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How To Grow Your Writing Account on Instagram


The question that I receive the most on Instagram is how I grew my account to 60k followers. First of all, those who have been following me since years know that it wasn’t overnight. It took me three years to get there but it was only during the last year that I learned how to beat the IG algorithm and make my content reach more people. Secondly, all my following is organic. Buying followers is a direct act of sabotaging your account, your algorithm and even your art. I will talk about the cons of buying followers later in this post but first, I am sharing some things that helped me grow from 700 followers to 60k in a year. 

I began writing on IG at the end of December 2015, and till March 2017, I had no clue how important it is to switch to a business profile and get the insights of our account. So, until May 2017, I had reached only 300 followers. Now, I had a business profile, I could see insights but still, my page was growing at a snail’s pace. I used to follow all these feature pages and wondered what’s wrong with my content, why doesn’t it get featured ever. By the end of 2017, I learned how the feature pages work (some pages even have special feature guidelines that are mentioned on their page) and right from January 2018, my posts started getting featured and hence, my account began gaining the exposure I had been waiting for. It was hard to put it all in an article but I’ll try to share and explain as much as I can in this post along with the resources (a list of pages that feature writers/poets, and the apps that I use). So, here you go.

1. Content

Your content is what brings you followers, nothing else. If people love your content, especially when it’s relatable, they will surely hit the follow button. Ask yourself what your content has to offer to others? Why should they follow you? Make your content the best you can. Now, sometimes your write-ups are great, your presentation is not. For writers, I would suggest a theme that is simple yet attractive, a font style that is decent—not very fancy, and a font size that is easily readable—neither too big, not too small. I had a habit of typing in fancy fonts until one day my brother casually said how he hates cursive fonts that I realised it’s better to keep fonts simple because there might be so many people out there who don’t even like a font style that we love. 

There are so many of you who share long poems but when you put it on the image, people find it difficult to read without zooming it and hence, the people in the ‘instant’ world of Instagram skip reading it, saving themselves the trouble of zooming and holding onto a picture. So, to grab the reader’s attention, choose 2-4 best lines of your poem and add them to the image as a teaser, writing the full version of the poem in the caption. If the teaser catches their attention, they would surely read the whole poem. If you don’t like writing the poem in the caption, you may make carousel post with a paragraph on each slide.

2. Consistency

Post DAILY. I cannot stress it enough. Even post twice or thrice a day but try not to go a day without posting. It’s okay to repeat older posts if you don’t have new content to share on a particular day. Experiment and choose a time that works best for your posts. Check insights for the same, it would give you an idea of when your followers are most active. If you cannot see insights on your account, please switch to the business profile from settings. 
So, post daily and try to post on the same timings every day. You can even schedule your posts for the entire week if you have a busy lifestyle. I’ll mention the app I use for scheduling posts at the end of this post. 
Also, make use of other IG features. Keep your stories updated, highlight the important ones on your profile. If you can, try going live once in a while or upload IG TV videos.

3. Tags, hashtags, location 

Okay, you posted your content, now what? The reach. How do you make your content appear in searches and explore tabs? You use hashtags. Instagram allows you to enter 30 hashtags in a post (Beware! If you enter more than 30 hashtags in a caption, you will end up losing everything you wrote in the caption). It’s ideal to use 15-25 hashtags in one post. Hashtags will require a little research on your part. When you search for a hashtag look for the number of posts under a particular hashtag. For example, #writingcommunity has 4.8 Million posts while #tribeofpoets has 59.7k posts under it. So, it’s better to choose a combination of popular hashtags and a little less popular hashtags so that when people find and like your post in a popular hashtag, your post becomes capable of showing up in the ‘Top’ posts section in the lesser popular hashtags. 

 


Thus, do your research, select the hashtags and use them. You may either post them in the caption or in the comments. I don't know if it has happened with someone else or not, but my hashtags work more effectively when I add them in the caption itself.

Adding location (as shown in the image) to your post allows it to appear under the entered location tag, providing more exposure to your post. It isn’t really necessary but a good addition to your post.

Now, coming to the most important part—tagging the feature pages. I learned this in 2018 and since then, my posts have gained more exposure than ever. When you create a post, go to the ‘Tag People’ option, tap on the image and start tagging feature pages. There are numerous such pages on Instagram and By Me Poetry, one of my favourite pages, created a list of pages that feature writers. Click here to see the same and save it for reference every time you make a post. When these pages read and find your post great, they share it on their page with credits, hence exposing your art and your account to their followers and many more people. 


One thing you should note here is that people stop tagging them when they see that their work is not getting featured. Understand that these pages receive hundreds of tags each day and they can share only a few of them. If your posts don’t get featured, don’t stop tagging them each day on your posts. You might miss tagging them on a really great, share-worthy piece. Persistence is the key, always.

And please do not mention their handles in the caption. Tag the pages ON THE IMAGE because they are bound to miss your post and its notification if you mention them in the caption instead of tagging on the image. They get uncountable notifications in a day and you wouldn’t want your post to be lost in a sea of notifications.

When you are done with these steps, you are good to go. Click the share button. And once you have shared a post on your page, it’s better to share it on your story as well (see the image), so that more of your followers know that you have updated. Just another IG algorithm thing.





4. Engage 

Did you know there are engagement groups on IG wherein you like and comment on each other’s posts? These groups are good, if you’re just starting on Instagram, for building a writing community and making new writer friends. But last year, there was news that IG tracks the traffic that comes from direct messages on your posts and hence, it was advised not to share your posts with people through Direct Messages for increasing engagement on it. This would only spoil your reach. I would rather suggest you to go out and visit profiles of other writers via hashtag searches or through poets featured on feature pages. Engage with their posts, leave your valuable feedback, DM them and befriend them. Being a part of a community of writer friends is far better than continuing with engagement groups. Also, engagement groups are very very time consuming, and sometimes, full of negativity. So, reaching out and commenting on others post is a great way to let people know your account exists on Instagram without being a part of the engagement groups.

Besides engaging on others' posts, remember to reply to the comments on your posts. You may ask questions in the caption to receive more engaging comments.

Okay, so I have covered most of the things that you should do on a daily basis and it means I have covered all that I have learned yet. If you know more ways, I would love to hear them.
The other things include giveaways, collaboration, etc. but they don’t come under how you can grow your account daily with little steps.

Now, as I said in the beginning, here are some cons of buying followers:
It kills your algorithm terribly because the followers that you buy are bots that just sit in your followers list and do nothing while IG demands engagement on your post from your followers the most.
The followers that you buy have zero interest in your content, writings or your art. They can’t tell you where you’re doing great and where you need to improve.

Even if you play the follow-unfollow strategy, it brings you ghost followers who don’t care about your content and won’t engage with it.

In the end, it’s a journey. You’ll always want more and more followers, likes, comments. You see, the numbers, they are never enough. Just keep creating art to satisfy your soul. Some days you’ll get hundreds of new followers, some other days only a few. Keep going anyway, be true to your art, never stop writing, be persistent and consistent. And always respect yours as well as others’ art. Good luck, you artistic soul!

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Bonus!
Here is the list of apps which I use for editing/creating my Instagram posts:


  1. Pinterest: To find images that can be used to create backgrounds for my writings. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration as well. It’s so full of resources.
  2. Picsart: I have been using Picsart for photo editing for over 7 years and I love it so much!
  3. Over: I use Over sometimes for photo editing and mostly for video editing. I came to know about it recently only and it’s great.
  4. Phonto: The best app for adding text to photos. The best, I repeat. Period.
  5. Buffer: Buffer is the app that I use for scheduling my posts on days I know I am going to be too busy to make a post or just won’t available at my regular post timings. It sends posts with single images on its own to Instagram while for carousel posts, it sets a reminder and copies the caption to your clipboard so that you can immediately make a post on Instagram. If you schedule a post, you will have to manually tag pages on the post from Instagram by tapping the edit post button. I haven’t used it for scheduling videos yet.
  6. IFTTT: When you share your post to Twitter through Instagram, it appears as a link instead of the photo itself. So, IFTTT allows me to share my Instagram photo on Twitter automatically so that the Twitter users don’t have to open the link to see the photo.

Hope this post was useful, do let me know in the comments or through DMs on Instagram at @meetlife240

If you wish to read my book 'Poetic Letters To God', it is available worldwide on following platforms:

Amazon India
Amazon UK
Amazon.com
Flipkart

Comments

  1. I loved this article, i do all these things that you mentioned but reach is still low

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! The problem is that ever since Instagram removed the following activity tab, the reach has gone drastically bad. I guess that’s where people were getting the most traffic from.

      Delete
  2. It was so helpful! I was applying many of these instructions and will definitely implement the rest of them!

    ReplyDelete

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