10 Expert Tips to Take Your Instagram From Zero to Hero

October 11, 2022

Your photos catch all the right angles and your captions are witty, so what’s up with the stagnant follower count? 

Gaining Instagram followers can feel like an uphill battle, like you’re taking one step forward with a couple new likes and two steps backward when so-called fans go M.I.A. From getting ghosted by your audience to spinning your wheels to attract just a few new users, it’s time to call in the experts to give your “Gram” the boost it deserves. Whether you’re a brand promoting products and services, a rising influencer, or someone who simply wants the world to see more of your amazing content – the Bolt PR House of Digital team has a few tricks up our sleeves to turn heads, grow followers and spark engagement on this wildly popular social app with over a billion registered accounts. 

Hold onto your grids, because it’s about to get Reel.

1. Stories and Reels

If you’ve only been posting photos and videos to your grid, then we hate to say it, but– you’re living in the Instagram stoneage. Stories and Reels have skyrocketed over the past few years, with Reels taking off during the pandemic when everyone took to the digital age to stay connected. So, why are Stories essential for growing your account? First, they allow for engagement tools, such as filters, polls, mentions, locations and more, whereas a grid photo only asks for two things: comments and likes. Also, Stories and Reels mix up your content making it diverse with a better chance of connecting with more people. And, bonus – Stories are higher quality when uploading videos under the recommended 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels. True story, Insta Stories and Reels are the way to go.

2. Cross-Platform Promotion

“Why can’t we all just get along?” asked every social platform. Cross-promotion on multiple platforms is especially important for brands. Let’s say you run a bar or restaurant and your target audience is a broad range, from people ages 21 to 65+. While one generation takes to Facebook to snag your menu updates, another is scrolling Twitter. If your goal is to bump up Instagram followers, don’t forget to encourage your Facebook followers to find you on Instagram– with direct links– for exclusive content (throw in a few promotion teasers, and you’re golden). 

3. Stay on Schedule

You have the what, why, where, but what about the when? Scheduling Instagram posts to launch at specific times matters. Seasoned social media managers utilize experience, research and tech tools to schedule content at just the right times. In general, mid-morning/mid-week postings are ideal across all industries. Also, the Instagram algorithm continually analyzes content to decide what to serve specific users at certain times, and it prioritizes recent posts over old ones, so it’s crucial to schedule content to maintain consistency. 

4. Promos and Contests

Here’s a win-win tactic. Everyone loves giveaways and discounts. In fact, social media intelligence tool Sprout Social found that 72% of consumers want a brand’s discount and sales to be posted on social media, yet only 18% of marketers agree that discounts are needed. There’s a gap that’s just waiting to be filled! Run a contest on Instagram, and of course, make it a requirement that entries follow your account, like the contest post and tag a friend for further reach and engagement. Hint: Keep followers engaged by consistently running contests on a monthly or quarterly basis.

5. #UseHashtags

The good ole’ hashtag. Adding Instagram hashtags is both an art and a science, and a knowledgeable digital team will stay up to date on the latest algorithm changes and recommendations for you. Keep in mind, you must stay within the limit of 30 hashtags per post, and select words and phrases that are more niche and targeted to your brand or topic. For instance, if you own a skincare business, it’s great to throw in #skincare #skincareroutine, but don’t forget to create hashtags that specifically target your audience, such as #veganeyecream or #plantbasedserum.

6. Influencers are Key

Sometimes the saying is true: It’s all about who you know. On Instagram, this means connecting with the coveted influencers. Forming these partnerships is a major IG growth tip. While a digital marketing agency specializes in cultivating these valuable relationships, individuals can reach out to influencers and create a campaign to promote their brand. Before things start rolling, you’ll likely receive a media kit with pricing information. Typically, the higher the influencer’s following, the larger the budget. There’s also the option of connecting with micro-influencers, profiles with around 2,000 to 50,000 followers, and collaborating with influencers in a specific region, like these top Dallas influencers

7. Get Local

People want to see the locations and landmarks that feel like home. By posting local spots on your Instagram, you’re connecting with a geographic audience in a genuine, heartfelt way. Even national brands can focus on a few key areas to post things that are familiar and resonate with individuals. Posting local content is especially important for brick-and-mortar businesses.

8. Who You Follow Matters

Clap, clap! If you’ve been quickly skimming this blog for the most important Instagram tips and tricks, it’s time to hone in on follower strategy. To continue growing your platform, you must follow and engage with accounts in your niche to signal to the Instagram algorithm that you belong in that niche. Don’t give Instagram a reason to say, “she doesn’t even go here!” Not only should you focus on gaining followers, but understand how to retain them. Low-quality photos, incomplete profiles and too much self-promotion are three ways to send your followers packing.

9. Go Live

Now that you’ve got Stories and Reels under your belt, it’s time to go live. Plus, Instagram loves when users make use of all their features. Live videos are prioritized in users’ news feeds, and it’s the best way to interact with an engaged audience. First, promote your live video in advance so those interested can tap into the app at just the right time. Second, consider co-hosting with a fellow brand, influencer or customer to rack in two audiences in one Live! 

10. Define Your Style

How could we forget to mention your brand’s OOTD or ‘lewk’ when discussing the most visually focused social platform of them all? For brands and individuals alike, mastering a unique style helps followers immediately recognize your content. We’ve all come across certain posts and just know they must be from a certain brand before our eyes even catch the handle. A digital marketing agency can help craft your unique aesthetic, including brand colors, graphics, filters, tone of voice and all that plays into a stylish feed to catch new eyeballs. Find your look and stick to it.

It’s time to maximize impact and stretch your reach so your Instagram posts are on a pedestal– because no one puts your content in a corner! From tapping into all the features to feeding the algorithm to knowing who to follow and partner with, these 10 Instagram tips are sure to blow up your account and keep scrollers impressed.

For more social media tips and expert advice, connect with the PR, digital marketing and content pros at Bolt PR. We can’t wait to take a frontrow seat to your insta fame.

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