Easy Instagram Growth without Spending on Ads


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This week MD Sarah has got 5 top tips to help you grow your business Instagram account, WITHOUT spending money on ads.

Get ahead of the competition & start really seeing the benefits of Instagram for your business by taking these 5 easy steps.

As this is part of a series, you’ll see Sarah talk about subjects from her first few videos, so if you’ve missed these, just visit our profile @thefastnetagency & take a look back through our IGTV videos.

Scroll down for the transcript if you prefer to read rather than watch, and as always, feel free to share this with any small business owners you know who may benefit from our top tips.

We’ll have a new episode each week, which will appear here & on our YouTube channel (if you subscribe there you won’t miss one).

Got questions about anything in the video? Drop us a line or give us a call at Fastnet HQ.


Video Transcript

So you know that your customers are hanging out on Instagram, but at the moment, all you seem to do is get engagement from your mum or your mates. Well, if you’re looking to grow your Instagram organically over the next few months, then this is a video for you, so keep watching.

So for the best advice on how to grow your brand quickly and profitably, hit the subscribe button, ring the bell, & you’ll be notified every week on a Thursday when I post new videos. I’m Sarah, I’m founder of the Fastnet Agency & we run Instagram accounts for loads of different clients, which is great because it means that we get to test things, we get to know what works and what doesn’t, & we get to use those methods to help our clients to grow their Instagram accounts, but now it’s your turn!

Let’s get started. So in this video, I’m going to cover our top five Instagram growth hacks to grow your account as quickly as possible, and as sustainably as possible, there are no dodgy tricks in here. This is just great advice to grow your channel and find your customers on Instagram.

So my Number One trick is post consistently, and I’m talking at least once a day. Trust me, I do know it’s quite a lot of work, but there are various different tools you can use to help you with this. We use Later for scheduling. Later is great, it allows you to schedule content in advance. You can see exactly what you feed is going to look like once your future posts are published, we find it’s super useful.

So one of the best things you can do is bulk produce content in advance. Schedule a day for it. Get all your posts scheduled, and then you know that you’re posting consistently day in, day out and you’re not suddently thinking ‘Oh no, I forgot to post. What do I do?’ So consistency is key.

Ok so Number Two. Try Livestream, Stories, IGTV, Reels… Basically, try and put yourself out there on as many different formats of content as possible, because that will allow you to reach a wider audience. Now if your audience only ever really looks at Stories, or they only ever really look at Reels, or they love going through Instagram TV and taking a litte look at that, then you’ll be able to reach them in a number of different places that you might not just get if you’re just posting standard, bog standard posts.

Now, the other little trick is as well is that every time Instagram brings out a new feature, it seems like they really favour that feature and people that embrace that feature in terms of promotion.

So, for example, Reels came out earlier this year, it was a big thing, we were all very excited about it. And it certainly seems as though there’s been a lot of increase in terms of followers for those people that are pushing out Reels, because Instagram is pushing Reels all the time, it wants people to engage with them. So when there are new things that come out, try and be bold and embrace them quickly and early because that will really help you to grow your account.

Okay, so Number Three is hashtags. Now I know hashtags always seem to be a bit of a dark art, don’t they? We know we should use them, don’t really know how, but you can have up to 30 hashtags on a post. I do advise that you use as many as possible.

There’s a bit of conflicting advice about this as to whether they penalise you for using enough, and all the rest of it… I haven’t really seen any evidence of that, so I would say use as many as possible. But don’t just set out to fill up all 30. Make sure you use relevant hashtags. You’ll probably find you can’t find enough relevant hashtags to fill up the full 30 anyway, so just be realistic about it, but certainly use as many as you can, because that’s the way people find you.

They’ll only find you, really, if they’re not already a follower, by looking at a hashtag and, you know, looking through the content associated with that. So yeah, hashtags are key. Now there were two different types of hashtag, in my world anyway!

There are high density hashtags, these have over 500,000 uses & then you have low density hashtags, which have under 500,000 uses. Now, I would take some time to work out what hashtags are relevant to your product, to your service, & work out the number of uses those hashtags have got, because generally the high volume hashtags, although you’d think, well, there’s loads of people that will look at it generally, if you use a high volume hashtag, it just gets lost.

There’s so much content being pushed out there that yours just ends up so far down the pile, you know, it doesn’t really have any relevance. People don’t find you through that. So I’d advise normally using one or two high density hashtags in your posts, because they can sometimes payoff, but it’s quite rare. So yeah, maybe use one or two, but keep them to a minimum. What you really want to focus on is the low density hashtags, and actually, in many ways, the lower the better, within reason. So try not to go for anything under, say, 1000 or 2000 uses.

But if you can find something highly relevant to your products that is being used but is not oversaturated, than that is gold dust in terms of finding new followers, so do your hashtag research. There are a number of different search platforms out there that you can use for hashtag research, pretty much all of them are free, I’ll include some links in the description box below.

But yeah, do your hashtag research, and what I do is a little hack here, is I tend to work out groups of hashtags according to the sort of content I’m putting out. So we’ll obviously have a range of content, we will push out different things. So I’ve already done my hashtag research on the sort of content I’m putting out and I’ve grouped them and I’ve just saved them in my notes file on my phone.

So that when I go to post I just copy and paste the hashtags that are relevant to that type of post. And if you’re using something like Later, which I mentioned earlier on, the scheduling tool, that will actually allow you to save snippets, so you can bring up content snippets, so you can just save your hashtags in there and it’ll bring up & paste it straight in, so it’s super easy.

So I’d love to know how many followers you have on Instagram at the moment? How long have you been trying to grow your following? Have you found anything that particularly works for you, or doesn’t work for you? I’d love to know. Pop me a message below, pop it in the comment box, I’d love to hear from you.

Ok, so Number Four – share user generated content. Now this is basically a super simple way to grow your following and also engage with your customers. So it’s like a win-win situation.

So the best way to do this really is to set up your own hashtag related to your brand and encourage your customers to tag you with the hashtag. Now, It could be if you’ve got a physical product & you’re mailing it to them, you could include a little card saying, you know, if you take a photo of this product and put it on, Instagram, use this hashtag and you could do some sort of incentive as well, like you do a free giveaway, you know, once a week to people that have tagged your content, or maybe you do a competition, you enter them into a pot…there can be all sorts of ways to encourage people to do this, but basically, by having your own hashtag, you can start to monitor that and see when people post content about your product or about your service.

Now this is great because a lot of the time that will be review-based posts, which will mean that you can get some nice testimonials that you can re-share, it means you get lots of lovely photos that other people have generated…

It means you can fill up some of your posts that you’re doing daily, of course, with user-generated content, and it also means that because they put it out there to their following, using your hashtag, that means that you then reach with your product a much broader range of people, which is a great way of growing your following fast. So, yeah, user-generated content, have a bit of a think about how you can make that work for your business, but, yeah, it’s an absolute goldmine in terms of growing your following.

So, Number Five, final one, Know the best times to post. Now this is really essential. It’ll take a little bit of data to build up, so if yours is a brand new Instagram account you’ll have to wait a little while, really, to get proper data on this. But if you’ve been posting regularly, you’ll find when you go into the insights button on your Instagram app on your phone, you’ll find it in there.

There is a little diagram showing the times of day that your users are online and engaging with Instagram, so obviously, the best time to post is when more of your followers are online. So take a little look at that timing. Now, a bit of a tip here, it is often in Pacific time, not in UK time, or wherever it is that you’re based. So try and identify what time zone that is… I think pretty much by standard, Instagram is in Pacific time, but you may want to take a little look at your profile. and obviously, you’ll need to adjust that timing to suit your local region. So don’t just assume that that is local to your current time because it is probably not.

So, those are my five top tips for growing your instagram in 2020. So I hope you found this useful, if you have, hit the subscribe button, click the bell so you get updated when I put videos out every week, every Thursday on YouTube.

Now, if this has been useful to you, you might want to check out this video here all about a deep dive into a customer avatars and niche, or check out this video over here all about developing your brand identity. But thanks for watching today, I look forward to seeing you again soon.

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