In the old days, if you wanted to become famous, you had to be noticed by the right people. Usually, it involved lots of hard work trying out for parts in the movies, sending recordings to record labels in the hopes that you would get picked up, or competitively fighting for your spot in pro sports leagues.
However, there’s a new level to fame thanks to the popularity of social media. Instagram in particular is an exceptional platform where you can get noticed and become a star, even if you’ve never been on TV or scored the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl.
But if you want to be an Instagram star, you’ll still have to put in the work to make it happen. It starts with getting more Instagram followers and maintaining a consistent brand to keep them interested. Here are 8 ways that you can take your Instagram account from unknown to stardom.
1. Enter a niche that you love.
First of all, you can’t hope to be successful on Instagram if you don’t have a super-specific niche with a targeted audience to keep you going. Consumers follow brands that they can relate with and that provide high-value in a specific avenue, and if you go too broad, you’ll struggle to reach enough people to become famous.
Most importantly, Shane Baker of Medium says, “This needs to be something you’re passionate about. Something in which you have a good deal of knowledge and interest. Just because someone else is doing something and is successful, doesn’t mean you should too.”
If it’s not something that you’re passionate about, you won’t want to keep it going. You’ll see it as work instead of something you love doing, and your followers will notice the lack of enthusiasm—what a downer.
2. Start with a 10,000 followers goal.
According to Nicole Martins Ferreira of Oberlo, getting started isn’t easy. “Truth is, your first 10,000 Instagram followers are the hardest to get,” she says. “Why? No one knows who you are yet. You’ve still got to prove yourself as a successful brand and influencer.”
Once you’ve reached the 10,000 followers mark, if you stay consistent and use your resources the maximize your reach, getting more followers is a lot easier.
She recommends curating a strategy that include joining Instagram engagement groups, using automation, reposting others’ content, seeking promotional opportunities, leveraging user-generated content, and other excellent strategies for boosting engagement and getting followers to stick to you like flies on honey.
3. Improve your Instagram bio.
Once you’ve switched your personal account to a business account, your bio is essential to making a good impression on followers. However, you only have 150 characters to make this first impression, so you have to make those words count.
When considering what to say in this bio, think about how you would describe your business when introducing yourself to thought leaders in the industry. Use keywords and unique details to make your account searchable and relevant.
Most importantly, include a link to your website or blog if you have one. Consider using software to link to two pages on your blog or changing your links periodically to increase engagement.
4. Let your captions reflect your brand.
While your photos will catch followers’ eyes first, your captions will make them fall in love with you—as long as they’re totally on-brand. Brands with no personality will turn off or even confuse your users. It’s the fastest way to become forgettable or lose followers.
Develop a consistent voice, with keywords, key phrases, hashtags, and inflections that reflect your brand. The consistency will create a sense of familiarity, which in turn creates loyal followers.
5. Evolve with your brand.
It’s not uncommon for brands to shift perspective when they realize that what they’re doing isn’t working and there’s a more successful avenue ahead. It’s okay to make this change as long as you’re willing to be authentic about the change.
“About three years ago, my brand started to shift,” Nicole Loher (@nicoleloher), an Instagrammer who was once focused on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society shared with Hubspot. “I went from being a girl who worked in fashion and beauty, to a competitive triathlete. It wasn’t something I set out to do — it just shifted as my life shifted!”
Let yourself make changes where you need to, but don’t lose the spark that makes your brand clearly you.
6. Get better at photography.
Hubspot also interviewed Chelsea Martin (@passporttofriday), and she said that one of the best things she ever did to spur fame was work on her photography skills. “A professional camera and a great lens could make the difference between a good photo and an amazing photo — which has more potential of being reposted by other accounts, therefore growing your audience,” she said.
A good editing tool and the use of consistent filters can also help you get more Instagram likes. Since the billion Instagram users who are on the platform every single day log on to see great visuals, don’t disappoint with amateur photography.
7. Use Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories is a useful feature for many reasons, but one of the best is its ability to improve your storytelling abilities. It’s probably the biggest trend on Instagram, and for good reason. It increases the chances of engagement with consumers and maximizes your ad spending, particularly since Instagram’s algorithm gives priority to businesses that use this feature.
Stories offers many features, including live video, captioned photos, fresh filters, boomerangs, swipe polls, and more. One of the best features for those looking to increase their fan base is the swipe up feature. If a consumer finds your content particularly appealing, they can swipe up on a story to go to your bio where they can see more of your content.
8. Choose strong hashtags.
Hashtags are being used all over Instagram, so it’s important to have a good strategy to stand out. It’s good to choose hashtags with high search volume, but beware.
“High search volumes imply high competition too,” explains Shane Barker. “So the chances of your post being discovered using those hashtags is bleak. Instead, choose hashtags that have decent search volumes that maximizes your chances of appearing in the top posts. Ideally, use a combination of hashtags varying in search volumes from above 10,000 to 1 million.”
You can also create your own hashtags and encourage user-generated content. When you become even more well-known, users will jump on the chance to publish their own content with your hashtags attached.