People who successfully grew their Instagram followers went through one of the three routes:
Route #1: Publish content that people love, engage with them regularly, promote it like crazy and after 3 years, you have a chance to get together a good following.
Route #2: They started 10 years ago when there was no competition and now telling you how easy it was.
Route #3: Become a celebrity, sports star or famous actor. Then it’s very easy to get a massive following. But if you’re reading this article, you’re probably not one of them, right? 🙂
All of these routes suck. Don’t you think?
Fortunately, I’ve been learning and trying a lot of different strategies for the last 12 months.
And I can assure you; there are other ways, quicker ways, easier ways.
I’m going to show you three strategies (two of them are a little underground and unknown) that will help you get momentum and hundreds of targeted followers quickly.
Let’s dive in.
1) Host an Instagram Contest
Hosting a successful Instagram contest can quickly expand your reach and can help you create awareness which will grab your potential followers (customers) attention. This technique is effective especially for those who are using Instagram for business to engage new followers.
I remember when Liam Austin decided to host Instagram Success Summit and created an Instagram account for the summit at the same time.
At first, he hosted a contest and gave away one premium copy of that summit.
He had around one hundred followers at that moment…
Three days later, his account was followed by more than a thousand people.
Highly engaged people!
They were checking his profile many times per day simply because they were curious if they’re the winners of the giveaway or not.
Results like this are fantastic!
Why am I telling you this story?
Most people suppose that you must have thousands of followers to get meaningful results from a giveaway.
That can’t be further from the true.
To host a successful Instagram giveaway, we just have to follow the proven plan, and great results will come.
Here are the six steps to follow:
1) Plan objectives and goals
Before you start with your contest, be sure to have a clear goal in mind.
The more specific your goal is, the better chance you achieve that goal!
It can be something like:
- Increase your followers by 10%
- Get mentions from at least 150 people
- Get 100 people to subscribe to your e-mail newsletter
Don’t forget to decide the time-frame of your contest, and if you want to invest in ads, think what’s your budget.
2) Choose a contest type
There are many kinds of Instagram contests; I’m going to cover three that are most common.
- Like to Win contests
In this kind of contest, all you need is to follow an account and like a certain photo and you’re automatically included in the contest.
- It’s very easy to set up, just post an update with instructions and it’s done
- ‘Like to win’ contest is one of the easiest ways to increase the reach of your account
- Participants don’t have to spend too much time on your account and get to know your brand better.
- The relationship between you and your participants isn’t as high as you would like.
- Email entry contest
This is my favorite and most effective for building an audience outside of Instagram.
As you probably heard, an email list is the most important business asset.
Getting more e-mail subscribers should be your #1 priority.
The process is simple:
- Create an email capture page (landing page) and put a link into your IG bio
- Create an image representing the contest
- Tell people that if they want to enter the contest, they must click the link and opt-in to your newsletter
- You are not building just your follower base, but your email list as well.
- One Email subscriber is much more valuable than one Instagram follower
- Sometimes it can be hard to get people to leave Instagram and give you their email address
- Fewer people will participate
Bonus tip: You can mix these contests. For example, to enter the contest, participants must enter your email list, follow your Instagram, like your latest update, etc…
- Hashtag User-generated content
For a hashtag generated contest, create a specific hashtag only for this contest. It should be something short and memorable.
Whoever wants to participate must post an update (photo or video) with your hashtag.
- This type of contest creates an emotional connection between you and your followers.
- The reach of hashtag specific contest is much bigger because the participants must post photos on their account = their friends and followers see it as well.
It is not easy to get a lot of people to participate in this contest.
3) Find the perfect hashtags
Choosing the right hashtag is the difference between contest that brings you hundreds, maybe thousands of followers and completely unsuccessful contest.
The hashtag should be:
If your contest has a specific time frame (I hope it does!), use suitable hashtag only for this contest.
4) Choose an award
Finding the right award can be tricky, we want to choose a prize that attracts our ideal customer.
If you are a food blogger, offer as a prize some kind of book, video course, list of recipes, etc…
If you’re selling T-shirts, offer different kinds of clothes.
The biggest mistake people are making is to offer I-pad and similar things…
Everyone wants to win I-pad, but when the contest is over – they forget about you and never come back.
They were just interested in the contest, not in your brand.
5) Create terms and conditions
Every time you create a competition with a prize; you should follow legal guidelines.
Creating terms and condition page is highly recommended.
Here you can find some of the things that should be included:
- The name of the contest
- When the contest starts and ends
- How can people enter the contest
- Guidelines on how the winner will be chosen
- Be specific on the prize you will be given out
6) Promote, promote, and promote!
Now you have got the idea of your first giveaway (contest), it’s time to get the word out and promote your contest like crazy.
- Let people know about your contest on other Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.
- Write a blog post about the giveaway with detailed information.
- Send an email to your email list.
- If you have an efficient budget, set up an ad.
- Write a post about your contest on relevant forums and community sites.
And the last step is to monitor the results.
How many subscribers did you get?
How many likes?
How many followers did you get during the contest?
These numbers will tell you what went great, wrong, what mistakes you made…
Learn from it and do it better next time.
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2) Engagement Groups
There are two kinds of engagement groups.
But first things first.
If you never heard of this term, an engagement group is a group within or outside Instagram where people are connecting with each other to get better engagement on their images.
The idea is that all participants or members will engage with other people‘s images every time they hit publish.
Why is this method working so well?
Instagram has the algorithms in place that decide if your post is popular or not.
The more likes and comments your image receives within the first minutes (hours) after you press publish, there’s a chance that Instagram will put you on an explore page = where more people are going to see your post, and you will finally find out what it means to go viral.
And that’s where engagement groups come in place.
Engagement groups inside Instagram
Engagement groups inside IG work through direct messages.
10-15 people begin a group conversation, and every time a member publishes a new image, he/she sends it to this group, and every member will engage (like & comment) on your photo.
You do the same for others.
It’s easy to get involved in at least 5-10 of these group conversations.
Action step: Leave a comment below this post with your username and then contact me on Instagram through direct message (@weekhack) and I’ll put you in a few of these groups.
Engagement groups outside of Instagram
To get involved in these groups, you have to use the Telegram app. There are many groups with hundreds and a few times even thousands of members.
That means much more likes for your images and way bigger chance to get on the explore page.
When you participate in these groups, there are mostly 2-3 big rounds every day. Be sure to find out when the rounds take place and get involved.
The most common time is 3 p.m. EST.
The process is simple. Twenty or thirty minutes before the round starts, everyone who wants to participate put their IG username.
When the round starts, the admin or a bot provides a list with all usernames. All participators will like the latest image of everyone on the list.
Be sure to publish at the time when the round is starting (or a few minutes before).
I’m a part of a group where every round has 150-200 participants. That means 150-200 likes for your image within a few minutes after you publish.
These groups are pretty underground. Most people don’t know about them.
Using those groups is possible to blow up your Instagram account within a short period of time.
I’ve seen many people that went from 50 to 500 followers every single day.
That’s the most obvious difference between getting on Instagram explore page and not.
Action Step: Sign up for Telegram app (free)
At the time of writing this case study, I have around 70,000 followers. My average post is seen by 10,000-16,000 people. (No, I’m not trying to impress you; I’ll get to the point soon)
So what exactly is shoutout for shoutout (S4S)?
Basically, a shoutout is when you give credit to someone else in your caption under your post. You’re telling your followers that they should check out and follow the other account.
The other account is doing the same for you.
This, by far, is the best way to get noticed by a whole new audience. You can do s4s as many times per day as you want, and you should!
When it comes to getting massive exposure for your account, there’s no other way as effective as this one.
Let’s say I’m going to do three s4s per day. Do you remember how many people see every of my post? You’re right – 10k – 17k. That means when I’m doing shoutout with similar accounts, 40,000 different people would see my posts and a lot of them would give me a follow.
Action Step #1: Find at least ten similar accounts as yours (with similar following and engagement)
Engagement is far more important than a number of followers. Be sure to do s4s with accounts, which are getting a similar count of likes and comments like yours.
Action Step #2: Connect with those people through direct message or contact info in their bio and let them know that you’re interested in s4s. Most of them will accept your offer.
Tip: Lot of people willing to do s4s are using the app ‘Kick’. To be honest, I don’t know why but that’s not important. When you see their Kick username in their bio, just install that app and connect with them there.
4) Paid shoutouts
Paid shoutout is another great way on how to get noticed by a larger audience. If you want to accelerate your Instagram growth and have a sufficient budget, use this strategy.
Step #1: Find at least ten pages with a similar audience having more than 200k followers. (of course, you can go for pages with a lower amount of followers, but the results won’t be that big)
Step #2: Comment on their photos, like their photos and contact them through direct message, email or Kick.
You can use this template:
“ Hello [name], I’ve been following your page for a while, you’re doing an amazing job!
I’d like to know if you offer paid shoutouts. If so, let me know!
[your name] “
Now that you know the three most effective strategies to grow targeted and engaged Instagram followers, put them into action.
Remember, knowing the strategies is not enough.
If you don’t take action and try those techniques, you will stay in the same place where you’re right now!
- Find 10 potential partners for S4S
- Find one similar account with 200k+ followers and buy a shoutout from them
- Leave a comment below this post with your username and then contact me on Instagram through direct message (@weekhack) and I’ll put you in a few engagement groups.
- Sign up for Telegram app (free) and let me know your telegram username in the comments or shoot me an email
- Host your first Instagram contest