5 Strategies To Grow Your Instagram

Instagram offers a unique opportunity to drive traffic towards your writing.

I started Perceive More! in mid-January because it seemed like the most logical step for me to take in growing my online writing presence. When I started the publication, I questioned what would be the best social media platform for me to advertise my pieces on. Twitter and Facebook seemed like good choices because they offered the ability to write posts where you could link the pieces below but they didn’t seem like platforms where I could quickly grow. I decided to create an Instagram account for my publication with the hope that I would quickly gain a following and easily find others to follow. The first couple of weeks I saw little traction, outside of friends and family, until I started to implement a few strategies that have allowed me to consistently gain 50–60 new followers per week.

Interact with Accounts

When you first start off on Instagram, you need to interact with the accounts you want to follow you. You can’t just spam a user’s account with likes. You need to comment on their pieces, view their stories, and IM them about their page. You want to let them know that you find their work engaging and thought-provoking. People are far more likely to follow you back if they know you care about the work that they are putting out. It’s also important to consistently like their work. They are more likely to return the favor.

Create a Distinct Look

Your Instagram needs to stand out from the myriad of other writing accounts. Avoid taking screenshots of your stories. When I first started out on Instagram, I was taking screenshots and it made my page look disorganized and chaotic. You want your page to flow nicely and give people a reason to come back to it. Focus your efforts on taking the most memorable quote from a piece and center your posts around that. People are more inclined to read a quote than they are a paragraph.

Perceive More! prior to a streamlined look
Perceive More! Today

To achieve this, look into creating your own logo and coming up with templates for your post. This ensures that your page will have a clean and good-looking aesthetic.

I created my logo on Wix where I was able to get downloadable files for a multitude of platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and email. The total cost came to $99 to create my logo. Creating templates for all of my posts was done on Adobe Spark Post. The program allows you to choose from thousands of templates to make your posts truly stand out. I decided on three templates that I use for all of my posts to give my page a uniform and tidy look. It’s important to pick a color scheme early on for your page and maintain it throughout your posts.

Utilize Linking Services to Track Traffic

Instagram does not allow you to embed links in your post and placing your publication’s Medium link only goes so far. I recommend utilizing a service like Linktree to drive traffic towards your post. The service allows you to post an unlimited amount of links into one link and tracks how many clicks and visitors are being driven there. I use Linktree to advertise the latest post. Whenever I post a piece, I also put a new link into Linktree so people can easily find the story to read.

Create a Business Instagram Account

When you first set up your Instagram account, make sure that it is a business one. This allows you to analyze far more data than you get with a regular account. Once you hit 100 followers, you are able to look at accounts reached, content interactions, your audience, content shared, and your stories over the past 7 or 30 days. You are also able to create promotions through Facebook advertising if you feel a piece can go further through paid advertisement. From experience, I would recommend against advertising your page until you have more of a following. People are less likely to follow an account that is just starting out.

Be Authentic

Instagram has a reputation of being a place where things feel less than sincere; a place where everyone is wearing rose-colored glasses. Your page needs to feel genuine. You can achieve that by being humble and relatable. Thank your followers when you reach milestones. Maybe that includes creating a post when you hit 500 followers or creating stories asking your followers their opinions on topics. The key is to not have your Instagram feel static or robotic. Post often and reply to your followers if they comment on your pieces. The more that your page feels like a community the more likely your followers are to enjoy your posts.

Instagram can be a great way to drive traffic to your writing but you have to work for it. Create engaging pieces that align with your writing’s mission and embrace the writing community on Instagram. And if you haven’t already, follow Perceive More! to become a part of our community!

A writer who focuses on pieces about race, politics, culture, and technology — among other topics. Editor-in-chief of Perceive More!

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