How do some seemingly bland Instagram posts get so many likes, and why to all 'repost' accounts have so many many followers?
The answer is likely to be many and varied, involving gaming the Instagram algorithms, and upping your search engine optimisation, but the primary tool in Instagrams armoury is promoting posts. Unsurprisingly, they make it very easy for you to promote your own posts, so I thought I'd give it a go.
To begin, you need to switch from a personal account to a professional or business account. This will allow you to promote your posts, as well as gather enhanced metrics that will show you how successful your promoted post has been.
Once you've picked a post that will be interesting for people, you can go ahead promote it, there is a new "Promote" button next to your posts on your profile view. Then you just need to decide how much to spend and what your target audience is. Spend is based on how much you want to spend per day, and how many days you the promotion to run. For your target audience, you can define some simple parameters, or just let Instagram choose for you. Lastly, you need to pick what the action of the promotion is, you can link to your Instagram profile, link to your website or online shop, or send a direct message to your Instagram message inbox.
For this experiment, I decided to use a recent Infrared photograph post. Infrared photos are eye-catching, they have a special interest to them, and they are not an effect that the average person can reproduce. After picking the post, I then promoted the post a £1 a day, for 10 days. I had, and still, have no idea if this is a lot to spend on promoting, for me, it's a fairly small amount of money, and worth it in the name of experimenting.
Over the 10 days the promotion ran, the post reached a fairly impressive 3424 impressions, these are the number of times the post was seen, by 2549 people, and nearly all these people aren't following me already because I don't have many followers.
There were 12 clicks on the promotion, so that's 12 direct clicks through to my profile, of which 3 people, or bots, decided my feed was interesting enough to start following me. I don't expect many of these new followers to stick around though.
Cost per follower: £3.33
The post itself earned 554 likes. This was the most surprising part, I wasn't expecting this many. I have no idea if these are genuine people who like my post, or bots trying to game the Instagram algorithms, but it does look good having a big number there and it will be interesting to see if this number changes.
Cost per like: £0.02
9 bookmarks is a promising outcome, I'm assuming bookmarks are by genuine people, who have seen something they might want to come back to.
Cost per Bookmark: £1.11
Finally, a single person wrote a comment due to the promotion.
All in all, I am quite impressed. I wasn't expecting much, and I now have a good starting point for future comparison. The next phase will be to try this again in a few weeks, or more likely months, and compare the results.