Are you wondering how to get your first 1000 Instagram followers?
If you’ve just started building an Instagram account for your business, reaching 1,000 followers is the first big milestone. Going from 0 to 1,000 followers can happen in 30 days or less with the right strategy. What does the right strategy look like? In this post, we’ll explore Instagram best practices that will help you get your first 1,000 followers.
How the Instagram algorithm works
Before we jump into the steps to get your first 1000 Instagram followers, it’s important to talk about the Instagram algorithm. That way, you’ll better understand the why behind the steps I’ll talk about.
According to Instagram, there are three main ranking factors that determine the likelihood of your posts being shown on people’s feeds:
Based on the type of content users interact with on Instagram (like, save, comment, or share), the algorithm determines what they’re interested in. Then it searches for similar posts that it predicts users will like based on their history. Those posts appear on users’ feeds.
The Instagram algorithm prioritizes timely posts over older posts. It wants users to see fresh content every time they log into their account.
The algorithm is more likely to show your posts to people who have previously liked, commented, shared, tagged, or saved your content. The more people have interacted with your content, the larger the pool of people your content will be shown to.
it’s important to note that the Instagram algorithm is constantly changing. When I first joined Instagram, it displayed posts in reverse chronological order on people’s feeds. Instagram did away with the chronological feed in 2016 and introduced a more complex algorithm that takes into account the aforementioned ranking factors. Succeeding on Instagram requires keeping up with the latest developments and algorithm changes. The good news is that Instagram typically announces any major algorithm changes. Now, let’s jump right into how to get your first 1,000 Instagram followers.
Sign up for a business account
A business account is a must if you want to use Instagram to promote your brand. Unlike a personal account, it gives you access to Instagram Insights, analytics that show how your profile performs. This includes data like follower growth, profile views, impressions, and reach.
Having a business account also allows you to link to your website, display your industry/job title, and run paid ads. Instagram created the business profile option back in 2016 to provide features that benefit businesses. That’s why it’s a no-brainer to have a business profile.
How to create a business account
To create a business profile, go to Instagram.com/business. Next, click on the Getting Started > Get a Business Profile. From there, you can enter your business information and set up your business account in a few steps.
While you can switch from a personal profile to a business profile, it’s best to just create a brand new business profile for your brand. That way, you can build an audience of potential customers instead of having an audience full of your friends and family. With a new business account, you start with a clean slate.
Decide on the audience you want to attract on Instagram
The first step before posting any content on Instagram is to decide who you are posting for. It’s best to think of your ideal follower as one person. In marketing, this is known as a customer avatar. It’s a detailed profile of your ideal customer that includes both demographics (age, gender, location, job, relationship status) and psychographics (pain points, attitudes, aspirations, insecurities, beliefs)
- Who is your ideal follower?
- What’s the number one problem this person has?
- How does this person consume information? (images, videos, graphics)
- How can you help this person?
- What action do you want this person to take?
Choose a brand aesthetic
You want your content to have a consistent look and feel. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a particular color scheme. It just means that there is cohesion when someone looks at your feed. The aesthetic you choose depends on your brand personality. Is your brand happy and upbeat? Here are some examples of well-curated feeds with a cohesive look.
Post high-quality images
There are millions if not billions of images posted on Instagram every day. These posts are competing for the attention of users who have a short attention span. It takes a few seconds for users to scan their feeds. It’s your job as a content creator on Instagram to make sure your posts pique users’ interest.
Grainy, blurry photos or uninspired content just won’t cut it on Instagram. There are just too many accounts producing high-quality posts. The competition is fierce so your posts have to be up to par to stand a chance of getting any engagement. Take a look at your competition. What are they doing well? What could you do better? Maybe you could invest in a DSLR or sign up for a photo editing tool like Adobe Lightroom. I invested in a Nikon D3400 and the Lightroom app when I started taking Instagram seriously.
So many new entrepreneurs rush to create an Instagram presence. However, they’re juggling many tasks so they don’t have the time to dedicate to creating high-quality content. Don’t make that mistake. It’s better not to create an Instagram account at all than to make a half-hearted attempt at posting content. If you’re not in a position to focus on Instagram, you can also hire an Instagram manager on a site like Fiverr. The rates start as low as $30/month. I hired an Instagram manager from Fiverr for a few busy months, and it was a great investment. She not only helped me reduce my workload but also contributed new ideas to grow my account.
Recency is one of the main ranking factors on Instagram so having timely posts is critical when you’re trying to get to your first 1,000 followers. I would recommend that you post at least once a day. Some people post multiple times a day in the beginning, but that might be hard to maintain.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with a posting schedule you can’t keep up with. Still, you want to post a large volume of content in the beginning to establish your presence on the platform. Posting lots of content also gives you a chance to see what types of posts resonate with your audience. That way, you can create more of those posts.
As you post more content, you’ll naturally start to get more engagement, assuming your content is good. More engagement signals to Instagram that users like your content. Therefore, Instagram will be more likely to show your posts on users’ feeds, attracting more followers to your account.
In addition to posting every day, you want to post at certain times each day – the time when your audience is most active. You won’t know this information in the beginning. You have to post a handful of times before you can observe the times that get the most engagement. You can also use Instagram Insights or a tool like Iconosquare to find out when your audience is most active.
Instagram scheduling tools help you automate your posts so that you can be consistent. You won’t have to manually log into the Instagram app every time you want to share a post. There are a variety of scheduling tools, such as Later, Planoly, Buffer, Tailwind, Meet Edgar, and Hootsuite. I use Buffer and Tailwind to schedule my Instagram posts.
Add relevant hashtags to your posts
A hashtag is a keyword that describes your photo. Hashtags help people find your photos on Instagram. People search for hashtags to find specific content. When you use that hashtag, your post gets compiled with other posts that use the hashtag. The posts are displayed based on a combination of popularity and recency.
Using the right hashtags is absolutely essential for getting your content discovered. For every post, you can include up to 30 hashtags. Choose your hashtags wisely. If a hashtag is too specific, then few people would be searching for it. For instance, the number of people searching for #hitchhikinginperu is probably next to zero. I searched it to verify and there are exactly two posts with that hashtag. On the other hand, if your hashtag is too broad, then there are millions or hundreds of millions of photos that fall under it. For instance, #southamerica has 6.6 million photos.
It’s best to use a mix of low to medium- competition hashtags. If you’re stumped on what hashtags to use, Tailwind has a hashtag finder tool that suggests hashtags to use based on your niche. It also color-codes the hashtags based on their competitiveness – green for low, yellow for medium, and red for high. If you were to use all 30 hashtags available for a post, you could choose 15 low-competition hashtags and 15 medium-competition hashtags.
Build relationships with others in your niche
Introduce yourself to other entrepreneurs in your niche. You can send a message to them on Instagram, give them a compliment, and ask to connect. Not everyone will respond, and it could be the making of a long-term relationship. When I started my Instagram account for my travel blog, I reached out to dozens of other travel bloggers and introduced myself. This allowed me to make friends with other bloggers, some of whom I’ve met in real life.
When you’re friends with other creators, they are more open to giving you a shoutout, sharing your posts, and collaborating with you. Like-minded entrepreneurs can help each other grow. Don’t try to grow your Instagram following all by yourself when you can leverage other people’s audiences to grow faster.
Engage with your followers
As you post content, you’ll get questions and comments from your followers. Be sure to respond to them. Even if it’s just a quick ‘Thank you! Appreciate your comment!’ you want to acknowledge every person who takes the time to engage with your content. This encourages your followers to continue to like and comment on your posts. The more engagement you get, the more likely Instagram will show your content on people’s feeds. Instagram is a social network after all. Taking the time to have conversations and build connections helps you grow your following.
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