You might have heard this already, it’s not exactly a secret, but… Instagram is kind of a big deal.
So, yeah, like I said… it’s a pretty big deal.
If you’re looking to grow your social media following - whether it’s to build a brand, or just to create a community - you’ve absolutely got to be on Instagram. It’s become a crucial part of developing an online presence, and generally being an influencer online.
Of course, actually building your Instagram following is easier said than done. I mean, sure, I’ve got 315K followers now on my own Instagram (#humblebrag)… but it’s taken me a long time, and a lot of learning, to get to that point.
I want to help shorten that learning curve for you, and the first thing you have to realize is that just using the vanilla Instagram app is not going to get the job done. You need to use a range of other apps to help out. Some will make posting easier, others will make your content pop, but all of them will help you massively to build your following.
On that note, here are the four no-doubt, slam dunk apps that you need to crush for Instagram success.
Reddit calls itself “The Front Page of the Internet” for good reason. It’s a massively popular website (with an excellent app), that - thanks to its upvoting system - provides the quickest possible way to find out what the internet’s talking about.
How should you use it for Instagram success? There are two main ways.
Firstly, whatever niche you’re targeting for your Instagram, it will be present on Reddit, courtesy of a Sub-Reddit. Go on there as often as you can to find out what the hot topics are, and to get a sense for the community you’re trying to tap into. This will hugely inform both the types of content, and the tone of the content which you post on your account.
Secondly, I highly recommend checking the Instagram Sub-Reddit frequently too. It’s a great place to learn tips and tricks, find out about new apps, ask questions, and generally become part of the committed Instagram community.
2. Hype Type
Snapchat came up with a great idea, when they gave people the chance to create short-form content that would quickly disappear. Instagram subsequently… borrowed that idea, in the form of Instagram Stories!
I’m not here to judge, of course - I’m just here to help you get followers. To do so, you absolutely need to be creating Instagram Stories. An estimated 200 million users look at them every day, making them a perfect way to reach a wide audience and let them know exactly what you’re up to.
Lots of people use the built-in filters that Instagram provide, or the cute little puppy face gimmick. I like to take things a step further, with Hype Type.
Hype Type isn’t a complicated app - it basically just adds text over the top of your stories - but visually that text looks phenomenal. Your story can look like it was filmed by Joe Shmoe one minute, and the next - by simply slapping Hype Type text on top - it looks like a piece of advertising art. There’s a wide variety of fonts and colors, and some fantastic animations too.
Hype Type is the easiest way I know of to take your Instagram Stories to the next level.
One of the keys to Instagram success is consistency. Ideally you want to be posting multiple times per day, every day. Of course, sometimes it’s not convenient for you to do so. That’s where Hootsuite comes in.
Hootsuite is a free service that allows you to schedule your posts in advance. If you haven’t got time during the day to hop on Instagram, just take some time in the morning, schedule a few posts in advance, and let Hootsuite post them for you.
This is also a great way to reach people from around the world. If you’re living in the US, but you want to reach people on their rush hour commute in Australia, for example, this is the easiest and most convenient way to do so.
Apologies in advance to the developers, but I’ve got to say this… IFTTT is a terrible name for an app. It’s annoying to type, and even more annoying to say -
“Hey, have you tried out this app?”
“No, what’s it called?”
“Uh… It’s called Ifttttttt.”
“Thanks. I’ll… check it out some time…”
That aside, this is an incredibly helpful little tool!
The beauty of IFTTT (which stands for “If this then that”) lies in its ability to synchronize your social media accounts. Even though this blog post is focused on Instagram, you really should be on multiple platforms for the most possible exposure - Twitter and Facebook at the very least, and perhaps Pinterest and Tumblr too, depending on your audience.
Actually flicking between all your social media apps, to send out essentially the same post from each of them, can be a real pain (yeah yeah, I know - first world problems). IFTTT makes the whole process way more convenient.
Hop onto the main app, choose one of the relevant social media “applets” - like “Tweet Your Instagrams as native photos on Twitter” - give the app the necessary permissions, and it’ll then copy your message automatically to Twitter whenever you post on Instagram. It can do the same for all the other major social media platforms too.
Using IFTTT is a perfect way to help reach a huge range of audiences, across all the major platforms, whilst costing yourself almost no extra time in the process.
Listen, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it’s easy to build an Instagram account. I might have 315k followers on my Instagram (did I mention that already? Anyway, @AndrewDEast - follow me), but they sure as heck didn’t come easily.
You simply can’t be daunted by the task in front of you, however. Don’t be put off when you look at other accounts in your chosen sector, and they all seem to have tens of thousands of followers. Every single one of those accounts started off with exactly 0 followers, just like you. Every single one of those users has had to spend countless hours posting, reaching out to other accounts, and trying out new things that may or may not work.
I also guarantee that the owner of basically every single successful Instagram account out there has used apps to help them along the way. I can’t recommend that enough as a shortcut to success. Start off with the four apps I’ve mentioned here, get comfortable using them, then start to try out new ones for yourself.
Above all else, be consistent in your efforts, and always stay positive! Building an Instagram following is hard work, but it’s incredibly fun too.