2021 Guide to Growing Your Instagram | Brennen Higgins | Skillshare

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2021 Guide to Growing Your Instagram

teacher avatar Brennen Higgins, Everything video and photo related!

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Intro to growing on Instagram

    • 2. Finding your niche

    • 3. Reaching out to likeminded people

    • 4. Gaining your first 1000 followers

    • 5. How to use the Instagram Algorithm when posting

    • 6. When and how to use hashtags

    • 7. Hacks for finding your demographic

    • 8. Best time to post to maximize traffic

    • 9. Organically growing through likes and comments

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About This Class

Lets talk about some way to not only grow your Instagram, but sustain it as well. We will go over everything from gaining followers, when to post, what hashtags to use and ultimately how to make an Instagram grow!

So lets dive right in!

Meet Your Teacher

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Brennen Higgins

Everything video and photo related!


Hello, my names Brennen Higgins. I'm here to teach you everything you need to know about cameras, photography and film. I've always had a passion for photography and film, so much so that I went to school for it. I received my bachelors in Film and Photography and hope my skills and knowledge can benefit others!

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1. Intro to growing on Instagram: So if you're wanting to start at Instagram in 2021, there's a couple of important things you need to know. So if you're a small business or just a normal person looking for a new Instagram. Let's talk about everything you need to know to grow it. 2. Finding your niche: So the first thing you need to do if you're starting a new Instagram is you needed to decide what your niches. So works the same if you're doing photography or if you're doing a business, or depending on whatever you're doing, it all works the same. Find your niche though, because it's going to be a lot easier to grow and you know, specifically what you're doing and what you're posting. So let's go ahead and hop into my Instagram real quick. So I personally do photography. So the first thing that I decided is I'm going to do photography and you need to find my niche. So I personally ended black and white photography. The main reason is because byline photography always kinda blends well together no matter what you're doing. So it's an easy way to make your page aesthetically pleasing. So just kinda go through, I also go through a pattern where I go three vertical, horizontal. And the reason for that is it just gives the page a nice look to it. And if your pages aesthetically pleasing, it's easier to follow you and it's easier to get followers and that way. So I would say find your niche, find what types of photos you want to take, whether there's specific colors or wherever you want to do, or if you're doing like a bakery. Predominantly post photos of what you making and all this stuff. You know, you don't need access to. Just narrow it down to that specific niche. 3. Reaching out to likeminded people: So the second step to growing your Instagram is finding like-minded people like yourself. So the best way to do that is let's go ahead and hop and Instagram. So now what you're going to want to do is you're going to want to search like-minded people. So for me, since I'm doing black and white photography, I want to search people that I find the most interesting for black and white photography. So me personally, for instance, I love Allan shallow, JSON Peterson degrade. So let's go ahead and hop into one of them. And the easiest way to see is these are people who are very, very successful right now. So kind of get an idea, well, what about them? Makes them successful? You know, their page very similar to mine, has that kinda same fields. So if I like this person and I kind of want to emulate how their whole setup is gone. And I want to emulate, you know, their progression for getting followers and all this stuff. You know, you're going to want to get some advice and some tricks from them so that you can reach out to him too. So I'm not saying copy these people. I'm just saying this is your inspiration. What did they do to get there? So, you know, gauge where you're looking at, for instance, like I told you with the NIF card, everything. Alan shallow does black and white photography. So you don't see any light colors thrown and you don't see anything that's off putting. Everything flows really nicely through his Instagram and that's why he gains a lot of followers. That's photos are really great. Same with like Jason Peterson is everything he does. Black and white photography videos that all blends in really well together. And they're all very, very high-quality photos and he takes time on them. So, you know, you know, if they're doing black when I photography and I'm doing black line photography, if I kinda follow that whole game plan that they had, it's easier to grow that way. So now it doesn't work just for photography though. Let's say you're doing a bakery. Go look at whoever you find the most interesting that does baking, videos, photos, wherever they do. So when it has lot of followers and see what is working well for them, That's like one of the biggest tips I can give you. Same with like let's say you're trying to be an Instagram model and we'll find somebody that you like and you want to emulate. You know, that's how all great photographers happen. You know, there's always somebody that inspires them. Find somebody that inspires you, somebody that you kinda like to emulate. I'm just kinda repeat it. So once you find that person, just kinda get some ideas and some tips and some hence from them. And you'd be surprised on Instagram, a lot of people you would DM, they actually respond to use. So you might get some responses actually giving you some help from people that you really like and you really like to follow. Now in the third video, Let's talk about getting your first 100 followers. 4. Gaining your first 1000 followers: So let's talk about your first one thousand followers and the easiest way to get there. So me personally, I got to 1000 followers right at around three weeks. So the method I'll explain to you is not the best for long-term, but if you're looking for a short-term gain in something to Ghana get stable and you get some followers and you get some traction. I found that this is the easiest way. So we're going to do the following unfollow method. So the way you're gonna do this is find somebody that you like me. It's Alan shallow. He does similar photos to me. I like black and white. He does black and white. So what you're gonna do is go to somebody that's relative to what you're doing. Now, don't follow the people that follow them. But what you're gonna do instead is go to their liking on their photos and follow those people. Because the reasoning is those people that are liking his photos means that those people are engaged in, those people are actually active on Instagram. So there's a higher chance that they'll follow you back. And it's not uncommon if you follow a couple of a 100 people that you'll get 50 or 60 followers. But again, if you're gonna do this, make sure you do have some posts to kind of give an idea of what you are doing and you know your tie graphy F5.6, 10 photos up already. So be prepared for that. But that's like the easiest tip to getting your first one thousand. So that's your first 11000 followers. Now let's talk about when you need to do after that first one thousand to continue to grow your Instagram. 5. How to use the Instagram Algorithm when posting: So when you're continuing to grow, you're going to want to look at the algorithm and what is best for the algorithm. And what I have found personally is for my Instagram. In most people's Instagram I've seen is hosting three times a week and three stories is the most important thing. So now that you've got your basis and you have your first 11000 followers, everything's going okay. Let's talk about the actual most important thing and that's the Instagram algorithm. Now, the number one thing that is most important for the algorithm is you have to be consistent on what you post. I would recommend trying to post three times a week and three stories on top of that. I know it sounds like a lot, but if you consistently posting say like Monday, Wednesday, Friday in your posting a story, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, There's six days a year on that Instagram platform and 6 six days that you're on that page. And whenever you are consistently putting out stuff, the algorithm kinda works in your benefit and all of a sudden your photos kind of they go higher up on the, on whatever you're putting in your hashtags or the people that follow you see your photos more. You know, they're not here, they're sporadic. It's a consistent pays. So I would say consistency is the biggest key to continuing to grow. Its not too many that people dislike. And it's not too many posts that it's too much that people get sick of you. And it's not too many stories that it's too much being put out there. It's kind of just the right number. I think it's really good engagement, but like I said, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, do it for eight or 10 weeks in a row and you'll see the difference in your growth in your Instagram. So I can send the last video what I did for my first 100 as I did the follow and unfollow method. Once I got there, I consistently post three times a week. And though you're not going to get crazy numbers like a million followers, 2 million followers, you will see consistent growth. So over that course of the last six months, I've kinda went from 100 to what is now 8,100. That's not following people every day and unfollowing people every day. That's just consistent growth. I meant like around two to 3% per month or per week that my followers will go up. So if you think compounded, if you up 2% this week, 2% next week, 2 percent next week, it's a slow but steady growth. And once you get to that 40 or 50 thousand followers and you're talking about 2% becomes a lot of followers daily that you're going to be increasing by. So the thing that I've seen with stories is I'll always will ask stories with questions. It's always really good for engagement. More people that engage with your stories, the easier it is for you store to get pushed on it is for you to go in that algorithm, like I was saying. So it can be something very simple. I'll put out a story of one of my posts. I won't say, hey, go like this photo. But I'll put, Hey, what's your favorite movie? What's your favorite thing to do? And I don't know how ever you want to say whatever questions you wanna ask. But it's an easy way for your audience to be engaged with you. And then you get to know them. They get to know you guys can have conversations in the chat. It's easier to get that audience and it's easier to grow whenever you have people that actually like you saw and make your poster of some type of importance. If you're doing photography like me, post photos that you only really like, put captions or you only really want. Because if you're putting fake captions and you're talking about, I don't know, motivational speaker and you know, a motivational speaker, people are going to see you're not a motivational speaker. And he put photos, photography, and you love photography. People are going to see that you love photography. So that's like kind of underrated, but I don't understand. People don't don't get that like be yourself. So don't overdo anything. Just resolve toasts what you want. And then you have to think, what do you do that benefits them. So if you're putting a posa, make sure it's a good posts. If you're putting a story out and make sure it's engaging, say add all comes onto that consistency. And making sure you're putting out more than you're getting back. So give your posts some type of importance and answer any questions. And your story is that you can communicate with as many people as you can. That's like one of the biggest tips you can have for growing your Instagram. 6. When and how to use hashtags: Let's talk about hashtags in your posts now. And what do you wanna do with hashtags? Where should you put them? How many should you put a lot of information that it's kind of hard to understand and there's no like book on how to use hashtags. So I've noticed with hashtags, me personally, the more common hashtags like let's say hashtag photography or a hashtag you having fun or hashtag funny. Those don't do as much for you as something more specific. So I would specify your hashtag. So like instead of me putting hashtag photography, I put maybe hashtag black and white photography, or let's say I'm taking a photo in Vienna, Austria. I don't know. I don't know. Hashtag, black and white, Vietnam or something like that. Something that's more specific. Because if it's more specific, There's a better chance that you're going to find something related to that. And for me, I think most people, the easiest way to use a hashtag is have you ever seen a photo that it has a caption and then you'll look down. It has dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, all the hashtags. Though this does work. I have found it easier if you put the hashtags actually in the caption. So let's say I'm hanging out with my friends, maybe pull like I'm hanging out with my friends. So like Incorporated actually enter the caption. So let's I'm taking a photo and like I said, Vienna. I'm put, oh, I love taking photos in Vienna, Austria. And so I'd put, oh, I love to hashtag, take photos and hashtag VM, a hashtag Australia. So incorporate those actual hashtags into your captions if you can. I find that in the algorithm is easier to get it pushed out that way too. So you might just get, I don't know whether it's 10, 2050, 80 likes extra. If you're having any type of more engagement, for me, at least That's always better. So more engagement is always better than if your goal is to grow as quick as you can. And we take advantage of everything we can. So put those hashtags actually in your captions and helps out a lot. And I would never go to that maxed 30 that you can put. I would stay somewhere between 10 and 15. I've always found to be the best once I hit 30, it actually seems like it negatively affects my photo. I don't know. That's just kinda how the algorithm is. I would say more than that, like 10 to 15 range really pushes your photo out more. So that's like a small thing, but ash eggs are important. And if you get, like I said, even a couple of followers per photo of Harlem. Editing you can get helps. 7. Hacks for finding your demographic: So now let's talk about your demographics. And now you wouldn't think demographics really necessarily matters. But it's actually super, super important. So let me explain this. So we're gonna wanna do is once you get a 100 and followers, change your profile to like a professional account. And so it obviously doesn't cost anything, but you can see insides. So what you would do is go down to this little three-bar menu on the top right of my phone. Click it and go to insight. And we'll scroll down a total followers. And what you're gonna do a total followers is scroll all the way down and you can actually see demographics on everything that you have. So I can see that 65 percent of my audiences male, Thirty-five percent is women. I can see the average age range is between 25 and 34 for me, next closest is actually a 34 or 35 to 40 4 into me. I wouldn't ever have known that if I had not looked at this insight. So actually, I would need to year my photos and more towards an older demographic instead of a younger demographic. So those really small things can actually make a huge difference. And also yet for book, main country of course, is US goods whenever prom, but that's only at 18.9% though. Really, if you think about it, that's only one out of five people that follow me or is an American. So let's say I'm posting something about America or something like that. That would only be 20 percent of my audience that would engage with that. So that's why I'm saying, find out what your engagements are as well and kind of dictate what you're posting through that as well. That's a really great way. Like I said, if I'm posting something for somebody, you know, you think Instagram was very young. So you're thinking all of my posts need to be somewhere for an 18-year-old. And I look at my demographics and I see, oh, actually, my average between 25 and 40 for going to post more mature cells. So I don't have to think of like appointee caption or something, you know, I can I can think like a normal 30-year-old, their normal 40-year-old. Instead of having a think the opposite and think, Oh, I need to think of something funny that 18-year-old would laugh at, you know, because it's totally different. So you just have to thank, find out what that audiences once you hit a 100 and followers, then that's super, super, super beneficial. And if you have so much, for me personally, I have so many different countries follow me that I loved doing travel photography. So for me, that benefits me a lot. So all my black and white photography, there are a lot of different locations. And through being in a lot of different locations, it's allowed me to grow a lot quicker just because I have so many different countries, you know, it's not all from America, are all from Canada or Mexico or wherever year, wherever your audiences from. So it's like really, really, kinda helpful tips that nobody really ever talks about actually. And it's like such a helpful tool. Use it to your advantage. Now let's talk about best times to post. 8. Best time to post to maximize traffic: So one is the best time for you to post. So much like the last video where we talked about demographics. Let's talk about the features that Instagram actually gives you. So you can go to N side again, go to total followers, scroll all the way down and you can actually see on the very bottom most active times and will tell you if you click on a time, what times of the day would be best for you to post. And this is totally free and it's a two on Instagram that you should definitely take advantage of. So typically, like I had posts at noon and now that I'm looking at this, actually noon is when the decline starts to go. So I actually should probably start posting at six AM because at six AM it starts to peak nine and 12 It's like at the peak. Peak. So really I should be uploading even earlier than I do. So I would use this advantage. Now you can also go day by day, which is great. So you can look at Wednesday's best time is, again, pretty much same time wears. Thursdays are the same as you can see, Fridays dip more towards the later days, later times the days. And the great thing about this, as I told you, you know, three times a week consistently, let's say you do Monday, Wednesday, Friday. You can actually look and find the three most specific days that are best suited for you. And you could also change it from hours to days. And it will literally tell you when it's most active. So actually, for me, for two people that follow me, the most consistent days are actually almost every single day. So you're looking at daily. Wednesday, Thursday, and Monday are the most consistent. So maybe those are the three days that I want to upload because that's when you have the best chance of getting scene as well as when your Instagram is most active, people's Instagram and follow your most active. So definitely use that to your advantage to that is such a great tool. And this whole, this whole tool in general is great. So we can also change from seven days to the last 30 days. I can tell you day-by-day what's the best time? So again, my average for the 30 days, the best days, again, a Thursday, actually Friday for the month and Monday. So it's pretty consistent data. And much like the demographics, I would have thought my audience was younger, whereas I would have thought I probably should have been uploading on like a Saturday and Friday, whereas in reality, those are actually some of the slower days that I have. So really helpful to use that to your advantage as well. 9. Organically growing through likes and comments: So the last thing and possibly the most important thing, is people who you're engaging with. Make sure you are consistently putting out comments and likes on their photos. So people that engage with you, make sure you're engaging with them. Don't let it be a one-way street. And people that you really like or inspire to be like. For instance, I love Allan shallower, as I said earlier, comment on their photos like their photos, like like-minded people's photos, you know, get conversations going because interaction is the most important thing. And think of Instagram like you would a business. So most businesses rely on like customer service. So think of that as I want to put out as much as I can and I personally want to like, be as beneficial as I can and I want to communicate as much as I can and I want to have conversations with all these people. And interim and doing that, it helps you grow so quick and you meet some really amazing people. And if you do meet these people, you know, you never know what that could lead to. You know, you meet somebody with 40000 followers that you guys headed off the earlier conversations, they might shout you out, they might post one of your photos on their stories. So these people that you like don't be fake about it, but be honest and the people that you really like, let them know and tell them what you like about their photos, tell them what you like about their craft or whatever they're doing. And it's so beneficial and it's easiest way. I mean, you can grow thousands like that. So that's it. Go grow your Instagram.