Even since the Instagram algorithm changed, growing there has been a nightmare. Organic growth is so hard. Engagement is at its lowest. This follow/unfollow trend is driving everyone crazy. People are buying followers and likes. It has become a race to popularity and it is really hard for those who truly work their ass off to make something of Instagram. A few months ago, I wrote a post on DOs and DON’Ts of Instagram. Today, I am sharing with you some other tips that helped me grow my Instagram following. Keep in mind that they are not a miracle solution but I hope they will help you a little.
7 tips to increase your Instagram following
1. Don’t try to be someone else
It might sound obvious to everyone and stupid to emphasize on this but I do think it remains the most important aspect of Instagram. Instagram is a really visual tool that translates your blog identity. Thus, it must be unique and truly reflect who you are. I am not saying that you cannot have a look at what other influencers are doing. I look for inspiration everywhere myself. Creating your own visual world and blog persona on Instagram will make you unique, interesting and probably more engaging. People tend to be curious towards what they have never seen and will follow you if they think you have something interesting to share. However, finding your own tone of voice takes times so don’t worry if you’re not there yet. It took me two years to finally decide on what I wanted to see on my Instagram. My feed went from super bright to flatlays only, to zero consistency, then total white to finally, go full on colors. I might have lost few followers in the process but remember that you are doing this for yourself and you want something that reflects who you are. I really like my feed now and have noticed an increase in followers as the quality of my pictures got better.
2. Use the right hashtags
People either love or hate hashtags. Some advise not to use any, some other between 5 and 11, some even to go full on to 30, which is the limit you are allowed. Using the right hashtags can expose you to large and targeted audiences, get you more engagements and likes, and ultimately help you increase your following. There are many combinations of hashtags out there you can use. Personally, I like to use both really popular and smaller ones. Indeed, using small hashtags will give you better chances to be at the top of that particular hashtag list. They can be related to your niche, to a community, to a brand or to anything you think potential audiences might be interested in. When it comes to choosing hashtags, make sure they are not banned from Instagram or will not get you shadowbanned, which would have the opposite effects to what you want to achieve. I have created on my iPad a set of hashtags for each kind of pictures I might post so that they are already ready and I just have to copy and paste. You can also go have a look at what other influencers do, see which hashtags they are using and how it impacts their engagement. Abbey Louisa Rose has a great post with sets of hashtags for several niches.
3. Engage with targeted accounts
Using hashtags gives you exposure to new people and can help you get more followers. Another way to accelerate that growth is to go look for new potential followers and engage with them. A big mistake I did when I started out with Instagram is to choose a really big influencer, tap into their following and engage with random accounts. I got many followers that way but I quickly realized that they were not engaging with my content. Results? A waste of time and energy, a high following with a low engagement. I still think that interacting with other people can really help but you must do it in another way. People will engage with your content if they are interested in it. Thus, I highly encourage you to strictly target the people you will interact with. If your niche is fashion, find a fashion blogger with a good followers to likes ratio. Do not tap into their followers but into the likes they got on a picture. There, go interact with accounts from your niche. Use a combination of likes and meaningful comments. You may get less followers if you closely target but they will be real and active followers. Instagram has a limit of likes you can give in one hour so do not spam people. Give you a limit of 40 to 50 highly targeted account to engage with every other day.
4. Tag & hashtags brands and influential accounts
A really good way to gain exposure and ultimately bring new people to your account, is to see your content repurposed on other’s account. Brands love to regram good quality content from bloggers and customers as it makes them more relatable and shows that real-life people are actually buying from them. Sometimes brands even have a specific hashtag so that people have a chance to get featured: #AsSeenOnMe (ASOS), #ThisIsNewLook (New Look), #TopShopStyle (Top Shop), etc. Some other instagram accounts exist for the sole purpose of reposting other’s content whether it be fashion (#prettylittleiiinspo, @streestyle_london, @ootdmagazine, @ootdgals, etc) beauty, lifestyle or any other niche; or are just a community or network of people: #TheEveryGirl, #mcrbloggers, #BloggersTribe, etc. Tagging them on your picture might get you a repost. And finally, you get profiles such as LIKEtoKNOW.it which have made a business of shoppable Instagram feeds. You never know, tagging and hashtagging them might get you a regram and exposure to their followers or an invite to the app.
5. Use Facebook Groups
Until really recently, I used Facebook for blog promotion only. We have a Facebook page and are part of few groups where I shared our content. Then, I discovered blogger help groups. Some of them will allow promotion for all social media, others will just focus on a particular one. Instagram is our main focus here. Since the algorithm changed, it has been really hard to get good engagement on posts. You will see content that the app think you will link depending on previous interactions so you might miss out on a lot of pictures. The algorithm has another function. When you post, it will show your picture to a sample of followers for 20 minutes. Depending on the engagement you’ll get during this time, the algorithm will either push the post onto more feeds or just hide it. Which is super annoying. These Facebook Group (Instagram fabulous, Instagram Blogger UK, UK Instagram Support, etc) all have post called “Instagram Instant” where you can promote your latest pictures within the first 20 minutes after publication, so that it gets more engagement and ultimately gets seen by more people. This thread are based on 100% reciprocation. These groups also have other threads for likes, comments, followers, etc. Completing these is time consuming but it helps you interact with other accounts and get more engagements.
6. Host a giveaway
Hosting a giveaway is a great way to show your followers that you care about them. You are giving them the chance to win something. It can be seen as a reward. And even if it is not, who does not like some freebies? Giveaways have another function: it can help you increase your following. There are many ways you can organize it. On your own or looping in other influencers, not more than five. If you are hosting the giveaway on your own, a common entry mechanic is to ask people to follow you and tag their friends. Those who are lucky enough to work with brands on a regular basis can manage to get them to sponsor the giveaway and to provide the prizes. There, entries will require people to follow both the brand and you. Otherwise, you can choose to buy something yourself and give it away. When doing so, keep in mind that people must have a good reason to enter you giveaway. It needs to be worth it. Ask yourself if you would like to win the prize. If not, it might be wise to choose something else. I’d advise to run a giveaway on Instagram for at least a week, maybe even two, with a reminder half-way. You can also promote the giveaway on your social media to drive people to your Instagram. Sometimes people will unfollow straight after the end of the giveaway. However, most people stay.
7. Use Insta Stories
I have to be honest with you here. When Instagram announced that the app would now include Insta story, I was convinced this was the most useless feature ever! We already had snapchat and people were there so why should I spend time on Insta stories? And considering the amount of people I was following on Instagram, I could not be bothered to check everyone’s stories. So I kept on using Snapchat until I completely lost interest and naturally started to watch people’s Insta stories. I realized I got it all wrong because this feature made the end even more convenient. Instagram was still this visual tool I loved plus all the features of Snapchat. Two apps in one. So I started to use them. Not on a super regular basis but I still tried to document my life or interested events. Insta stories are like pictures. They can appear in the research tab and be suggested to people, which can start to follow you. And even though you don’t get new followers, you can drive traffic to your blog by promoting it through your stories.
How are you with Instagram? Are you super active? How do you find growing there? Do you find these tips useful? Any you have already used and that proved successful? Or any tips you have that could help the rest of us fight the algorithm?
I hope you liked this post. Thanks for reading.
See you soon,