place to promote your pizza making but it's also one of the most frustrating and deeply un-fair platforms to use. While there are plenty of things you can do to grow your followers and push engagement there are no guarantees and sometimes things just don’t go your way! Your account’s success is controlled by the dreaded Instagram algorithm which is an AI system made by Facebook.
The algorithm decides who see’s your content and it makes its decisions based on a large number of factors which include: The quality of your image, the percentage of people that see it and engage, the word choice in your caption, the frequency and consistency you post, how engaged you’ve been with other accounts that follow you and the number of hashtags you use.
Here are my top 3 tips for making posts that appeal to the algorithm and growing your account to 10K:
Remember that its first and foremost a photography-based social media platform. Bad photography will result in fewer likes and comments and the algorithm can now look at your photo and decide if it likes the look of it. You probably have something very important to you to say but the end user will likely skip by a post if the image is bad. Take your time to stage the photo as best as you can. Use natural light where possible and make use of the editing tools to tweak the image to display nicely on people’s feed. I generally drop the brightness slightly, gently boost the structure up a few points and then tweak the highlights and shadows first. Then I bump the saturation up until the red’s in the tomato sauce look realistic. Red tends to come out much more subdued than in real life. Finally use the Sharpening tool to help enhance the image detail to look more appealing. Sharpening helps bring out finer detail like shine on the sauce and grated parmesan.
Remember it’s social! Instagram ranks you as a user based on how many hours you’ve been on the app and how engaged you’ve been. Make sure that ahead of any posts you have clocked some time interacting with people you follow and preferably people that follow you. Stay on top of comments people have left you. You don’t need to go mad here but do remember - it's not a broadcast only platform. If you don’t play nicely with other accounts then your account will not perform well.
Leverage larger accounts. By far the largest growth i've had on my account is from shout-outs and re-posts from accounts larger than mine. Chose accounts that you love and take the time to make the recipes they have created. Don't riff on them - literally make the recipe. If people make my vegan mozzarella recipe and put up a story or post that uses it I will share it to my stories and they get seen my my followers. I’m less likely to re-post if the person has deviated from my recipe. Similarly, if you have a brand that you love to use then promote the hell out of it - chances are you’ll get a re-post on the brand's feed and exposure for your own account. Chose these accounts carefully and never back products and accounts you don’t actually LOVE.
In addition to the above - focus on being a HIGH VALUE follower to the the accounts you follow. Take the time to leave meaningful comments on other accounts and help them out by being conversational. If you post a comment it's always appreciated but if you comment something complimentary AND also ask a question if allows the author to reply and drive their post engagement up. Every comment counts as engagement and these interactions make and break the success of a post. Continually supporting accounts that are larger than yours won’t go un-noticed.
Finally - NEVER ghost. Unfollow any accounts you find yourself never hitting like on. You should only follow accounts you tend to routinely love the content of. Skipping by loads of posts each day tells instagram you're an unengaged user and demotes your account and damages its performance.
I hope these tips and advice help. At its core the success of an Instagram account that is under 10K is about RECIPROCITY. Be nice to others and you will be rewarded.