Instagram can be the number one social referrer of traffic to a crowdfunding campaign.

Over time, Facebook has continued to decrease the organic reach and exposure that your posts receive. For this reason, more and more creators have turned to Instagram.

This post looks at how to hack Instagram to get more backers. You will learn the best time to post, how to create engaging content and the most popular hashtags.

Page Basics

First, you must set up an account specifically for your campaign. Make sure to add your logo or a headshot of you. A headshot often works better than a logo for engagement, as backers want to interact with a human, not a logo. Then you want to write a short Bio description that explains you and your project briefly.

Choose a username that matches your other social profiles for your campaign. You want your username and name to match.

Pro Tip: You can add line breaks to your Instagram caption to better format the text. To do this write your caption in the notes app of your phone. Then, copy and paste the text to your Instagram bio. If you do not copy and paste from another app you will not be able to add line breaks.

If you want to make it easy for backers and journalists to get in touch with you, add your email to the end of your Bio.

In the website section, make sure you add a link to your pre-launch page or campaign page. Generally, Instagram doesn’t like bit.ly links as they are used by scammers to mask the real domain. For that reason, I suggest just using your regular domain and not a bit.ly link.

What Content is Most Succesful?

Instagram is a visual platform. To be successful, you are will need amazing visual content. Hopefully, you put together a set of professional images when you created your press kit.

No one wants to follow an empty profile. For that reason, you want to post 15 to 25 images before you start to promote your page.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to get more exposure for your account. Adding just one hashtag to your image results in an average 12.6% boost in engagement.

Hashtags are short words that follow a # sign. You add them to the caption of an image. When you click on the hashtag you can see all the posts from users who used the same hashtag. For example here are all the posts related to #kickstarter.

The goal is to get in the “Top Posts” section when users explore the hashtag. If you have under 15,000 followers it will be easier to get in the “Top Posts” section for a less competitive keyword.

Choose keywords that are related to your campaign and crowdfunding. You want to find relevant hashtags over popular ones. Currently, you can add up to 30 hashtags to one post. If you add more than 30 hashtags, they will not count for engagement.

We have created a list of our top 100 crowdfunding hashtags. They are even organized by Kickstarter category. You can download this list for free here.

In addition to finding popular hashtags, you can also create your own hashtag for your campaign. That way others can post and contribute to the conversation. Try to pick a hashtag that is related to your campaign and is short and easy to remember. Search the hashtag on Instagram to ensure that it is not used by other accounts or conversations. If you are using your own branded hashtag, it is a good idea to add it to your bio and explain how to use it on your posts.

Get More Followers

The easiest way to get more followers is to ask your friends and family. Let people know that you have launched a new account and they can follow you there for updates.

The first 100 followers are the most difficult to get. The more followers you have the easier it is to get more. That is because a high follower count is a strong example of social proof. If 5,000 people are following an account it must be more valuable than an account with 500 followers.

Even though it can be tempting. Do not buy followers. Buying followers online is a waste of money. They will decrease the number of real people that see your posts and could get you banned from Instagram.

Find Your Competitor’s Followers

You can use a spreadsheet to create a list of all similar crowdfunding projects and related campaigns. Brainstorm on a piece of paper all related areas, industries and features. The list can be very specific to your product as well as very broadly connected. For example here is a list for a new backpack Kickstarter:

  • Bags
  • Backpacks
  • Hiking
  • Nature
  • Colorado Mountains
  • Made in America

The next step is to find accounts related to these areas. Use Instagram’s search function to find a list of top accounts. Once you follow the most relevant pages, you will see an area appear that shows similar accounts. Click on these and see if they are related. Continue this until you have 15-25 related accounts. If they were once a crowdfunding campaign that is even better.

Next, you want to go through each account and engage with their followers. You can do this by liking, following, or commenting on their content. It is important to target their most active followers.

For this reason, I suggest going to a recent photo and clicking on the links or comment section. Then you can engage with these users.

Don’t get banned. There is nothing wrong with engaging with other users on Instagram. But you can get banned if you break their terms of service. Don’t be spammy with your comments and make sure not to follow/unfollow too many people at once. There is no published number from Instagram but many experts suggest starting with these limits:

  • 60 follows an hour
  • 60 likes an hour
  • 60 comments an hour

Instagram is one of the last social networks where you can organically grow and connect with “targeted” strangers. Enjoy it while it lasts! No doubt in 10 years Instagram will have so much noise that they will be like Facebook and Twitter today. You will then have to find backers on a new social platform.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is the newest major feature on Instagram. It allows you to upload a series of images or videos that only last for 24 hours.

Unlike posts on your account, Stories often feel rawer and less edited. They are great because they allow you to reach more of your audience. You can include text, highlights, stickers, hashtags, and locations to give your audience an insight into the real-life, right-now steps of the campaign.

Today, you can take a photo through the Instagram app or upload a photo from your camera roll to your story. However, Instagram only allows content from the last 24 hours can be used within Stories.

One of the most powerful features of Instagram Stories is that you can add a link to a post if you have an Instagram for Business account. When users get to that story, they can swipe up to visit the webpage. This is a great way to drive traffic to your pre-launch page or crowdfunding page.

Pro Tip: If you want to upload a video that is longer than 15 seconds you can use the Storeo App (for iOS). It will take a long video (like your crowdfunding video) and split it into 15-second segments so you can share the entire video on your story.

It is important to think about your content and post it in a linear fashion. Users will view your Stories in the order you post them. They should come together to be, you guessed it, a story.

Best Time to Post

The best time to post differs by each account. You want to post your content right before the majority of your followers are online.This timing ensures they will be able to see your update.

If you decided to create an Instagram for Business account, Instagram will show the most popular times that your users are online on their Insights tab.

If you do not have a business account, we recommend these times:

  1. Before Work – Many users check their Instagram as soon as they wake up. You can target these users with an early morning post.
  2. Before Lunch – Lunch is a popular time to scan the ‘gram. Posting before lunch is a good time to catch users looking for a mid-day distraction.
  3. Evening Commute – After 5 pm, many users are sitting on the bus or train heading home. An interesting post will be welcome entertainment.

Friday and Saturday are generally the worst days to post as people are busy trying to enjoy the weekend. Sunday is a little better as everyone gets ready for work on Monday.

Avoid posting a photo in the dead of night. Though the competition with other pages will be low, your post will not receive high engagement. As with every tactic on your campaign, you can always test to see what works best. Post with varying frequency and timing to see what works best.

Contests

There are many contests you can run on Instagram. The most popular is called a “Loop Giveaway”. These work like a normal giveaway except the contest entry requires participants to tag at least one friend in the comments. The idea is that the tag creates a viral loop where the tagged person will tag even more people. For this contents to be successful we recommend asking them to tag 4 to 7 friends.

You can amplify your contest by partnering with other Instagram accounts. If you have relationships with similar accounts, you can run a loop giveaway with them. In that case, your rules might look like:

To win one xyz you must:
Comment on this photo and tag 5 friends who would want to win
Follow these three accounts: @xyz, @abc, @nyc

If you are going to run a contest it is important to clearly establish all the rules in the post. If you want users to take the time to hassle their friends, your reward needs to be valuable and achievable.

Using a loop giveaway is a great way to quickly build a follower base.

Press

This is a secret that no one is talking about. Using Instagram to get more press. In our course, we detail exactly how to prospect, warm up, and contact potential press opportunities and micro influencers. This is one of the most effective ways of sharing your campaign. Email is crowded and tedious but Instagram is still fun.

Instagram Ads

You can run ads on Instagram much like you can on Facebook. For the purpose of this article, we are going to suggest you read this article on how to create an Instagram ad campaign.

What’s Next

Instagram can be a great way to build an audience. To be successful throughout your campaign, you need a plan for what how you will engage on your account once you have built up your followers.

If you have yet to launch make sure to push them to a pre-launch page. If you have already launched you can send them directly to your campaign. If you have yet to read our guide on optimizing your campaign page you can check it out here.