Hashtags! First off everyone always ask how many hashtags should i use and how to use them. This is my experience with hashtags, it all depends on the page. In my opinion when first starting a page the best way to organically grow is to hashtag stuff, and place your hashtags in the comments. This will train Instagram’s algorithm to place your page in a category in order to reach the right audience on the explore page.
After your page has grown to a certain point it is not necessary to hashtag stuff in fact in many cases Instagram will decrease your page’s health due to spam if abused and continually used as your basis to grow. Once your page has reached a larger number of followers it’s good to shy away from hashtag or just use a few in your actual caption that’s directly related to the post (Example: “Today #kimkardashian was seen with #Kanyewest at the club”). But if you are hashtag stuffing in the comments I suggest using hashtags related to the post and also some general hashtags that are closely related or in the same niche.
But what hashtags size should you use? The key is to use hashtags that you know you can possibly rank for in the hashtags “TOP” section, mix these along with larger general hashtags in which after a while can be dominated if the post goes viral. How do you find the hashtags you can rank for you ask? First go to the hashtag you are trying to potentially rank for then see how many post have used that hashtag and aim for a 10% to 20 % ratio compared to your followers.
So if you have 30k followers aim for hashtags around 300-600k post. Another way, which is best, is to go by your average amount of likes per post. By this logic you take your last 10 post add up all the likes then divide them by 10 and get your average likes. Then look at the “TOP POSTS” of that hashtag you are trying to rank for and look at the average amount of likes they have and see if you measure up to their engagement. You can also use a free site like owlstat.com that will give you your average likes if you enter your username into their system.
PRO TIP: Shuffle your hashtags every post because if you use the same hashtags over and over on every post Instagram will stop showing your post for those hashtags. Here’s the solution, gather about 40+ hashtags and use the free tool below to shuffle them every post the tool automatically shuffle them and gives you the amount you want to use. When hashtag stuffing I generally use 20-25 hashtags this is what works for me from a year of testing!
2. DAILY VIRAL CONTENT/GOING VIRAL
Going viral is one of the best ways to grow on Instagram, plus explore page followers will be your best followers to help you grow. If you are a niche page it should go without saying that you need to post a minimum of at least 1 time per day and more as your followers grow. In order to go viral more often make sure most of your content is highly engaging and that your caption is engaging also, this can be achieved by asking a controversial question.
When going viral don’t try to reinvent the wheel, go with post that are already going viral. You can find these post by going to your own explore page and scrolling through content. The most viral content are in the niche tabs above the explore page, if your niche qualifies into one those tabs search within that section. I always look for post with more than 100k views and a good amount of comments, at least 50.
Next let’s discuss what is considered good content and what Instagram’s algorithm takes into account when qualifying good content.
1. Retention time (how long someone stays on your post)
2. Engagement (amount of likes, comments, saves, shares, etc….comments being most important)
3. Page value (Do you have post already going viral, your audience reaction, your account health)
Now when creating good viral content, audience retention is very important and Instagram takes it into heavy account how long someone views your video or how long they stay on the post. That’s why if the climax is at the end of the video or the whole video is climatic all together it is a good chance it will go viral especially if you are creating your own content. This is why people will caption or make a meme that is captioned “Watch Till the End!” This is also why post with long captions that tell a story also go viral. This tactic keeps the user on the post longer which in turn Instagram rewards because it thinks that your page is keeping the user on the platform longer i.e. making them more money!
Engagement also plays a heavy role in your content going viral it is good to get as many real likes, comments, and saves on your video in the first 30 mins to an hour. This will let Instagram know that your content is important and engaging and Instagram will promote your post to more people on the explore page. Your page value also plays a role in you going viral Instagram takes in account if you post daily, have you been marked as spam and if you are shadow banned at the moment (from hashtags spamming or deleted post)
PRO TIP: Micro niche pages go viral easier than general pages because the followers are true fans and have a low barrier of entry so a Mustang page would be easier to rank vs a general car page or a page focusing on staying lean vs a general fitness page. Major Key: Only follow and engage with pages in your niche and your explore page will be tailored to your niche and viral content will be 10 times easier to find
3. ENGAGEMENT GROUPS
Another good way to grow is engagement groups aka DM groups, but in order to get the most out of them you have to use them correctly. The first rule of thumb for engagement groups is to try to get into groups within your same niche, this is much more powerful than engaging with general groups where the niches are all over the place.
This is true because whenever another page engages with your post their followers are likely to see your post on the explore page and Instagram bases whether to show it to more people by the click through rate and engagement of those people it is shown to, good click through rate and engagement = post being shown to more people like those who clicked plus a possibility of the post going viral, bad click through rate and low engagement = post being only shown only to those profiles and nothing further.
Next try to get into DM groups with accounts with a larger following than you. This can be done by messaging larger pages and asking them to put you in their DM groups if they are already a part of a current group. You can also create the DM group yourself. For example say you want to get into a 30k plus DM group. Messages pages in your niche around that size and say something like this “Hey I’m creating a DM group with active pages like yours with 30k+ followers that are all in our niche can I add you to the group?” Even if you don’t have that amount of followers they will assume you have another page with that amount of followers and maybe say yes.
When you have a good amount of yeses just start adding them to your DM group and start sending post there and stay active. DM groups are one of the best ways to grow even though I don’t use them as much now because I am past that point and you will see why in the self-engage section which is much more powerful in my opinion.
PRO TIP: One thing people don’t mention is not to get into TOO MANY DM groups because you will be marked as spam by Instagram if you send too many DMs at once so be careful I learned this the hard way!
When starting your page I think follow/unfollow is one of the best ways to go to start the growth of a brand new page. I know…..I know follow/unfollow gets a bad rep and lowers engagement but listen ITS ONLY TEMPORARY and your engagement returns to normal once you stop this method of growth, but it is by far one of the easiest and fastest ways to grow when stating out then you can switch to organic methods once you have reached a certain point of comfort weather it be 1,000 followers or 10,000 followers. For a business this can be a permanent means to grow and increase sales as you main goal isn’t to go viral.
The advantages of follow/unfollow are that you grow fast plus you get people following that are laser targeted to your niche and highly engaged, if properly targeted. To get started get a list of pages and hashtags that are related to your page or niche then go through their post and take a look at their engagement and start following users that like and comment on their post, also like a few of their pictures. I suggest starting with the commentators first because they are the most engaging.
It is safe do about 40-60 actions an hour but I suggest less to avoid follow blocks. First warm your account up and only start with about 50 follows a day then increase about 25-50 follows a day to stay safe and avoid blocks. After the warm up period it is possible to follow 1000 users a day as that is the Instagram’s limit but I stay around 400-500 follows a day in general then unfollow those same users 2 or 3 days later, the more days the better.
5. FAN PAGE/FEEDER ACCOUNTS
The next strategy to grow is the fan page/feeder account method which is never ever mention in the public and probably the most effective way to grow a personal brand. This is allegedly the way people like model @Alexisren, @Sommerray and a few music artists’ used to grow their brand to millions. This method is very advanced and requires a bot, proxies and a VPN in order to run mass accounts to make it worth it.
This is how it works, a user that is trying to grow their main account will create multiple fan accounts AKA feeder accounts and direct followers to their main account in order to draw in followers. For example let’s say your user name was @kimmiller you would create sub accounts named @kimmiller1 , @kimmillerfans etc. etc. then you would have a bot follow and unfollow, like and post pictures for you every day on your feeder accounts bringing you mass attention to your main account.
Let’s say you have 10 feeder accounts following and unfollowing a 1000 people a day, that’s 10,000 potential profiles that your brand could potentially reach. Now you can do this yourself or find agencies online that can emulate this process.
PRO TIP: Every time you post on your feeder account make sure you tag and mention your main account and put your main @ in the bio.
6. INFLUENCER MARKETING/SHOUTOUTS
Influencer marketing and shout outs are also a powerful way to grow but they also involve money, but if done right they can be very powerful. I’ve personally seen users go from 0-100k within a few months.
In order to do this method you must find good pages within your niche that are already going viral. Their amount of follows mean nothing TRUST ME! There are pages with only a few thousand follows that are going viral, this is because Instagram favors new pages and their engagement is often times higher than older, larger pages. Don’t get me wrong larger pages are good too, but often time’s people look over these smaller pages and they shouldn’t because they are cheaper and sometimes you can get the same result for far less money. You can pay a small page with a few thousand followers $10 and get 100,000 views on a post, as long as your content is highly engaging and meets the criteria I listed above in the viral section.
To find these pages go and stalk your explore page and look for pages whose content is consistently going viral. Messages these pages and ask for their shout rates and most likely they are very cheap as a lot of pages are ran by teenagers just looking for a little cash or just running the page for fun. Once you reach out to these pages create a list that is in line with your budget and either schedule all your post at the same time (which I think is best for viral campaigns) or drip-feed them throughout the week.
PRO TIP: This strategy is most powerful when you stay consistent on a daily or weekly basis so you are always in font of people, also the meme structure post will probably give you the best result.
7. SELF ENGAGE ENGAGEMENT GROUPS
Now this is a method that I almost didn’t include in the post because almost no one does it but the big guys and a few people that do it by accident but once grown over time this can be massively powerful even powerful than DM groups and power likes. This method involves creating your own little network of niche pages that support each other with engagement. Once you have built out your own network you can make any page that you start grow easier than any other method, and FAST!
Now you can either do this on your phone, which is harder and you can only manage about 5-6 accounts at a time depending on your device plus you have to post manually by hand every day which can be a task. What I suggest doing is using a bot and managing about 10 accounts or an amount that you think you can handle and maintain (buy aged Instagram accounts and proxies and change the profile info to your liking make sure the niches are similar or closely similar to your niche).
With the bot you can automate these tasks and you can set all your post at once for the week and you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the week or however long you’ve schedule your post for, the more post the better. You can even have the bot pull content for you automatically from other viral pages. Once you have these accounts set up I suggest only following the accounts you’ve made on each account. This is important because when someone looks at your following list it only helps the other pages grow because they will only see your pages.
Next grow your accounts with follow/unfollow for about a month or however long to get them started then make sure you unfollow all those profiles and you are only left following your own accounts. Next set all your profiles on the bot to like post on their “own timeline.” This is so extremely powerful because Instagram knows that the profiles are liking post that are on their timeline, unlike power likes whose likes come from a bunch of random accounts that don’t follow you which is easily detectable. Also your likes will be from profiles that are in your niche which is even more powerful!
Yes this make take a little while, but once done correctly this is a power move and you have your own little network to test and grow with!
PRO TIP: If you are doing this manually just log in and log out each account and like and comment on your own content.
The next strategy is power likes these are pretty common and are becoming less powerful but can still be effective. A brief description of this service is as follows, as soon as you post your content you get a wave of likes from large accounts, some even verified. This makes your account look important in Instagram eyes because of the size of the accounts. The only downfall is that most of these accounts are in different niches. This can work for pages like a general meme page or a page that post a very broad range of viral content but for some other accounts it may not be as effective. Another downfall is that they can be expensive at times especially niche specific power likes.
9. QUICK BOOST
Quick boost is where you buy instagram followers, likes and comments. This is good to give you social proof to potential customers that may want to buy your product and aren’t sure about your brand, because let’s be honest … who really wants to buy from a company that no one has ever heard of? This sometimes may be looked down upon but trust me with a business accounts whose goal is to sell products this can only help your image that’s all this is really doing. If you are not trying to go viral on your page this will not affect your page negatively in anyway.
PRO TIP: make sure your engagement matches your followers, generally a page gets about 10% likes of their followers.
10. BRAND HASHTAGS & TAGGING FOR FEATURE POST
Brand hashtags and feature post is another good way to gain exposure. If you are wearing a popular brand or your post relates to a type of page you like with a big following makes sure you tag as many pages that’s related as possible to your post. You can look on a pages profile and see if they have a certain hashtag that they search through for content.
For instance the popular page @worldstar has the hashtag #wshh or #wshhfitness and they encourage their followers to use those hashtags in their post in order to be featured on their page. These pages actually do look through these hashtags, I have been featured on a few pages and gained tons of followers and also have had big pages like my post as a result of using a brand hashtag.
PRO TIP: This is especially effective for niches like cars, models, and travel.