I’m by no means an Instagram pro. Still under 10k followers I have a long way to go but I have seen some amazing growth over the past few weeks and I thought I’d share a few of the tips and tricks I’ve used to make this happen. If you’re looking for a quick fix then this isn’t the post for you, I’m not talking buying followers, likes and comments or which hashtags to use to gain quick and (in my opinion) empty engagement (#followforfollow #likeforlike #igers #instadaily). I’m talking a gradual growth of substantial engagement, real followers and relevant comments.
1 – Be consistent
If your followers like what they see then they’ll of course want to see more. Not posting for days if not weeks will certainly see your follower count decline – I’ll hold my hands up and say that I’ve unfollowed accounts before that haven’t posted in a while because Instagram is as the name suggests – instant, in a world of social media we want instant satisfaction and having to wait too long for our favourite accounts to post a snap just doesn’t cut it in this day and age.
Tip: Aim for 2-3 posts a day, one at the least and five at most, no one wants to be spammed unless the snaps are particularly gorgeous and relevant!
2 – Engagement is key
Instagram shares accounts on the home feed based on engagement so engage with your followers and start a conversation. I’ll use this image as an example:
Instead of using a caption like ‘my cute baby’ which would result in minimal comments and mostly ones like ‘?’ or ‘cute’ – explain the picture – what you love about it, where it was taken and why. See my caption above, it gives an insight into our day, allowing my followers to really feel like they’re sharing my life with me, rather than me throwing it at them.
Tips: Instagram doesn’t count emojis as engagement so aim for words. A great way to do this is to ask open ended questions, give your followers even more of a reason to comment. Ask for tips, their experiences, what they think of the contents of the picture etc. You’ll then be more likely to gain meaningful comments of which you can reply to and launch conversations.
Always reply to comments, it not only brings followers back to your page from their notifications but it shows them that you appreciate them taking the time to comment and are willing to do so yourself. You’re also more likely to get another comment back again boosting your engagement.
3 – Hashtags
Aside from the home feed and seeing your comments on other instagrammmers posts, this is the main way that new followers will find you. Pop them in the description or in the comments if you don’t want it to look too over crowded and use as many as you feel are relevant – however 30 is the max you’re allowed.
Tips: Look at similar accounts to yours and see what hashtags they use; also try searching the hashtags you use to see if they’re used very often; when you do this related hashtags appear that you may have never thought of.
To save you re-writing your hashtags for each post why not save them in your notes section of your phone. You could group them together for types e.g mummy, home decor, food, fashion etc.
To make this even easier, go to Settings – keyboard – text replacement and save all of your hashtags for one group to a phrase, this way you only need to write #mummy and a host of mum related hashtags will appear for you.
4 – Share your posts
Before you click ‘share’ make sure you’re sharing your post with your other social handles. I go for Facebook and Twitter but you can also share to Tumblr, Flickr and Swarm. This provides effortless content to your other mediums while promoting your Instagram and drawing followers back to your account.
Tip – Don’t worry if an account you’re mentioning in your description on Instagram has a different handle on their Twitter account; it will automatically tag the associated account and therefore will still reach them on Twitter too.
5 – Tag and mention
Whenever you feature a product, brand, place or instagrammmer in one of your pictures make sure to tag them and mention them in your description. This will not only send a notification to them that they’ve been tagged and mentioned, sending them back to your feed, but your picture will show up in their ‘tagged in’ section giving you more exposure.
Tip – Search for the brand before starting your post; often I’ve guessed brands Instagram handles and have ended up accidentally tagging or mentioning a random persons account. Often if brands names are already taken they’ll have UK, US etc added to their name or maybe an underscore.
6 – Monetise your bio
You get 150 characters, use them wisely. It may not seem much but it’s certainly enough to give anyone new to your account enough info to decide whether or not to click ‘follow’. Keep it short, sweet and punchy. People want to know who you are and what they can expect from your feed so make sure whatever you put is relevant and accurate. Don’t mention that you’re a home interiors expert if your page consists solely of cats and babies. Mine could do with some tweeking but here’s what I’ve included:
Muma of boys ????? ?Southampton, UK
? Blog -www.lilypodandsweetpea.co.uk
?YouTube – Jessica Avey
✉️PR / Collabs – firstname.lastname@example.org
It tells people who I am and where they can find me. You can include one clickable link so if you run a blog or Youtube channel or even a business make use of this.
Tip: Change the clickable link every time you have a new post or vlog you’d like promoted, that way you’ll always get traffic to your desired location.
You can’t add a clickable link to your description or comments on an Instagram post so if you upload a picture that’s associated with a blog post or vlog then mention in the description that there’s a clickable link in your bio.
7 – Comment love
Love getting comments on your Insta pictures? Well guess what, so does everyone else! Share the love by commenting on the pictures that you’ve been scrolling past or simply giving a heart to and moving on from. Not only is this an opportunity for the person to come and check out your feed but it’s also a chance for other commenters to find you too. Often I’ve commented on a picture and another Instagrammer has seen it and started following me because my comment drew them to my page.
As tempting as it may be to spam as many pictures as possible with ‘cool’, ‘love it’ etc try to spend more time on them, make them meaningful; answer their questions, tell them why you love their picture and share your experiences with them. Maybe they have a child the same age as yours; they’re more likely to check out your page if you tell them that your son is also going through that same teething phase than if you simply comment ‘cool’ and scroll on.
8 – High quality pictures
A few weeks ago I promised myself I’d only use pictures taken from my camera rather than my phone. I wanted to keep my pictures crisp and clear and save my blurry everyday shots for my personal Facebook page. I have kept this up with 90% of my pictures; there are some occasions when I only have my phone on me so I will use pictures taken from it but with an iPhone the quality is good enough so I won’t beat myself up about it. I’ve definitely noticed my following increase since this has happened as well as my likes per post.
Tip: See if your camera has a ‘send to smartphone’ option; this makes it so much easier to take higher quality snaps and share them to your Instagram whilst on the go, rather than waiting till you get home to upload them to your computer and then to your phone.
9 – Set a theme
This is something that I’m still working on; and something that isn’t everyones cup of tea but I’ll touch on it briefly anyway. I’m a fan of themes on Instagram whether it be a colour theme, photo style or topic. Some people post only minimalistic shots with white backgrounds, others only pictures of their children from behind. Some feeds are full of bold colours and organised flat lays whilst others group pictures into rows of food, buildings and people. I’m undecided on the direction I’d like my theme to go in but I’m slowly cutting out dark pictures, ones that are too cluttered and ones that aren’t relevant to my lifestyle. I also try to make sure that each picture doesn’t clash with the previous and I don’t tend to upload too similar pictures next to each other. This is totally down to personal preference but it’s so worth thinking about the overall look of your feed as that’s what people will look at when they find you.
10 – Use Instagram stories
Instagram stories is a fab feature and although the views don’t add to your following and give you overall results it allow you to share more content without compromising the look of your feed. It’s also instant meaning you don’t have to spend time editing and creating hashtags; you can engage with your followers and give your account a new dynamic.
11 – Business account
If you haven’t done so already, switch to a business account. It’s simple to do in your setting and allows you to view your insights as well as promote your posts. You can see your impressions, reach and engagement per post and compare these between posts too. It tells you your overal weekly reach, profile views and website clicks and compares it to the following week. It also shows you your top posts of the week and even year filtered by impressions, engagement, reach, comments and likes. You’re also able to see the average ages of your followers, percentage of male vs female followers and top locations of them too. What I find really useful is knowing the time of day that I get the most engagement; for me it is 9pm so I now know that posting then will see a higher number of likes and comments.
12 – Giveaways
A fun way to bring in the followers is to run a giveaway, because who doesn’t love a freebie? Team up with a brand or do it solo; as long as you stick to Instagrams guidelines you can set your own rules and have a lot of fun with it. There are so many fab options from 1 hour durations to weekly ones and entries can be anything from tagging and commenting to following and sharing your post. You may find a lot of people follow then unfollow after the giveaway has ended but you may also gain a lot of genuine followers for life!
13 – Follower Friday
This doesn’t have to fall on a Friday but we all love a bit of alliteration. Regram (screenshot and repost) a picture from an account that you particularly love that week, whether their account is big or small and tag them in it sending your followers their way. Not only does this help a fellow instagrammer to gain exposure whilst providing your followers with a new account to follow but it’ll potentially sets the wave for someone to do the same for you in the future.
14 – Collaborate
Similar to follow Friday but a planned exchange. Agree with another Instagrammer or even a group of Instagrammers to feature each others posts. You could run a giveaway together or even directs your followers to each others blogs and or vlogs. Discuss the ways you’d like your own accounts to grow and see what you can offer each other.
15 – Comment groups
This is a relatively new concept and one I’ve dipped in and out of over the past few months but am currently loving. Create a group message with a handful of similarly themed instagrammers; I’d say 10 is a good manageable number. Every time a member posts a picture on their feed they then pop a heart in the group to let the other members know they’d like a comment and like. As long as everyone keeps up with it every picture you share should receive at least 10 comments (or more depending on the group size).
16 – Promote, promote, promote
As important as it is to work on gaining followers and engagement from within your Instagram account, it’s equally as important to work on it from your other platforms too. Make sure that where possible you have links back to your account. You can add buttons to your blog and Youtube account and of course write Tweets and Facebook posts with clickable links back to your Instagram feed. Every so often I write a post reminding my Facebook followers that I’m over on Instagram too and that I’d love them to follow me there. I often mention it in my vlogs as well and add follow links to it within my blog posts where relevant.
Well those are my top tips for growing your Instagram account, I’m sure many are quite obvious but I hope you’ve taken something from it at least. If you have any tips to add then please do pop them below for me and anyone reading, and if you’d like to see more posts like this then please do let me know, I really enjoyed writing it!
Thanks for reading!