for promotions. Hence, we were posting our content at horribly irregular intervals. Sometimes weeks, before we posted any content on our channel. By December 2017 we just touched 10,000 odd followers. So, 18 months till we hit our first 10K Followers. We added approximately 600 followers/month in this duration.
Since then, it has been a roller coaster ride for us, adding substantial followers (20K to 30K) every month with phenomenal engagement on every post published. We reached our first 100K followers on 25th April, 2018 and then 150K followers on 21st May, 2018. In a mere 25 days duration, we added 50K more users, which is +2000 followers/day.
EventilaIndia Audience Stats
At the point of writing this post, we just hit 188K followers. An average post on our account was generating 8K-10K Likes, 150K+ Impressions and 125K+ Views. In a week, we are able to generate 7M+ Impressions, 3M+ Unique Accounts reach, 60K+ Profile Visits. All these leading to phenomenal Brand outreach and exciting business opportunities.
So, how did it happen? Did we pump in an insane amount of money to achieve these numbers?
Absolutely not! We are yet to spend a Single Penny on Instagram promotions. All the above engagement and growth numbers are Organic and are driven by a well thought through Content Strategy, which our Followers love.
Let’s first talk about few standard ways of adding followers to your Instagram account.
INSTAGRAM ADS — ARE THESE EFFECTIVE?
Instagram paid promotions are insanely expensive and burn a big hole into the pockets if you rely on ads only to get followers. For a beginner’s account of sub 5K Followers base, an ad with $15 budget on Instagram typically reaches to 12K Users and brings 10K Impressions on your account leading to 25 odd followers. It is not a good strategy to spend this much (up to $500/month) as the marketing budget to get the critical follower base. This strategy leads to an extremely low ROI.
FAKE FOLLOWERS BOOSTERS — COMPANIES THAT CLAIM TO BRING 100K FOLLOWERS IN A DAY?
On the other hand, there are countless of companies all over the internet that promise you to get 1K to 1M Followers or Likes overnight by spending a fraction of money, what an ad on Instagram costs. A word of caution — Be super cautious and wary of such companies, as they bring what we call are BOTs or Fake Followers, which are mere showpiece numbers on your accounts.
These Fake followers permanently damage your Brand reputation online, as you do not generate engagement, which a genuine account on Instagram is generating. This leads to a downward spiral, where Instagram algorithm thinks that your account is not engaging enough and pushes you further down the priority. So, you perpetually get dependent on Fake followers and Likes, which lead to ZERO impact on your business.
Compared to it, someone who has built their Followers base in the right manner, overtakes the Fake Followers account slowly initially, and then at a much rapid pace afterwards, building significant trust and substantial business opportunities for them.
Ok. So, both the ways are not optimal for growth. Then, How did we achieve the phenomenal growth numbers?
OUR STRATEGY FOR GROWTH
It was insanely simple. But, as you know simple things are simple on the surface. At the back, it demands extreme discipline, focus and clarity of thought to drive great results. Here are the two key principles we followed:
- Measure everything.
- Create moving targets for daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, half yearly and yearly and chase them with unwavering focus.
We call ourselves Data Nerds and this reflected in everything we did on Instagram as well. We tracked what to post, when to post; which were our top 10 posts, our bottom 10 posts; what time our top 10 posts went live, when the bottom 10 posts went live; were there any correlation with timing of post and engagement; why did the similar looking post did not work again, etc. These all deep dive activities helped us come up with a content strategy, which we refined every week to take our growth to higher and higher levels.
Here is the list of things that we did, and we recommend you should start doing too.
1. Post regular Content (Photos, Videos, Carousals, etc). This was one of the most critical things we missed in the initial 18 months, which led to super slow growth from Zero to 10K followers in this duration. 18 months and 10K followers. This was painfully slow. We don’t want you to do the same. Since, November, 17 we have been following regular posting schedule religiously without a single day gone past where we did not post at least 2 content in a day. On an average, we have been posting 3–5 posts a day. Results were super clear. In past 6 months, we added 180K followers. But, of course, this was not the only reason for our phenomenal growth.
2. Understand which Content is producing higher Likes or Comments count. Track number of likes and comments generated by every post you publish. Produce more content similar to higher engaging posts. Trust me. It is these small steps, which add up taking your account to heights you won’t imagine today.
3. Understand what time your audience is online most. Instagram is a unique Social Media platform where so much of content is produced that they quickly vanish into the woods. So, you need to be sure that you do things that increase your content reach to the maximum audience quickly. You can ensure this by posting at times when your maximum audience is online. Instagram’s algorithms track the Viral Quotient of every post you publish. Within first 20–30 mins of posting, if a post is bringing higher likes and comments, then Instagram would show it to a broader segment of the audience. And, the process repeats. This is one of the most important aspects, which contribute to making a post viral. So, be smart with your posting schedule.
4. Choose hashtags wisely. People discover content on Instagram mainly in two ways. One — Through Search Feed. Instagram shows more posts to you based on your post likes history. It uses hashtags mainly (+many other internal optimizations) to identify similar content. Once a user starts exploring content similar to a post he or she liked earlier, based on Hashtags and Engagement your post will pop up to newer audience search feed, giving you exposure to reach to a larger user base. Two — Through direct Hashtag search. All posts on Insta are tagged with hashtags. People discover trending post using specific hashtags. Try using focused hashtags instead of generic hashtags such as #bride, #wedding, #decor etc where your post would be most likely not get prioritized if you are still small. Using targeted long tail hashtags such as #haldiceremony, #mehenditattoo etc can give you focused visibility and help your content reach to more audience faster.
5. Go deeper into Data and Insights which Instagram provides. On your Instagram App, click on your profile and go to Insights section. Instagram provides deeper insights into your Content, Audience and Activity. Understand which regions you have most followers from, which time your audience is most engaged, which posts have worked best. As mentioned before as well, these all tracking will give you the arsenal to bring more followers and higher engagement on your posts.
6. Get Influencers of your domain talk about you or promote you. Influencers are accounts which have critical followers base (10K to 1M). Bigger the Influencer is, lower would be the engagement. Smaller Influencers can actually help your post reach out to a network, which is more engaged. So, their conversions are higher. Influencer Marketing is relatively less expensive ways to reach to targeted users, who may be quite expensive to reach out to via Instagram Paid Promotions route.
7. Plan Giveaway Campaigns with Influencers in your domain. Influencers are hugely effective in Instagram marketing. They also cost a zilch, if you can come up with some effective mutually beneficial arrangement with them. Some techniques could be joint Marketing campaigns with accounts like ours which have substantial follower base. Or, planning a giveaway campaign jointly with them. This will help not only to reach to an instant wider base but also give a big boost to trust amongst the users. One word of caution, you should always plan these giveaways with bigger Influencers (100K+ Followers, 4K+ Likes, 20+ Comments, etc) in your domain. Smaller Influencers do not have a wider reach to make such campaigns effective.
8. Track your Competitors. Why should I? I am what I am because I am unique. This is true and you should be unique to build that cult following. But, there are accounts, who are already operating in your domain and doing well. Unless, you already have reached a critical follower base, where you know what your audience likes, there is little or no defined way to know what your audience would like. At Eventila, we take it very seriously. Our Vendor Business Platform has an Industry first feature, which enables you to track your competitor’s activities on Instagram. Feel free to explore this feature by signing up here.
Above are the top 20% of the techniques we implemented, which brought more than 80% of our results. If you do these things right, there is no reason why you won’t achieve your followers and engagement goals on Instagram.
Stay tuned for more focused articles about Instagram growth hacking. In the next article, we will go deeper into why you should not buy Fake Followers to show higher Followers count on your handle.
Do share your feedback or questions on the comments section. I would be more than happy to answer them :).
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