As massive portions (sometimes even 100%) of today’s businesses’ revenue comes from social media, learning how to please the Instagram algorithm is one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur. I was able to interview Ryan Loxham, a social media entrepreneur who has been able to master rapidly building audiences on Instagram, on what kind of strategies he’s learned in his experience growing dozens of accounts (some over 2 million followers).
What are some people trying to grow an audience doing wrong?
Ryan: “I don’t believe posting is everything. Although posting good content is important, it isn’t enough to grow your page on its own. You need to foster and nurture an engaged follower base in order for Instagram to organically promote your account through recommendations and explore page. I focus on 5 things when trying to build a highly-engaged following:
1. Direct Messages
I always try to make it a priority to respond to nearly every direct message I get. Along with showing people you care, Instagram will rank your posts higher in the feed of those accounts who direct messaged you. You’ll also gain additional insight on what you can be doing better with your page through the suggestions people make and questions they ask.
Over half a billion Instagram users watch stories daily, so if you aren’t publishing content on your story you are missing out on a very large viewership. I’ve found that by posting your followers will tend to engage better with your feed content as well.
3. Responding to Comments
Always show your followers you care by responding to a good amount of comments! They took some time out of their day to leave a comment on your page, I believe it’s only right that you spend some time to reply.
4. Going Live
Instagram lives are ranked higher than stories, so it is easy to get additional engagement from your followers by occasionally going live. Instagram live is also a powerful tool for garnering page feedback from your followers or redirecting them to engage with a post. A lot of articles and blogs tend to miss this one out and I’m not sure why, not enough accounts utilise the live feature and really engage with their followers.
5. Engaging with Followers
Follow your most active followers! You can create super-fans by engaging with your followers’ content and showing you care. Scratch their back and they’ll scratch yours.”
How can I quickly boost engagement?
Ryan: “If you’re looking to authentically increase your account’s engagement overnight, you should pay attention to what kind of content top pages are posting. Repost high-engaging, proven content to your page and you will notice a difference. You can also boost feed engagement by adding niche-related hashtags to your posts. Another tactic to get more engagement on your posts is by adding posts to your stories. You can also gain extra organic impressions on your account by posting content that is shareable, this is usually content that is funny or provokes some sort of strong emotional response in the viewer that they may want a friend to experience. There are lots of quick cheat codes to getting better engagement on your posts. They are constantly evolving so the best thing I can recommend is for you to model after what top-performing pages in your niche are doing. One thing I never recommend is buying followers though as it can really kill your engagement and in the end kills any hope of growing an active Instagram account, also you risk getting banned and a lot of bots get banned daily so you will lose them followers! Another way which I personally haven’t had any luck with was buying promotions straight of Instagram. I never tend to get any really active followers of them although you can buy promotions from other creators in the same niche as they will already have active followers with similar interests.”
What kind of tools do you use to run your pages?
Ryan: “There are a few different tools I use to free up time when managing my pages. Before publishing video content, I often use the app Vont to add text or edit the video. When I make commentary-based based photo posts, I’ll add a comment to the photo with Twitter, then screenshot and crop it to a square. This is what you see most large Instagram theme pages do. I use IGBlade to track my growth over time. I also use the in-app analytics tool to monitor my pages’ performance as well as to gather insight into what kind of people follow me including gender and location as this can help you specify your content towards them. There are a number of tools out there to streamline various tasks like content creation, scheduled publishing, analytics and more. I recommend anyone who runs multiple pages to look into using some of these tools.”
How can readers connect with you?
Ryan: “Instagram: @vych”