If you’re reading this article, there’s a high chance that your Instagram growth is stuck.
You’re looking for some guidance, quick tips or some hacks perhaps.
But the real question is – Do these tips and tricks work?
I tried a lot of these Instagram tips and hacks. Few worked, and a lot of them are irrelevant as Instagram changed its algorithm many times in the recent past.
After a lot of experiments, trial and error I was able to HELP my client increase their reach by a
- whopping 600%,
- followers by 85%
- engagement rate by 50%
Let’s dig into how I was able to pull it off…
Instagram Growth – A myth??
Like everyone, my client was facing issues with Instagram growth.
They were getting decent views on reels, but their people were not visiting the account.
In spite of reach and views, the following was not increasing. During the same time, Instagram had made changes to its algorithm.
This change was catastrophic for many accounts on Instagram, their reach and playtime fell drastically. Even my client was not spared, we touched new lows during that period.
At that very moment, I had a Eureka moment. The Instagram algorithm is a piece of code, which means it carries out a set of instructions when certain conditions are met.
Bottomline – Think like a machine.
If you take a closer look at your feed, you will see a pattern that will help you recognize what’s working for you and what’s not?
In my client’s case, it was clearly visible that reels which were getting good traction had
- trending music.
- specific hashtags.
- long-form captions.
- decent cover picture.
Making a note of it, I realised that if you make your posts similar to ones that have already worked gives a positive signal to the algorithm. It gives your post a good boost.
Let’s quickly jump onto the numbers of how we managed to get humungous reach despite a modest following.
Case Study – How my client GREW on Instagram by numbers
So as you can see, we gained 339 followers in just 30 days a mighty 88.7%
Awesome isn’t it?
We started getting a spike in followers after Adam Mosseri made an announcement that original content creators will be rewarded. It has been a hockey stick kind of growth in followers for the client.
Here are some numbers to show how the growth has been so far. Also, the growth my client witnessed is totally organic.
We never did paid ads of any sort. Neither did we do any kind of collaborations or shoutouts with other content creators in a similar niche.
You can see all the statistics that we were able to achieve because we understood what Instagram wants from its content creators.
Reels are one of the major contributors to getting more and more reach. Also, the recipe niche being video-oriented, it was natural to be reel dominant account.
Here’s what I learnt
- Any reel can get a lot of reach if the hook is good.
- Have some new element on your frame every 1.5-2 seconds. This helps in holding the attention of the viewers.
- Short reels of 5-7 seconds get a lot of reach and playtime compared to longer reach. This is because an average human’s attention span has decreased drastically.
Although this phenomenon may not hold true in the case of educational reels
- More the reel plays, Instagram’s reel algorithm thinks people are liking it, hence it pushes the reel to more people. The cycle continues. Hence having a large number of followers helps. This is one of the reasons why it is difficult to grow on Instagram if you’re starting afresh.
Now coming to the pictures.
Pictures also helped get a lot of reach. We were getting 10-15k reach only through pictures.
The food images were consistently hitting the explore page. Although I feel 2 factors helped a lot
- Instagram brought back the chronological feed and started a suggested posts section.
- Adam Mosseri said that Original content creators will be given more preference and help.
Apart from this I always used hashtags as a medium for content distribution. The role of hashtags has changed and it is being used by Instagram to understand the context of the image so that it can be recommended to the right set of people.
Instagram has turned into an image and video search engine. Hence for a search engine, you need is SEO. It will be wise to accept it and treat Instagram as an ecosystem similar to Google.
Recipe Niche: Actionable steps to grow on Instagram in India.
If you are a budding content creator in the recipe niche then here are some insights.
This data will surely help you improve your content creation process.
I’m sure it will result in INCREASED reach, MORE views and STICKY followers.
So here’s the deal –
- I have observed that doing a recipe instruction voiceover results in more saves compared to a recipe reel with just music.
- A good cover picture is a must
- A 1-2 second shot of the food item, helps in holding the viewer’s attention longer. The idea is to provide the experience of the food item through that introductory shot.
- Making use of fast transitions results in more playtime. Here’s a tip, make sure that every 2-3 seconds there is a change in frame. It helps in holding the attention of the viewer for a longer duration.
- Turn on the caption for your voiceover. Having captions helps a lot, as it acts as an added element to the frame that captures attention. It also proves beneficial in cases where the viewer is watching your reel without sound.
- Trending music is a must for your reel. Use music that has been used for at least 100K+ reels (personal opinion).
- Niche down as much as you can. The recipe space is pretty competitive, hence being broad is not going to help. Be specific in what you’re making.
- Use only relevant hashtags for kinds of posts – Pictures, Reels, etc. Instagram can very well read your pictures and detect objects inside it. Hence it is wise to use relevant and specific hashtags.
For example – #explorepage #follow4follow #viralreels etc won’t work anymore.
Let’s say you are making a reel on marble cake, here relevant hashtags would be –
#marblecake #marblecakerecipe #cakerecipe #homemadecake #cakesdaily
You can even include broader tags like #baking #desserts.
- Aesthetics and Content quality also matter a lot. The more immersive your content is, the longer the viewer is going to stay on Instagram, hence the algorithm also pushes such high engaging content to more sets of people.
- Lastly, ride the trend, as these trends have a tendency of going viral quickly.
Yes, it is difficult to grow on a platform like Instagram where a lot of content is pushed every day.
But if you understand the niche and what the platform demands from you as a content creator, then the road tends to get a bit easy.
Although a lot of effort and consistency are needed to create high quality, immersive content.
If you are facing a similar growth issue in your Instagram journey, I can help you transform your slow-moving train into an express train.