Most of us want to be Instagram influencers, but success only comes with a large number of followers. Sadly, Instagram only shows you the folks that follow you, not the ones who unfollowed. So market research of understanding why users are following you is out of the question.
But over the years managing Instagram accounts, we have seen key trends that have proven success to retain more followers, and we’d love to share them with you.
1. Build a Community, Not an Account
Instagram is a social network, and many folks often forget that. The literal definition of a social network from Dictonary.com is “an online community of people with a common interest who use a website or other technologies to communicate with each other and share information, resources, etc.:”
Therefore, your followers are not just people that are interested in you. Your followers also interested in engaging with you and your community, and you need to build a strategy that enables it.
The strategy all starts with the next point.
2. Engage, Engage, Engage
Instagram has built many new functionalities to allow you to connect with your followers. From the basic actions of liking your follower posts, and replying to comments on your posts, to Instagram live where you can live stream and connect with your viewers.
Staying active on Instagram is critical to keeping your followers because it’s imperative that your users believe and they’re not just a number on your account. You need to show that you care, and it’s up to you to come up with a strategy that works for your audience.
3. Quality over Quantity
No one likes low resolution, overexposed or small blurry photos. Don’t post for the sake of posting, but take a step back to understand why did your followers follow you in the first place.
Photo Quality: If you have built up a collection of the best photos from your expensive DSLR, don’t ruin your feed with a few iPhone photos. You might think a quick filter and no one would notice. But depending on your followers, you might have just slashed a bunch of users that follow you for your photography techniques.
Emotions: Before you post a photo, think about what emotions does will it drive to your end users. A key example is the Logan Paul “Suicide Forest” video that drove major controversy and outrage.
For those unfamiliar with the incident, Logan Paul, a famous youtube celebrity visited Aokigahara forest, also known as Japan’s “suicide forest. Within the video, Logan encountered a suicide victim’s body hanging from a tree. Instead of turning the camera off, he continued filming, and later uploaded close-up shots of the corpse, with the person’s face blurred out. “Did we just find a dead person in the suicide forest?” Paul said to the camera. “This was supposed to be a fun vlog.” He went on to make several jokes about the victim.
It was clear this was going to spark huge outrage in the community, especially when Logan Paul’s 15M+ audience mostly consists of underaged teens. Aside from the drop in Youtube Subscribers, Youtube also removed Logan from its top-tier advertising program that allows creators to have access to revenue from premium advertisers.
4. Avoid Content Overload
Sharing a few post is okay. But when you decide to overload your followers with 8+ posts a day, that’s enough of a reason to unfollow you.
Co-schedule has compiled 14 studies from reputable sources and concluded that you should only share 1-2 posts per day.
Also, you should space out the timing of each post. There is no “best time” to post because it depends on when your audience is most active. All this information is available for free in your Instagram app as long you have converted to a business account. Learn the pro and cons of a business account and how to convert here: Instagram Business Account: Should You Switch?
5. Stay Consistent
Consistency is critical to sustainable growth. You don’t want your account to be unpredictable, where one day you receive hundreds of followers, and the others you lose few hundreds.
There are three key elements to stay consistent.
Quality: You probably heard it 100 times over, but the quality of your photos are the number one factor whether if a person follows, or unfollows you. Content makes or breaks your Instagram account. There’s no substitute for hard work. It’s okay to try new things from time to time, but always keep track of what photos are working, and what needs to be improved.
Relevancy: If you run a collection of cute dog pictures, don’t go all of a sudden post a few photos of Lamborghinis because you happen to stumble upon one parked downtown. Unless you’re a celebrity, your content is usually satisfying a particular niche, and in this example, its people who love dogs. Drastic changes in your content strategy will raise confusion and users will question if they should continue to follow you.
Activity: Your followers are always looking for new content to engage with spread out over a week. The last thing they want is to see six posts one day, then nothing for the next two weeks. At that point, you’ve already lost their attention and potentially lost the follower. As Gary Vee describes, “the currency of business is attention.” To win in business, or in this case your Instagram, you must find ways to win the attention of your followers and continue to nuture it until you can convert to a sale.
Bonus: Don’t Fake it Till You Make it
An interesting story has been popular on the news in the past few days. As reported by Independent, “Woman racks up $10,000 debt after trying to become ‘Instagram Famous’.”
“I was shopping…for clothes to take ‘the perfect ’gram”, she told the New York Post.
“I was living above my means. I was living a lie, and debt was looming over my head.”
Despite earning a low-to-mid five-figure salary in 2016, Calveiro admits that she continued to get into more debt by treating herself to monthly $200 (£145) shopping sprees so she wouldn’t be seen in the same outfit twice, spending as much as $1,000 (£725) on designer handbags, and travelling to new locations every single month.
You can most definitely fake your life on Instagram, but it’ll only last so long. Living a fake persona is difficult, and for most people, you can’t live that lie forever. For Calveiro, it’s her financial situation that ended her Instagram fame. For others, if you’re creating content you have no interest in and with the sole purpose of gaining followers, either your followers will end up seeing through to the truth, or you’ll end up losing motivation to continue.
The bottom line is to create an Instagram for you, what your interests are, and things you care about. As long you’re passionate enough, followers will come.
How To Track Who Has Unfollowed You
The app that we’ve been using extensively is the Followers+ app on iPhone. The app is free and provides some extensive details on your followers. What we love is a summary of your follower growth with a breakdown of how many people followed you and unfollowed you every day.
On top of that, you can see the detailed list of:
People who have unfollowed you
Users that are not following you back
Users that have followed you that you have not followed back
Users who blocked you
and much more…
You can also follow or unfollow people directly from the app. Download Followers+ on iPhone here.