Let’s talk about how to grow your Instagram community. Instagram is always changing the algorithm and features. I feel like I can hardly keep up. There are all those tricks out there of how to grow Instagram followers. That’s NOT what I’m going to talk about because a number doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have a community.
If you would rather watch me watercolor letter and paint rainbow giraffes while I share today’s Creatively Confident topic, see the video here:
You can build a community with any number of followers. Of course we want to have a bigger community so that we can have an impact on a greater number of people. However, we can’t buy that natural growth or force it to come faster. We’ll feel so much better about our Instagram if we have real connections and people that become our friends instead of just a number.
You’ll never be able to stop looking at that number. It is a part of Instagram. But if that’s all you focus on, it will never be enough. No matter how many followers you have, you will always want more. No matter how many likes you get on a post, you’ll always be able to get more. We can do our part by posting unique, good quality content, but we can’t control Instagram’s algorithm, so the numbers simply are not accurate.
How do you grow an Instagram community instead of numbers? My biggest advice is to treat people online how you would treat them in person. Sounds simple right? But somehow people tend to think that they get to treat people differently online. That’s just not how it works.
Let’s apply this to real life. Let’s say you have a product that makes hair really pretty and you’re trying to share that with others. You’re at a store and you see a girl with really pretty hair and you think she should like your product. You go up to her and say “Try this product! It makes hair pretty!” She will probably be pretty annoyed and not care at all about your product. Now let’s say instead you go up to her and compliment her on her hair and start asking her about what product she likes and why. She’ll probably talk to you. And if you talk to her each time you see her, showing that you’re interested in her, she’ll probably start being interested in you too and she may end up supporting your product or at least becoming a good friend you can share ideas with. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s definitely going to work better than the first option.
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of comments that look like this, “I do pretty calligraphy! Check out my page!” or “I’m just starting out, it would mean a lot if you looked at my page!” You know what I do with comments like that? Nothing. I’m sure the person who commented that is a great person and they have a lot to offer. However, those kind of comments don’t make me want to be friends with this person. It makes me feel like they don’t care about the content I’m offering, they only care about getting me to click over to their page and following them so that I become another number for them. Nobody likes feeling that way.
I have made so many friends on Instagram and it has blessed my life. My friends are people with 100k followers and people with 50 followers. I have followers who care about what I’m creating and support me in it. No matter how many followers you have, it always feels good to have people support you!
Instead of asking someone to “Please check out my page” try supporting them and treating them like a real person. There was someone recently who was commenting on every one of my posts. Not just “I like this!” but something genuine and unique. I started noticing her because I recognized her fun comments on each post. I felt like she really cared about the content I was offering which made me feel good. I eventually did check out her page and started following her. Because she supported me so much, it made me want to support her. She had less than 100 followers at the time but I’m sure that will grow easily because she’s building a community, not a number.
People love talking about themselves in person, it’s no different online. People want to feel supported. If you want to build a community, start showing people that you are interested in them. Maybe you won’t gain 1000 followers overnight, but you will start to gain real friendships. Those friendships last a lot longer than the high of gaining a burst of followers.
Your comments should be genuine. They should feel like you. If your strength is that you are really funny or sarcastic, work with that. You want to grow a community who will love that about you. Maybe you’re really detailed, kind, talkative, emotional… whatever it is, don’t think you have to act like anyone else just because it seems to be working for them.
The best way to grow on Instagram is by lifting others. This is really the only way that is going to be lasting and meaningful.
Do you agree? What do you want to see in an Instagram community?