If you run an organization or business of any kind, you know how valuable of a tool Instagram is. You may also know how frustrating it is when you just aren't getting the results you want. In recent months, I have had the privilege of collaborating with several bloggers in helping build their Instagram accounts. With the exact same information and resources, some have taken off and seen an incredible amount of growth. Others, not so much.
I have watched these accounts and others that I been connected with, trying to figure out why some grow and some don't. I know of many accounts that are leaps and bounds above mine when it comes to the aesthetics of their feeds. And, yet, they do not grow. Or they grow very slowly.
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Now, I know some people are happy with a smaller account and don't necessarily have astronomical goals for numbers. There is nothing wrong with that. But I also know that there are many others that want to grow their accounts for various reasons. If you have a goal in mind and just can't seem to reach it, there is likely one thing you are missing.
When I have examined accounts or asked questions of Instagrammers struggling to grow, the problem (almost) always seems to point to a lack of consistency.
Specifically, in one of these four areas:
It blows my mind that people still refuse to use hashtags or that they use them inconsistently. I mean, I get it if you are only posting for your family members on a private account (I never use hashtags on my personal account with all of 50 followers) but if you want your account to grow then you must consistently use hashtags. And not just any old hashtags. You need hashtags that are specific to the following you want to create and to who you are. Example: I frequently use #wahmlife because I want to attract work at home moms. I also frequently use #toddlermommy because... well.. I'm a toddler mom and a lot of my content centers around that. (Note: you also want to make sure you are not using hashtags that are too large. If your hashtags have a million posts, your picture is going to be lost in the crowd within minutes, if not seconds.)
I am not a top notch photographer. Ok, fine. I'm not any notch photographer. I don't have a beautiful feed with amazing pictures. So, believe me, I am not asking for perfection when I say that you may not be growing because of inconsistency in your photos. This could happen a number of ways: mismatching picture sizes, blurry or dark pictures, no apparent theme or niche, etc. Consistency in the look of your feed is vital to growing your account. You may have amazing products or content to offer but if your feed is a hot mess most people won't take the time to find that out. In today's culture, we are highly visual. You must have a feed that is pleasing to the eye.
3) Post Frequency
If you are not posting daily, you should be. Inconsistency in posting can (and will) cost you followers. Have you ever come across a really great feed, only to realize the last post was weeks ago? I have. And guess what. I don't follow them. I, like most Instagram users, want to follow accounts that are active and going to give me fresh material to double tap on a regular basis. People will either pass on following your account if you are inconsistent or they will eventually unfollow because they can't remember why they followed you in the first place. Also, each day that you don't post is a lost opportunity to gain followers (that is, of course, if you use those hashtags).
If numbers 1-3 are on point, then perhaps the problem with your growth is an inconsistency in engagement. Without question, I get the most growth when I actively engage with other accounts through comments, likes and following. (By "actively engage" I mean, a minimum of 300 accounts per day.) If I stop doing these things, my growth will slow down noticeably. The reason for this is that hashtags only have a certain shelf life. As new pictures are posted by other users, yours gets further down the line even when you are consistently posting. So, while hashtags are great for more immediate exposure, they will only take you so far. And your feed can be flawless but if no one sees it, you aren't going to get more followers. This is why engaging is so important. When you like, comment or follow you are letting other users know that you're here, many will go check out your feed and if they like it they'll follow.
If you have struggled to grow your Instagram account, I challenge you to examine your consistency.
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