Modding for Many: How to Get 50,000 Followers on Instagram for Free
We just want to make this clear right from the start: we sell Seiko mod parts.
We are not a marketing agency but, in this post, we will share with you the tips and tricks on how you can grow your brand on Instagram and attract hundreds, if not thousands of real followers and potential clients. These are the steps that we followed to reach almost 50,000 Seiko enthusiasts on our main account, and they may do the same for you.
This is a follow-up article to our earlier posts on how to successfully start your own Seiko modding business. The methods that you will learn here will not cost you a single cent, but it does need a level of dedication from you if you want them to work.
Why Instagram is Important for Seiko Modders
Seiko mods are a visual experience. You may write long and detailed descriptions about your mod, but nothing beats a picture of the mod itself.
Instagram is arguably the best platform to share this type of visual content, and if you have limited resources for online marketing, we recommend starting here. With the amount of engagement and connections you can get from Instagram, a good chunk, if not the majority of your attention should be focused on it.
It is very easy to generate engagement on IG. With the help of hashtags, your posts can be discovered by the community while they’re browsing relevant content. You can share stories which will help you get in your audience’s top of mind. Instagram is also slowly becoming a video-sharing platform, which is helpful for businesses.
You will also have access to an insightful audience. IG is a platform of “sharing”, so naturally, users are open to sharing what they want. For you, this means you will know what the people want which is something that’s very important for anyone looking for a profit.
Once you know what the people want, what’s left is to give it to them.
Enough introduction - here are the tips for increasing your Instagram followers!
Tailor your Profile for Business
On Instagram, you can choose to convert your account to Professional to gain access to insights that will help you grow. If you have not done it already, turn your personal profile to a Professional one, or create a new account to keep your work and personal life separate.
Instagram’s native analytics are actually pretty helpful on its own. You’ll be able to objectively measure your account to see if your content and marketing strategy is working fine, or if you need to change course and try new things.
You will also be able to create shoppable posts, where your followers can buy your Seiko mods directly from your post. What’s more, you can boost this post so more people can see it, for a fee.
Once your profile is up, you’ll have to make sure that your brand identity is clear for everyone, whether it is their 1st or 100th time visiting you. In your bio, add what products or services you are offering to your potential customers and why they should be going to you and not anyone else. There is a character limit here, so you have to be straight to the point. Think of it as your elevator pitch.
You would also want to add a link in your bio, which leads to your website, or other social media accounts. You can only add one link in your bio so you may want to use a “link in bio” app to add more. This will come in handy when you want to promote other stuff like a campaign or promotion, but do not want to replace your current link.
Populate your Feed and Post Regularly
Of course, you will need posts to attract followers. The only IG accounts with followers despite having zero posts are those who buy likes (not something you would want to do by the way).
How often should you post? This varies per platform but for Instagram, the recommended count is once per day especially when you are just starting off. Once you have started to garner enough of a following, you start slowing down, but you should still strive to have a minimum of 3 feed posts per week.
Is it better to post more than once per day if you want to grow faster? Many other influencers on the platform recommend not going over 3 posts per day to avoid being ‘spammy’. Also, try to space out your posts throughout the day: posting one in the morning, afternoon and evening makes it so your followers can see you three times a day, instead of just once if you post everything in one go.
That said, you should also consider IG’s ‘peak hours’, or the times when there are most people online among your audience. Generally, this is around 8PM to 10PM. People love checking their feeds right before bed, and that’s when you should aim to upload your content.
Doing regular posts is not just for the algorithm’s sake – science says it has a positive effect on people too! According to psychologists, seeing someone, or in this case, showing up on someone’s feed, regularly makes you more likeable and even attractive to them. So, keep those IG updates coming!
Making Quality Content
Let’s face it, not every post we make will earn hundreds of likes, or many appreciative comments. When you’re just starting out, the number of posts with great engagement might be few and far between.
As long as you keep on experimenting and finding out what your followers like, the time will come when you reach influencer status and start getting the follower count you were aiming for.
If you can afford it, investing in a good camera and learning how to use it is worth it. We’ve found that high-resolution images perform better even if it is featuring a not-so-rare design, compared to pictures of unique mods that are blurry or dark. Get those pixels count in there! And unless you are going for a dark theme for your shot, turn the lights on before taking a pic.
No need to buy a 4K resolution camera though – one that shoots nicely in 1080p should be fine as Instagram downscales and compresses images above this resolution anyway.
Long and creative captions seem to work as well. While most people on Instagram focus on the image, some people also like reading the post captions especially if they like what they saw in the photo. You can describe what makes your mod unique from everyone else’s, or talk about the selection process of the parts.
If your post caption is very educational, it may even prompt your follower to ‘save’ your post which is a big plus in the eyes of the Instagram algorithm. In fact, some agencies even say that post saves are currently the most important metric on IG right now, so writing an interesting caption is a must!
Use Instagram Stories
While feed posts are your bread and butter, Instagram has a lot of other content types that you might want to test out to check your audience’s preferences.
Stories are something you definitely have to try. They are bite-sized content that are easy to scroll through, making them easier for your followers to ‘consume.’ Instagram will also put your stories first depending on its recency, and how much a follower engages with your content.
They also disappear within 24 hours unless you highlight them, adding a sense of urgency for your audience to view them.
You can add interactive elements to your Story with stickers which include:
- Mention – Tag a friend and notify them
- Questions – Ask a question and receive answers from followers
- Music – Add a music snippet to your story to add liveliness
- Emoji Slider – Gauge how much a customer feels about something
- Poll / Quiz – Make your audience choose from a selection, or answer a quick trivia question (great for engagement)
- Countdown Timer – Good for building hype an upcoming event
- And more!
Adding these elements increases the chances that your followers will want to engage with your content. And remember, engagement is always good!
Another perk of using Stories is that once you get 10k followers or get verified on the platform, you will then be able to add links that your viewers can easily visit.
After adding a link, viewers will only need to swipe up to be taken to the link you specified. This can lead to a product page, a blog post you recommend, or another social media profile that you want your viewers to also follow.
On the Subject of #hashtags
While the use of hashtags first started with Twitter, it also plays a big role with content discovery on Instagram.
Users can simply search a hashtag and see all posts that are using it. Because of this, it becomes easier to ride trends and attract new followers. And according to this statistical study, posts with at least one hashtag get 12.6% more engagement than those without. That’s huge!
You can add up to 30 hashtags on a feed post and 10 on stories, and you should max that out in every post if possible, especially for feed posts.
You might worry that a wall of blue text does not look good on your post – you can also add your 30 hashtags as the first comment and people will still be able to find it. That should help the post description look cleaner!
Which tags should you use?
The advice differs depending on what you’re reading, but we found that the optimal mix is 5 tags with 500k posts and up, 10 tags with posts numbering between 100k – 500k, and 10 tags with below 100k posts.
It is important to use high-traffic tags, but we found that it is easier to get discovered on the tags with lesser posts. After all, searches using hashtags will first show posts that were recently popular, followed by the most recent posts.
You will have 5 tags that you can reserve for branded hashtags, or tags that only your brand and brand followers would use. For us, this is #namokimods which is for builds that mostly use our parts, and #namokifb to give some exposure to our Facebook page. You can also use holiday or location-related tags.
Important to remember: Hashtags are useless if you set your profile to private, so make sure your business accounts are set to public for any interested visitors to follow! Also do try to avoid extremely long hashtags. Short but memorable is the way to go.
Always Be Engaging
Do you know what’s similar between a like, a comment, a share, and a save? They are all engagements.
And Instagram love accounts that generate a lot of it.
Take note that not all of your followers will always be engaging with your content. On our main instagram account, we have around 48k followers at the time of this writing, and our posts have an average of about 876 likes and 13 comments per post. That is a 1.83% engagement rate.
The average engagement rate on instagram is 1.22%. This means you will get 1 like for every 122 people who follow you.
What can you do to raise engagement? One way is to always respond to comments. Making great-looking mods will always attract praise on Instagram, however, words of appreciation rarely turn into conversations.
Try posting content that will get your followers curious and inspire them to ask questions. Once you engage them in a discussion and reply to them, this lets your followers know that you are a real person listening to them and sharing their hobby. This also sends them a notification which may prompt them to go back to your profile to check your reply.
Likewise, visit your followers’ profiles to see what they are up to, and try to strike up a conversation. Do this to people who you want to genuinely connect with, and before long, you’d have more followers than people you’re following. If you like a particular post so much, don’t be shy and share them in your Story. Just remember to give credit where credit is due.
To organically grow your Instagram account, you should make sure that your profile tells a visitor who you are and what you do. Make your posts discoverable by using relevant hashtags, and turn your visitors into followers by using good photos and writing interesting captions. Lastly, you will turn your followers into an engaged community by talking to them and showing that you care about them. Before long, they will turn into your clients that will choose you as their modder of choice.
In our Modding for Many series, we share with professional modders and aspirants our tips for building their community, marketing their services and keeping their clients happy. If you would like to turn your Seiko modding hobby into a profitable business, stay tuned to our blog and look out for more upcoming articles for you.