• Caitlin Strempel

The Overwhelm of Social Media: Why Can't I Grow My Following on Instagram?

Instagram, a wildly popular social media platform owned by Meta Platforms (previously known as Facebook) is a place where many people seek to grow their clout and following. People promote themselves and any brand of product that they may desire to work with as well. It is the kind of place that can turn even average people into superstars if they are willing to put the work in. However, it seems that it is getting harder and harder these days for someone to gain the kind of steam that they need to make a big splash on Instagram. This has left many wondering why can't I grow my following on Instagram?


Below we'll discuss why it can be such a challenge to grow your audience on social media, ways to improve, and alternative methods you may not have thought about before.


The Algorithm Has Made it Harder Than Ever

The Instagram algorithm has made it harder than ever to get the kind of traction that one needs to build an audience on the platform. Tweaks to the algorithm of any social media platform are common. However, it seems as if the Instagram algorithm has been tweaked so much. In fact, it is now a challenge to even get any kind of traction at all. The platform seems to prefer to promote content from well-known users and brands that are willing to pay them for the privilege. As such, users are often seeing messages that:

  1. Are paid for by large brands with deep pockets

  2. Come from people who are already famous on the platform

  3. Are made by people who are famous outside of Instagram, and thus are also well-known on the platform

Where is the room for someone who is starting from scratch and attempting to grow their audience and business the old-fashioned way? It seems as if they get left out of a lot of the conversation around how to make Instagram better. This makes some people upset that they are unable to have their name out to the broader world via Instagram more easily.


What Can You Do to Fight Back?

There is no way to argue against an algorithm. Your pleas that the company changes the way they have structured their algorithm are going to fall on deaf ears as well. However, you can work on certain aspects of how you use Instagram to try to propel yourself towards higher reaches on the platform.


You can take control over your content development and how you share aspects of your life that matter to you and your followers. Here are some tips to do just that:


Focus on Engaging Posts

It sounds easier than it is. But you should try to focus your attention on engaging posts that your followers will gain something from viewing. When you post content that your followers are accustomed to seeing from you, they're likely to respond positively to it. This is because they have become accustomed to seeing that kind of content. They will come to expect that this is the kind of content that your account creates often.


If you strike a chord with people with a certain type of content (pictures of your pets for example), then you might want to stick with that theme for most of the posts on your account. It will boost your engagement ratings, and that can work with the algorithm to help you get noticed even more.


Use the Right Hashtags - and a Lot of Them

Start using hashtags right now if you are not already. They are the lifeblood of an Instagram account. It is never a good thing if you leave posts with few or no hashtags hanging out there. Anush Sahakyan, a writer on Medium.com produced the following quote about why hashtags matter so much when building a reputation on Instagram:

Hashtags link your photo to targeted people and niches. These communities, groups, and people searching for content that's relevant to them are less likely to see your posts without hashtags. Picking them is the hard part. You're allowed to use up to 30 hashtags, so you should be using all of them.

You can maximize the engagement of your posts if you use the proper hashtags. This can help you make sure the right communities of people are seeing them. The trick is to make sure you understand the niche communities that you are posting on before doing so. You don't want to hit them with posts that don't click with those groups right away. Get involved with the culture of the hashtags that you use so you can best understand how it all works.


Businesswoman in a restaurant using a mobile phone to track her Instagram account following.

Control How Much You Promote Yourself

Self-promotion can come off as cringy at times when it is overdone. It is best to try to limit how much you promote yourself and your posts when possible. Allowing for advertising in your posts is perfectly fine, but don't overdo it. People will tune out if you continue to try to pump them with self-promotional messages all the time. They will quickly get bored with your posts. This may cause them to unfollow you, or at least put you in a mute setting where they won't see future posts from you.


Actions like that are sure to drop your engagement score. That will cause ripple effects on your ability to grow your audience.


Cross-Promote Yourself on Other Social Media Platforms

One area of promotion that does make a lot of sense is when you cross-promote yourself and your posts on other social media accounts. If people are already followers of yours on other social media accounts, then it just makes sense that they might also want to see what you have to show them on Instagram right?


That is why cross-promotion on various social media accounts makes sense for those who are attempting to grow their Instagram audience even more.


Facebook is the easiest place to cross-promote as they are the mother company of Instagram. In fact, you can choose to automatically share your posts to Facebook when you post them on Instagram. You may want to do it sparingly so that you don't overwhelm your Facebook friends. That said, you can potentially grow your Instagram following by getting your Facebook friends to join you over on Instagram as well.


There are only a handful of things you can do to grow your Instagram following. At least you know that you are not alone when you wonder: Why can't I grow my following on Instagram? There are structural reasons why this is happening. However, there are other methods out there that can be just as effective, or even more, as Instagram.



SEO: A Free Solution That Can Boost Your Audience & Profits

We would be remiss if we did not briefly touch on how important including search engine optimization (SEO) in your overall strategy is. Remember, when most people search for something on the Internet they are generally going to look on one of the search engines to get the information that they require. This is because they know that they can track down the answers with a few keyword phrases.


Appearing near the top of a search engine result when someone searches for something related to you and what you do is massively important. The higher up the results that you appear, the more likely you are to receive the kind of attention you deserve for the work that you are doing. While social media is an important marketing strategy, it's not the end all be all. SEO is free and can get you and your business in front of large audiences actively searching for what you sell.


Ready to boost your SEO strategy and climb to the top of the first page of Google? We'll help you leverage the power of SEO and get your name in front of as many search engine terms as possible! Contact us today or click here to learn more about our SEO services!

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