Instagram is hands-down one of the most popular social media networks. There is so much available attention to capture, which is why building a large following is such a top priority for brands and individuals.
A friend of mine, Jessica Sorkin, better known as @thehandyj on Instagram, has built a very engaged following of more than 277,000 in a very short period of time. Warning: some of her content is NSFW.
She received her masters in marriage and family therapy, but discovered the best therapy was laughter and found she could bring lots of laughter to a large amount of people at once through social media. She doesn’t take herself too seriously and doesn’t have a problem making fun of herself at the expense of making people laugh. She has grown her Instagram account in order to connect, interact and share a laugh with as many people as possible. Here are her eight tips that contributed to growing her following to more than a quarter-million followers.
1. Pick a theme and stay consistent.
There are plenty of accounts so I had to think about what made my voice different. I decided I would grow my account using self-deprecating shock humor with a sexually-charged, unabashed female voice.
Everything I post has the same purpose: to make people laugh, in the same unapologetic, self-deprecating voice. You have to be consistent in order for your followers to stay engaged. If you are inconsistent they will unfollow you.
2. Keep your posting schedule consistent.
You need to post at least once a day. You can’t grow if you don’t post for a week or a few days here and there. Your followers will come to expect your content so it’s important that you constantly deliver what they want.
Every post is an opportunity to attract new followers. For instance, every time I post, I get at the very least 300 comments. About 95 percent have tagged someone else they felt would appreciate what I’ve posted. That new person is then notified and they see the meme they were tagged on, introducing them to my account. If they connect with it, I gain a new follower.
3. Use well thought out hashtags.
With the new algorithm, hashtags have become very valuable. You need to research relevant and trending hashtags for your target audience. The most popular ones, if too vague, will be inundated within seconds. Remember, only 30 hashtags per post — I always use all 30.
I have a list of the most effective ones saved — I simply copy and paste them into the comments after I post. Do not put them in the caption of the post, as it deters from the message.
4. Use Instagram’s geotag feature.
Geotag your photos — places you’re at or places where your target audience would be at. For example, when I post a meme about coffee, I tag Starbucks. That way people who are into Starbucks and search that geotag will see my meme about coffee and maybe get a laugh and give me a follow.
5. Post at optimal times for your audience.
If you’re in Los Angeles and you post when you wake up you may have missed all the East Coasters who scroll their Instagram feed when they wake up. You need to research when your audience is most likely to be scrolling and post at those times.
For me, I’ve noticed based on my analytics that people tend to scroll funny meme accounts at night before bed. I see the most activity on my last ones that are kept up overnight. I always post my best ones to coincide with bedtime across all time zones.
6. Make your content pleasing and shareable.
Not only should your content be relatable and interesting, but it should also be aesthetically pleasing and shareable. Nobody is going to screenshot your perfectly worded, hilarious meme if your watermark is boldly printed across the whole thing. Who wants to share that?
If someone wants to repost your beautiful image, but you’re running a huge ad or promo over it nobody is going to repost it. When people repost my memes and credit my account they’re actually growing my account for me.
7. Watermark all original content.
Watermark all original content so people know who the credit should go to if they do share it. People are going to screenshot and repost your pics, so you need to protect your original content so you get credit and thus exposure. Create a watermark that’s legible but not bothersome.
8. Tag larger relevant accounts in your photos.
If I create a meme about Beyoncé then I may tag her, her manager, E-News, pop culture accounts, comedy accounts, etc. This notifies them that such a thing exists and perhaps give me a follow — and if I am lucky they repost me with credit to their much larger following, attracting more exposure.