Growing a big Instagram following is important for many people, as it should be. Having a large, engaged following there can help you in virtually any business or career.

Influencive’s Instagram is doing quite well, as is my personal page. But there’s  always someone out there doing even better. I regularly seek out those people in various fields, including Instagram, to strategize with others that are killing it too.

Chris Preston was one of those people that I knew had a ton of Instagram knowledge and has been able to grow to over a million followers across his accounts. One of his most successful accounts is @SuccessDiaries.

One of my biggest takeaways from Chris was that he isn’t using super complex growth hacking tactics, he’s using tactics that are simpler than you would think.

I sat down with Chris to learn some of his best tips for blowing up Instagram.

1.) Consistency is a major key to growth

Chris’ first point was about consistency, and it’s one of the most important. Chris said, “Be consistent with your posts and post multiple times per day. It might seem like a lot of work, but it will be worth it if you want to grow. The more you post, the more often you will be in your follower’s feeds. This will create more people liking and tagging their friends on your posts. The biggest thing is to think of growth like a marathon. Being consistent and continually giving quality content everyday will eventually compound over time.”

I have struggled with this one because consistent content takes a time investment. But that time investment is worth it if you stick with it.

2.) Leveraging your network

Chris explained that if you don’t have don’t enough content to post everyday work with photographers in your niche, you can message photographers asking to use some of their pictures on your page if you give proper credit.

“This is a great way to give the photographer more exposure and you quality content for your page. A tip here when approaching photographers is to try and give equal value. You want to create a win-win situation, so both parties are happy. If you have a smaller account you might want to reach out to up and coming photographers who have a similar size following,” said Chris.

Leveraging others content is huge. It can even go beyond photographers. In fact, I’ve noticed that if you tag or shout them in their own content (with permission) they usually engage back. It’s win/win.

3.) Use relatable hashtags

I never realized the value of hashtags until Chris and others starting telling me about the importance.

Chris explained, “Use hashtags within your niche to reach a larger audience outside your followers. When you are a smaller and still growing, use larger hashtags to get some quick likes. Your post won’t remain at the top of the feed for that hashtag when people are searching for long, but it will help you grow faster. As your account gets bigger start using some hashtags around 500,000-1,000,000 posts to try and get on the top posts. Once you post gets on a top post of a hashtag, you will get more like, follows, and the chance to make your post go viral.”

4.) Utilize Instagram stories and Live

I can personally attest to this one that it is an extremely valuable asset. A larger than average percentage of Influencive’s Instagram audience follows my stories.

“This will give you more impressions and give your followers another perspective of your page, brand, and who’s running it. You can use this as an opportunity to give your followers an insiders look to your page. Deliver exclusive content here to keep people checking in with your page everyday. This will create a deeper relationship with your following which will deliver more engagement on each post,” said Chris.

I create the deeper relationship with mine and Influencive’s audience by make the stories relatable and showcasing the day to day grind moreso than some higly produced content that is not as relatable.

5.) Build relationships with your following

Chris finished by saying, “The goal is to build a relationship between you and your following. If you stay consistently engaged with your followers, you will have a more loyal following. Ask open ended questions with some of your posts to keep your followers engaged. After you post, don’t hop off Instagram and do something else. Stick around and respond to comments in real time. This will create a conversation and give your post an extra boost.”

This works wonders. I spend a set amount of time every day now engaging with comments just on Instagram. It creates real value, engagement and shows people that you do care.

At the end of the day, nothing works if you don’t actually do it. So pick a few of these and start immediately. You can add on more as you go. Build up your momentum and don’t let it fizzle!
Brian D. Evans

Brian is the Founder/CEO/Editor-in-Chief at Influencive and the Founder at BDE Ventures. Brian is an Inc. 500 Entrepreneur, who built the 25th fastest growth marketing and advertising company in America. Brian is an advisor to many startups and mentor to many entrepreneurs. He is a columnist at Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post, Forbes and others.