Over the past 6 months, I’ve been deeply researching Instagram etiquette and growth tactics with the intention of organically growing multiple Instagram accounts. The majority of my findings were taught to me by teenagers operating accounts with millions of followers.
Over the course of these months, I’ve developed and grown multiple accounts (3) that each receive an average of 150,000 impressions every week. (Thanks to Instagram’s new analytics)
This is my personal account (without promotional links):
Growth analytics from another account I am managing:
Each post on these accounts shown reaches at least 10,000 impressions, posting 2–3 times per day. Roughly 1.2M impressions every 30 days.
INSTAGRAM IS A SEARCH ENGINE
Look at Instagram as a search engine just like Google. People are constantly searching for articles/posts based on keywords. Instagram’s logic is identical to Google but instead of using the term keywords they use #Hashtags. People search for things they like using #hashtags.
TOP POST SECTION
When you search something like #Hairstyle you will see TOP POST at the top of your search results. This is where you want to get your posts. If you look through the top posts they all have the highest amount of likes and comments using the hashtag #Hairstyle. The accounts you see in TOP POST are getting a firehose of followers interested in hairstyles.
SHOUTOUT FOR SHOUTOUT
Also known as #sfs shoutout for shoutout is the backbone of growing organically on Instagram. SFS means you repost someones picture to your profile telling your followers to follow them, and the other person does the same telling their followers to follow you. There is an etiquette to help with getting people to do this for you for free.
To get around PAYING for shoutouts you have to only approach people the same “size” as you.
Example: If you have 50k followers you can only ask others with 50k followers for a shoutout. This is why school kids (teenagers) are so good at growing social media. They shout each other out all day long transferring followers to each other.
SHORT-TERM PAID SHOUTOUTS
This is where the money is being made by the niche accounts you see with millions of followers. If you approach a large account asking for a shoutout they will charge you HOURLY. Yes, hourly. On average an account with 1M-3M followers will charge roughly $100-$200 for every hour they keep your promotion live on their page.
LONG-TERM PAID PROMOTIONS
These should be the goal for every brand with an Instagram account right now. Once a shoutout is posted on someone elses account with your @username, that alone acts as a “follower funnel” attached to that persons growing account. Similar to a traditional SEO method in marketing called “buying backlinks.”
When you don’t have enough content (you won’t have enough) each day, you can repost other peoples content. The etiquette here is to simply tag them in the photo and put #repost from @username in the description. Once your account is big enough you can open the line of communication with them saying you are shouting them out and they should do the same.
DAILY GROWTH PLAN
1 hour per day (2x 30min or however) for content publishing
2–3 posts max per day
20–25 consistent hashtags per post (copy and pasted)
1 message (DM) sent to another user per day
Note: I direct message (DM) large enough accounts that comment on my posts with:
Thanks for the comment.
Would you be interested in a
Shoutout for a shoutout? My followers
would love your content 🙂
Note: Always sign DM’s with your account @Username linking the person so they can size you up quickly, and decide if they want to respond.
The idea of growing an IG account can seem daunting at first but once you start growing the amount of likes you receive per post, you WILL hit the TOP POST section consistently. In your first week when you consistently begin to hit that section with your posts, the “follower funnel” opens. From all my account you’ll begin gaining roughly 100 followers per day to start.
If you can manage to keep publishing content, generating more and more likes with the same hashtags, hitting the TOP POST section will become a regular occurrence. I’ve found this tipping point to be between the 100–300 likes range for some of the smaller searched #hashtags.
WHY DO THIS?
When a startup starts an IG page the intention should be to focus on long term growth. In April I invested $2k in permanent shoutouts for a new Instagram account and I’ve grown it from 0 to 11k followers in the last 4 months. Now, every post reaches the TOP POSTS sections generating between 25–75 clicks and 5,000–8,000 impressions. Spending $0 on shoutouts and the account gets between 100,000 and 150,000 impressions per week. Investing $2k upfront to continuously grow reaching 150,000 people every week in the first 4 months is a pretty amazing user acquisition strategy for any startup/person 😉
Think long term.
When you are posting a new post:
Go to the previous and click EDIT
Copy and paste the #hastags moving them to your new post.
NOTE: there are 2,200 characters allowed in an IG caption so be mindful.
DO RESEARCH ON HASHTAGS
Research hashtags having to do with your industry and stick with them. Choose the ones with the greatest amount of posts.
For Example: These are the highest searched tags for hairstyles on IG. If your hairstyle account can get onto the TOP SECTION of one of these, you will crack open the “follower funnel.”
#hairstyles #hair #haircut #haircolor #haircuts #hairextensions #hairstyle #hairstylist #hairgoals #hairstyling #haironfleek #hairbrained #hairfashion #hairsalon #hairideas #hairdresser #hairdye #hairporn #haircare #haircolour #ideas #inspiration #bride #bridalshower #nofilter #inspire #braid #braids
In summary, dozens of people have recently asked me for advice about growing IG accounts and I usually say “Think like a teenager.”
Have fun growing you account,