How To Grow Your Small Business On Instagram Based On How Instagram Works (10 Steps)

On Instagram, growing your organic audience can be broken down into one simple formula: 

Reach x Retention = Growth


Reach is the number of new people that discover your account, Retention is the percentage of them that follow you, and Growth is the rate at which your organic audience increases. The larger the number of people your Reach is and the higher your Retention is, the faster you’ll Grow. It’s as simple as that! 

On Instagram, someone can come across your username and discover your account through one of the following Reach Channels

  • Explorer Page
  • Hashtag Feed
  • Home Feed
  • Activity Feed
  • DM Inbox
  • Reels Page
  • Shopping Page

You surface your username in those Channels through the following Reach Tactics:

  • Posting at your optimal frequency
  • Using the most effective hashtags correctly
  • Continually increasing your engagement
  • Maximizing your daily interactions with your target audience
  • Maximizing the number of tags you receive

You increase the likelihood that each person reached will be retained as a follower through the Reach Strategy of focusing your Reach Tactics on your Target Audience.

Once someone discovers your account, they evaluate the following Three Retention Elements to decide whether or not they will follow you:

  • Your bio
  • Your grid layout
  • Your content

These elements are optimized to retain people as followers through the following Retention Tactics:

  • A clear and simple bio
  • A thoughtfully designed grid layout
  • Engaging content

You increase the likelihood that the Target Audience you reach will be retained through the Retention Strategy of communicating a clearly differentiated offering.

The larger the number of people your Reach is and the higher your Retention is, the faster you’ll Grow. It’s as simple as that! 

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