13
 min read

Grow Engagement on a Small Instagram with 3 Easy Steps 

The world of Instagram really opens up after you hit 10k followers but there's plenty you can do before then! In fact, this post covers a workaround for the "Swipe-up" feature for small accounts.


You are too smart to fall for vanity numbers. You aren't going to buy likes or comments, or followers. You know that doing Instagram the right way is the only way to have a tangible impact on that social platform. You are looking for sales, not an ego boost. But it can feel slow when you first start Instagram. There are loads of features not even offered to you until you hit 10k followers. This post will show you three easy things you can do each day to grow your engagement on Instagram. Because let's face it, you want engagement more than vanity metrics. You want brand ambassadors that will buy your stuff and tell their friends to buy your stuff. Let's jump in! 


Step #1 Create Voice Messages for New Legitimate Followers


When someone follows you, check out their profile and guess if they are just a spam account following you to unfollow you later or if they are a legitimate follower. If they are someone you want to engage with and have engaged with your stuff, follow them back. And then, go to their profile, click "Message," and click on the microphone icon. By clicking the icon, your phone will start recording. Please introduce yourself, thank them for the follow and offer to help in any way you can. It's important not to waste this opportunity by promoting yourself other than mentioning who you are and maybe your brand. Since most of these messages are pretty much the same, you can bang out 10-20 messages in a few minutes. Just keep thanking people for the follow, introducing yourself, etc. If they have already liked a photo of yours or you like something specific about their profile, you can mention that in your message. 


These little voice messages do a lot. First, they are a natural connection opportunity. Instead of a cheap promo or flipping through your feed, the receiver will know that you crafted the message just for them. Second, it sends a signal to Instagram that you and this other profile are connected. Finally, the algorithm will see this interaction and start putting your items higher on the receiver's feed. It's a win-win. 


Step #2 Add Links to Your Website or Services Through IGTV via a Story 


The "Swipe-Up" function is not technically available to accounts under 10k followers. However, there is an easy workaround. If you create a video for IGTV (which only needs to be over a minute), you can put any link in the description. Then, create a Story and link to the IGTV you created. For example, you can craft a Story all about your website, YouTube channel, or anything you want. The "Swipe-Up" function will be there for people to click. That will open to your IGTV (you can only link to an IGTV until you have over 10k followers.) A best practice is to have the IGTV either titled something like "click the link in the description," or you can create the IGTV pointing to the description. Play around with it and make it fun to encourage people to follow the extra steps. If a person clicks the description, that person can then be sent to any URL on the web.


Step #3 Comment Strategically


As a small account, you have the benefit of giving all of your followers attention. If you have less than 500 followers, you can go through and "like" everyone's stuff throughout the day. Most accounts do not post daily. But as you are setting aside a few minutes here and there to like, pay attention to how many comments each post is getting. If you find a post that has five or fewer comments, jump in and say something. If you see a post with 20+ comments, it's not worth your time. Your goal is to increase engagement. If you add a comment on a post that already has 20 comments, you will likely get lost in the crowd. However, if you are one of the first five commenters, you will probably get a reply. And that profile is also more likely to notice you and make a point to comment or like back. So when you are small, take advantage of all the attention you can give other small accounts. 


While growing on Instagram will eventually grow your business, you don't have to wait until you have built a massive audience to start making sales. Giving attention and genuine engagement to your followers will attract lots of profile views. And an increase in profile views means an increase in URL clicking. However, as noted throughout this article, there is an advantage to being a small account. You can give more meaningful interaction to your followers. And that real-world attention to them will reap benefits for you. You might even decide that you don't want to hit 10k followers. It's not about how big your account is; it's about how much value your account has. If you are regularly gaining traffic and sales from Instagram, it no longer matters how many followers you have! 


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