We all have those friends or family members who are super into pop culture and can tell you exactly what antics Miley Cyrus has been up to of late, the perfect Snapchat selfie lens to make you look like a bug-eyed fairy, and which weird Instagram account is “totally blowing up.” I’m talking about your tween niece or your always stylish and perky happy hour buddy. Whether you love it or hate it, they keep you in the loop, right?
My two main sources for pop culture news have been feeding me a steady stream of Instagram accounts to follow for laughs. From 3-legged goats to avant garde tattoos, I feel like I’ve seen it all, but it keeps coming! Every time I take a look at one of their recommended accounts I can’t help but note what these people are doing to engage with and build their audience. They of course have entertaining content but beyond that there are fun little tricks they use to build on their followers and keep them coming back for more. So, here are some of my findings mixed with others’ – try ’em out!
1. Copy the McGyver Lizard Tag Game
No, that wasn’t a collection of random words, this pet-stagram account is dedicated to one very large reptile named McGyver. The lizard’s owners LOVE spoiling their pet and posting pic and videos of him enjoying life, usually with his human mother. I have a feeling most people are repulsed by McGyver, but one thing is for sure, he definitely is loved by his owners like a child. The owner dresses him up, feeds him treats, brings him to community parties and takes him for walks. The videos are accompanied by simple, melodic music that always makes me chuckle.
The content is definitely entertaining so for that reason alone I could understand a small community around the Instagram account. However, the account has 115,000 followers at the time of this post… The McGyver secret sauce is the account owner’s tag game. It’s so simple and it REALLY works for them. Typically when they post a photo or video of McGyver doing something mundane or otherwise, they write a brief description asking followers to tag someone along the theme of the post. For example, if McGyver is just relaxing on the bed doing nothing, they’ll post the video with a description “Tag a lazy bum” and I kid you not, hundreds of comments erupt below with people tagging their friends’ accounts. What happens next? Those friends check out this account and follow the weird lizard lady and her pet. Genius.
2. Act Like a Teen and Spam Kylie Jenner’s Feed
Instagram is favored over Facebook and Twitter by the younger crowds so following their unconventional social media habits could help you grow your own account. For example, as Taylor of Later.com found, teens frequent Kylie Jenner‘s (of Kardashian fame) Instagram account not to check out her latest outfit or the yacht she is hanging out on that day, but instead to comment with 2-5 characters, usually “first” or “lb” on her most recent post and then peruse other accounts.
(Expand the comments to see what I mean.)
Why? Taylor dug deep to figure this out. He found that “first” meant like my first post and “lb” meant like and I’ll like you back. Visitors who are looking for more followers could go to the “lb” posters’ account to like them and ensure that they would receive a like back. Same with “first” posters. Taylor defines this practice as a sharing economy. It certainly is a strange community that’s formed around, but unrelated to, Jenner’s account. I’ve tried this on my own accounts and definitely saw an uptick but it seems that I see the most success when I’ve engaged on Kylie’s post within minutes of it being published.
3. Post a Video of You Playing with Your Food
Honestly, you’re going to do it anyway so why not take a video of the fun and then put it on Instagram? Add a note about your current state of inebriation for extra comments. The key seems to be to get all the juicy, messy, weirdness in without demolishing your food – you must respect the food (don’t be wasteful). This is simple and worth a try accompanied by some #foodie hashtags and a dash of dry humor.
Let me know if you implement any of these weird Instagram strategies in a comment below!