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Authentic Online Marketing with Ruthie Gray
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Ep. 25: 4 Ways to grow Instagram followers organically

4 Best ways to grow Instagram followers organically
What you’re about to hear is a clip from my recent growth training Masterclass inside my Facebook group about how to grow Instagram followers organically.  This is solid advice based on what we’ve tested, what our clients and mentorship members are seeing, what I’m using, and what research is showing for 2022.  During the training, I shared 4 solid strategies for growth. 

Today’s episode features sound bytes from the first two strategies in the lesson. You’ll learn about a compelling bio and a content flow which I know you’ll be incentivized to make use of because most users struggle with consistency on the platform. That shouldn’t be the bottleneck to your growth! Want to gain access to the full training, the Growth Masterclass video + full shownotes on ways to grow Instagram followers organically, plus a PDF of 50 growth ideas? Click the follower growth masterclass link at the top of the shownotes to download and get on your way growing your account with new Instagram features in 2022! 

*This episode contains either affiliate links or links to my products. Should you choose to purchase, the show will go on! Woo hoo!

Click below for show notes!

Click below for the follower growth masterclass link!

How to grow Instagram followers organically

You need a compelling bio.

When it comes to the best methods to grow Instagram followers organically, we’ve got to start with the bio. Your bio consists of 150 characters. That’s all you have. Think elevator pitch. You need to get clear on what it is you’re doing and what your message is. 

Use keywords! Keywords are searchable on Instagram. So stuff that bio with keywords about your message. Here’s a handy acronym! WIIFT: what’s in it for them. Don’t just talk about you.

Click to visit Kelly Holmes’ free email course.

Let your audience and your potential followers know what you’re going to give them. What are they going to get from following this account? You have about seven seconds to impress that random person who decides to go check out your page. It needs to be clear so that they know if it is for them, or if it is not.

Here’s some suggestions for that. Here’s a little template. I help _____ do _____ so that _______. Most of my clients and students of my mentorship and my trainings already know about this and they work hard to make their bio clear. We give input and I want you to think about it. Sit down and write your keywords and think, how can I say this succinctly? This will be pivotal in your journey to grow Instagram followers organically.
Here’s another tip: Make your username different than your title.
If your username is Karen Brown and your title is Karen Brown– you’re using up unnecessary space. Say it differently. Karen Brown; attorney at law. Right underneath your profile picture is a place for a title to clarify further what you do.

This will help you to say it concisely as well. Emojis often can say something for your industry instead of using even more words. Some people don’t like emojis, but you can use them sparingly. I would say don’t use a hundred of them. I go on some people’s accounts and they’ve got all these flowers and things like that. Those don’t always help you. You want to be succinct and sparing with your emojis and then have a clear profile of you, not your blog logo. 

Grow Instagram followers organically by incorporating strong visuals

You could try using a consistent background for your images. My profile photo has a transparent background created in Canva.

You can make that white. You can make it green purple, whatever. The lighter usually the better, but it just will help you out or even get a professional photo made!
Omit in your bio cutesy, nebulous jargon, a hundred emojis and information.
People want to know what’s in it for them. You have to make that clear! I always tell my students that we have to do the thinking for them. Seven seconds is not a lot of time. It must be clear.

Content flow. 

Where’s the bottleneck? Oftentimes content flow is where it is. We don’t know what to post and so we’re not consistent. Consider this: we asked three questions when people entered the Authentic Instagram Engagement Facebook group. One, how did you hear about us. Two, what’s your Instagram goal and three, what’s your biggest struggle? 75% of those users (this is from our own research) claimed inconsistency on the platform. That should not be the whole! That should not be the bottleneck, because consistency is a key pillar to gaining traction and growth on Instagram. Inconsistency is one of the biggest roadblocks to growth. I saw this term, a meme recently, 17th century terms,

“Spuddle: to work ineffectively to be extremely busy, while achieving absolutely nothing.”

Oftentimes this is how our Instagram posting goes. Here is a more relevant term Busywork: work that usually appears productive, but actually only keeps one occupied. Sound familiar? If you don’t have a content flow, you may wake up one morning and say, okay, I’m going to post this!

Sometimes we get stuck on how to grow Instagram followers organically. You get all in your head. Like, what am I going to post? This sunset is a great idea, but I don’t know what goes with it. Then you say, oh, maybe I will do a Reel. Then you get all stuck in your head. You need a content flow. I’m going to tell you how to get one! Here’s what’s working now a content flow. 

Using Reels to grow Instagram followers organically

Click to visit our Reels Crash Course and the Reels Personality Quiz!

This is what we suggest to our students for 2022. Based on features that work right now, REELS, you knew I was going to say it. That’s what Instagram is using.

Their competition is TikTok and YouTube. Instagram wants IG to be the go-to for educational purposes as well as entertaining purposes. Use these features! There’s a new collabs feature for Reels. Use a Reels remix, a trending sound, or your own branded content!

Branded content is unusual. It’s unique to you.

Instagram has already said they’re going to be pushing out that unique content. Try doing 30 days of Reels. I have a lot of students that have taken this challenge! This is for when you have some time. But you could take an afternoon and shoot, you know, or you could take five afternoons, five Reels each day or one afternoon, shoot 15, the next afternoon, shoot 15.

Here’s why you want to do that. Number one, to learn about Reels and how they work. Number two, for data. If people don’t respond to your Reels, you’ll know you need to not do those kinds of Reels. And if you do 30 days of Reels and some are responded to, and some aren’t, you’ve got 30 days of data! You have just made your market research and now you’re ready to hone in even, even more on who that avatar is and your verbiage for what you need to say to attract her. Here are three resources to up your Reels game. 

If you are lost, try our Reels personality quiz.

You’re either an educator, encourager, an entertainer. Sometimes you’re two out of three. Sometimes you’re three out of three. 

Then I give you suggestions on how to use Reels based on your personality, because not everybody wants to sing and dance, right? Not everybody is cutesy or funny. Then you’ll get this free checklist of 40 Reels ideas to boost your Instagram presence with. 

Finally we’ve created an Instagram Reels crash course. It’s very low cost. It gives a slide presentation with ideas and examples for what’s going on. There are several videos that I taped showing Reels and how I did them and the features used in Reels and how you can use them too.

That is a very excellent resource. You don’t have to look anywhere else. You could just use that and go from there. Use educational or hot topic carousels that hit a pain point. 

You’ve probably heard me talk about Jamie Bailey on the podcast about gaining a book deal on Instagram through IG hashtags because she learned how to use them. She knows that this is very effective. Use carousels for that education. Or hot topic, pain point kind of things. At the end then say like and save or share. 

Thirdly, go live once a week or once every other week, or maybe you start out once a month, trying to do Reels at the same time the same day, go alone or with a friend, if you really want to expand your reach.

Go live with a friend, colleague, or client, a friend that maybe compliments your brand or enjoys your message. A client could be doing testimonies. We have a gal in our mentorship who goes live once a week. It’s the same day every week.

She answers questions about podcasting. Brilliant. Right? So gather questions somewhere on Instagram or in your email and go live and do that. Maybe it’s a Tip Tuesday. 

Tips for going Live…

  • Use “add reminder” feature 
  • Acknowledge those who show up 
  • Teach something valuable. 
  • Idea: Weekly tip 
  • Publicize your live 
  • Share to feed

That is an excellent feature right now. You could add a reminder!

Then when you’re live it’s acknowledged. Don’t just plow on through and say everything you have to say and get all nervous! It does take time. You have to practice. Many of you are freaking out in the Facebook group because we gave a challenge one day to go live!

But a lot of you took our challenge and that’s how you learn. You learn by doing! So acknowledge those that show up. There’s a handbook which you can tap real easily.

People like to be spoken to and they like to be acknowledged.

Teach something valuable, like a weekly tip, publicize your life, publicize it in stories.

Use the countdown feature. I do that a lot. Send it in your newsletter. Make a feed post about it. Make a Reel about it. Let people know you’re going Live. So they’ll show up and then share it in the feed because a lot of people won’t show up, but they’ll watch the replay later. Here’s how to set a reminder before you share your post under tag people, it says, add reminder, and then you can title.

Like mine was Live with Ruthie. It might be better to title it something that’s very succinct about what you’re going to teach about, like how to keep plants alive. Then you give the start time and once you do this and click done, then Instagram gives a button that people can click on to view the event details from that post. It’s an excellent tool. 

Grow Instagram followers organically by consistently repurposing content

Where are you getting your content from? If you have a weekly blog or podcast, then that’s where you go and you can build on that. For instance, I share the podcast at the top of my funnel. 

Then I go deeper in my newsletter on the podcast topics. I spread out all of that content into my content on Instagram and repurpose through Reels, Carousels, live videos and static posts. Remember that everyone that sees your Reel is not going to see your Carousel and everyone that sees your Carousel is not going to see your live and so on. 

Don’t work harder, work smarter! Repurpose that content, and maybe you’re not creating content right now, but maybe you have old content somewhere!

Old blogs may still be relevant for your avatar.

Go to that content and use it and get this flow down. This is a flow that works for me. It’s a flow that works for many of my clients! Another way that you can get the content flow is by scheduling it. Now, when you schedule your content, you want to post when you’ll be able to respond and interact with comments.

If you’re out shopping at the mall for example, you won’t want to post then because you need to engage. You need to schedule the content when you’re going to have time to engage, but the purpose for scheduling it is to already have your images in there. Have at least a little bit of copy ready and an idea of what you want to write about so that you can tweak that. If you have monthly content, you can just get it all in there or weekly content, and then you can write it on Friday or right before you post, you can write it.

Scheduling tools…

  • Later
  • Fb Publishing tools
  • IG drafts
  • Trello has 30 free images you can share a month. You can store your hashtags in there too and you can publish from there so that you will have all of these. 

I also use Facebook meta business.

You can make your posts, make one post for Facebook and Instagram.

You want to use what works and then for Meta business suite, they also have suggestions for hashtags for Facebook and hashtags on Instagram. So it’s great. 

Two other suggestions, one is Instagram drafts. We cannot make Instagram drafts through laptop, but you can do drafts via mobile. And then Trello is another one.

My good friend, Christa Hutchins is a project manager and she lives and dies by Trello. Some of you might want to use Trello. So that’s another idea. You can keep your hashtags in there and all that.

This is more of a challenge. But this is also a growth challenge masterclass. If you really want to grow, post one to two times a day, or as frequently as you can manage engagement, that sounds like a lot.

I’m only advising five times. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Now, if you’re just getting started or you haven’t been consistent, please back that down to three times a week and just get consistent first. Then, when you can engage, it’s going to be not beneficial for you.

For those of you who want to take a personal challenge to really grow your Instagram post one to two times daily, here are some suggestions for posting one to two times. Maybe you want to do a Reel in the morning and a Carousel in the evening, or you want to do a Carousel in the morning and Live in the afternoon, etc.

Don’t ignore the data. As long as people are responding to your content, continue doing that content. If they’re not responding to it, you need to tweak the content. Test it and tweak it.

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