I often get asked how I was able to grow such a huge following on Instagram in only a year and half. Since its a much more complex answer than ‘Do this, and then this, and voila,’ I thought today I would share with you my top 10 tips on how it worked for me.
My instagram is mainly about fashion, a little about beauty and a little about lifestyle, so keep that in mind if you’re a different type of blogger. With that being said, many of these tips could still work for you, as long as you apply them in away that fits with your style of posting.
So, here we go!
1. Plan & Schedule Your Posts
Yes, this means Instagram posts! Planning out your posts may seem like an easy step that you can just pass over, but it can really help you and keep your organized. If you’re trying to post 2-3 times a day, then you should carefully think about what you’re posting and how it flows and makes sense within your feed. It’s never fun to stop and dig for a picture to post throughout the day, and frankly if you have to search for a random picture, chances are it’s not going to flow or make sense in your feed anyways.
Planning which posts to do that day will not only help you stay organized, but will also save you time during the day, and you won’t miss any photos you had originally planned on posting. Have the photo edited the way you like ahead of time, and use an app like Latergram, or LiketoKnow.it, to have it all set and ready to publish.
You can even set a reminder on your phone so all you have to do is post! Does this mean you can never post a spur of the moment picture or one that wasn’t planned? Of course not, but its just a guide to help you give consistent content that makes sense. Your followers, and potential new followers, want to know what to expect from you and when. Keep in mind if you’re more of a lifestyle blogger, this may not work for you. Likely your followers will want to know what you’re doing that day, and follow along with you on your journey.
Collaborating with other bloggers & brands can be a really good source for new followers. When collaborating with a brand, it’s important to ask for things like a repost or a retweet. Even just that exposure to their followers can put you in front of a new audience, likely an audience that isn’t already following you but could have similar interests as you. Always make sure the brands you work with fit your style and is something that your audience would like to see.
Fellow blogger collaborations are a great way to gain new followers as well. The best one I have found for gaining on Instagram is a ‘Follow Friday’ type of collab. Follow Friday’s can be one or a few accounts that you promote on your page, and they do they same, in hopes that their followers will follow you, and yours them. Partnering with similar accounts can be a huge win – because you likely attract the same type of follower. If you’re account is bright and colorful and all about fashion – find someone similar to you that you truly like. If you post pics about mom life and what you do with your kids, find some other mom fashion bloggers to partner with. Chances are if someone likes their account, they will like yours too.
3. Use Hashtags
This may be the most important tip I have for you. Hashtags are imperative to growing your instagram quickly or possibly even at all. Using hashtags makes you visible to the exact people you are trying to reach. You can use up to 30 hashtags in a post, and if you can think of 30 that are relative to your post, go for it! Some hashtags are oversaturated, and with millions of tags your post will be buried faster than you’ll even be visible. It’s better to use hashtags that have a decent amount of tags and are relevant to your post. #love, #fashion, and #style are too simple and too saturated. You used to be able to see what was currently trending, and those hashtags were gold. Now, you just have to be creative and guess which hashtags are best, or do your research. Hashtagging a brand’s tag is a great way to get them to see you, and possibly gain a repost from them. Accounts that follow the same brand may also see you using the hashtag, and follow you. Going along with Hashtags, it’s also smart to tag brands, or inspiration accounts, for when their followers see their ‘photos of’ your photo shows up. Again, those accounts may also repost you, which is awesome exposure for you.
4. Be Engaging
Next to hashtags, this is another SUPER CRAZY AND VERY NECESSARY TIP! If you are not engaged with your followers and other accounts, then do not expect to grow your following very quickly. Followers love to see you answer their questions, thank them for their comment, and most of all it makes them feel more connected to you! It’s also very beneficial to like and comment on other accounts, for two main reasons. One being that their followers will see your comment and choose to follow you, the other being that the particular account you’re commenting on will in turn support you and comment and like your posts. With the new algorithm changes, the mores comments you have the more visible instagram will allow your post to be. So – be engaging!
5. Use Apps
Utilizing different apps can be another great way to boost your following. Not only are their apps that track who’s following & unfollowing you, there are apps that show you when your followers are most active on Instagram and what times and days are most popular for you to post.
Instagram actually just updated their app where now you can switch to a business Instagram account. If it allows you to do this – you should! It’s not that much different, but it does give you a good amount of important insight about your following. It shows you the percentage of male and female followers you have, where your followers are from, and what times of day your followers are the most active. I don’t have much information on transferring your account to a business account on Instagram or if you have to have a certain amount of activity in order to do so. I believe it’s still rolling out and may not be available to everyone at this time.
Iconosquare is a great app that is available to everyone. It’s free, or you can get more features by paying. It gives you a lot of great info such as: follower count, media posted, likes received, comments received and engagement rates. You can also get similar information from Crowdfire or Instrack. Find one that works for you, and gives you the information you care about.
6. Post Quality Photos
Quality photos show professionalism and are ascetically pleasing to the eye. Since Instagram is picture based, this is the main thing your readers and potential followers will see. Make it a great photo! If you can, invest in a high resolution camera, and if you can’t, get good at editing. There are lots of apps out there that can do wonders for an iPhone photo. I like to Use Photo Editor Plus, SnapSeed, and the LightRoom App.
7. Keep Your Feed Consistent
Going along with Quality Photos is how you edit those photos. Using the same editing tools, cool tones or warm tones, over exposed, black and white, make all of your photos similar or follow a particular pattern. It’s so much more appealing when looking at your overall feed. You should also be aware of the type of photos you are posting and in what order. Placing a white border on one photo can throw of your feed, but by doing it to all photos can be a cool effect. I personally don’t like when two similar photos are posted next to each other or above and below each other, so I try to spread them out by one or four squares. It’s all about figuring out how you want your feed to look, and you want to make it attractive. When someone is deciding whether or not to follow you, they will look at your feed and they instantly will know if they want to click that follow button.
8. Group Networking
There are a lot of great groups out there where bloggers can join together and support one another. Getting support from other bloggers can be huge – whether it’s just sharing likes and comments, or asking questions when you need something, your resources are endless. Every person is different and had a different journey growing their Instagram and chances are you could learn something from them. A lot of these network groups have Facebook accounts for chatting and brainstorming, and they also have Instagram Support Chats. So either way – you can easily reach other bloggers and ask questions or get support. My favorite group is Style Collective. I’ve gotten to know so many great girls, and formed great friendships with similar people. There is so much support and encouragement in the group and the more you are active, the more you can get out of it. Again – find a group or groups that work for you and share the type of information you’re looking for.
9. Be Authentic
Authenticity is another easy one, but it can go a long way. You shouldn’t post things that don’t fit your brand, or your personality. As soon as your readers and followers sense question your authenticity, they begin to lose your trust, and then either become less engaged with your account, or even unfollow. They want to know the real you, and the more they get to know about the real you, the more they feel like they know you. Don’t sacrifice your authenticity. Using channels like snapchat, Facebook Live, and youtube, are all great ways to let your Instagram followers get to know you. They don’t want to see perfection, they want to see you!
Giveaways is last but not least, however giveaways are not for everyone. Most people either love them or hate them, but there are different types that can help you gain new followers. Loop giveaways are very popular, but they are slowly becoming less effective with the new Instagram algorithm changes. If you find a good loop coordinator, they can be a really great way to gain followers quickly, just don’t expect them all to stick around when it’s over. You can also do smaller giveaways, either with brands, or fellow bloggers. If an account follows you and the other account, they have a chance to win the prize in the giveaway. Ultimately – they gain some of your followers, and you gain some of theirs. The main problem with giveaways is that they can be expensive and the retention rates of the gain can vary. You aren’t necessarily gaining followers that are loyal, but followers who want a chance to win. The positive I see in giveaways, it overall it does increase your following, and you can get some loyal followers from it. It’s up to you to decide your opinion on whether or not giveaways work for you or not! One thing you can do if you do participate in giveaways, is after one is over – reintroduce yourself to your followers and thank them for following you. It can be a great way to keep more of them sticking around.
Make sure to follow me on Instagram if you’re not already! @accorindingtoblaire
For more tips on how to grow your instagram check out Urban Blonde’s post from today as well! Great minds think alike 🙂
I’d love to hear your feedback on these tips or hear what tips have worked for you! Please remember that this is what I have concluded from my experience, and it is not a guarantee to gain a big following. I do this full time, and have more time to dedicate to growth than most people. It is hard work growing your following and it isn’t going to happen overnight. Hopefully these tips will help you – as so many of them are things I wish I would have known starting out! Have a great day! xoxo