In no way shape or form am I an Instagram expert. I actually struggled for awhile to climb over the 6k mark. Gaining my first 4K, easy peasy! I sent out a tweet that I was posting exclusive content on IG & my followers clicked away at my follow button. It was an effortless feat & when asked by my peers how to get started on IG, I never had an answer for them since I really didn't do anything besides make an account. The only tip I could offer was that if you are already rocking one social channel, try to migrate your followers over to another. See, not very helpful at all.
How to find NEW followers once all my current contacts with IG accounts were following, now that was a challenge. I read all the info the interwebs had to offer at the time and couldn't find much besides post fabulous photos. Obviously fab photos was a given, it is IG after all, but just because my pictures rock didn't mean people would discover them.
I did the obvious thing & posted my IG info in all the Facebook blogging group I could and I finally climbed my way to 6k. The major problem with the 2k followers I gained from facebook groups was they weren't actually engaged in the content I was posting. These followers were pretty much "ghost followers" following me because I was following them due to being in a Facebook group together. Not exactly helpful to my brand.
At this point it had been some time since my last interwebs search on how to kill it on IG & this time around my search was successful. I happened to find a handful of helpful tips & two months ago I decided to start applying these tips to see where they would lead.
It it was a long strange trip & if you look back through my account you can see that I was literally trying everything out to see what worked and what didn't.
I'm proud to say that in these two months of trial and error, not only has my account grown tremendously, but I am less than 100 followers shy of a huge milestone. 10k followers! That's right, I gained almost 4K followers in the last 60 days by applying the following tips below. This might not be rockin to an Instaceleb, but to this blogger, I feel pretty proud and accomplished.
If my account can grow like this, yours can too with the right amount of dedication. It won't be easy & you have to dedicate a lot of time to your account. More time than I would like to admit, but I promise it will be worth it!
1. PEACE OUT MEME'S
I love a good meme as much as the next so it hurts my heart to say this. When it comes to rocking IG keep the meme's to a minimum or just completely cut them out all together. At one point I was the queen of posting all things funny because let's face it, we all need a good laugh once in awhile even if it was just me getting giggling. That was exactly it though, besides a had full of people commenting with a happy cry face emoji, the majority of my followers ignored them. After rethinking my IG strategy and posting a meme once every few weeks that resonated with my brand instead of anything remotely funny a few times a week, bam! Not only did I gain more followers, my photos were getting more engagement. I'm convinced people were ignoring my post thinking it was another meme. Long story short, save the meme's for Facebook! People on IG are just not interested.
2. ADD LOCATIONS TO OLD POST
One of last year's IG updates made it possible to include a location on your post AFTER you have already published it. In the past you had to be somewhat near the actual location to have it show up on the Geotag, but now you can be chillen half way across the world and still tag something from your last vacation in the tropics. I went back and added my location to any travel,vacation, even restaurant foodie pictures I had on my timeline and I kid you not I get random likes and follows from this little hack! Other people searching the location can now see my photo from that location. It's pretty neat to see the new people discovering my IG page & even my blog from doing something as simple as adding a location!
Follow these steps to add your location later:
* Select your photo and click the drop down arrow on the upper right hand corner
* Click "Edit"
* Click "Add Location..."
* Enter your location and click "Save"
3. USE CROWEDFIRE TO FOLLOW YOUR COMPETITOR'S FOLLOWERS
Now here is a strategy that I didn't start to employ until recently and if I had done it sooner, I’m positive I would have reached this almost 10k milestone sooner! Within the Crowdfire app there is a place to “Copy Followers”. What you’ll want to do is go ahead and enter the Instagram name of your "competitor" and it will give you a list of their most highly engaged fans. Then all you have to do is either follow them if your a follow all kinda peep or go on a like spree on that account and hope they follow you back. I know it sounds creepy, but it really works man. It really really works.
4. ROCK YOUR BIO
You have exactly 150 characters to tell everyone who visits your profile who you are. This is also the only area on Instagram where you can post a clickable link to your website, your blog, a freebie, etc. USE THIS SPACE. Use it wisely & use it up. Think of your bio area as an "elevator pitch" then follow it up by showcasing beautiful & beyond fabulous visual content that goes along with your bio! My own bio is basically just a list of things about me & you know what, it does the trick! People know exactly what they are signing up for when they click that follow button!
5. TAKE AWESOME PHOTOS
This should go without saying – though I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again because it’s really important. Take good photos! Think of IG as that snotty guest at the party who thinks everything is beneath her! People on IG want to see perfection. All the Insta-Celebs prove this daily with there beyond perfect styled photos & once I started to pay attention to small photo details, jackpot! My photos were getting more likes than ever. Now I'm not saying go run out and buy a DSLR, but when you're shooting pay attention to things like lighting, background & colors. Bright colored anything with the right filter can look professional & look as if you spend hours on photoshop when in reality you just slapped a filter on it . Seriously though, no one wants to follow an account with bad photos. Often it might take 50 bad photos to get 1 good one – but it’s worth it. I promise! Post a beyond fabulous photo and the followers will come!
6. POST CONTENT TARGETED TO YOUR NICHE
The majority of my followers are not just people who like to read blogs. They are people who have similar interest with me since they do read MY blog! They like travel, napping, fashion, carbs, wine, cheese and makeup. I keep this in mind especially when coming up with captions. The more specific you can be when defining your niche / target audience, the better. You should have already mapped this out for your brand, but for your IG account, you can get even more specific and define the types of photos that would specifically attract your target audience – then only post those types photos! TIP ~ Just because other people are posting certain types of photos does not mean that you should. For example, most popular bloggers I follow post a daily ootd & even a daily selfie because omg fabulousness, but my audience just isn't into seeing 1000 photos of me. I feel my followers follow me for lifestyle ideas, not necessarily to see what I personally look like on the daily. So you know what, I limit the me post so when they do see one, they actually want to shop that store or go to that monument or hotel I'm promoting. Now a photo of wine & cheese, that resonates with my followers lifestyles so wine and cheese spammed you get ;-)
7. USE HASHTAGS
Use hashtags that are targeted to your ideal audience. Using hashtags like #followme or #tagsforlikes will only get you spammy likes/follows/comments and using generic hashtags like #love or #pretty aren’t specific enough & will result in random people leaving comments saying "like back". Trust me I tested the waters and have had to delete so many "like back" comments -_- Those are also the types of hashtags that will gain you a spammy follow, then instant unfollow after you don't follow back. I use a mix of hashtags that are targeted, but have varying degrees of popularity. For example, #FoodPorn has 5million+ posts while #TravelThursday only has 14,000+ posts – but both are specific to The Trophy WifeStyle and who I am & who I want to attract to my brand. You can use up to 30 hashtags per photo, but even using a handful can make a huge difference in how many people see your pic!
8. INTERACT WITH YOUR FAVORITE HASHTAGS
Ok, so now that we are using hashtags & totally killin’ it, take it to the next level! Go to one of your favorite hashtags and engage with those photos and users. I know, sounds a tad bit creepy the first time you do it, but that feeling will soon pass after you see the results. If you like a picture check out that user’s page. Like and comment on a couple of their photos & chances are they’ll return the favor. If not, it’s still good #instakarma.
9. TAG BRANDS / PEOPLE / PLACES (WHEN THEY ARE IN YOUR PHOTOS)
I always tag brands and people when they are noticeable in my photos. Whether it’s the brand of clothing I'm wearing or the hotel I'm staying at I make sure it's known. Both brands and people have re-posted my photos on their own accounts after seeing the tag and I have gained hundreds (if not thousands) of followers because of this! It helps when brands have more followers than you do, but even having photos re-posted by smaller accounts can bring in new followers! Especially if the brand is within your nitche.
10. BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR LIKES & COMMENTS
Hands down one of the biggest ways I grew my engagement on my page was being generous with how much I engaged with others. I like to think of it as #InstaKarma. “Instagram with others the way you’d like to be Instagram’d with.” Pretty sure that’s what Confucius would have wanted.
If you’re supportive and genuine with the people you follow AND even accounts you don’t follow, people will reciprocate. Instagram is just WAY more fun when you’re generous with your support. Yup, it takes time, but it’s 100% worth it. I have a growing handful of Insta-friends whose accounts inspire me, make me laugh, think and often drool on my phone and I’m not afraid to tell them.
I swear a day doesn't go by that someone doesn't ask me where to score freebies online! Like I'm some magical genie that has all the freebie answers & can get you a million packages delivered to your doorstep with the snap of my fingers.
Honestly, even when I first started blogging, I really didn't hit up the freebie world like a lot of folks do. I was more into trying to be the next Martha Stewart (minus the whole tax/prison thing) than a reviewer. I wanted to live the dream & be paid for doing the things I love, not reviewing things I never heard of. So any packages I received, I was probably paid to talk about them.
But then it happened, about two-ish years ago when I first discovered Amazon prime, I got sucked into the review world for a VERY short minute. I had free shipping so I figured I would see what all the fuss was about. While chillen in the reviewer vortex of nonstop packages, I did discover other ways to get free stuff!
Don't get me wrong, freebies are great, but honestly what do you reviewers do with all the stuff?!?! It was an interesting 2-3 months, but after my 1000th package that I ended up just giving to someone like my mother, I said peace out to the freebies.
These days I only use freebie sites to keep my castle stocked with products like anti aging lotions, supplements & the occasional phone charger/case/screen protector since free is totally awesome since I actually buy those things!
So with that being said, I will now pass on my freebie knowledge to y'all!!! A lot of these sides you DO NOT need to be a blogger, so non - bloggy friends, if you want free stuff just see if I mentioned blog ;-)
Enjoy your freebies!
(Don't Need A Blog)
If you are a regular here, then you know I am a huge fan of the PatPat app! Don't have it? Click here for IOS or Google.
The site has killer deals on everything from clothing, baby products, makeup brushes etc. What's even better is the company just recently started an Ambassador program! You can now earn free products or even better CASH for every friend referral. Earn a $5 credit for each new user who uses your invite code & they can even take 25% off their first order (Give 25% off, Get $5).
Then ontop of that, receive 5% commission of all referred users' subsequent orders. Just be sure your friends know that every person who uses your code for their subsequent orders will receive 10% off each order (Give 10%, Get 5%) :)
Basically share PatPat fabulousness on you Twitter, Facebook, even Instagram & get cash or free credits for PatPat products when your friends buy! A pretty easy way to score free stuff! Even free money! For more info on the ambassador program check out http://m.patpat.com/ambassador/home
(Don't Need A Blog)
This is the freebie site that I still use to this day! As I mentioned above, I pretty much use freebie sites for supplements & beauty products only & this site is the mothership of such freebie awesomeness!!!!
The best part?!?! Anyone can review. No blog review, no mandatory IG pic, nothing!!!!!
Since this is obviously an Amazon review site where you exchange a review on the sellers Amazon page for free product, I suggest being a prime member.
If you have never reviewed a product on Amazon before, it may take a minute for you to actually get a freebie since your Amazon score is high. Sellers like reviewers with low rankings (scores). To give you an idea, I have reviewed close to 200 products and have a rank of 14,000 something. So ZERO reviews, you're going to have a score in the millions since millions of people use Amazon.
Need a tip to lower your score? Go back to past purchases you have made on Amazon & leave a review. Just reviewing a few things will make your score drop a ton earning you trust with sellers & the freebies will then come.
(Don't Need A Blog)
haha I know you are thinking wtf are you talking about?!?! Facebook doesn't hand out freebies. Honestly though, if you have prime, search Amazon Review in the group search section on Facebook and send a request to join these groups you stumble across. These groups offer free Amazon products in exchange for an Amazon reviews on the sellers page. I'm a member of many of these groups, but as I keep saying I really don't do the freebies so if you see that I'm a member after you join, rest assure that unless you are reviewing a face cream, I won't have the same freebie as you ;-) You won't have to worry if will be rockin the same whatever it may be.
(Have To Have Blog)
If you are a blogger, you probably signed up for this site when you first started out since they accept ALL bloggers. Luckily for me, my firsts few reviews I did for them were actually paid, and paid pretty well for a newbie! I guess I had beginners luck because after the first handful of paid reviews I did, the site must of turned into total freebies or something because no more $$$$. Swear you can request it, but good luck getting a response! These days I avoid Tomoson like it were the plague since they want social shares ontop of a review in exchange for product. NOT HAPPENING on a site like mine for free! But if freebies are your thing and you love writing about products on your blog, then hit up Tomoson! I even have a bestie that is Tomoson obsessed because she is all about the freebies!
Most of the reviews are for Amazon sellers, so having prime is usually preferred since you order the product yourself with a coupon code. Just be careful though, don't sign up for too many at once, you might just get accepted to review them all, AT THE SAME TIME keeping you up all night long -_- I wonder who this happened to ;-)
(Don't Need A Blog, But It Helps)
This is a great site if you're wanting to try out new products you would see on the shelves of stores like Target & Walmart. Honestly I always forget that this site exist & every few months I will long on to see if anything fun is up for review after being reminded after seeing a friend post something Smiley. I have reviewed full size kitty litter samples, Crest Whitening Strips, Honest Company Products, ect... all in exchange for sharing info about the products or leaving a review on a company site. The more you share, the more points you get on the site, equaling better review products I the future. I totally suck at this site since freebies aren't really my thing so my score is under 1,000 lol... But honestly, I don't mind sharing a link on Twitter or my personal FB page for a free box of Pull-Ups, when I remember the site exist ;-)
(Don't Need A Blog, But Blog Helps)
The site http://www.influenster.com/ is based on your social media influence. When you register you link all social accounts to your profile & based on your influence you have with your friends, you guessed it, freebies!
Ever wonder where I get my Vox Boxes from?!? This is it! Don't know what I'm talking about? Well a Vox Box is just a box full of random samples. Some months the Vox Boxes rock and you get fabulousness like YLS lipstick, Marc Jacobs mascara, other months Ughhh... You get Apple Juice lol.
For having to not really do much, not a bad gig! I'm convinced since I have my blog linked & I get over 100k page views monthly, they just keep sending me stuff because I don't do anything but post IG photos of the samples!
If you don't have that big of a social following, it's ok! You can still get freebies! You can do surveys to unlock badges & write reviews and they will keep sending you more stuff. Totally worth a try! Swear I have seen people with under 1000 combined social influence get the same boxes as I.
( Don't Need A Blog)
This is a word of mouth review site! Basically you take surveys & when you are a match for a campaign, if you accept, they send you the product. Then you just create "bzz" by talking to your friends about said product. Easy Peasy! This is another one I always forget about & honestly almost forgot to even list it, then it all of a sudden came to me. I have only completed one campaign for them, a Mrs.Smiths pie at Thanksgiving and it was definitely yummy! I need to remember to check this site more often! Free pie = awesomeness!
***This was a sponsored post. Regardless of monetary compensation from PatPat & their advertisers, all opinions, stories & typos 100% my own***
Welp here it is folks!
My hubby is probably going to kill me for this when he gets his The Trophy WifeStyle new post email alert since he thinks I should keep everything about what I do a secret, but I disagree. If you are a legit blogger that can even get accepted to many of these companies, then I'm glad I helped you & I can't wait to see what you are spreading the word about! There are enough brands for us all ;-)
Many people don't want to believe bloggers make money, but once they actually see that we do with there own eyes, I know I atleast get asked over and over how & now I can just send them this link hehe....
On this list you will find that some companies do sponsored posts and some do social media campaigns. You will also see that others offer the opportunity to make some money by placing ads on your blog, and they do this by CPC or accepted orders.
I am not going to lie to you, some of these companies will have an extensive application process, and you wont get accepted to all of them no matter how big you are or how popular you are on Facebook, but don’t let that turn you away from applying and giving it a try! I'm not even signed to all of these companies & I made this list! Some companies are just that picky!
Do I make a fortune? Lmao... I wish! I do make enough that I consider blogging my full time job & you can too if you have been blogging for a reasonable amount of time, can take fabulous photos, have a blog/social following & are willing to work full time hours doing various sponsored post & reviews.
Let me again mention full time hours. Don't have full time hours to dedicate? Then you won't make that full time income. Blogging afew hours a week, you will be lucky if you reach that $50 Google ads cash out minimum ;-) The full time hours writing original blog post for your readers, marketing the crap out of those post to find new readers, then mix all that with the companies listed below... That is the "secret" to a money making blog ;-)
Good luck on your applications
CourtneyLynne is former model turned mommy & wifey! When not blogging all things foodie, fashion, travel, mom life & straight up fabulousness to the masses, she can be found chasing her toddler around in 6in stilettos & laughing at her own jokes her glass of wine told her to tell.