I’m going to start with a pretty bold statement: Instagram changed my life (for the better). Since I started properly Instagramming a few years ago (I was late the party, I know), the app has become a big creative outlet, a platform where I could grow and meet some incredible people along the way. But there is that looming pressure to grow followers and to always beat those numbers. When I started researching this and paying attention to the trends, I came across “influencers” using bots and buying followers and a sea of users opting for “follow-for-follow-BUT-once-you-follow-me-I’ll-unfollow” tactics. And really, I didn’t like what I was seeing.
So, somewhere in between taking snaps of pretty coffee and gorgeous facade, I decided that I needed to come up with a plan on how I am going to grow my Instagram, without losing what Instagram is to me - that wonderful creative outlet, an inspiring place of discovery, and a platform to meet likeminded creatives. And without question, my growth has been slow. Slow, but genuine, fun, engaging, and overall just wonderful. I’ve learned that it takes time to grow an Instagram, and for me to feel successful, I needed to come to terms with that The growth really began when I started following these rules:
I post at least once a day, but no more than three times a day. From experience, when I have very long streaks when I post consistently, the number of new followers I get also becomes to be a consistent flow.
I struggle when it comes to content. I work full time, and in between being in the office, working out, meeting friends, planning a wedding, and having some downtime, I sometimes find myself with nothing to share. To prevent this from happening, I started going on photowalks. Sometimes friends join, and we make a day out of it. But generally, I will take a couple of hours to head to a pretty corner of town on a late Saturday afternoon to grab that incredible golden lighting or I’ll stop by the art museum on my way to work to grab some sunny architecture shots.
Going on photowalks has allowed me to create a database of ready-to-edit shots which I call “fillers” - the shots that I post in between the story I tell in my feed. For those who just don’t have time or photo-ops on their day to day, I can’t recommend this method enough.
Don’t be the account to use those #instalike tags. Please, don’t. Instead, give yourself the monthly task of creating clusters of hashtags that relate to your country, city, interests and/or general style. I save those clusters in my Google Keep, and can easily access them to copy and paste into the first comment of new posts. In addition to the clusters, include tags that are unique to your photo. For example, a brunch shot should include the hashtags of the foods features; #eggsbenedict, #frenchtoast and #blueberries will all give your shot an added boost. Stick to the photo’s niche as much as possible, and do utilize all 30 of the allowed hashtags per post.
Interact With Your Community
I mean, Instagram is a social network. The keyword being ‘social’. My account started to grow in the best way possible when I started connecting to other grammers in my niche. I first sought out accounts that were similar to me in style - both in photography and with interests. And after I hit the follow button, I trusted Instagram’s ‘suggested accounts’ feature to give me additional amzing accounts to check out.
Once the accounts were followed - I engage. I like and comment on photos, and as simple as it sounds, it works. It gets you noticed.
But beyond engaging with your community and finding new accounts, don’t forget about those users commenting on your own photos. Engaging with your followers is a big way to work with Instagram’s latest algorithm change, as Instagram now has complete control over whether your photos will show up in your follower’s feeds. And the one thing that can influence that is the amount of initial engagement you have on your photo when it’s first uploaded.
There you have it! Summarized into three tips, here lies my focus when it comes to Instagram growth. And I guess this post wouldn’t be complete without some promotion, eh? Click here to view my Instagram, and please leave your own Instagram link or handle in a comment! I’m always seeking new and inspiring accounts to follow!