60 million images are uploaded to Instagram every single day. 60,000,000. That’s 2.5 million an hour and over 2,000 in the time it’s taken you to read this. That’s an unrelenting and unending stream of pixelated thoughts and moments creating an unimaginably vast haystack and you want people to find your needle.
How do you do it? Well, it helps to be famous and willing to wear very little clothing. Other than that, there are a few tricks to get the right people to see your content. Here are some of the easiest ways to create a killer Instagram account. For FREE!
Sounds simple, but so many people post their content, slap a couple hashtags on it and sit back and wait for results. That’s not how it works. This is a social community that requires a little give and take to get results. You have to reach out to people and bring them to your content and you have to commit yourself to it. Remember: 60,000,000 a day. You can have the world’s most perfect post, but without some effort it’ll probably be wasted.
Luckily, there are some quick and easy ways to do it. Not all of them are what you would call “elegant” but if you’re spending time on creating content it only makes sense that you’d spend time trying to get people to see it.
Hashtags are the backbone of Instagram. They are the connections that allow your content to be seen and are absolutely crucial to success. So how do you find the right ones? Steal them.
Put another way, search a very general hashtag that is relevant to your product or service and then look at what other people are using. If you find one that’s a good fit your brand, start using it.
For example, the hashtag #nutrition will bring back millions of results, but it’s been inundated with spam and is basically useless to reliably reach real people. However, it’s still a good place to start. Run a search and look for something that resembles content you’d post and that has a lot of likes. They’ve obviously figured something out. Search through their hashtags and find some that aren’t so obvious. One like #tupplife, for example. Real people use this hashtag everyday and if you sell anything related to healthy living, it might be a good one to start using. (#tupplife means “tupperware life” and is related to meal planning)
So start general and work your way down to specifics. And don’t be afraid to use a lot of hashtags on your posts. Some people don’t like it because it doesn’t look good or seems desperate, but that’s a little form over function. You want people to see you, right? As long as they’re effective, use them. The most successful accounts do.
After you’ve found some good hashtags, do some searches with them. The results will come back sorted into most popular and most recent. Click on the most recent and then scroll down until you see an image that has gotten quite a few likes in a short amount of time. (Also a good place to find additional hashtags.) Then click on the “likes” number to see a list of everyone who’s liked the post. These are people active on Instagram RIGHT NOW who might be interested in what you’re selling.
Go down the list and start following. They’ll get a notification that you followed them and are likely to check to you out. Of course, not everyone on the list will be a perfect fit and you might need to unfollow some later, but this is a very quick and easy way to identify relevant and active users who can help build your following and help your bottom line.
Like a Lot
While you’re doing your hashtag searches, it’s also a good idea to scroll down and double tap on image after image until your finger gets tired. If it’s a solid hashtag, go back and do it everyday or even multiple times a day. Again, this might seem overly simplistic and repetitive, but how many other ways are there to get the attention of that many people in under a minute who might have a real interest in your product or service?
Note: There are several programs out there that will automatically like images based on certain criteria and they’re pretty effective, but it’s not really a replacement for learning and interacting on your own. You need to learn the right criteria to search, after all.
Let Other People Pay
As you’re scrolling through your feed (not search results, but people you follow) and liking posts, look out for any ads you come across. Somebody else has already paid to put this promoted post in front of you and since you follow people based on relevant hashtags, there’s a good chance the ad is also targeted to people you want to follow. So feel free to take full advantage of this treasure trove of quality people.
Join the Cool Crowd
If you want to attract people in a certain geographical area, Instagram allows you to search based on location. All you do is search for an address, specific building or business name and images tagged with that location will show up in the results. The more popular the location, the more likely you’ll find lots of pictures. Go through the most recent posts and you could possibly find 20 people that have been within a couple miles of your location in the last 10 minutes.
You can even get a little creative and search for all the sports bars in your area and like all the photos taken there. Or all the yoga or crossfit places. Or all the bakeries. Or whatever fits with what you’re selling. Of course, some locations are more popular than others and some might have a 1,000 posts while some only have 20. Some might not have a picture taken there in months. Not every attempt is going to strike gold, but keep searching and you will find plenty of quality people to follow and interact with.
Putting it All to Work
These little tips and tricks say nothing about how to take the best pictures or how to get the most attention. There’s nothing about composition or lighting or finding your creative spark either. There are plenty of articles for that. This is really about real world tactics for those willing to work to get results. Research, learn, act, repeat.
Bonus tip: Need content? There are many Instagram accounts out there that have found great success without producing any original content. It’s called “reposting” and everyone does it. Screenshot, crop, tag the original poster in the image and give credit in the caption. That’s it.