If you missed part I of the Instagram Series about picking a theme click here to go back and read.
How often should you post?
At the end of the day it all depends on your audience and engagement. That being said here are three things (plus a bonus) to keep in mind about consistency…
1. Post Daily
There’s a lot of advice floating around out there about Instagram, a lot of it is, for lack of a better word…bogus. This one has actually worked. There’s something to say about consistency. I’ve tested different variations of this since I re-launched, the results have been pretty good. I’ve posted almost every day since February 17th. I’ve posted a different amount of times throughout the day (sometimes two or three times), but have found that posting once a day in the morning has given the best results for me up to this point. Here are the results…
I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of my social media stats (I’m sure there’s a software for this, just haven’t gotten it yet). The first number you see was the amount of followers I had on February 28th. The second number is from March 14th, (about two weeks). We’ve gained almost 200 followers in the past two weeks. A couple things are probably going through your mind here, one that’s really good or two that’s kinda low. My answer to both, it has all been very organic. We haven’t bought, liked/unliked, or used auto bot software, just hard work and consistency. People follow you because they want to see what you’re doing, so you need to post. Plus if you aren’t posting regularly, less people will discover you.
How to stay consistent in posting…
2. Plan Ahead
This is something I’ve really been working on. Plan your posts a couple of days to a week in advance. I use Buffer to plan my posts, it’s free and intuitive, plus you can connect your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I know a lot of people use “Hootsuite” or “Grum” as well if you want something different.
*Check on your posts the night before to make sure everything is up to date and don’t let the automation keep you from engaging with your followers afterwards. Posting is only half the battle, after you post make sure to reply to comments and like/comment on other users posts.
3. Use Hashtags
I know, I know, #hashtag! Haha. Here’s the thing hashtags really do give you exposure and engagement. You’ve probably read that you should only use a certain amount of hashtags per post (I think I might have written about it as well) and while that might apply to Facebook or Twitter I don’t think it does quite as much on Instagram. Simply put your hashtags in the comment section not in the caption section. This was pretty big for me, it’ll look less spammy and you can get away with using a few more. I highly recommend only using hashtags that have to do with your post because the people who search those hashtags are more likely to be your target audience.
*Using hashtags will bring a lot of auto bot comments. I have found, however, that a lot of the times if you reply to their comment they’ll at the very least give you an extra like, at the most give you a follow.
Bonus: Focus on Organic Growth
Trust me, you’re going to be tempted to follow and unfollow people, use an auto bot, or even purchase followers. Trust me that’s not the way to go. Let me give you an example. I’m part of an Instagram group on Facebook. This guy reaches out and says does anyone want to do a share for share (more on that in next weeks post), I have 15k followers. I’m thinking, sounds legit but I only have 680 followers. I click on his link to check out his feed…out of the 15k followers he was getting 20-30 likes and 2 comments. With my few followers I get over 100 likes and 10-15 comments (a lot of auto software comments but as I mentioned replying to them can lead to another follower). To put it mildly you look silly. That’s not real growth, those aren’t real followers, that’s just scamming other people to ask for a shoutout when nobody is going to follow them back.
Here is how my engagement has looked since I re-launched…
Here’s my first post when I was getting back at it. 80 likes, 7 comments, I think I had about 300 followers at the time. Not bad not great.
Here is a more recent post that has done pretty average (each post fluctuates). As you can see likes have gone up about 35-40 and comments have doubled. As my following has grown so has the engagement. That’s what I’m talking about, you don’t want 20k followers and 20 likes it doesn’t do you any good.
Obviously I’m not where I would like to be. Compared to some of the big dog Instagrammers these numbers are super small, but I can see growth from consistency and hustle. It takes time but so do most good things.
That being said, I do have some strategies that I’m starting to implement that will hopefully speed up the process. I’ll go over those strategies in the final part of the 3 part Instagram series, stay tuned for next week!
P.S. If you aren’t following us on Instagram, go here!!