Instagram is a fickle beast. One minute you’re living off hundreds of likes, and the next it’s like no one can even see your content. I see many bloggers and influencers regularly stressing out about the rollercoaster that is Instagram (including myself). Sometimes it’s great, and other times the stats just don’t make sense. I’m constantly wondering how to increase engagement on Instagram but nothing I’ve tried seems to have worked.
Compared with other social media platforms, I’ve always struggled with Instagram. Twitter is my forte; it’s been steadily growing since I started and I love spending time there. But Instagram? Not so much. I know my lack of appreciation towards the platform is part of the problem, but it just never does what I want to do. I often feel like my efforts are wasted.
Thankfully, Beth from The Study Gene is here to help. She’s developed a guide from her own experiences, which helped her gain 10.5k followers in just shy of eight months. That’s a lot! At the time of writing she has 17k followers and thousands of likes per post, which proves she’s doing something right. I decided to put her guide to the test with my own dwindling Instagram account.
***AD: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own***
“The Study Gene Instagram growth guide shows you how to build and grow a following and achieve a loyal and engaged audience on Instagram to help your blog or business. There are no quick fixes or gimmicks, just proven digital marketing methods that work when implemented effectively. Using tips and advice on how The Study Gene grew to over 10,000 (now currently 15,000) engaged followers in less than a year.”
As this is a bit of a different type of book to review I’m splitting my thoughts up into three different sections – how easy it was to implement the advice, how it affected my general engagement, and how it affected my individual post stats.
One thing I need to be clear on – the testing I have given the product is just a snapshot. Unfortunately, I was unable to commit a full eight months before the review and did my testing over a month and a half. I was also not able to fully commit during this entire time (as explained later on) so this is something to bear in mind. Interestingly, when I deviated away from the method my results plummeted, which I think is quite telling!
Impact On My Routine
For those that don’t know, I blog around a full-time job, freelancing, a chronic illness, and caring for a partner with a chronic illness. So, as you can imagine, time is not something I have a lot of. The key for me with any social media strategy is that it can bring results with limited effort. I need it to be both efficient and workable around my commitments.
To really experience the results of Beth’s method it’s advisable to commit more than I was able to. In the guide, Beth explains that she spends at least two hours a day on Instagram. I’m lucky if I can get ten minutes! However, the steps she outlines are doable with a smaller amount of time – just expect growth to be a bit slower. Nowhere in the guide does it say you have to spend two hours on a day on the ‘gram, but if you can then it’s a bonus. It’s also important to note that these things take time – you won’t achieve immediately. As Beth mentions in the guide, her account didn’t take off until the later part of the eight months.
Before using the Instagram Growth Guide I would probably spend around five minutes a day on Instagram. I’d post a photo, add a quick caption, and then finish it off with some hashtags. Job done. Sometimes I’d venture into stories, but not every day. I’d rarely engage with anyone else – it just felt like too much effort to me. I’d post about five out of seven days a week.
Whilst using the guide my time on Instagram has certainly increased. It’s pretty obvious why my strategy wasn’t working before – because there wasn’t one. I was expecting a lot without really giving anything back. And I wasn’t investing myself in the platform.
The Instagram Growth Guide is a very simple read, and I read the whole thing in one sitting. It describes how to increase engagement on Instagram through many different methods, approaching the issue from multiple angles. I dissected it into tasks that I could action, and from this formed two lists. One list was things I needed to change immediately, which I did in parts over a weekend. The other was a list of tasks I needed to action each day. This was where the biggest difference was, as I now had to make time each day for the platform.
I was worried that it was going to be heavy on my time but I haven’t found it too difficult to implement. I’d say I’m probably spending up to 30 minutes a day on Instagram – less than desirable, but a big increase from before. I’m also using that time wisely, ensuring I complete a variety of different tasks rather than simply posting a photo and signing off for the day.
My commitment to this list unfortunately was derailed mid-trial due to the sudden need to search for a new job and house. During this period (of which I’m still in) I did as many tasks as I could from the list each day, but would often not meet all of them. However, I noticed quite a big difference between the successful days and the ones with things left on the list.
Impact On My Overall Engagement
Now, the bit that everyone wants to read! Before reading Beth’s Instagram Growth Guide my engagement was… Not the best. I took a snapshot of my stats before I started (previous 30 days) and they looked like this:
- Followers – 1517
- Follower growth – 0
- Interactions – 78
- Profile visits – 75
- Site clicks – 3
- Reach – 473
- Impressions – 1302
Worryingly, that follower growth was the highest it had been in months! Bizarrely, I’d actually been losing more followers than I was gaining. The other elements were very hit and miss, and as you can see incurred low figures.
I then looked at my stats at the end of my trial, a month and a half later. Because of how Instagram’s analytics I can only analyse the past 30 days – the full stats for my entire trial will obviously be higher (probably around 1.5x for most of them, not including followers or follower growth).
- Followers – 1622
- Follower growth – 75
- Interactions – 142
- Profile visits – 140
- Site clicks – 2
- Reach – 779
- Impressions – 1690
As you can see, the stats are looking a lot higher! They’re not incredible, given that I couldn’t truly commit to Beth’s method, but there is a significant improvement. Interactions, profile visits, and reach have pretty much all doubled. My impressions have increased, and my follower growth is markedly higher. No longer do I face that 0 new followers barrier that nearly made me leave the platform!
The only thing that hasn’t improved is the site clicks, and I have no idea why. If anyone knows any tips on that side of things then that would be great!
Impact On My Instagram Post Stats
Were I clever, I would have recorded my initial post stats before undertaking this trial. However, I only came up with the idea to analyse this just before writing this post so I don’t have them! I can give an insight into my previous posts though.
Before I utilised the Instagram Study Guide, my posts were usually pretty low on likes and comments. I’d receive three or fewer comments per post. As for likes, I worked out an average of around 21 per post, however this came from the majority being between 10-20 posts with a couple of highly well-performing posts thrown in. Not brilliant, if you ask me.
I sat down with a calculator after my trial and calculated the mean average stats of all of my posts from the past 30 days as the following:
- Likes – 30
- Comments – 5
- Engagement – 35
- Reach – 174
- Impressions – 190
It’s hard to analyse engagement, reach, and impressions, however it’s quite obvious that likes and comments have gone up. It’s a small increase, but a noticeable difference whilst using the platform. Considering my efforts over the past month of the half I’m pretty happy with it… It’s a good start, and suggests that, should I keep using the method, it will only keep going up. Which would be wonderful!
Although my results haven’t been as high as Beth’s, I’ve 100% noticed an improvement on Instagram. I feel like it’s a lot more consistent, with those dreaded posts gaining less than ten likes just not happening anymore. I’m no longer feeling like I want to give up with the platform. If I’m honest, my terrible engagement was getting to me a bit – I was stressed and hated using the platform – but it feels different now.
It’s also been wonderful to find a method that caters for those of us that aren’t full-time bloggers. I’ve come across a few guides and many of them assume that we have all this time to spare. It makes it really hard to engage with a method knowing that it will be impossible for me, so I liked how the Instagram Growth Guide by The Study Gene catered for this issue.
Beth has written the guide accessibly, and with its pretty colours and images it’s a pleasure to read. She comes across as insightful and genuinely helpful. There aren’t any frills or unnecessary pieces of information, but just what we need to know – how to get a following, and how to increase engagement on Instagram. The whole thing is transparent. The only improvement I would add is a checklist at the end, or perhaps a summary – this might make some of the information a bit clearer. I was able to create this myself though as you’ve seen, so it’s not a deal-breaker or anything.
After using Beth’s guide I’m looking to stick with this method as I’ve found it relatively simple to implement. Until I’m a full-time blogger I won’t be able to spend two hours a day on the platform, but this guide has allowed me to make a good start. My stats are improving for all aspects so it’s clear that the guide works. I’m almost willing to admit that I might even like Instagram a bit now… And that’s a feat in itself!
Want your own copy of The Study Gene’s 100% Bullsh*t Free Instagram Growth Guide so you too can learn how to increase engagement on Instagram and boost your following? You can purchase it by contacting Beth directly over on The Study Gene’s Instagram page.
“Beth is a 24-year-old student and lifestyle blogger, sharing study skills and advice on how to study and learn more effectively, boost employability, and enjoy the process. She is studying towards a Health Science degree and Chemistry qualification part-time, and works in the education sector full time. Her blog and Instagram page have a focus on helping people from varying backgrounds to access higher education and to encourage women to go into science, using her professional knowledge and own experiences to help guide the way.”
What is your biggest struggle when it comes to growing your Instagram profile? Or what is the best advice you have been given on how to increase engagement on Instagram? Share your thoughts below! Check out these other great practical guides to help you in business and in life: