• Mia Cosco

Organic Instagram Growth In 2020 (50 New Follows Per Week!)

How the Instagram algorithm works and what you can do to be on top of it.

Instagram, like any big tech company, wants users on the app for as long as possible and Instagram will rank you higher in the search and recommend you more to people when you encourage engagement. Engage meaningfully with at least 4-word comments because that’s the minimum threshold for engagement on a post that seems meaningful to Instagram and really use Story features! This means polls, questions, even location services and tagging other accounts.

Instagram has its own built-in analytics which is such an amazing tip if you want to be essentially using any data or trends from your followers. That means that if your followers are mostly all on at a certain time of day, you wanna be posting before that peak so that they have time to all see it. Look at your analytics and figure out where the vast majority of your audiences from, what their gender is, when they’re online, and what posts of yours specifically have been the biggest hits for them. Replicate your biggest hits and also do some research on the top 10 influencers in your niche and what were their biggest hits so that you can have an inspiration file of maybe 100 posts that were the biggest hits of the biggest influencers in your niche so that you can be creating your content purposefully and meaningfully to drive organic growth.

People have a scrolling addiction unfortunately and this is why people blame social media as the bane of their existence. I could go into that totally on a separate video which is something I actually touch on here in this video, but essentially what I mean to say is that scrolling addiction can be used to your benefit by actually developing really incredible hooks in your captions. Similar to when you’re scrolling through your newsfeed or you’re reading a book and you find a word that catches your eye or a sentence that makes you very curious to know what it says, a hook is the same thing. Similar to the knowledge of copywriters and email marking, Instagram is no different. When you’re developing the first sentence in your caption of any post that you put on Instagram, make sure that it’s bold and playful in a way where, you’re not just saying something that’s completely off-brand and ridiculous and presumptuous, but you’re saying something that is maybe a really compelling piece of research in your niche that people wouldn’t typically be aware of, like if you are a relationship coach and you talk about how many people lie on their first dates or if your career coach and you talk about how many people lie in their interviews when they go in for employment. Something like 'did you know 78% of people lie in their interview?' or 'did you know that 58% of people lie on their first date?' are just two examples of research or statistic based hooks that will capture probably many readers his eyes and will definitely captivate your audience. When you do that by the way, don’t just run people around and make sure that you’re actually posting a caption that’s relevant below that and you’re actually expanding on that hook.

Similar to the scrolling addiction piece that I just mentioned, you want to be posting consistently so that as you show up for people even over the Internet, they can show up for you. Now, I’m not a huge fan of making sure that your aesthetic or she looks perfectly pelleted or that your colors and fonts are exactly the same. I think that is very important and I think it builds a feed that looks pleasing to the eye at least, however, it’s not a guaranteed win and it has no bearing on the actual hashtags, API, or algorithm that will scientifically get you boosted to grow organically on Instagram. So the most important thing to know here is that aesthetic only needs to go so far as your posts are clear, so that means a really clear font like Playfair or Garamond and not some pretty scroll font and ideally colors that are as contrasting as possible like black and white or red and blue. This will stand out as people scroll and will cause people to really pause and actually take a look at the beautiful content that you posted.

Now, when you’re getting started, you probably want to be creating a lot of your own content so that you grow organically by boosting original content and people are sharing your valuable, one-of-a-kind content. However, as you probably gain more followers and consistent posting it’s a little bit harder to do, you’re going to want to be probably curating more of your content. So what this means is you’re going to want to be saving posts from similar influencers to you in your niche and sharing quotes, content, and even graphs or something like that mostly to just take some work off of yourself and lighten the load on your own psyche.

My next tip is huge here and this is basically something I tell all of my clients and anyone who actually wants to grow organically on Instagram who knows there is more to life than just buying bots or buying followers. Post on brand and relevant to your niche! What does this mean?

So here’s what I did over the years of having Instagram.

I started my Instagram account in 2013 and I was just getting started with it and didn’t really care what I was doing. However, my follower base really grew in 2017 when I started posting more and more pictures of my travels and not only were these just beautiful pictures, but I was also tagging the location so make sure to use those location services so that people all over the world can be looking at your recent post and engaging with it. I also found that in 2018, my following really grew because I was just following more people and, over the years, I just developed a really foolproof strategy in making sure that I have at least 30 hashtags in each post because that’s the maximum that you can use per post and you want to be using hashtags.

Now, there really is a science to hashtags. First of all, you don’t want to be using the same hashtags in each post. There is a phenomenon called shadow banning and if you use the same group of hashtags or even just the same hashtags in the same posts over and over and over again, you potentially run the risk of being flagged for spam even if you’re a completely legit and credible account. So what I would do if I were you, is I would keep a bank of at least 2 to 4 hashtag groups in your niche and there is an even deeper science to this. Make sure that the hashtags you’re using are actually relevant to your brand, so if you are a female entrepreneur and targeting other female entrepreneurs, you want to be using hashtags like #LadyOnHerGrind or #BossBabe and make sure that your content actually fits that hashtag. If I am posting a photo of myself at the office and I use a hashtag that’s something like #CatsOfInstagram, one - people actually do look up specific hashtags and follow hashtags for content that they can engage with and two - that hashtag is not relevant to the actual photo or piece of content. So make sure that you’re using that discernment when you’re posting and also make sure that you’re using hashtags that aren’t used by millions of people. For example, if you are an Instagram account with less than 10,000 followers, you are the majority of Instagram users probably and you want to be actually using 30 hashtags and most of them are probably only going to be used a few thousand or tens of thousands of times. If you are a smalltime account and you use a hugely used hashtag like #Love, you are just going to get drowned in the content and people will not actually engage with you because it’s just such a widely used term. You will be better off by actually only using niche hashtags so that you can actually be given the proper time and space when people are looking through their feed and they’ve followed hashtags and they see your piece of content come up in the recent feed. Now, the last piece to do on this front is actually to be following your own hashtags. You want to be doing that just for the purpose of curating your content in the future and getting inspiration from highly shareable content that gets dropped with those hashtags.

OK, so that’s enough about hashtags and I swear that’s all I will say about that probably ever going forward unless Instagram changes their API.

This is probably the biggest tip if you have still done everything that I’ve said or you are sitting here saying that you’ve tried everything that I’ve already listed and you’re still scratching your head. I noticed a lot of small-time Instagram accounts that are not growing are typically following thousands and thousands of people and influencers, however the actual small-time Instagram accounts that are growing exponentially usually only follow a few people.

In 2018, I stumbled upon the greatest piece of advice I am now going to share with you and how I grew my Instagram organically yet very fast. So this piece of advice I’m gonna drop right here actually turbocharges your Instagram.

Follow similar accounts to yours so that you are suggested. I swear by this. In 2018, I started to really minimize my life and so I actually minimize the number of people I was following on Instagram and I really just started unfollowing accounts that were spamming my feed or were posting content that either was inappropriate or straight-up uninteresting to me and I really kept just a small circle of friends and family that I actually followed along with influencers that inspired me. One day, I randomly started following a bunch of really top influencers like Richard Branson and Tony Robbins and Oprah and, even though I’m not a huge entrepreneur and like Richard Branson or a media personality like Oprah or even a huge well-known coach like Tony Robbins, as soon as I started expanding my just tiny follower network to following these huge accounts, suddenly I actually noticed my following explode overnight. Without paying a dime for any bought or any service to bump up my followers at all, I started noticing hundreds of random organic followers following me every day. I got really curious and wondered why so I actually went to some of these new accounts that I was following of these major major international influencers and thought leaders and I started to notice that when I looked at the suggested accounts to follow underneath their account info on there Instagram bio and profile, I suddenly saw my name.

That’s right - I actually saw my name.

This meant that because I was only following a select group of people and this included some major thought leaders, my Instagram suddenly started to recommend me to people who are following these major thought leaders with millions and millions of followers so people were coming to me in droves because I was suggested it through them. It was wild.

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