How Can We Build An Instagram Brand In The Most Boring Way Possible?
This post will be slightly different from what I usually write. It is an instructional and objective step-by-step methodology that I have learned from my own experience. I have built a brand on Instagram of over 5-digit organic Instagram followers in less than half a year. Without a shadow of doubt, it isn’t mind blowing almost at all. But I did it, so I thought perhaps it would be awesome to share a few gold nuggets here and there.
If you would like to learn to build a personal/professional brand on Instagram in the most boring way but consistent manner, feel free to read on.
Many people would spend a tremendous amount of time, effort and money on the creative of each individual post. It is important to post something that is relevant and alluring, however we also need to bear in mind that the post needs to be seen to be effective. It makes little sense to spend so much energy on something that wouldn’t be seen by many. This is the reason why I believe all marketers need to understand how different media platform works. As for Instagram, it is imperative to get an organic algorithm promotion by receiving a high quality score on the platform. We need to perform actions for the algorithm to come to a conclusion that we are active users and many users like our profile a lot. Specifically and ideally, we want to have the following:
- Posting consistently
- Having our posts saved
- Having lots of followers
- Being tagged by other users
- People spending a lot of time on our profile
- People sharing our content in stories or DM’s
- Having lots of engagement (likes and comments)
When more of these factors occur and overlap each other, Instagram will organically show our posts on explore pages, hashtag results top posts, in users feeds as suggested content and to suggested users after a person follows a similar account to ours. In order to show that we’re active, we simply need to do a few things on a daily basis:
- Post something every single day
- Like at least 300 photos every single day
- Comment on at least 50 photos every single day
- Analyse which hashtags put us on the top search result every single day
As dumb and subjective as this sounds, we simply need to post something that is clear, relevant and at the very least, mildly interesting. If you cannot come up with original photos, there are always sites such as Unsplash and Vurku. The common mistake, especially for new accounts, is spending multiple days to come up with 1 piece of content when the reach is not substantial enough to set you to be viral-worthy. This brings me to my next point. In order to garner reach, there is a need to expose yourself to others.
We want the relevant crowd to know about us, hence we need to find people of the same niche. This can be done by liking the posts of people who likes a certain niche. If you’re building a basketball-related brand, you simply need to find out 5 to 10 top basketball Instagrammers and like the latest content of the people who likes these 5 to 10 top basketball Instagrammers. In detail, whenever Lebron James posts a photo, you click on who likes his photos, and you like these people’s latest content. If your content happens to be good, these people of the relevant niche will like/follow you back too.
It would be even better if you can comment on their content.
Next, I will debunk the myth of whether hashtags work. They do. They’re messy if you put it on the caption. They’re less messy if you put it on the comment. You can schedule a caption and a post, but you cannot schedule a comment on a post. Given that you post daily, yes, this points to the inevitable fact that you would need to comment a list of hashtags on your post every single day.
Cumbersome? Yes. Boring? Yes. Effective? Yes.
To begin, you can find a list of relevant hashtags with tools such as Display Purposes. The common mistake many people do is to simply spam the hashtags without understanding how it works. For new accounts, it is almost impossible for your posts to appear as top posts for popular hashtag results. If the hashtag is popular, it means the competition is fierce and everyone is vying to be the top posts. We’re talking about 100k — 1m likes on a single post for popular hashtags. Inversely, our posts can easily appear as top posts for hashtags that are less popular.
As a result, we want to use a mixture of less popular to somewhat popular hashtags on a single post.
In detail, we will use 6 hashtags with 1k to 10k posts, 6 hashtags with 20 to 50k posts and another 6 hashtags with 50k to 250k posts. This way, should any content from the 1k to 10k posts category goes viral, there is a chance for it to be exposed to hashtags that are in the 20 to 50k post category and the circle continues. We also need to bear in mind that only some hashtags are effective and puts us on the explore page. Hence, we will have different daily sets of hashtags to figure out which hashtag is most effective. Day 1’s list of hashtag will be different from day, and so on. Once one of our posts receive a spike in likes, we’ll need to figure out which hashtag is the cause of it and we’ll include that specific hashtag in every single hashtag list.
Rinse and repeat for months, and you will eventually accumulate a list of effective hashtags.
Is it better to post when our followers are most active? Yes. Is it better to have an interesting Instagram bio profile? Yes. Is it better to keep our posts consistent for an aesthetic grid? Yes. Is it better to elicit a comment from our followers by having questions on our captions? Yes. Is it better to get our followers to tag us in their posts? Yes. Is it better to spend some money to advertise with sponsored posts? Yes. But the best way is to be consistent in posting something, liking at least 300 photos, commenting on at least 50 photos and analyzing hashtags every single day. Chances are, you will hire an intern to do this mundane task, and the intern will probably search for a risky automation tool such as Jarvee to replace his/her job. It doesn’t prove to be ROI-positive at first glance, and at some point you will ask if you really need to do the daily tasks. Do you trust the process? Everyone knows how to get 6 pack abs, but not everyone has them. The difference? The doing.