Instagram is a major love of mine in case you hadn’t noticed (meaning I go on about it all the time!) I love looking at other people’s pictures, like little windows into their life (in a non-stalker-ish way obvs). I love it so much that I even created my own hashtag community #mydarlingmemory . It is also notoriously difficult to grow your following there.
As a blogger, Instagram is a really valuable tool. We use it to share our lives with our followers, push traffic to our blogs and connect with other like-minded folk. Brands are increasingly becoming aware of the power of Instagram and will happily pay out for bloggers to advertise their wares this way. Basically, as well as it being all about the pretty pictures, it is also a powerful advertising medium be it for blog or brand. So it makes sense to focus on growing your own community if that’s what you want to achieve.
I have been working really hard on my Instagram account for the past few months. At first, like most people, I just used to post any old picture that I had snapped with my phone and that took my fancy in any given moment. Hence the 22 followers that I started out with. Four months later and I have hit *runs off to check followers* 2402. Respectable but by no means is it incredible. I do not in any way profess to be an expert in how to grow your following but I am pleased with the progress going on over there.
Quite a few of you have asked me how I grow my following so I’m writing this post, not as a professional Instagrammer (is that even a job?!) but just as someone who is having some small successes. I hope that my tips will help you in some small way if you are looking to increase your followers. So lets get on with it:
- Use your IG account to reflect your blog. I do not post pictures outside of my blog niche. Although I don’t usually subscribe to having a ‘niche’ for my blog it is obvious that I write a family blog so I use my Instagram to post pictures that relate back to my family. I try to keep pictures of nights out with the girls or shopping trips off my feed. Pictures of my kids and family life are where it’s at for me. You do not have to stick with that particular niche but you should pick one of your own and work within it in order to grow your following.
- Focus on the quality of your images – sorry but nobody wants to see dark, gloomy or blurry shots no matter how cute the picture is behind it.
- If you filter your images (and you should unless you are a professional photographer) then pick one or two filters and stick to them. It provides a lovely consistent look to your IG feed and means that people will know what they can expect from following you and your account will grow.
- Use the ‘Your Story’ facility to share snippets of daily life and short videos with people so that they know you are human and your life isn’t always picture perfect. Keep the more grainy, “real” shot for this rather than your actual feed.
- One or two quality pictures a day are far, far better than lots of mediocre ones.
- In a similar way to your actual blog, you should post consistently in order to grow. I find 2-3 times a day is what works best for me. Find what works for you and stick to it. When starting out you should post regularly though. Posting twice a month isn’t going to get you very far.
- Through trial and error, I find that posting at 07:00 and 17:00 during the weekdays and 07:00, 13:00 and 20:00 on weekends is what works best for me in terms of the amount of engagement I receive. There is no science behind that but it definitely works for me.
Interaction is where it’s at when it comes to growing your following. Here’s what I am doing:
- I spend about 20 minutes a day, twice a day following people who follow the accounts I aspire to be like. Sounds stalker-ish but I don’t care. Instagram have a max follow rule of about 150 per hour so don’t go over this.
- I comment a lot within the hashtags that I operate in. This often gets people to notice you and to follow back.
- When I post a picture, I often ask a question within the caption so as to encourage people to interact.
- For every person who follows me, I follow them back (within reason). As far as I can tell, nobody cares how many people you follow. Brands for example are only looking at how many people follow you and engage with your content.
- For each new follower, I will go into their feed and back-‘like’ between 6-9 pictures. 9/10 they will reciprocate and back-like my pictures too.
- I manage my followers using an app. If someone unfollows me, then I unfollow them. At the end of every week I take stock of all the people that I have followed and if they haven’t followed back then I unfollow. It sounds a bit cold but when you are using Instagram for business then it is a numbers game, sorry.
- I usually use the maximum amount, which is 30.
- Often I will add one or two into the actual picture caption and then add the rest of them as a comment. This also helps boost your pictures because IG thinks someone is commenting on your picture quickly and therefore must want to see your feed.
- I do not have time to add in 30 hashtags every time I post a picture so I created a few lists of them on my phone and I just copy and paste them into the relevant picture. As I work in niche (see the first point above) I only need about two different set of hashtags.
- Here is a list of my current favourites
Give It Time
There are all sorts of ways of increasing your following rapidly, including the very dubious buying followers. I really don’t recommend doing this no matter how frustratingly slow the process will seem.
- Set yourself small goals like getting to the next 100 followers rather than pining after the 10,000 followers someone else has.
- Enjoy the process of sharing and connecting with other like-minded people and your following will grow organically. This is far better than having 10,000 people following you who have no interest in you or your blog even if it does take more time.
So that’s it really – that’s what I am doing. As a result, I am currently seeing about 50-100 new followers a day, which I am really happy with. I hope that you find this useful but if you have any questions then leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you think this post will be helpful to others then please do share it.
Until next time