It’s 2017 and that means: new Instagram hacks! Instagram just reached 700,000,000 users…can you believe that? That is a huge audience if you ask me. So why not make the most of this platform? Whether you are a business, a blogger or use Instagram personally, you can get so much out of this platform.
Recently, Instagram has been in the news because one of the biggest automation tools, Instagress, has been shut down. If you’re not familiar with bots, Instagress was an online platform that would automate likes, comments and follows on Instagram. The tool would manage someone’s social media relations, which goes against Instagram’s policy. It should not be allowed to give away login credentials to third parties so that they can keep up your Instagram account. I think this is something we can all get into, but fervent Instagrammers (including me 🙋🏻) noticed a big decline in interaction since Instagress has stopped working. If you’re an active user, you can tell that there are less spammy comments on pictures (which is good), but unfortunately there are also less likes and followers coming in. But that’s not a bad thing! We just have to “learn” how to use Instagram again. Just like we had to when the new algorithm was introduced.
One of the most asked questions I get is: how do I gain followers? Well, that’s an interesting question. Mostly because the answer changes all of the time. There are various techniques you can apply to gain followers. But is it really followers that you want? Or is it interaction? I think interaction on Instagram is so much more important than followers alone. Interaction means active users who are genuinely interested in your content. And if you’re a business, then that is what you should be aiming for since active user are most likely to become customers!
In the past week, I’ve done some research to give you 5 new Instagram hacks to gain some momentum and interaction!
5 New Instagram hacks
Yes, Instagram Stories is now officially bigger than Snapchat. I remember back in the beginning when people were skeptical about using it. But, it turns out Stories are more popular than Snapchat. Are Stories better than Snapchat? You be the judge of that, but I don’t think so. However, Instagrammers are using it, therefore, so should you.
Creating engaging Stories is great because you will show up at the top of everyone’s newsfeed. Users will constantly be reminded of your account. You can also see who has viewed your Stories. Treasure these people! They are obviously interested in your content. Go interact with them!
How do you make an engaging Story? Use boomerang, take interesting behind-the-scenes pictures and use the textbox to give people some more info. You can brand your Stories by using your brand’s colors. Just hold the color dots for more than 1 second and choose your hue. Be sure to tag other Instagram users or use the geotag to show people where you hang out.
Instagram has also added the possibility to use 3D stickers and text to videos. But honestly, this is not yet at the level of Snapchat. But if you want to use it, you can!
Instagram recently launched Collections. This feature is an extension on saving pictures (you know, so you don’t have to screenshot your crush’s pics). Collections is a Pinterest-type feature that lets you store your saved pictures in albums. At first, I though why?! But then it struck me! Create collections so you have shortcuts to your favorite accounts.
Just like any other social media platform, you need to give before you receive! This means that you have to like, comment and follow other users before they return the favor. What better way to do this than by creating collections of your blog buddies, users that inspire you, users you want to get to know better, your friends, etc.? This way, you can easily keep up with users and keep up the momentum of interaction.
3. Questions in comments
Go ahead, ask them! I know this is an old technique of getting people to comment on your posts. Asking a question in your caption works. Whether that’s on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It will give people a reason to comment. And I will tell you why that’s important in a second. It also makes people’s lives easier. They don’t have to think hard to leave behind a nice comment.
Now, if you want, you can stop here, but you can also take this a step further and ask more questions in the comment section. If a lovely user left you a comment, reply to them and ask them a question. This way, you are having an easy conversation and “bonding” with other users. Yes, this is a bit weird since you don’t know 99.9% of the people on Instagram personally. But social media is all about online networking. Get to know fellow Instagrammers and become each other’s loyal followers!
Tell me, would you unfollow someone who you’ve had conversations with on Instagram? Not so fast. You would have to think twice because you’ve built an online relationship. Use that to your advantage.
4. Comments and comment pods
Comments are the highest form of engagement. Why? Because you’re having a dialogue. People take the time to type something meaningful. Also, comments make your pictures and account gain traction. This is important because Instagram measures the amount (and rate) of interaction on your posts. I don’t work at Instagram (unfortunately), so I can’t tell you the algorithm, but you can do the research yourself. Go to a random hashtag, and look at the top 9 posts. These posts are not always from the biggest accounts. They are posts that have reached maximum engagement.
The best way to get the engagement is by posting aesthetically pleasing pictures (duh), posting at the right time, and by getting many likes and comments. The first two are fairly easy to achieve. If you are a long time Instagram user, you might even have a formula for beautiful pictures and posting at a busy time. But getting the likes and comments can be a tough one. Posting at a busy time can stimulate likes, but can leave out the comments.
That is why asking questions is important, see above point, but you can also force interaction. Comment pods are Instagram message groups between 2 – 10 people that will comment on your picture when you post one. It’s your comment squad. You can set up a comment pod yourself by asking fellow users, or if you’re lucky, people ask you to be in their pod.
I’m sure Instagram has long figured out that this is the new way to gain interaction, so it will only be a matter of time before this method will disappear… In the meantime, make the most of it!
Side note: meaningful comments are at least 3 words (no emojis). Otherwise they can be considered spam. Avoid leaving things like “stunning pic” or “great!”. I’ve never understood automated comments. What if you wrote “wonderful!” under a picture of someone’s funeral…? Am I the only one?
5. Use your other social media channels
If Instagram is not your main channel, why not use your other (bigger) social media accounts to send people to your Instagram page. When posting a picture on Instagam, you have the option to share the picture to different channels. You can do that, or you can share the link to your post on social media. I have just installed Instagram Feed app on my Tech in Heels Facebook page.
Find out via Google Analytics where your website traffic comes from. Use that channel to promote your Instagram account! Also, you can use Instagram posts in blogposts by embedding the picture in the post. See below.
I hope these new instagram hacks help you gain interaction and new meaningful followers! And if you have tried some of the above methods, do they work for you?