One question I get a lot as a blogger is: how do you grow your Instagram following?
Let me first say that reaching 14,000+ followers has been a long but organic journey for me. I started blogging almost 4 years ago during my senior year of college and only started taking it really seriously this past year and a half. But I’ve learned a lot along the way so I wanted to pass on the knowledge to the next blogger or small business who’s looking to grow their Instagram account out there. So I’ve finally put together 10 everyday tips on how to grow your Instagram and some reminders to help you keep your sanity with instagram’s changing algorithm.
10 Everyday Tips to Grow Your Instagram Account
1.Don’t get hung up on the day to day quirks of Instagram
I decided to make this the first tip because I think it affects a lot of people out there trying to grow their Instagram accounts. The algorithm of Instagram has changed and sometimes your photos don’t get the normal likes/comments/engagement it normally gets. Don’t let this get to you. Don’t think just because a photo didn’t perform well that your content is less worthy of being seen. The daily grind of Instagram means sometimes your photos do well and sometimes they don’t. Which leads me to my next tip…
2. Remember it’s the cumulative efforts that help build your Instagram
You can’t let your single photo that didn’t get as much likes or comments get you down because it’s the cumulative efforts that matter. It’s the series of photos that build your Instagram. Your Instagram is today’s modern day online magazine – a grid of photos that give insight to who you are and your passions.
So my main advice for building your Instagram is post at least once day. Posting once a day leads to consistency which is the step to build your page.
3. Post Quality Content
Whether you take iPhone photos or get a photographer to take your photos, make sure your photos are clear. Blurry, darker photos don’t tend to resonate well with people. Since Instagram is a photo sharing platform, I would recommend focusing on improving the photos you share. People see the photo first before they read the caption (and a lot of people don’t take the time to read captions). Remember content is king. People are following you for the (photos) content you produce.
4. Choose a Consistent Aesthetic
Alongside quality photos, a consistent aesthetic is crucial to growing your Instagram account. Whether you decide on a minimalist approach or colorful and bright, make sure your photos all flow. Remember that your aesthetic can flow into different series as you scroll through your page. It doesn’t have to be minimalist for the entire life of your page. For instance, when I’m traveling on vacation, my aesthetic and 6-9 set of photos are colorful and bright. And when I’m back in Seattle, my aesthetic is light and bright.
Here’s my instagram feed when I was traveling through Italy this past summer:
Here is my feed around spring time this year – I was really feeling the florals:
5. Engagement is key to growing your Instagram
Honestly, engagement is probably the key element to grow your blog and Instagram. Engagement is commenting and liking others photos and bringing people to your account to engage with your content.
Are you taking the time to engage with accounts in your niche (fashion, travel, etc)? When you engage with other accounts in your niche, their followers can see that (through comments or collaborations) and that helps build your reach.
6. Use hashtags and geotags
If you want people to find you as a fashion or travel account, you should be using hashtags related to your content. Hashtags and geotag locations allow your photos and page to be seen by others beyond your following. For instance, I always use the hashtag #seattlestyle for any of my every day outfit photos. So if any brands or potential followers are looking for style inspiration based in Seattle, they can type in #seattlestyle and see my photos in that thread.
7. Don’t be afraid to test different things
The Instagram algorithm has changed (and probably will continue to change) so that means your typical Instagram habits have to grow and adapt to the new Instagram world. I would recommend:
Trying different posting times to see if your audience responds more in a particular time (example: start of the work day vs. lunch) and tagging different locations in your hometown or city (example: tagging the Space Needle vs. Seattle, WA for a specific tag).
8. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
In this modern day social media world it’s hard to tell which is authentic engagement and followings and which aren’t. People are buying their followers and engagement these days. As a normal person who has blogged on the side while working full time and going to both undergrad and grad school, it took me 4 years to reach 13,000+ followers. Don’t compare yourself to someone who’s been blogging for a year and hit 50,000+ followers. You can only focus on what you can control: your content and your engagement with other accounts.
9. Remember Instagram Growth is NOT a Race
I feel like there is this rush to the first 1,000 followers, then 5,000 followers, and now 10,000 followers that all these bloggers around me are experiencing. I don’t know where it comes from, but there’s this layer of pressure to grow your account quickly. There’s also this belief that reaching a specific amount of followers – like 10,000, is going to change your life for the better somehow.
But to be honest, 10,000+ followers doesn’t guarantee more (paid) brand collaborations and more likes/comments. The truth is brands are still asking you to trade product for promotion (work for free) and engagement is difficult to maintain as your following grows.
So my advice is to focus on growing real authentic followers –who actually care about the work you produce. When you actually gain followers who enjoy your content, they’ll more likely be engaged.
10. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being yourself
Social media may lead you to feel like you can only share the best parts of your life. But everyone knows that there is a world beyond social media. Your audience will resonate with who you are, more than the clothes or make up that you wear – so don’t feel like you can only share the professional photos. Share what’s important to you on your Instagram and Instagram stories.
For instance, I still try to channel who I am through my photos. I’ve let you guys know I’m actually 5 ft tall or that I’m actually sitting in class while I post this photo. I’ve also shared how I’ve written about taking a leap of faith in your life and how I believe in community over competition. I’ve even shared with you guys my communication research problem on the gender pay gap. You can replicate photos and aesthetics, but no one can replicate who you are.
I hope you enjoyed these 10 tips to grow your Instagram following!
What are your tips and tricks to grow your Instagram account?
Thank you for reading!
Photos: Ashley Jacklyn