Follow for follow, like groups or bots: many Instagrammers rely on shady methods to increase their fanbase. There is now a powerful tool to help small accounts get big: Instagram Stories.

Follow for follow, like groups or bots: many Instagrammers rely on shady methods to increase their fanbase. There is now a powerful tool to help small accounts get big: Instagram Stories.

The hardest piece of work for operators of small Instagram channels is the organic build-up of range. The first major hurdle is the 1,000-follower mark.

In order to achieve the four-digit number, many Instagrammers rely on organic growth by posting pictures and videos on their own channel. They “like”relevant hashtags and start discussions under pictures of accounts with the same target group.

This process is effective and will lead to success in the medium term, but also requires a lot of commitment from the account owner.

Shady methods for growth

Since obviously not every Instagrammer has the necessary time budget or is willing to wait so long, often, other methods are used which are somewhat shadier.

This includes the use of so-called “like” and “follow bots,” which automatically read and comment on third-party contributions without the user’s actual involvement – even a Zalando subsidiary has used it.

Equally popular, kind of like influenza, are like and comment groups. In these, several Instagram accounts are grouped together, with the aim of driving up their own reach.

The system behind it is simple: every account which joins the group is invited and commented on by all participants. As a result, agencies and advertisers are using influencers to take advantage of the power of the masses to be better served by the Instagram algorithm.

Instagram Stories: The True Reach-Boost

If you would like to increase your range on Instagram in an uncomplicated and fast way, you should immediately begin to actively use Instagram Stories. Since its launch in August 2016, Instagram has continued to develop its format.

At the end of May, 2017 Instagram Stories were supplemented by two new narrative formats: Location Stories and Hashtag Stories. Since then, users have been able to optionally include a particular hashtag or their current location in their story.

So, for example, if you include the #FacebookMarketing hashtag in your story, it seems very likely that you will also appear in the national or global hashtag story about this hashtag. The same applies to the location stories.

Instagram Stories

Left vs. Right: the range of a post in your Instagram Stories can vary massively. On the left, we just posted a picture, on the right a location hashtag. The range of the right contribution was 500 percent higher than that of the left.

We have been experimenting on our German Instagram account with location and hashtag stories for several weeks. The results are clear.

Instagram Stories with Hashtag and Location reach a range of up to 500%. On average, the growth of our test series is between 200 and 300 percent.

Differences by account size

It has been shown that the location tags are again significantly more effective in terms of reach than the hashtags used. However, these are also very niche. If you are looking at more general hashtags with larger search volumes, we should be able to generate significantly better results than we are.

Our conclusion is that Instagram Stories in the right configuration can be a huge range booster. Our account currently has close to 2,600 followers and our increase in coverage is an average of around 250 percent per image in the story as described above.

Small accounts are likely to record much higher growth rates. The larger an account, the higher its organic range. Therefore, the increase in the use of location and hashtag markings decreases with increasing size.

Even so, even large accounts with 10,000 or even more followers will get a not-to-be-overlooked gain in real-world profits from Instagram Stories.