Disclaimer: Sorry to disappoint if you came here looking for some shortcuts to increase your Instagram follower count. There are a lot of blackhat methods to do that and most of them will give you a quick fix in terms of inflated follower count but your engagement rate will hardly move an inch. I would any day take 100 engaged followers than 100k followers who hardly care for what you post. If you agree with that, please read on.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWe joined\u00a0Instagram\u00a0about 34 weeks ago and have made around 400+ posts in this period, which averages to about 1.75 posts a day. The bulk of our posting has happened in the last 22 weeks which is around the time we started our January Sale\u200a\u2014\u200aFestival of Fashion. We have gained close to 1k followers (not a lot!) during this period. Being a fashion app, we have found that Instagram followers have the highest chance of converting into paying customers and naturally our social media efforts were refocussed to improving our Instagram presence over the past few weeks.\r\nFiguring out a daily Post Schedule\r\nFor the longest period of time we used to maintain a schedule where we posted 3 times a day\u200a\u2014\u200a10:00 AM, 1:00PM and 6:00PM. This schedule has worked well for us in Facebook as the morning and evening slots correspond to the commute time where people are generally on social media and the afternoon slot corresponds to the lunch hours. After running with this schedule for some time, we decided to change things around a bit to figure out the absolute best time to post on Instagram as the half life of a post on Insta is really less compared to Facebook and we wanted to make each post count.\r\n\r\nFor this we spread our posts across different time slots for a couple of weeks and gathered the following data\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nClearly, if you look at the data we were posting a lot on Fridays and we usually make a lot of posts around 1PM. However when we sat down to figure out what was the best time to post for maximising engagement, this was the data we got.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \tThursday, 12 PM\r\n \tWednesday, 1PM\r\n \tTuesday, 4PM\r\n\r\nBased on the data above, we are now making more posts around these recommended times to drive up our engagement and have seen some improvements already.\r\nType of Post\r\nWe\u2019ve tried both video and photo posts on Instagram and have found that photo posts work best for us in terms of engagement. This could simply be because of the fact that the tools and filters provided by Instagram are suited at making photos look spectacular while the same cannot be said about the video tools, buffering and video quality.\r\n#Hashtags\r\nWe make sure that all our posts are sufficiently hashtagged. Without hashtags most of the posts hardly gain any traction.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWe use\u00a0TagsForLikes\u00a0app to create hashtags on the fly. It helps us to figure out the most popular tags based on the category of post and saves us the time of typing out so many hashtags.\r\nLiking and Commenting\r\nIn addition to posting \u2018likeworthy\u2019 photos, we have found that liking other people\u2019s posts and commenting on them improves the visibility of our profile. In fact, apart from posting photos with sufficient hashtags the single biggest driver for getting more followers and subsequently more engagement is commenting on celebrity photos.\r\nSolving the creation challenge\r\nInitially we used to put in a lot of effort on our posts. All our posts were crafted by a team that involves designers and writers but we soon realised that it is not scalable if you are looking at a hockey stick growth in terms of engagement. Besides we also noticed that there was hardly any difference in engagement between the posts that took 5 minutes to make and one that took 5 hours to make. So we decided to rejig our whole Instagram workflow and bring in tools that will reduce our content creation efforts to a reasonable level.\r\n\r\nRight now our content creation tools for Instagram includes:\r\n\r\n \tAdobe Spark\u00a0(previously Adobe Post)\r\n \tLayout\u00a0by Instagram\r\n \tiMovie\u00a0for iOS for videos\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nTackling the distribution challenge\r\nCreation is one part of the equation and one which we are fairly confident of now. The other part includes distribution and in the distribution workflow there are several tasks that we keep repeating everyday.\r\n\r\nAt Fynd, we follow a simple thumb rule of productivity\u200a\u2014\u200aany task that requires more than 10 minutes everyday needs to be automated.\r\n\r\nHow We Automated Productivity\r\nStitching together Slack, Basecamp, Asana, Trello, Zapier, Angel.co and Google Appsmedium.com\r\n\r\nThe following are some of the tools that we use to automate our instagram workflow.\r\nHootsuite\r\nInstagram, unlike Facebook is based on a timeline model where the half life of a post is around 45 minutes and the engagement trajectory of the post is determined in the first few minutes of posting. To get any decent engagement for a post we have to ensure that we post at a time when maximum users, especially our followers are active. This is when a scheduling tool like\u00a0Hootsuite\u00a0comes into the picture. In fact, Hootsuite is the only tool that supports Instagram posting which has a decent price tag.\r\n\r\n\r\nZapier\r\nZapier\u00a0is another tool that we use a lot in marketing at Fynd. It helps us to automate a number of tasks that would have otherwise consumed a lot of time. However, Instagram restricts posting from other tools and services. So most of the zaps we have set up are from Instagram to other networks. One such zap we have set up posts all our Instagram photos to a Pinterest board called\u00a0Instafynds.\r\n\r\n\r\nFinally, measure your results\r\nNone of this would make sense if we are not closely monitoring the impact of our minor tweaks and experiments. We have tried a couple of tools for Instagram analytics and settled on\u00a0Iconosquare\u00a0as it serves the purpose without breaking the bank.\r\n\r\nIf you made it till here, please do follow our Instagram account and share this post in your network. We are still exploring the nooks and crannies of Instagram and will keep you updated as and when we figure things out.