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25 tips for getting serious engagement on Instagram and dominating your niche

Instagram is a killer platform with massive growth, but there are some tricks up your sleeve you may not even be taking advantage of if you want to dominate your niche.




Recently, I was talking with a few friends about the importance of branding yourself. It was unanimously determined that, without social media use, your brand will go nowhere.

Social media is a most vital tool for reaching an audience. However, learning how to properly operate different social media platforms to appeal to your followers can be tricky.

Instagram is a crucial platform that continues to grow in popularity. But, how do you make yourself stand out to followers when just about everyone is using Instagram in the same way?

25 ways to step up your Instagram game

Blogging aficionado, Brandon Gaille, complied a list of 25 ways to step up your Instagram game in order to gain a more active followership.

1. Post everyday: Adding a post everyday will create a feeling of consistency with your followers which leads to more likes. These likes then translates to gaining more followers.

2. Post during active times: There is a rhyme and reason to the timing of any strategic social media post. Do some digging to see when your followers seem to be the most active, then begin posting during those times.

3. Activate engagement with interaction: Asking your followers questions in your photo’s caption opens the door for interaction. Taking it a step further by replying to followers’ comments will keep them coming back for more.

4. Develop hashtags just for you: Be creative and develop hashtags that are specific to your brand. You can keep track of these hashtags by searching their use.

5. Learn what your followers like: Check out accounts that are similar to your brand and see what is working for them. By studying your industry, you can see what your audience is enjoying the most.

6. Take advantage of trending hashtags: Check trending hashtags everyday to see what is popular. Then, develop posts that relate to these hashtags so that you can have a wider reach.

7. Create posts to promote webpages: “If you are posting five times a day, then I suggest promoting a webpage for every 20 non-promotional posts,” says Gaille. “Use short links to create custom URLs that link directly to your a blog post or a landing page with a lead magnet.”

8. Post videos: Incorporate videos every so often in order to mix things up. This gives followers fresh content and is a great way to promote yourself. However, video timing is limited, so make the seconds count.

9. Don’t be afraid to have fun: Interacting with followers and adding posts that showcase a little personality can go a long way. Followers will notice that you are, in fact, a person and will appreciate your presence.

10. Pull content from other sites: A popular practice on Instagram is re-gramming. This is when you share a popular post from another page. But, make sure to give credit where it is due.

11. Create a contest: Nothing engages followers like the potential of winning something. Develop a contest that is related to your brand and use that as a way to have followers like and share your content.

12. Link Instagram with other social media: Share your Instagram posts on other sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to reach followers who may not know you are on Instagram.

13. Acknowledge what posts are doing best: Keep an eye on which posts are receiving the most likes and comments and then determine why. Knowing what works best for your posts will help with future posts.

14. Create incentives: Making exclusive offers for your followers (i.e. coupon codes) via Instagram can help increase followership while also creating traffic on your website.

15. Team up with others: Promotion in exchange for promoting is a great way to build relationships and to be seen by a wider audience.

16. Showcase your followers: Have followers submit photos of themselves with your product. Then, post said photos on your page, highlighting their participation.

17. Promote only valuable content: Gaille suggests having 15-30 non-promotional posts to every promotion post. He explains this is possible with:

  • Podcast Episode of the Week
  • Blog Post of the Week
  • Periscope Schedule
  • Exclusive Instagram Discount Code

18. Catch eyes with emojis: Who doesn’t love emojis? This is the perfect social media tool to draw eyes to your page. According to Gaille, “The emojis work best in and around your call to actions. Try placing 2-3 downward pointing fingers above your url link in your bio to double your click through rate.”

19. Seven is the lucky number: Use seven hashtags per post for prime engagement. Too many hashtags can be viewed as annoying, so create hashtags that are relevant only to your brand. Piqora found that seven hashtags is the most optimal per post.

20. Find hashtags for your niche: Search for hashtags that have over 50,000 posts. Sift through and find the ones that are relevant to your brand. Rotate these hashtags every few posts in order to keep the shelf life of your post as high as possible.

21. Use captions to create conversation: By asking your followers questions, or by having them tag their friends, post engagement can reach new heights. Gaille says, “Underneath all of my picture quotes I do the following…

  • Restate the quote with a mention to the account that published the original curated image.
  • Tell them to “Double tap if you agree!” The simple act of asking them to double tap increases my total likes by 40%.
  • Ask them to “Follow me @theblogmillionaire for more great quotes like this.”

22. Select an appealing profile photo: This will be the first photo that potential followers see, making it a crucial aspect of your page. Choose a nice photo of yourself in order to create an emotional attachment.

23. Monitor location tags: If you are at an event, keep an eye out for tagged locations. This gives you an insight into where others are at during the event, creating an opportunity for engagement.

24. Use your bio to build your email list: “Instagram allows one linked url under the bio, and you want to make it count. Whatever url you use, make sure it has an email optin with a strong lead magnet,” suggests Gaille.

25. Utilize Crowdfire: Crowdfire is an app used to handle the engagement of heavy-traffic Instagram accounts. This app gives you the option to follow the most engaged users of accounts within your industry. “Just type in the account that has your ideal audience and start following about 50-60 people per hour,” says Gaille. “On average, about 10-20% will follow you back and/or take a look at your account. This can easily add 3000 quality followers to your account every month.”

With this new knowledge at your disposal, it seems that any Instagram user can become a superstar. Try out a few of these and see how your followership grows. Remember to engage with your followers to develop a lasting relationship between them and your brand.


Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

Real Estate Marketing

Small metros have cheaper homes, but buyers may still be short on funds

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) New study finds that small to mid-sized metros offer cheaper houses, but unfortunately the available jobs aren’t giving buyers enough income.



small metros small house

When I told my parents how much my partner and I would be paying for rent at our new apartment, they quickly pointed out that I could purchase a home for that kind of money in my hometown.

Indeed recently published a study where they determined which cities have the highest salaries after accounting for the cost of living, an adjusted salary. Every city on the list is a small or mid-sized metro area which is why they dubbed their findings, “the small-city advantage.” No surprise to me, my hometown made the list.

My parents are right, I could literally buy a home for the amount of money I pay in rent every month to live in a large metro area. But the equation that determines where I, and many other workers should live, is more complex than salary minus housing.

Indeed’s study also shows that bigger metros have faster job growth and lower unemployment compared to these small to mid-sized metros. This is why the number one city on their list, Brownsville-Harlingen, TX, also has a higher unemployment rate than the national average. Some of the other cities on the list are Fort Smith, AR-OK, Toledo, OH, Laredo, TX, and Rockford, IL.

These areas are cheaper to live in, in part, because they may not offer the kind of job opportunities, and therefore social mobility, you see in larger metro areas. Sure, I could make my money go further in my hometown, but the chances of me finding a job in my industry there are smaller.

Your field of work does matter when considering whether or not the “small-city advantage” could work for you. If you work in tech or finance, two traditionally high-paying fields, then this advantage doesn’t apply.

“Before adjusting for living costs, typical technology salaries are 27% higher in two-million-plus metros than metros with fewer than 250,000 people. Even after adjusting for those costs, tech salaries are still 5% higher in the largest metros than in the smallest ones,” finds Indeed.

If a huge tech company offering thousands of high-paying jobs moved into a city like Brownsville-Harlingen, TX, over time it would get more expensive to live there. This is why people were freaking out so much when Amazon was trying to decide where to locate HQ2. It’s the hamster wheel that is currently driving income inequality in some of America’s largest major metro areas.

Finding the right place to call home is never going to be a single factor decision. Yes, salary is a huge factor, as is the cost of living, but there are also lifestyle factors to consider. What kind of opportunities would you have in this city? How much will it cost to move there? How will this effect the other members of your household?

It’s nice to play the ‘ditch the corporate world and buy a country house’ fantasy after a long day at work, but the reality is far more complex.

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Real Estate Marketing

Look at the ghosts of Google companies past to avoid their failures

(MARKETING) The Google Cemetery is a refreshing reminder that nothing—even a Google product—is permanent, it can even help you understand what to not do



google graveyard

Google is such a ubiquitous part of our lives—even to the point of being a household term understood by ankle-biters and geezers alike—that it can be difficult to envision a time when the tech giant did anything other than win. If, like me, you’re a fairly vindictive individual who’s interested in perusing Google’s mountain of failures, consider checking out their Cemetery.

The Google Cemetery is a well-documented list of every endeavor into which Google has poured time, money, and immeasurable amounts of support before ultimately closing the service in question. Upon visiting the site, you’ll notice a few familiar entries—Google+, Google Allo, and Inbox by Gmail being notable examples—along with some titles you may not recognize.

If you have a specific service in mind, you can search for it by name; Google Cemetery also has the option to sort by year of death, and you’ll even find a specific tab for products that are deemed “near death” by the Google Cemetery.

Simply seeing a former service listed as “dead” may be enough to confirm your preconceptions about said service; however, if you find yourself puzzled or alarmed by the death of something you used to frequent, you can hover your cursor over the service’s “headstone” to read a brief synopsis of Google’s reason for getting rid of it.

The sheer span of Google’s reasons for removing services is staggering. Some services, such as the aforementioned Inbox, went by the wayside solely because Google chose to focus specifically on Gmail, and some services simply became parts of Google Search or autofill APIs. On the other side of the spectrum, you’ll notice that once-familiar websites such as iGoogle or Google+ were ultimately nixed due to lack of consumer interest, software errors, and other failures on its part.

It’s nice to see Google fail at something—if only because they’ve proved that having a few products (to say nothing of a plethora thereof) bite the dust doesn’t have to be the end of the world for your company.

And, failing that bit of optimism, it’s never a bad idea to look back on products that have failed if you’re looking for an opportunity to improve upon the past rather than invent something yourself.

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Real Estate Marketing

Mobile apps: Do people even download them anymore?

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Comscore releases 2019 “Global State of Mobile” Report—With Some Surprises. Downloading apps dominated data usage for a time, but all kings must fall.



mobile apps statistics

Comscore has released its 2019 “Global State of Mobile” report. This annual look at trends in mobile device usage and behavior has some interesting takeaways.

One bullet point that they’re touting is that nearly 80% of total online minutes in the United States are on mobile. But is that really surprising? People use their mobile devices when they’re travelling, when they’re at restaurants, and even when they’re using other screens. How many times have you checked Facebook on your phone at work, or played a game on your phone to keep your hands busy while you watched Netflix?

It’s no secret that mobile dominates Internet access. Working for a hardware purveyor nearly a decade ago, they were panicking about the pivot to mobile even then. Still, there’s a difference between “nearly every American has a cell phone,” or “users expect mobile access at work,” and “80% of online time is on mobile.” One wonders if this trend will continue, or if this is a plateau.

Speaking of plateaus, people aren’t downloading new apps anymore. Only 33% of people said that they downloaded a new app in June of 2019. That’s down from 49% of respondents saying they downloaded a new app in June of 2017.

That makes sense, in some ways. The Internet feels a lot smaller than it used to. Everyone only goes to like, three websites anymore, anyway. So this advice feels timely. But it also feels like it might be a little out of touch as apps like TikTok gain traction at a regular pace, and people continue to search for a Facebook killer.

But it does have implications for small businesses. There was a window when everyone was scrambling to have their own app. But if people are finally tired of downloading an app for every business they interact with, maybe a strong web presence is enough? Making an app is costly. It means designing things twice over.

It means dealing with accessibility concerns twice instead of once. And if people aren’t feeling it (and maybe never were), it’s worth considering that app development might not be an outright necessity. At the very least, it’s worth collecting some data and making sure you have a business case for one, rather than developing one out of FOMO.

There are some other fun observations, including that women over 55 spend more time in mobile games than any other female age group in the U.S. That said, the study has some limitations. They don’t say what their sample size was unless you download the whitepaper. And knowing how many people were surveyed is important in knowing how seriously to take any statistic. You can check out the whitepaper yourself at Comscore’s website.

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