Hacking Instagram

Being born as part of the millennial generation, I’ve more or less grown up with social media. What I’ve witnessed is that most people – including myself up until today – has used social media to share their stories to a tight-knit group of people that they already know in real life. Occasionally a random follower tags along, but often times it is only your closest social sphere that’s watching.

Hovering around 500 followers seems easy to reach for most individuals – but what if you want to go further? Breaking it down into plain accessable-for-all statistics, a few facts can be presented. Averaging the 15 highest followed profiles on Instagram, it’s found that their user engagement is relatively high. 2,02 posts pr. day precisely.

Skærmbillede 2017-07-21 kl. 09.49.35

Disregarding natgeo which is a corporation made out of several individual photographers, and Instagram’s own user profile, the posts pr. day averages at 1,18. These people clearly have success with this – therock gains a daily average of 41k new followers.

With the platform containing over 700 million users, the app is firmly placed as the second most used social media platform – only exceeded by Facebook, if you disregard Youtube. With 51% of the users using the app daily, and 35% of these stating they use it several times a day, the platform surely gets a high amount of attention from people all around the world. In a survey conducted with 2500 micro-influencers, 60% of them favoured Instagram for their audience engagement. The sorry second was Facebook, with only 18% of the micro-influencers favouring this platform.

So Instagram scores high in number of profiles, high in useability and is at the top of the list of many other metrics. Why is it then that you can’t seem to get traction and expand your sphere of influence beyond the vague 500?


Do you post enough on the platform? As seen from the 15 most followed profiles, 1-2 posts a day is average.

Do you use hashtags? This might seem like an unnecessary question, but some profiles don’t. Instragram allows you to use as many as 30 hashtags, and while I don’t recommend using that many (30 is just trying too hard, and will most likely not work in your favour), engagement with your posts rise 12,8% when using hashtags compared to when you don’t.

Do you use the right hashtags? #travelgram or #tgif are good hashtags with a lot of posts between them, but not necessarily the ones you are looking for. Make sure that you use other less known “community” hashtags, such as #solobackpacking or #hwpo (hard work pays off) to find people with similar interests to connect with.

Do you exercise reciprocal altruism? As often illustrated with “prisoner’s dilemma“, reciprocal altruism basically means that if you do good – and continue to do so – your counterpart will quickly (statistically) pick up on your behaviour and mirror it to benefit both of you. What goes around come around is another way of putting it.

Do you post content that is actually useful or inspiring to your audience? One thing is to post a picture or two a day, but if the pictures aren’t likeable, or if the text below the picture doesn’t spark an interest or sets the tone for a conversation, engagement will never rise.

Do you know your audience? If you want to get serious, you have to target an audience. And don’t just target them once, keep targeting them and keep being proactive in the community.

Do you have an open account? If your account is closed, you need to open it to the broader public before you do anything of the above. By having a closed account that only your followers can see, your hashtags and posts will not show up on everybody else’s apps and searches.

Do you feel that Instagram is engagement friendly, and what do you use it for?

While on the topic, let’s connect on Instagram – matkjeldsen.

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