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7 Ways To Grow Your Instagram Community To 20,000 People

By niallharbison

December 20, 2016 at 12:18am


Yesterday Instagram announced that they had just topped 300 million users and the big news was that they were now bigger than Twitter. You could hear people all over the world saying "shit what is our Instagram strategy?". We've been using it passionately for the last couple of years and have 20,000 people within our community so we thought we'd share a few little things that work for us with a view to helping you start or grow your Instagram. The key is amazing content as always gut the following 7 tips will help too...

1.Timing Is Everything

By trial and error we have been able to figure out what works best for our audience and we stick to it. The three times that we mostly stick to are...

  1. 8am
  2. 12.30pm
  3. 10pm

The first one is when people are either in bed checking their phone in the morning or on the commute to work. We post food photos at lunch time when people are hungry which is a bit of a no brainer. The last one is late at night when people are lounging in front of the TV or having a last look at their phone in bed. We find that people don't really check Instagram in work. Its more of a downtime social activity.

2.Comments Not Likes

The one thing that increases the overall community size is the amount of comments. People liking is fine but when the comments kick off it draws people in from all over the place who then tend to end up liking your profile and staying for the long term. Tagging in comments is very common on Instagram as debates start so encourage it as much as possible with your content.

3.Tagging Is Vital

Just like on Twitter it was the users themselves who started the whole tagging craze on Instagram. It's the reason content spreads so quickly and the network is so strong. The ultimate goal is to share content that is so good people tag their friends. It could be a picture of an exotic beach to escape to or a hilarious meme. Once tagged most people will like your own page to keep getting more of your content.


Facebook is pretty locked down when it comes to competitions and Twitter has so many that it is hard to get any cut through. Instagram on the other hand is like a big deep blue ocean. Competitions (usually the smaller more unique the prize the better) that encourage people to tag friends, comment or like the page always do well. You'd imagine with advertising coming to the platform soon Instagram will start locking this sort of stuff down so jump in while you can.

5.Create A Branded Hashtag

We share a lot of content ourselves but we also use the #lovindublin hashtag to allow people to share their own photos with the community. What it does is it gives photographers more exposure for their photos to a larger audience but it also means that people are coming behind your brand and raising awareness of what you do.

6.Link To Traditional Media Or Events

For many Instagram is their second screen instead of Twitter. When we link in content that is happening on TV, news or in popular sporting or cultural events there is always a huge uplift in likes and community engagement.

7.Bring Instagram Into Your Site

What happens with any social platforms this size is that they start expanding beyond the limits of their own site. For the last year we've encouraged Instagram interaction on our own sites and embedded content all over the place like this. This has without doubt helped us massively grow our numbers and even more crucially our engagement levels.


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