Update: We recently ran a campaign that saw our client’s Instagram follow count rise by 6000 in just two weeks. Resist the urge to skip to the end, but when you do get there, you’ll find out how to get a copy of our free guide and case study. 

We need a way to attract real, interest-based people to your account but we don’t want this to be an arduous task – we’re going to completely automate it. But before we talk about the process of gaining these follows, we need to set down a few ground rules.

Before we talk about how to use Instagress, I must make you aware that Instagram aren’t too fond of these tactics and they aren’t afraid of deleting accounts that exploit the system. Do so at your own risk. Consider starting a new account to avoid risking your established accounts.

How to use Instagress: Before we begin

Post some great content

If you’ve started a new Instagram account, make sure you’ve got something for people to look at. You need at least 3, but ideally 9 photos or videos to start – and make sure they’re the most exciting, inspiring or interesting posts you can dream up. These posts need to inspire people so much that they absolutely have to follow you. Even if you’ve been posting for years, it doesn’t hurt to scroll through your old submissions and repost your 9 most popular images so that your best posts are the first new visitors will see. After this, post regularly – once a day at least.

Keep your content relevant

If your Instagram account is primarily used for business, don’t post pictures of your spaghetti bolognese and definitely don’t post pictures of your baby. Seriously.

Be personable, friendly and approachable

It took me too long to realise this, but people on the internet don’t like faceless companies or brands that they can’t connect with on a personal level. Don’t be stiff and formal in your wording unless your business requires it; let your personality shine through, crack some jokes, encourage interaction and reply to your commenters.

How Instagress works

I’m glad you asked. This is where the magic happens, but first I need to explain what we’re going to do.

So you’ve probably noticed that when you add a million hashtags to your posts, you get a shed-load of likes and comments; comments that are so generic, they’d make sense on any image. Comments like ‘wow’, ‘nice shot’ and ‘awesome’. You’ve probably often then clicked through to that person’s profile to see who they are.

Here’s the secret: these profiles belong to real people and businesses, but they’ve got tools to automate their commenting and liking activity. Their automation software searches for images with certain hashtags and then comments on your post or follows your account with the sole aim of getting you to check (and ultimately follow) their account.

We’re going to do the same, but better.

How to use Instagress: 6 steps to using Instagress effectively

1. Open an Instagress account

This is the tool that will let us automate the entire process. You get 72 hours of automation for free, but after that, it costs £6.50 for an entire month of activity (720 hours to be used over any period of time). Follow the setup process, connect your Instagram account and then move onto the next step.

2. Configure the hashtags

You’ve probably worked out the most popular hashtags in your field over your years on Instagram, so just go ahead and input some hashtags on the lower half of the configuration page. Ensure you don’t cram in irrelevant keywords; you’ll attract the wrong type of followers and these people absolutely will not convert. In my experiment, I’ve used hashtags that will attract other web designers.

3. Configure the comments

These are the comments that Instagress will post on images that match your hashtag criteria. How you configure your comments will depend on your line of business and who you’re trying to attract. The software has a number of defaults, but you can tailor these to your field. If you’re in the field of fitness and you’re targeting #abs, create comments like ‘nice abs!’. This might only work if you’re targeting one hashtag at a time, so if you’re targeting a number of different hashtags, make the comments even more generic.

4. Configure the locations

If you’re lucky, like me, your business isn’t constrained to one geographical location and you can target the entire planet. In which case, leave this field be. However, if you’re tied down to one area, it’s pointless targeting people from other lands. Select your city or county and target people who’ve left appropriate location data on their posts.

5. Select your activity speed

For the first few days, you’ll need to start on the ‘slow’ setting. If you go in all guns blazing, Instagram may get suspicious and ban your account – we don’t want that. On day 4, ramp it up to ‘normal’ and after a week, try ‘fast’.

6. Select your activity types

Instagress can automate a few actions; likes, comments, follows and unfollows. Follows seems to be the most effective, where 1 in 5 accounts I followed resulted in a follow back. Switch on ‘likes’, ‘comments’ and ‘follows’ and click the giant red ‘start’ button.

Some super-important notes

Start slow

You should start seeing your follows increase fairly rapidly. Within the first day I had around 60 followers on the ‘slow’ setting and got 150+ for each day on ‘fast’. Your results will vary considerably depending on your Instagress configuration and business’ field.

Unfollow sometimes

Instagress is going to follow hundreds of accounts per day. You should regularly purge these by using the ‘unfollow’ setting on Instagress. After a few months, try and keep your ‘followers’ and ‘following’ numbers at a similar level. It doesn’t look good if you’ve got 500 followers but follow 10,000 other accounts. During periods that you unfollow accounts, you’ll see the rate in which people follow you back drop dramatically. This is unavoidable, but necessary.

Don’t use Instagram while Instagress is running

Instagram know where you’re posting from, so if your account has activity from two locations or devices at once, they may get suspicious. If you personally post a new image, like some pictures or leave some genuine comments, ensure you pause Instagress first.

It is risky

I’ve already said, but Instagram have been known to ban accounts that use tools like this. Many companies have had great success with these tactics, and many have made great fortunes from marketing through their Instagram accounts. You use Instagress or similar services at your own risk – if you’ve spent years growing a following, use a new, totally separate account.

Get 6000 followers in two weeks – download our free guide and case study

We recently managed a huge Instagress campaign for a client and saw their follower count grow by 6000 in just two weeks. If you’d like a free copy of our super-in-depth case study, complete with step-by-step instructions on the advanced techniques we implemented, send a blank email with the subject “Instagress” to [email protected].