Last month I posted some of my Instagram stats from one week to the next on both Twitter and Instagram. The in the first week’s screenshot (and all weeks before that) my Instagram engagement has been pretty consistent and my impressions sat around the 800 – 1,200 mark.
For my following, I’d say that’s pretty normal when you take the way the algorithm is designed into account.
After a bit of an Instagram slump, I decided to make some small changes to the way I used the app and see the difference it made and after just one week I had tripled my impressions and my engagement was up (in some cases by an extra 100-200 likes).
Since sharing those first screenshots, I have now managed to quadruple my impressions (and increase engagement) on at least 75% of my posts. In some cases, I have managed to gain as many as 10,000 impressions per post.
As you can see from screenshots the difference in impressions is incredible, especially for an account of just 4,000 followers. Most of the time I find I am getting more impressions than I have followers, which has also resulted in a gain of 600 hundred followers over the past few months.
Of course, I’m not saying what I say in this blog post is the gospel truth of how to use Instagram, but after testing these methods out for the last couple of months I have found my impressions and engagement have just continued to grow and grow.
So, here are the changes I made to the way I use Instagram:
Using DIFFERENT Hashtags as Often as Possible (With at Least 10-15 New on Each Photo)
I’ve put this point first as I think this is the most important one for me, as you can see the difference in the impressions I have had from hashtags is in the thousands. Usually, I would copy and paste the same hashtags onto each of my posts based on what I was doing, whether it was a fashion post or where I was. Okay, it was easy, but it really wasn’t getting me any results.
I decided to put some time into each and every hashtag I post on EVERY single Instagram post and the results have been amazing. Of course, I’d still use key hashtags I want to show up on (#travel #psbloggers #travelblogging) but I then looked deeper into what was in the photo. What could I see? What clothes was I wearing? What was the weather like? Where was I? The deeper I delved the better the results were.
I know writing new hashtags every single day can be time-consuming, but I didn’t say this would be easy, did I? 😉
I promise it will be worth it too…
Using Hashtags that Have Less Than 10K Posts On
When finding new hashtags to post, try focussing on ones that have less than 10K posts on. Although this won’t be easy to do for all of them, try to make sure that at least 10 of your hashtags have a smaller number of posts (you can see this when typing them into Instagram).
If you have trouble finding hashtags to use, you can search for a keyword on Instagram by putting #fedora, for example. It will automatically bring up popular fedora hashtags, showing you the number of posts they have on the right-hand side. As I no longer copy and paste hashtags, this is the easiest way for me to find new hashtags to use unless I’m actively looking for them for research.
Replying to Comments Within an Hour of Them Being Posted
This has been a hard one, but for the last few months, I have tried to reply to comments as soon as I can. I know for some people this is impossible as you don’t always have access to your phone, but even replying to all of your comments throughout the day can make a massive difference.
As much as Instagram is about getting engagement, I also feel like it’s a place to hold conversations and build a community. By replying to comments as soon as you can you’re keeping the conversation going and encouraging people to comment again – ultimately increasing how often you appear in their feeds.
I’m always more encouraged to comment on someone’s photo if I know they’ll reply, so it’s something I consider when replying to people.
Posting great content (I hope)
I really didn’t want to say this one as I feel like it’s open to interpretation, but over the past few weeks, I feel like I have been posting ‘better’ content than I was before. I could be completely wrong, but in my eyes, it has made a huge difference.
If you’re already posting content you love and you’re proud of then obviously don’t need to change anything, but for me, this was something I personally knew I had to improve on.
The photos I have been most proud of have instantly started gaining more than likes than usual, so I can usually tell whether or not a post is going to do well within the first hour or so. I feel like if a post does well in the first instance, it’s shown to more people in the long run. Whilst I can’t confirm this is right, but it’s a pattern I’ve definitely noticed the past few weeks…
Engaging With People as Often as I Can
I spend a good 10-15 minutes every morning and evening scrolling through my feed and engaging with people. The new algorithm takes into account how often you interact with people and shows your content to them accordingly, so this has been vital!
In fact, I have noticed that when someone comments on my post, their photo is one of the first ones to appear when I next refresh my feed – definitely something to take into account.
It’s so easy to go through and like lots of photos, but if you really ‘like’ a photo, why not tell them why? A quick comment that takes seconds could make someone’s day, so it’s win-win! I can definitely say that since starting to make a conscious effort to interact with people my impressions and engagement started to rise, so it’s worth the time you have to put in.
I know that these changes can take a bit of time and effort, but what I have realised with Instagram is that you have to put in what you want to get out of it. It’s all well and good posting a photo, pasting some hashtags and waiting for the engagement to come rolling in (admittedly what I’d got stuck in a rut doing) – but if you’re actively using the app and trying to build relationships, using new hashtags so accounts can find you and sharing the content you’re most proud of then you will see incredible results.
I’ve fallen back in love with the app and I really hope everyone else does too.