26 Feb How I Promote My Art
Learn the secrets how I got my first 1000 Instagram followers in just 30 days with NO follower automation software!
It all started at the beginning of June 2016, when i decided to put together a marketing campaign with the goal to gain online recognition for my art, and as you know if you want to do that you need to be on the most popular social networks.
I started by putting together a list of all my competitors and people that could help me, using the Instagram platform, these would become my starter list for gaining new targeted followers.
Targeting on Instagram is very important, as without targeting you will find it very difficult to build an Instagram profile that has high engagement for what you are posting.
My first secret tool is a service called websta.me, this is a desktop service currently that allows you to see the engagement levels of any Instagram profile, in the free version you can see the engagement levels of the last 20 images of any Instagram profile!
You can also see the top 3 performing images based on “likes” along with the top 3 performing images that are based on the amount of comments, this is pure gold!
Not only does websta.me allow you to see the engagement level percentage of the last 20 images, but it also let’s you see what hashtags have been used across the 20 images and the percentage of each one used across the latest 20 images in a beautifully presented pie graph.
We use these insights to make informed decisions on what Instagram profiles to engage with and what type of images their audience loves, as well as which Instagram accounts to avoid, the higher the engagement level the better! Majority of the time you can see that the images with high engagement levels between likes and comments are the same image.
This gives you a very strong indication that this is the type of image their audience is interested in!
Websta.me also shows you, who you are following that don’t follow you back, this part of the service is still a bit clunky though as you have to hover over each of the profile images to check if they following you or not and if you checking a few it loads sloooow to actually follow or unfollow one person!
This is an android app, I haven’t managed to find an apple version yet… let me know in the comments below what you use for unfollowing people.
This app also allows you to unfollow these people that are not following you back with one tap on the right or one tap on the left to view their Instagram account, you can also see who recently unfollowed you, and unfollow them back if you so wish also in one click! This makes unfollowing people very quick and easy!
Ok so once I had done our research on websta.me, we then proceeded to put together a marketing plan of what i would post to my Instagram profile and when.
I came across an awesome service called Viraltag
In a nutshell what Viraltag allows you to do is schedule your posts to go out to your social accounts automatically, it not only allows you to schedule your posts automatically, it also builds a posting calendar of the best times to post due to your previous engagement history! This is pure gold!
I’m going to walk you through step by step how I use this awesome tool for Instagram, but before I do I wanted to mention another great feature of this service, and that is the ability to automate your social posting for five of the other social media platforms including Pinterest! Having Pinterest as an option is a very unique feature when it comes to social media scheduling tools. I used to use tools like Hootsuite and Buffer but they lacked the functionality I wanted to be able to pin to pinterest automatically.
Viraltag is absolutely awesome for Pinterest as it allows me to pin and even repin on my boards as many times as I want per day as well as to group boards that I am a part of automagically and Viraltag connects seamlessly to the official Pinterest API so it’s fast!
This saves me so much time! Bulk schedule once and let Viraltag do the groundwork automatically for the rest of the week/ month! Freeing up your precious time allowing you to create more of the awesome stuff you create!
For now let’s get back into the nitty gritty of how I use Viraltag in my Instagram strategy. Once you log into the Viraltag dashboard you will be greeted with this screen.
This is where you can see what you currently have scheduled, in the second tab you will find your drafts that are still being edited, in the third tab your most recent posts that have already been posted.
In the fourth tab you have another great feature, and that is if you have a gap in your posting schedule or you forget to schedule, you can use the evergreen content feature which will basically post posts automatically when there is a gap in your schedule, you add these posts in this area.
in the fifth tab you have what has failed, I’ve never had a post fail to date!
Then finally in the sixth tab, this is where you can edit your current schedule.
They have two views to be able to see what you have scheduled a list view.
And then a full calendar view as pictured.
Both these views do a great job showing you the info you need when you need it, also they make it very easy to edit and delete your posts too.
What is also really handy, is that they have icons where you can filter which social network you see, otherwise when you have a couple hundred posts scheduled for different social networks it would get very confusing!So what I do is once I have determined what type of images are the most popular on my competitors Instagram accounts using websta.me, I then set out creating my own images that I know will resonate with my audience, every image that I create, I think to myself, how can this image benefit my viewers!
I tend to add images that ask questions, to create more engagement on my images in the comments, also the answers they provide help me to make my products and services better, so I can provide real value to them.I use photoshop for creating my images, but there are many great image processing programs out there, one of the most popular being canva. Viraltag even has a section where you can edit your images that you schedule right in canva!To find it just head to the design section of the content tab and select the Instagram icon, then click the design in canva button, login to canva and your image will already be loaded ready to be edited!
Once you’re happy with your edits just hit the publish button on the upper right and you will be returned to viraltag. If you don’t want to create your own images, then you can use viraltag to curate content around the web VERY easily as well! They have a very handy chrome extension similar to the pinterest pinning extension which allow you to schedule any image from the web in one click!
You can find this via My Account (top right) Browser Extensions, just click install on the popup and you good to go!All you need to do while you browsing a page is hit the viraltag button on your browser (which is on the top right in chrome) and you will be greeted with a similar screen as to what you see in the pinterest extension.Then you just select one or more of the images you want to schedule, a tick will appear on the middle of the image and it will be added to your schedule in Viraltag. Simple as that!
And if that isn’t enough, you can even add your own rss feeds in viraltag so you can get a continuous stream of images you can use from your favorite sources. Viraltag has even gone so far as to include a handy section where they give you a frequently updated database of categorized images from around the web, which you can schedule as your own posts in one click!
So no more excuses that you don’t have enough images on your Instagram feed!
There are many ways in viraltag to create a new post to be scheduled, three of them I have already mentioned, the most basic way is to click the post button on your dashboard, you will then be greeted with a upload images window where you can upload your images from your computer, they also have other tabs where you can upload from including dropbox, keyword search, flicker, google drive and Instagram.
Once you have your image in viral tag and you have selected which networks you want to post it on, you need to write a compelling description, with a great call to action, keep in mind though that in your Instagram feed you can only see the first two lines of the description when you scrolling in your feed! So the first two lines must include a call to action to get the viewer to take a specific action you want them to take. Also use emoji’s they are BIG on Instagram and are make your comments stand out more in the feed.
Instagram is heavily reliant on hashtags, if you don’t use hashtags you are missing out on tons of free traffic!
As previously mentioned the free version of websta.me allows you to see the top hashtags of any Instagram account, as you do your research on your competitors Instagram accounts on websta.me,
you will start to see patterns on what hashtags are most popular in your niche, these are the hashtags you want to start using on your own posts! You can have up to a max of 30 hashtags per post, but remember to make sure to keep your hashtags relevant to your post, add your hashtags underneath your comments.
Another ninja tip I strongly suggest you use, is create your own hashtag.
Finally to save the post you have three options, one add it to your schedule queue. Two post it immediately, three Save it as draft and come back to it later. There is also a fourth button as well which is clone, this is awesome for when you want to clone one of your posts.
Ok so now that I’ve laid out my whole strategy how I got nearly 1000 followers in 30 days NATURALLY without follower comment or likes automation software let’s discuss how I plan out my posts.
How I plan out my posts:
I plan out my posts on a seven day rotation, I have a different theme for each day, you can be as creative as you like with your themes, the point here is to create expectation in your followers mind, by doing this they are expecting and waiting for your content on any given day and are much more likely to engage with it, as they come to expect your posts and start recognising your brand in their feed.
I’ve built a spreadsheet with all the different themes I post in, and assign the hashtags I have built up in any given theme that is related to the post from my research on websta.me
I normally spend one day creating images and then on the same day scheduling them a week in advance in Viraltag.
let’s move onto the sixth tab on the viraltag dashbaord which is the scheduling tab, what is awesome here is that the schedule is really flexible, as you can schedule per social network individually, so if you want to post to pinterest 8 times per day and Instagram only 3 times per day you can do that!
Having this flexibility is great for when you have followers in different time zones!
On Instagram I tend to post x3 times a day, once in the morning, once midday and once early evening, and then every couple of days I add my repost images featuring my followers that follow me and use my hashtag in their images. I don’t currently use viraltag for my feature posts, but because of the growth of my Instagram account I might have to look into it!
Another way of scheduling which is awesome is that Viraltag learns what times are popular to post based on your engagement history and makes suggestions for you on the times to post.
The next feature which is awesome as you grow and is available on the business plan, is that you can invite team members and give them access to only what you want them to have access to by setting them up as contributors and editors. The updates added by contributors must be approved by an editor before they can go live, so if you outsource your content creation for social media to others this is a great feature to have.
Ok so you probably wondering ok , this all sounds great! But what if im completely new to Instagram and don’t have any followers?
This is great news for you, because you now have an opportunity to build a highly responsive targeted following from scratch, which will boost your engagement rates!
Let’s go back to my trusty research sheet from websta.me, and get you some followers! The best way to get followers is to just start following your competitions followers, the competition with high engagement rates.
Now this is important, don’t just go and follow every single one of their followers, be extremely selective! Check their images that are most popular by using websta.me then think to yourself does this image fit in with any of my themes, if not discard it and move on.
Once you have found images that you feel will really resonate with your themes, look at the comments and see what they are talking about, you will start to see patterns here that resonate with your theme, you can bet your bottom dollar that these Instagram followers are going to be highly receptive to your posts too!
Click on the name of these commenters and follow them, follow each commentator that resonates with your themes! Gradually they will start following you back, this is quite tedious in the beginning, but it is very worth the hard work in the long run!
Keep doing this every day, as your follower numbers begin to grow, and they start to engage by commenting and liking, provide great value in your comments to give them a reason to engage even more.
In other words give them a good reason to keep following you!