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As a blogger, or even a brand, Instagram marketing continues to grow in importance, despite what critics may say.
To grow your brand and presence one needs a solid presence on Instagram. It’s the social media channel of the moment and in my opinion will continue to overtake other social media channels in the next decade if not more.
Most social media influencers are aware that without a good Instagram marketing effort, anything else they do to drive their self image is pretty much not worth it’s while. This is even more true for anyone in the travel, fashion, lifestyle, food, photography or creative space.
HOW I GOT INTO INSTAGRAM MARKETING
About a month ago, I started to really understand how important engagement (such as likes, comments, messages) was for Instagram marketing and growth. I spent one or two hours per day with minimal growth (50-100 followers per month) after posting on a daily basis with extensive hashtag research, following relevant people and what not.
At some point, I understood this was not realistic. I wanted to focus on my writing and actually creating content and not on interacting with IG users in the long shot that it will help grow my account. In other words, what I did not have at all was TIME.
I already spend way too much time on my blog content, graphics, social media content + promotions. I wanted to grow my Instagram account, but not at the cost of liking 1000 pictures per day and interacting with a million users.
I’d probably lose my mind and my thumbs along the way. Not to mention, this is NOT humanly possible unless your only job is to work on your Instagram.
That’s when I started to look for viable, concrete and no bullshit options to grow my Instagram online. I was already using Tailwind to auto-schedule and batch my Pinterest and Instagram posts but I needed something more.
I needed the tech equivalent of an Instagram manager except I needed that to be affordable and I needed to be able to see results. I don’t believe anything, unless I see numbers. And neither should you!
WHAT IS KICKSTA?
Kicksta is an Instagram marketing tool aimed at generating organic followers and growth. No bots, no sneaky tricks that end up getting your account banned.
More than 2000 bloggers and brands are working with this marketing company and what I particularly love about using them is that they don’t make random promises, such as we’ll get you X followers per day or per month.
However, what they do promise is good, constant and long-term engagement which makes real people want to follow your brand. In other words, they help make your account more visible, something that seems an impossible feat in the world of Instagram right now.
Their social media strategists actively monitor each accounts growth and this is reflected in their admin interface as well.
HOW CAN YOU USE KICKSTA?
I found Kicksta to be a super easy platform to get started on. It was intuitive, simple and easy to sign up and get started on.
Just to elaborate, the steps to get kickstarted are:
Step 1: Decide which plan you’d like to get started!
I chose the base plan as I was looking to test out what this product could do for a small account like mine.
Had I been a professional Instagrammer, brand or even a large scale influencer, I would definitely go for the premium option with a dedicated account manager.
Step 2: Tell Kicksta Your Audience aka “Targets”
By audience, you will encounter “Targets” once you sign up for your Kicksta account. In the base membership plan, you get 10 targets that are in the same niche as you are and you’d like to acquire followers of the same.
It’s logical that the closer these accounts are to your niche, the more success you’ll find on Kicksta. I chose 10 accounts that were in the range of 5K-250K followers in travel and lifestyle niche with a similar vibe and background to mine. I also changed my targets midway after a few weeks just to see which ones performed better.
I really loved how easy it was to just play around with the dashboard and log in to see progress on the health of the target accounts. I could also see which targets had poor health (not very relevant for my account) and could easily swap them with other targets I felt would make more sense.
Step 3: Let Kicksta work it’s magic!
Once your targets are set, all you have to do is post good content with relevant hashtags. The rest, Kicksta will take care of by liking the posts of the target user’s followers to get them to check your account back. I also really like the neat post overview dashboard where you can figure out what kind of content is performing well and what not.
This has helped me a lot in figuring out what kind of posts and with what focus I need to be creating and which I can skip altogether. In the long term marketing game, great content will ALWAYS be at the centerpiece of growth and Kicksta has helped me get one step closer to that.
RESULTS WITH KICKSTA
I have to say I was a bit hesitant to trust a marketing company to take over my Instagram account for a few weeks and do their own thing. But the results have been nothing short of excellent!
I had a small dip in week 2 due to changing half of my target accounts and it took a few days to catch up, but once it was reset it started to pick up faster than before as you can see below. This also means, I validated my new strategy when I changed some old target accounts that were not the most relevant for me and switched to some other more relevant ones.
Here are the stats for the given time frame-
- Photos Posted: 26
- Time Spent per post: 10-15 Minutes
- Test Duration: 1 Month
- Followers Gained: 522
- Followers Gained Per Week: 130+
- Average Engagement: 8%
In this period, I also barely spent time commenting on new accounts or engaging with new users simply because I wanted to measure the exact impact letting Kicksta work on my engagement would have. They helped me grow my account by 31% in less than a month and that directly led to a growth in my blog referral traffic from Instagram of about 18%. That’s the kind of growth I would get in three or four months if I put in the same effort as I did the last couple of weeks.
If I had to grow at the same rate, I would have to spend a minimum of two hours more on engagement and that’s two hours more than I have each day. The way I see it is that I spend my focus on the photos, captions, and hashtags that I need for a post to do well and Kicksta takes care of the engagement.
WITHOUT me having to play the follow/unfollow game which is an endless pit of disappointment anyway. Or having to drop fake comments in the hope that those people may come and follow my account.
The way I look at using Kicksta is to boost my Instagram Marketing focus with me producing the best content without having to worry about being visible to real organic followers, as they take care of that by making sure enough people visit my account and then decide whether or not to follow me based on my content. No short-cuts, no fake followers.
As a marketer during the day and blogger at night, I really do not have the bandwidth to give two or three hours per day to growing each social media channel especially when I am present on one too many. There’s a reason Instagram marketing is a full-time job and why its best left to experts.
Give your thumbs and eyes a break from endless scrolling and likes, and use an Instagram marketing service like Kicksta, a try. They even have a 14-day guarantee to return your money if you’re not satisfied with the growth.
Some other Instagram tips that have helped me grow month on month consistently
- Having posts related only to travel niche. The more narrow your niche, the better it is for growing fast on Instagram.
- Having a consistent theme and layout. I’m not a fan of the washed out filter trend but I do love bright colors and anyone who stops by my Instagram can also figure that out.
- Having sets of hashtags based on the type of posts with a mix of competitive, non-competitive and niche hashtags with a maximum of 20 per post. I haven’t observed a higher engagement when I had 30 hashtags instead of 20 so I stick to just the ones that are most relevant to my post.
If you liked this post, you’d also like my Pinterest marketing strategy that I used to grow my traffic by 10x.
Have an existing blog in need of powerful growth? Check out these services I use and love:
- Tailwind: Pinterest and Instagram scheduling tool.
- Teachable: Create courses online and add to your blogging income.
- ThemeIsle: Premium WordPress themes.
- Grammarly: Automated in-browser Proofreading.
- OptinMonster: Convert and monetize your website traffic.
- LinkTrackr: Affiliate Link Tracking.
- PickMonkey: Photo-editing, Logos and Social Media Graphics.
*This post has been created in collaboration with Kicksta. However, all opinions are mine based on my own personal experience.*
Shruti’s a digital marketer by day and ninja travel blogger by night. Two years ago, she left her post-MBA life in India to chase some new adventures and now calls Germany home. On this website she shares her tips on how to travel smarter, cheaper and longer. When she’s not working or blogging, she is out exploring new places, mastering yoga challenges or sipping masala chai while scrolling through Instagram.