While my following hasn't shot up and isn't huge it has improved drastically since making a few simple changes earlier this year. To grow your following massively you need to put a lot of time into Instagram, which sadly I don't have. Today I'm going to be sharing some simple tips to help you quickly and easily grow your Instagram following, you can put as little or as much time into it as you want, obviously more time equals more likes/followers.
- Find your tribe. Find a group of like minded Instagramers and agree to help each other out. Whether that be by liking each other's photos, commenting on each other's photos, or even better, both. This can really help you out as the more popular a photo is the more people Instagram will show it to. Also, if using hashtags the more likes and comments on a photo the more likely it is to be featured as the most popular for any particular hashtag.
- Utilise Hashtags. Hashtags are there for a reason, use them. You can use up to thirty hashtags on any one image and I highly recommend using all of them as they can help your photo reach thirty potential new audiences, all with their own potential new followers. Where possible post the hashtags in the description of the image, if you don't like how this looks be sure to post them as the first comment straight away. Be careful not to use just any old hashtag, instead research your hashtags and use them to describe what is in the photo. Have a look at what similar Instagram accounts are using for their hashtags, join in with hashtag linkys, these are very beneficial as they help you reach a wider audience and you could potentially be featured in a round up - scroll further down for a list of popular linky hashtags. Store your favourite hashtags in the notes section of your phone. If you are super organised (unlike me) store them in sections of thirty, ie, a parenting section, a homeware section, a travel section.
- Only use high quality photos. When potential new followers visit your Instagram account most will make the decision of whether to follow or click off within a couple of seconds, simply by looking at the first six photos that they see. If you have posted, for example, a random drunk selfie this could potentially make that person click away instantly without bothering to scroll down and see the rest of your beautifully curated feed. Save your not so perfect photos for Instagram stories or Snapchat. Personally I take all of my Instagram photos on my DSLR. If you want to do this but your camera doesn't have wifi built in I highly recommend purchasing an Eyefi card, it is a memory card with in built wifi which allows you to transfer photos straight from your camera to your phone/iPad via an app. There are similar cards out there but Eyefi is the only one that I have had experience of.
- Engage, Engage, Engage! When it comes to building up your Instagram presence engagement really is key. Don't simply post your photo and log off. Go through the hashtags that you've used and like/comment on the other photos in that hashtag, if you like the look of the account follow it. Be sure to like more than one photo from an account, you want your notifications to stand out and the best ways to do this are either by liking a few of their recent photos, 5-6 usually does the trick, or by leaving relevant comments. Don't just concentrate on getting new followers, be sure to engage with the people who you already follow and who likely follow you. I often go through my newsfeed and click onto each individual profile and like a few of their photos, more often than not this favour is repaid, but don't be disheartened if it isn't.
- Timing is key. The first few minutes of posting your photo are crucial. The new Instagram algorithm means that it deems how popular a photo is and how many people to show said photo to by it's initial success. You need to attempt to drive likes and comments to your photo straight away. Do this by liking/commenting on photos straight after posting yours, target the most recent posts within the hashtags that you've used as these people may still be online so are likely to return the favour straight away.
- Spread your photos out. If you go on a day out and take lots of pretty photos try and resist the temptation to publish them all onto Instagram straight away. Your followers will get annoyed if you clog up their newsfeed as people like to see a variety of photos when they log on. Instead store these photos and spread them out throughout the week, or the month. This way you have beautiful content to regularly update your account rather than spamming it all in one day and then having nothing to post for the next week.
- Find similar accounts to yours. I love to follow parents with children around the same age as Aria, it is lovely to watch their child grow and see how they keep them entertained. I also like to follow accounts with beautiful homes. Accounts with similar content and interests to yours are more likely to follow you back, find them and engage with them. More so, if their account is similar to yours there is a chance to their followers will also want to follow your account, go through their list of followers and interact with them, follow them if their account takes your fancy, if not just like a few of their photos and maybe leave a few comments.
As mentioned above there are several hashtag linkys which can be hugely beneficial to growing your Instagram. Most of them are run by fellow bloggers and can often result in your image being featured on their Instagram account and sometimes their blog. Even if your image doesn't get featured you are still sharing your picture to large audience simply by using the hashtag. There are lots of linkys and popular hashtags out there, you really do have to research this and find your favourites yourself, but here are a few to get you started :
#SaturdaySiblings - Run by Danielle (Instagram/Blog) and Harriet (Instagram/Blog). Link up your siblings photos each week using #SaturdaySiblings. Danielle and Harriet will each share their favourite four photos on their Instagram accounts.
#TheMagicInEveryday - Run by Hayley (Instagram/Blog) and Fiona (Instagram/Blog). Hayley and Fiona share a daily featured image and a weekly round up post on their Instagram accounts.
#LifeCloseUp - Run by Jenny (Instagram/Blog). Jenny shares her nine favourite images over on her Instagram account each week.
#LittleLoves - Run by Morgana (Instagram/Blog. Morgana shares her nine favourite images on her Instagram channel each week.
#RememberingTheseDays - Run by Laura (Instagram/Blog) and Clare (Instagram/Blog). Laura & Clare feature their favourite four images on both their blogs and Instagram channels every Sunday.
#MyHappyCapture - Run by Katy (Instagram/Blog) and Sian (Instagram/Blog). At the end of each month Katy and Sian both feature their favourite nine photos on their Instagram accounts and blogs.
#UKExplore - Run by Karen (Instagram/Blog) and Rachel (Instagram/Blog). Each month both Karen and Rachel will share their favourite images on their blogs and Instagram accounts, they then each pick an overall winner to receive a National Trust Family Day Pass.
#DevelopingLife - Run by Debs (Instagram/Blog). A favourite image will be featured on her Instagram account daily.
#LoveLifeOutside - Run by Alison (Instagram/Blog). Favourite outdoorsy shots will feature on the LoveLifeOutside Instagram account daily.
#WorldOfLittles - Run by Patricia (Instagram/Blog). This hashtag is a celebration of childhood, link up your relevant photos and Patricia will feature her favourite four on her blog and Instagram weekly.
#CaptureMyPositive - Run by Leyla (Instagram/Blog). This hashtag is a new one which has been created to inspire others to capture their positive moments. Leyla will feature her favourite images in a weekly round up.
Please be sure to only use the hashtags if they are relevant to the photos, hashtag dumping will not gain you followers, it will just annoy people and deter them from following you.