The Overly Simplified Guide to Instagram Growth

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The guide no one wants to read, but everyone should

That doesn’t mean that it’s easy. But the way Instagram works is fairly simple.

See, I have been in the grow on Instagram niche for a while. I started as a community manager, I moved on to being a consultant and a coach. But I am having more and more trouble finding what to say to clients.

In fact, I even feel bad when I tell them what to do now. Because it’s so simple.

Yet, so many people are having a hard time implementing it.

Here is the thing: when people hire me, they kind of expect me to teach them secret techniques and secret formulas that will make their Instagram blow up overnight.

But it doesn’t work like that.

Understand That There Is No Secret to Instagram Growth

The coaching process takes a lot of time because I first have to make the client understand that there is no secret formula.

I don’t have access to any sort of special information that most people don’t have.

And no one else does.

Even the successful people you find on Instagram.

There are no special hashtags you can use, no particular format that will make you go viral, or anything like that.

Sure, you can maximize your chances of getting your content seen and discovered by working on your hashtags, your keywords, and by posting good, valuable content.

But there isn’t any secret tool, or any secret hack you can follow to grow thousands of followers per day.

And if someone claims there is, they’re lying to you.

Advice you see online like “be consistent,” “engage with others,” “post several times a week” aren’t necessarily bad. You will need to be consistent and be fairly social to create some sort of community around your work.

But claiming that these pieces of advice will make your Instagram blow up is nonsense.

The Marketing Basics Behind Instagram

This is usually the part that bores clients.

It’s the part about having an ideal client for your business. Some call it an avatar, a persona.

Basically, it is the kind of person that would like the content you post.

You need to have a clear idea of who these people would be. What do they like? When are they on Instagram? What are they looking for? Who are they following on Instagram?

Get as precise as you can.

I know this is quite boring to do. But this is the kind of effort that you can put in once and benefit from for months and even years, depending on how good your guess was.

Once you’ve figured out who your persona is, make sure you create content for that specific person.

Here is a quick tip: what are the top 5 questions your persona wants to have answered? If you didn't provide the answer to any of these questions in your last 6 posts, then you might need to change your content strategy a little bit.

Content Will Make Your Followers Stay, Not Grow

Here is the main misconception about Instagram: posting content will make you grow.

I mean, sure, you will get a few followers every time you post. Especially if you have a solid hashtag strategy.

But posting isn’t what will bring in the thousands of followers you’re looking for.

Content is a great way to entertain your followers, to make them stay on your account, to make them convert into clients, this kind of stuff.

But it does a terrible job at bringing more people in.

And that’s because Instagram doesn’t have the recommendation algorithm that YouTube has for example.

Instagram will push content that performs well, and that’s it.

If what you post doesn’t get thousands of likes and lots of engagement, it won’t likely be shown to people outside of your followers.

Relationships and Partnerships is Where The Real Instagram Growth Is

Collaborating is the most powerful tool on Instagram.

Basically, you want to get other accounts to post about you or your content.

The easiest way to find these collaborations is to wonder who your ideal persona might be following.

Then, make a list of these accounts.

And find ways to collaborate with them.

Here are a few ideas worth looking into:

  • Running a giveaway
  • Publishing a guest post
  • Posting shoutouts in Instagram stories
  • Doing an Instagram Live

Don’t feel intimidated and message tens, and even hundreds of account if you can find that many in your niche.

Don’t feel like you’re too small to get started. Message smaller accounts, bigger accounts, and see what works. You might be surprised!

Always try to have something to bring to the account you’re reaching out to. It can be your audience, your expertise, your unique take on a topic, email subscribers, money…

Paying for this exposure isn’t the best move and it doesn’t have a very measurable ROI, but if that’s the only thing you have to offer, it might be interesting to negotiate a rate that would make sense for both of you.

Don’t Let Yourself Get Distracted by Instagram Methods that Don’t Work

Most of what you’ll read online won’t bring you the results you’re expecting.

The collaborations and partnerships are what will bring in the results that you’re looking for.

All the content you read about coming up with the best hashtag strategy, or wondering if posting a square post is better than a portrait post are distractions.

They’re distracting you from what will really make you grow.

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