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.
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.