7 Instagram Growth Hacks to Learn from Social Media Experts 
- 1 1. Use Influencers’ Quotes
- 2 2. Share Your Tweets as Instagram Posts
- 3 3. Mention Others on Instagram
- 4 4. Start Conversations in the Comments
- 5 5. Cash in on Instagram Video
- 6 6. Develop a “Highlight” Strategy
- 7 7. Track Your Content Performance
- 8 Final Thoughts
Have you ever thought about the secret behind Instagram growth hacks? I bet most of you want to grow your followers on Instagram but haven’t cracked the code yet.
We follow social media experts who’re crushing it on Instagram, and most of us don’t try to extract their success secret. Well, I’m going to share some Instagram growth hacks so that you could crank it up a notch.
Instagram is a mainstream social media platform that everyone is paying attention to, whether they’re A-list celebs or multi-national companies or sole proprietors. Since it has 1 billion active monthly users, which makes it the third most popular social media platform after Facebook (2 billion) and YouTube (1.9 billion) as of 2018, so you must figure it out now.
It’s also true that the platform starts to look more saturated now, meaning, the reach, engagement, and attention on Instagram are difficult to get and retain as compared to 8 years ago. Here comes in the opportunity for us content marketers and bloggers to talk about social media management tools and tactics that will help you sort things out.
You may have already planned to take Instagram seriously in 2020 so before we dig deeper into Instagram growth hacks that social media experts are using, ask yourself three questions:
1. Who do you want to reach out exactly?
2. What do you have to say or offer?
3. What can you give that others can’t?
Let me elaborate on this.
How to figure out “who you want to reach out exactly”
Blindly reaching out to the audience and hoping to get a return-on-investment is like living in the fool’s paradise.
For example, MessageBird knows their target audience, and when they ran their Facebook ad, they tried to hit that spot.
Their Facebook ad seems to be targeting the employees of the companies so that their staff could start a conversation with their CEOs. They wrote a rather intriguing ad headline which could create a curiosity among the employees of the organizations the ad reaching. Not only would they watch this video ad, but some of them might also forward the video to their CEOs. And, that’s the purpose of the ad.
Gary Vaynerchuk has talked about this strategy of running Facebook ads in which one could target the employees of the company and educate them to further start the discussion with their bosses.
How to identify “what you have to say or offer”
One of the essentials for getting traction on social media is by building your narrative on certain things. Meaning, you have to find the unique voice that makes you stand out from the crowd.
For example, Tony Robbins has a unique style of public speaking; he often motivates and energizes the audience by asking them to stand up or say “I” out loud.
Therefore, identifying your uniqueness and practicing your brand persona gives you a different posture from everyone else.
How to find “what you can give that others can’t.”
Self-awareness is the key to understanding your strengths which could lead to building a value-driven point-of-view. In most cases, either it’s an “experience” or a “story” that creates a distinction.
For example, Oprah Winfrey is a popular American media personality. Everyone knows about her early rejections on TV. Her failures and obstacles in the early days of her career are motivation to millions of people around the world. What she can give to the audience, any other interviewer or presenter might not be able to give.
So once you gather all three answers, you’d be in a better position to establish yourself on Instagram or any other social media network.
Do you scroll through Instagram and find it hard to figure out what you should post?
We all feel stuck at times, especially when we don’t have an Instagram content strategy. Well, today you’re in luck.
Take a deep breathe because I’m about to share seven Instagram growth hacks with you:
1. Use Influencers’ Quotes
You might have seen Instagram accounts that post random quotes. Most of the time, they aren’t influencers’ quotes. Instead, they are casually written phrases by the Instagrammers, and there is nothing wrong with it as long as they aren’t mentioning anyone else’s name.
What using social media Influencers’ quotes does is that it provides authenticity and social proof because most people know who that influencer is. However, there is more to this than writing a quotation and posting on Instagram.
When you use an influencer’s quote, make sure to take care of the following things:
Don’t rely on others’ citations, but instead, go through his/her blog post, video, or book if you want to use the quotations of an influencer.
Keep the reference from where the quote is taken because sometimes you may get asked that from where you got this. And, it’s good to provide the source if asked.
The design of your Instagram post must be top-notch because it makes a lot of difference when the Instagram feed stands out.
Tag the influencer in the post so that they could notice that you’re highlighting them and giving them exposure without asking for anything in return. It starts to build a connection with the influencers.
Foundr knows how to use influencers’ quotes on Instagram. Not only are they creating more content on Instagram using influencers’ quotes, but they’re also doing it right. Meaning, they’re designing the posts quite well, tagging the influencer, and giving exposure to the influencers.
Take a look at one of their Instagram post:
You can keep the record of the content using the Pocket app and use tags to pile up all the content from an influencer.
For instance, I often bookmark articles I found about Casey Neistat. Not only is he my favorite YouTuber, but I’m also fond of his entrepreneurial journey. So I like to follow-up on the latest updates about him.
One of the key reasons why influencers’ quotes work so well on Instagram is how you utilize the message. The design, typography, and words play a huge role in making this strategy a success. So don’t shy away from trying quotes from your favorite influencers.
Share your tweets as Instagram posts means you either take a screenshot of your tweet or write down the text of the tweet in your Instagram post. There is more to this, for example, you should add your Twitter handle and the Twitter logo to the posts.
Sharing your tweets as posts is a great way to keep pumping the fresh content on Instagram. It’s better to say something (that could help) than to get isolated. In my experience, if you don’t post on Instagram for a while, your organic reach takes a dip. So it’s essential to keep showing up with something.
Think about all the relevant and informative tweets you do to ask questions, share answers or intrigue people, you might not have thought about using those tweets on Instagram. Well, now is the time to take action because Instagram is becoming saturated as the number of users is growing on the platform. It’s getting difficult to get the same kind of attention it had three years back.
How many people have you known who post their tweets on Instagram?
I bet you hardly know or follow someone who does this. It’s a very smart move from content marketing and engagement standpoint. I have seen social media experts and content marketing gurus do this. They plan their yearly content with the content planner and keep up to it.
Take a look at the tweet-based Instagram post from Neil Patel:
Neil Patel is a content marketer, blogger, and entrepreneur. He knows about content repurposing so well that he took his tweet and created an Instagram post with it.
Codie Sanchez is an investor and business expert. She does this as well:
She took her tweet and created an Instagram post out of that. Now, don’t get caught up in the process, for example, whether you should take screenshots of your tweets or re-write the tweet and design the Instagram post. Instead, do whatever works for you.
Isn’t it a smart way of putting out more content like professionals? Let me know if you start trying this out on Instagram.
3. Mention Others on Instagram
Have you noticed Instagrammers and influencers often tag, mention, and highlight others on Instagram? They often mention others because they also get mentioned by their friends, colleagues, and fans. Not only do they understand the importance of collaboration, but they also try to help out the audience.
Turns out, mentioning relevant influencers and friends on Instagram could potentially open a floodgate of attention to you. This is why you need to understand how essential mentioning others on Instagram is. It doesn’t necessarily mean you start tagging and mentioning people for no reason. Your mention must make sense, otherwise, it may backfire because if people don’t find it valuable, they would stop trusting your recommendations.
To master Instagram influencer marketing, read this blog post on how to search and connect with top personalities on popular social networks.
Lewis Howes is a podcaster, speaker, and business coach. He interviews experts, celebs, and influencers on his podcast. You would notice that he mentions the influencers and guests on Instagram.
Rachel Petersen knows what I’m talking about. She is a business owner and runs her social media marketing agency. Look at one of her Instagram posts:
Presumably, she took a quote from another account and re-posted it on Instagram. Not only did she mention the source, but also highlighted through #regram that she is re-sharing someone else’s post.
A lot of influencers apply this strategy to build connections, strengthen their relationships, and help out their followers. However, there are three key elements you should keep in mind while mentioning others or getting mentioned by others on Instagram:
I. Reciprocity: You must reciprocate the mention sometime soon whenever a fellow Instagrammer highlights you in the content. Not only does it strengthen your relationship with others, but they also remember you going forward.
II. Value: Apply Robin Sharma’s “over-delivering” strategy, which is about delivering more than you get asked for. Meaning, you can mention someone twice if that person mentioned you once. So delivering value through your actions, wisdom, and strategies goes a long way.
III. Collaboration: Don’t think of mentioning others as a one-way street. If you want this strategy to work for you, then collaborate with others. Invite others to your podcast session or video featuring or guest blog posting for collaboration and make great things happen. Check this blog post out if you have no idea how to collaborate with others.
You can look around and see for yourself — everyone who is growing on Instagram is applying such tactics and growth hacks to win on the platform.
4. Start Conversations in the Comments
Most influencers don’t show up in the comments section to talk directly to their followers. Although, most of them go through the comments, and only a few take their time out to reply to the comments. I’ve noticed that people who start to pop up on any social media platform, the first thing they do is stop responding to the fans, which is terrible.
There is an immense opportunity of growth in the comments; what commenting on Instagram does is that it increases engagement on the account. When a platform notices a surge in the engagement on various posts of the very account, it starts to put that account on a pedestal. The reason is understandable: a social media platform wants accounts that keep people on their platforms. Therefore, they increase the organic reach of the accounts so that they could bring in more attention to the platform.
So starting conversations in the comments is a great idea not just for starting the engagement process on the platform, but also to build a connection with the followers.
Gary Vaynerchuk is known for randomly replying to the tweets and comments. Not only does he just reply, but he also gives advice to the audience to do the same. Look at the screenshot of a conversation on his Instagram post:
Mel Robbins does the same thing:
Look at the comments on her Instagram post:
How would you feel when an influencer you admire replies back to you?
You’d be flattered, and follow him/her more passionately afterwards.
Sophia Bernazzani published a blog post on Hubspot about clever ways to get more comments on Instagram. One of the ways is to respond to the comments you get.
Ana Gotter published a guest post on AgoraPulse. She also hinted about the importance of replying to the comments on Instagram.
So it shows that top authors and social media marketing companies are pushing the same thing out there. If you want to crush it on Instagram and want to make Instagram growth strategies work for you, then don’t neglect to reply to the comments.
5. Cash in on Instagram Video
It’s extremely important to understand every tool of attention on social media. Video has continuously been growing for the past few years on social media platforms. Both Facebook and Instagram are making room for video now; we have seen both platforms introduced stories.
Later on, Instagram brought a long-form vertical video tool IGTV in 2018 to go further deep into the video. Instagram’s parent company Facebook is big on vertical video, which is understandable as Facebook rivals YouTube on a global scale.
Early on, the dominance in the vertical video area gave Facebook an edge over other video platforms, but arch-rival YouTube also introduced their support for vertical videos on the mobile devices in 2018.
So the video is essentially important to Instagram growth. If it wasn’t the case, a lot of influencers and big brands won’t be pushing hard on the video content.
Therefore, you might be looking for a few pearls of wisdom to get going with your Instagram videos.
Here are three tips on Instagram video:
I. Don’t Ignore 60-second Video, meaning, you shouldn’t just focus on a specific type of videos such as IGTV, stories, or live streaming. Instead, create a mix so that the regular 60-second video format also comes into play.
II. Shoot Vertical Videos for IGTV. A lot of people use landscape videos for IGTV, which creates empty sections on the top and at the bottom of the video. Even though you can add up some text or social media handles in those spaces, but it’s better if you shoot vertical videos for IGTV.
III. Cross-promote Videos, IGTV, and Stories on Instagram. It means that you should be sharing your 60-second videos and IGTV videos into stories. And adding your stories to the highlights section to keep them bookmarked on your account feed.
I have been following hundreds of entrepreneurs, brands, and creators on Instagram.
I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs and organizations that crushing it with Instagram videos. Here are a few examples:
Patrick is the CEO of PHP Agency and creator of Valuetainment on social media platforms. At Valuetainment, he puts entrepreneurial content, interviews, and tips on business growth, sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
If you go through Valuetainment’s Instagram account, you’d notice that Patrick bet-David is paying close attention to the Instagram video. Not only is he putting out IGTV videos, but he also uploads short 60-second videos on the platform.
Influencers like Patrick Bet-David understand the social media tactics, and when something works for them, they push it harder, which gives others a hint to move into that direction.
Entrepreneur is a popular website for entrepreneurial articles, videos, and podcasts. They also put out entrepreneurial-related content on social media platforms. They were also found utilizing Instagram videos these days.
Entrepreneur is a go-to platform for budding entrepreneurs, experts, and authors who have an interest in entrepreneurship and business.
You’d notice that they’re cashing in on both versions of video on Instagram: vertical (IGTV) and square (60-second).
What it does is that they are able to create a mix. If a brand keeps on publishing the long-form videos, the content starts to look mundane at some point. They play it smart by adding short and long-form videos altogether.
ATPWorldTour is a global body for controlling, managing, and dealing with international tennis events. The part of their job is to promote tennis, and in the age of technology and social media, they’re also trying to keep up.
It’s fascinating to see that they’re utilizing Instagram videos along with pictures. Perhaps, they’re pushing video more aggressively than images, which comes in as a validation to this point.
Take a look at the screenshot of ATP World Tour’s Instagram account:
It’s also interesting to see how they’ve developed their content mix for Instagram videos. They mostly post behind-the-scenes videos, which interests tennis fans.
So, clearly, one of the important Instagram growth hacks is using the Instagram video head-on.
6. Develop a “Highlight” Strategy
Haven’t heard of “Highlight” before? No worries. Check out a few influencers’ Instagram profiles and you’ll see a tab underneath their name and display picture. That’s the highlight section where you can highlight your stories forever. Meaning, it’s a way of saving and displaying your story as long as you want, which would have gone after 24 hours otherwise.
You can save the highlighted stories into categories, meaning, you can name the highlight sections according to your desire.
So, some of you might think, why does it necessary to develop a “highlight” strategy?
The answer to that question is that not only does it allow you to put your message on a pedestal, but it also makes sure that your story sticks to your profile for as long as you want. Some entrepreneurs and influencers highlight stories regarding their books and merchandise to make sure that people keep finding their products.
Whenever someone checks your Instagram profile, it seems obvious that the person would tap on the highlights too.
To make them more click-worthy, you must ensure that you’re doing two things:
I. Categorizing the Highlights
What I mean by categorizing the highlights is that you should pay attention to choosing the right names for the highlight sections. Take care of the audience’s interests and your content strategy while making the highlight. Otherwise, you may end up creating highlight categories that won’t entice followers to check out.
II. Using the Custom-designed Covers
The next important thing you should do is using the custom-designed covers for your highlights. Otherwise, it would showcase one of the stories as the highlight cover, which won’t create much excitement among the fans.
Tom Bilyeu is an American public speaker and entrepreneur. He has 1.1 million followers on Instagram. Tom uses the Highlight feature at its best.
Take a look at his Instagram profile:
He has smartly created various categories that represent his brand and business perfectly.
What you can take away is that you can mention your services, products, side hustles, and the stuff you do in life. However, the more related categories you make, the easier it would become to engage the right audience.
Zoe Sugg is a British YouTuber, author, and entrepreneur. He has 9.6 million Instagram followers. She is one of the top YouTubers in the world. She also uses the highlight section quite impressively.
Have a look at her Instagram profile:
If you look at her Instagram profile, you’d notice that she has mentioned whatever her brand represents, for example, she is famous for her baking, beauty, photography, books, and business ideas. Moreover, Zoe has also mentioned her newly-launched app FILMM, which tells us that she understands the importance of this Instagram feature.
So it’s understandable that it’s necessary for everyone who wants to dominate the niche on Instagram must utilize every opportunity to grasp the attention of the audience.
Capitalizing on the feature like “Highlight” would certainly play a role in your Instagram growth.
7. Track Your Content Performance
Content creation is essential to start the engagement process, but keeping track of statistics helps you grow on any social media platform. The reason why you need to track the content performance is that it gives you insight on content performance so that you could move forward with your content strategy.
The Instagram content strategy refers to content planning for creating and posting content on Instagram. There are certain things one should know while developing an Instagram content strategy:
It’s imperative to understand what niche you’re targeting. If you want to target business and entrepreneurship niche, then landscape photography won’t make much of a difference unless you write motivational quotes and inspirational captions along with pictures. Understand your niche and then create content accordingly.
Type of Audience
Once the niche has been selected, you must also figure out what type of audience you want to reach out to. For instance, fitness could be a niche, but there could be many segments in the very niche. You can target people who want to gain weight or you can look out for the audience who wants to lose weight. The more you understand your audience, the better you could shape your Instagram content strategy.
Hashtags are an important element of social media, and they play their role in extending your content reach. The problem with most Instagram accounts is that they opt for generic hashtags that are being widely utilized on the platform. Thus, it reduces the attention-span on your post when the new content keeps on showing up. So you better figure out highly-effective yet less-saturated hashtags trackers in your industry.
One of the key elements of social media success is engagement. The more your content engages the audience, the bigger your reach gets on the platform. Spend at least half of the time on content discovery in overall content creation time, Search on hot topics and trending content worldwide before you start writing one, so the engagement is naturally high. Try to encapsulate as much engagement strategies as possible to increase engagement on Instagram. For instance, reply to the comments, like others’ comments on your content, comment on others’ content, engage in the DM, like and share others’ content, utilize stories, and stay active through the live stream as well.
Once you start paying attention to these Instagram content elements, you’d start to notice a surge in your account’s reach, likes, and followers. But it won’t happen that quickly. What you need to do is keep an eye on your Instagram insights. To enable insights feature on your account, you must convert your personal account to a business account.
Let’s take a look at the insights of my personal account:
I don’t post on Instagram regularly, which can be seen.
But when you start digging into your statistics, you start to learn the behaviors of the content and the reactions of the social media platform towards your content. It gives you a great deal of input to create the next batch of content on Instagram.
I’ve shared various Instagram growth hacks that social media experts and Instagrammers pay close attention to.
You might not have noticed some of these strategies on Instagram, even though, we all follow influencers in our niche.
Tony Robbins suggests in his book “Unlimited Power” to look at the people who are successful, and elicit their success secrets and start applying them.
What it means is that we can takeaway already tried-and-tested strategies of successful people and use them to win.
One of the reasons why most of us don’t grow on Instagram like influencers is that we don’t adapt our strategies over time. On the contrary, influencers keep on experimenting with their Instagram content, posting schedules, stories, live streaming, and other stuff.
Over to you now.
What will you try new after reading these Instagram growth hacks?
Let me know in the comments below.