Recently, I was searching for ways to grow my Instagram account organically, and I came across numerous videos on YouTube discussing this topic. However, most offered the same advice I’ve been aware of for quite some time. It was frustrating to find repetitive content dominating the search results.
Fortunately, I eventually discovered a video by “Josh Ryan” that stood out. In the video, he shared nine hacks that helped him gain 900,000 followers on Instagram. The video detailed how he successfully grew his Instagram account from zero to nearly a million followers.
Here are the nine secret hacks Josh Ryan employed to gain a substantial following on Instagram organically.
Creating Highly Sharable Content
According to Josh Ryan, the first tip is to focus on making content that many people will want to share. This usually means creating something people can strongly relate to or identify with or its current events.
Now, one of those three leads to many people sharing your content, which results in significant growth. In Josh’s case, sharing ‘News’ is the easiest way to do this. If you’re the first in your field to talk about something, you’ll likely get a lot of attention because people will start sharing your content with new people through their stories, tagging people, etc.
That’s what Josh did with his page. He shared fresh news and tried to be the first in the industry.
For Example, Josh shared the latest Tech news in the industry, and the post reached over 4 million people.
Leveraging Controversial Content
One thing that really worked for Josh was ‘creating controversial content.’ Sometimes, to get noticed on social media, you might need to express opinions that not everyone agrees with. People have diverse views; some may get upset, but it’s part of the social media game. Don’t be afraid to stand by your controversial beliefs as long as you have a basis for them. Embracing your beliefs can help you connect with a broader audience. Controversial content tends to grab attention, spark discussions, and attract more comments and engagement, expanding your reach.
Below is an Instagram Reel that Josh reposted with a somewhat controversial opening hook. It asked a woman what her dating requirements were regarding income. It helped Ryan reach over 3.6 million people and gain 6,000 new followers, and it is still getting new reach every day.
Surprisingly, the content itself wasn’t as controversial as it seemed from the start – it was just a bold introduction to grab attention.
Emulating Successful Themes
Josh suggests that we draw inspiration from successful social media content by incorporating elements like themes, fonts, colours, topics, and styles into our own work. He advises taking aspects of what works well and integrating them into our unique format.
For Example, Josh and his team observed a shift in their approach. Rather than solely sharing reels, they experimented with posting an image featuring a captivating hook resembling a YouTube thumbnail. Viewers could then swipe to watch the accompanying video. This strategic adjustment resulted in 12 of their top 15 performing posts in the past year.
Consistent Posting Strategy
The fourth secret to succeeding on Instagram is consistent posting. I understand that you might be tired of repeatedly hearing this tip, but being consistent is crucial for success.
Having over 6,700 posts may seem like a lot, but it’s the key to growth. Focus on getting better and adjust your approach based on what works. More content gives you more chances to understand your audience and attract new followers. Posting regularly for 3, 6, or 12 months will show tangible results; be patient. You don’t have to handle every post yourself; you can hire someone to post for you, just like Josh does for his page.
Perfecting Your Hook
One thing that really makes a big difference is ‘Perfecting your Hook.’ A guy named David Ogilvy, who founded a super successful advertising company, once said that, on average, five times more people will read the title than the rest of the content. Making the headline really good is crucial because that’s what most people will see. No one will bother with the rest of the content if the headline isn’t interesting.
To connect this idea to Instagram, think of your hook as the headline. People won’t engage with your content if the hook isn’t attention-grabbing. Social media is flooded with posts; if you can’t grab someone’s attention immediately, your content won’t grow or reach many people.
For Example, Josh created a post with a picture of a wise-looking man and a headline that said, “This video will completely change your perspective on stress.”
This post reached 7 million people and gained 17,859 followers without any paid promotions—entirely organically.
Collaborations for Growth
The sixth key is collaboration. Josh said in the video that he used to collaborate initially, which significantly boosted his first few hundred followers. Even though he doesn’t do it as much now, he knows it would still benefit him today. Like Josh, you must do collaboration posts daily to expand your audience. Remember that Josh posted four to five times daily, so collaborations comprised only 20% of his content. If you post five times a week, consider a similar ratio, like one collaboration per week. Regardless of frequency, collaborating is an excellent way to grow your audience, offering fresh content and perspectives. The larger your audience, the more collaboration opportunities and faster growth, but it works at any size.
SEO on Instagram
The most underrated but game-changer is SEO on Instagram. SEO has become more crucial over time, especially on Instagram. Josh added three keywords to his Instagram profile: business, mindset, and inspiration.
This helps your profile appear in searches and boosts visibility for individual posts. Setting up SEO requires some effort initially, but the rewards are ongoing. Doing this allows you to grow your audience without spending extra time and effort. If you haven’t optimized your Instagram SEO yet, take a moment to do it now. It’s a simple way to amplify your results in the background while you focus on creating and posting content.
Engagement through Comments
The eighth tip concerns handling comments when you first post something. Responding to the early comments is essential, especially by asking questions. For example, if someone says they love a quote, instead of just saying thanks, dive in with a response like, “Thanks! How does this relate to you?” or “What did you like about it?” This sparks a conversation in the comments section. Not only does this strengthen the connection between you and your audience, but it also boosts engagement in your content. This engagement helps you connect with more people and expands your reach.
Consistent Content Theme
The ninth and last tip is about giving your content a consistent theme. People should be able to quickly recognize that it’s your brand when they scroll through it, and it should also look appealing when they visit your profile. So, please try to maintain a consistent font, colour, and style for your content to make it easily recognizable.
In conclusion, I find Josh Ryan’s creative methods for growing an Instagram following quite refreshing. In all the repetitive advice, his nine valuable tricks, such as regularly posting, improving hooks, and collaborating, offer a clear path to success. It’s also worth noting the often-neglected SEO element and the significance of interacting with comments, which contribute additional depth to the growth journey. As you apply these strategies, remember that forming genuine connections with others requires time. So, stay patient, stay consistent, and watch your Instagram community thrive.