The 5 Rules of Engagement for a Killer Instagram Growth Strategy

So you’re trying to boost your instagram growth strategy and landed on our page for some tips on how to “optimize” – great. Here’s the thing, it’s up to you to implement every single one of these or next month you’ll likely be searching for the same “how to grow your instagram followers” articles. Doing 4 out of 5 just isn’t going to cut it. But – and it’s a big but – if you do all 5 of these things then you’ll have an instagram growth strategy on your hands that feels like living with a secret in plain sight.

Below, our very own Social Media Manager, Sydney Watts, shares the invisible side of a visual platform. Her knowledge, experience, and acute understanding of audiences has translated into proven growth for countless Marketwake clients and is the reason they keep coming back for more!

Instagram Growth Strategy

1. Understanding the Platform.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s unbelievable how many people think it’s okay to write a single caption and then copy + paste it across all of their social channels. You wouldn’t speak to a customer the same way that you speak to your friends, which is why you need to be sensitive to the tone and style of what you’re trying to convey depending upon the platform. It’s okay to have the same content, just make sure to vary your copy for each channel.

When it comes to your instagram growth strategy, there are some extra features that you can and should be taking advantage of in order to rank higher in the algorithm.

  • Hashtags – to increase awareness in new channels
  • Geotags – to make your account easier to find
  • Filters – the algorithm will reward you
  • Alt Text – for increased accessibility 
  • Carousels – like a mini slideshow party (minus family)
  • Stories – get personal with your audience

For a more detailed breakdown of how these work, check out 6 Tips to Boost Your Instagram Engagement.

2. Have a Planned Cadence.

You’re never going to build an audience if your instagram growth strategy fails to have a planned cadence. Do you think Michael Phelps won 23 gold medals without a cadence? Without a strategy in place day-in and day-out that was planned months in advance?

If you’re really serious about optimizing your social media game, you need to have an Editorial Calendar where you can plan out your posts several weeks in advance. In order to really make this tool work effectively, you need to have all stakeholders involved and using it often.

Check out the preferred Editorial Calendar that Sydney Watts uses! It includes features such as:

  • 1-Month Calendar: This tab has room for specifics like which platform the content will go live, what the overarching goal of this post is (i.e. engagement, drive to a link, etc.), places for UTM links to track your analytics, and even space for a link to the visual that will be posted.
  • The Quarterly Playbook: This tab gives you a high-level overview of promotions, campaigns, and themes you’ll be tackling in a particular month as well as what holidays to keep in mind and what upcoming blog posts you may want to promote.
Download Sydney’s Editorial Calendar

3. Be Flexible.

While you need to have a consistent planned cadence, that doesn’t mean you should be tone-deaf to current events or become predictable and bland. Variety is the spice of life!

Your instagram growth strategy must be quick enough to pivot and humble enough to nix that clever post you came up with 3 weeks ago if the situation calls for it. Also keep in mind your metrics, you might have found content that performed really well but has dropped off because you’re constantly posting the same sauce. Switch it up – be sensitive to your audience and react accordingly.

4. Have the Right Motivation.

“Social is a marathon, not a sprint.” – Sydney Watts

Using your instagram solely as a source of advertising and marketing is a surefire way to win friends and influence people lose followers and dissuade people. Wait, what? That’s because people want to engage in real conversations with real people, not feel as if they’re being sold something.

Think about it – do you follow your favorite book on social media, or the author who wrote it?

You follow the author because you’re interested in who they are, what thoughts they’re sharing, and if they happen to debut another book then you’ll likely buy it. But that journey to buying the book didn’t happen because you saw a new post everyday telling you to buy.

An instagram strategy that’s too self-promotional is a turn off (like those screaming car commercials), whereas a strategy that communicates identity, is personable, and engaging will attract followers, influence, and eventually sales.

Revenue is the end goal of the marathon, not of each individual sprint.

5. Invest.

Cultivating a presence on social media is like starting a new friendship or relationship: you have to invest time. Your instagram growth strategy shouldn’t be any different.

The more time (or money) you invest into growing your audience, the more results you’ll see – plain and simple. Everything costs something (either time or money), you can either invest the time into social yourself or pay someone else to do it. But if you’re not willing to invest, then don’t ever expect to see results.

Looking for more tools, tips, and resources to boost your marketing strategy?

Check out our Digital Marketing for Dummies Guide for Brands & Business Owners. This resource distills the expertise of Marketwake’s chief analysts, creatives, engineers, and marketing directors into a comprehensive guide covering everything from email marketing and SEO to marketing automation and CRM implementation.

Get the Guide

Need More Advice?

If you have any questions about your instagram strategy, overarching marketing goals, or if you’re looking for a team of dedicated digital marketers who can invest time into expanding your social media influence for you, then reach out to us!

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