Stagnant Instagram follower growth? Here’s what you are doing wrong
During your first few months of taking Instagram seriously, you might see some respectable initial growth. You’ll reach out to your current circle of contacts, earning their new follows, and you’ll naturally pull in some other people who catch your photos being shared or stumble upon a post through a hashtag-related search.
But after that initial period of growth, many Instagram brands and users experience stagnation—their growth comes screeching to a halt, even though they’re using all the same tactics they used before.
Why does this happen, and what can you do about it?
Searching for an Answer
There usually isn’t a single answer that you can immediately fix in order to reignite the growth of your account. There’s no setting you can fiddle with or post you can make to suddenly generate more interest in your brand. Your initial growth could have been the byproduct of the novelty of your work, or it could have been a fluke—either way, if you want to keep growing, you’ll need to invest in a solid, consistent, long-term strategy oriented toward growth.
Planning for Long-Term Growth
These strategies can help you improve your account and establish a framework you can use to keep growing your follower count indefinitely:
- Differentiate yourself. First, you’ll want to find some way to differentiate yourself. There are more than a billion monthly Instagram users, and millions of them are actively trying to turn themselves into high-profile influencers. Chances are, your current style, approach, and appeal is highly similar to many of them. If you want a chance to build a unique following of your own, you’ll need to define yourself in some distinctive way. That could be polishing an original image, like making use of custom gold teeth grillz or a similar accessory, or prioritizing a specific type of content, like photos and videos related to a hobby.
- Post once a day. If you want to get discovered, you have to post frequently. But if you want to keep the followers you have, you can’t post too often. The goldilocks zone here is typically thought to be one post a day. Make an average of one new post every day, consistently, and you’ll maximize your chances of breaking through that initial follower plateau.
- Identify a target demographic (and learn more about them). You won’t get far if you’re trying to market yourself to everybody. Instead, it’s better to eliminate some of your competition and increase the relevance of your work by highlighting one specific demographic. Research this portion of your target audience and understand what makes them tick, and then optimize your content to reach them, specifically.
- Improve the quality of your posts. This is one of the hardest strategies to implement because it’s so subjective, but it’s important if you want to succeed. Work on improving your photography skills, and capture the best possible images and videos of your surroundings. Use the right filters to make your content pop on people’s news feeds, and show them something they’ve never seen before. The better your work is, the more likely you’ll be to attract new followers.
- Engage with your commenters. When people comment on your posts, as they inevitably will, engage with them. Start a conversation or simply thank them for their interest. This will encourage them to engage with your content in the future, and show new prospective followers how much you care about your audience.
- Reach out to other users. One of the easiest ways to get discovered is to simply engage with other people. Find other users creating content in a similar niche as yours, and comment on their work—or even share it directly. You’ll make your Instagram handle more visible and build a network of contacts at the same time.
- Make your posts discoverable. Work to make your posts more discoverable by tactfully including more hashtags. You don’t want to stuff every post you make full of hashtags or you’ll risk alienating your audience and seeming obnoxious, but a well-researched, well-placed bundle of hashtags can help your content get seen.
- Consider cross-platform promotion. If you’re still feeling stuck, consider promoting your work on other platforms. You can use other social media platforms to attract followers to Instagram, or even consider some short-term paid advertising to give it a boost.
If you want to take Instagram seriously and establish a consistent growth trajectory for your followers, you need to treat it like a business. These strategies, if implemented properly, should help you define your brand, improve the content you produce, and help you get discovered by more of the right people. That said, there’s no surefire recipe for success, so anticipate some serious trial and error as you try to grow your account.