If spending money on Instagram ads is not your thing, here are five things you can do right now to grow your account. We have reached 142% growth in 2019 so far and have found out that consistent posting of similar content and collaboration with others on Instagram are driving our organic growth.
Many creative professionals – photographers, models, videographers, designers, artists, and so on – are using Instagram to showcase their work to their already existing audience. While you can always pay for more reach with ads, there are other ways to get organic growth on Instagram.
At Cherrydeck, Instagram is one of our main marketing channels, and 2019 has been a pretty good year for us so far. We grew from 7,000 to 17,000 followers in less than six months, and regardless of where you stand on the whole follower thing, the increase did positively impact our business as we predicted.
So, in this article, we would like to share with you six things that helped us get organic Instagram growth without breaking the bank with Instagram ads.
But before we dive in, let’s define what “organic growth on Instagram” means.
In this article, it means any positive improvement in reach, impression, likes, and follower count that comes from all of the activities that you do on Instagram EXCEPT advertising your account directly ( e.g. boost post).
It includes activities like posting your content, engaging with other users, or presenting viral content and so on. However, this doesn’t mean that you must always do all the work manually. We highly encourage spending money on tools that can truly help you streamline the process and execute your organic strategy, efficiently. And of course, content creation also costs money.
Organic growth on Instagram is the product of strategic content and time.
1. Post content, strategically and daily
You have found your niche, so now what you must do is post often and consistently. If you don’t have enough material to put on Instagram everyday, try reposting others’ work that relates to your theme and resonates with your audience (don’t forget to ask for permission).
In this age where the term ‘fresh content’ gets thrown around a lot, many people tend to forget that you can always recycle old photos. To give them a new life, add fresh captions or tie them to current events or trends. You can also strategically plan to post the same photos — or variations of similar photos from the same shoot — in a different time frame right from the start, just like our model Lukas Görlitz did here.
2. Engage as much as you can
According to our anonymous source at Instagram, the engagement limit per day is 200. The number may seem (too) low or high depending on who you’re talking to, but one thing that we all can agree on is engagement is the #1 factor that can really drive up your growth.
The most effective way to go about it is to treat the act of engaging as something you have to do to grow your business (like accounting or sales), and schedule a specific time for it. If one comment takes you 30 seconds, you may consider blocking 15 minutes per day for doing just that. Think about how much time per day you can realistically invest (commenting, not just liking) and stick to it. You will certainly see the improvement in less than a month and you will get organic growth on Instagram.
3. Use engagement groups to rank better on your Instagram feed
To really make the most out of your time engaging, we highly recommend joining an engagement group. In an engagement group, like-minded people gather and “trade” each other’s comments to push all the members’ post collectively. By receiving authentic comments, your post will rank better in both your followers’ and hashtags’ feeds.
It is important to join a group that only consists of people with similar content, and that the comments you are receiving are not generated by bots. We all know where Instagram stands when it comes to using automated likes, so we strongly advise you to stay away from automated activities.
To make sure that your post is pushed to the right audience, it is important to join an engagement group that is niche-specific. From our experience, receiving comments from all sorts of unrelated accounts (cars, supplements, body building, etc.), did not help as much as staying within your targeted niches. That’s why we created engagement groups ourselves to ensure that creative professionals, photographers and models get the most organic growth on Instagram.
4. Collaborate with other users in different ways
There are many ways to collaborate with other people on Instagram, but from our experience, the following tactics are very impactful: 1) share others’ content in your Stories; 2) interview each others on Instagram Live; 3) give other people shoutouts, whether in a post or a Story; 4) do co-giveaways with other Instagrammers, to maximise the reach.
5. Use hashtags smartly
Hashtags are meant to describe your content, and Instagram helps people find new content based on hashtags. So, make sure to use hashtags in every post and choose the ones that not only best describe it, but also the ones that most people are likely to use when they’re looking for a piece of content like yours.
Another hack is to use popular hashtags that are used in promoted posts. This allows you to ride the wave without spending your own money. Of course, they have to be relevant and match your content.
And lastly, avoid using banned hashtags at all cost. This is how you can use tags to get organic growth on Instagram.
The bottom line: be smart about how you spend time on Instagram, have a lot of patience, and keep digging!
With the right strategies, you can ‘game’ the system and grow your Instagram organically. However, you have to always keep in mind that going for the organic route requires your consistent effort and a large amount of patience.
It’s going to take some time until you’ll start to see any positive improvement. If you’d rather spend money on direct advertising to see immediate results, we totally respect that as well. At the end of the day, both trading your time engaging or spending money are legitimate business decisions, and it’s up to you to choose what works for yourself.
Nevertheless, our advice is to not disregard organic effort completely. It really helps you win, especially in the long-term game. 🍒