Instagram...my absolute favorite of all of the social media sites available.
I've always been drawn to pictures, even when scrolling through my facebook feed, so when instagram hit the market I was ALL about it. Except that I just used it as a simple social media account and didn't even think about running my instagram like a business. However, my instagram account is an extension of this blog so I realized back around February that I should be running my instagram account like a business. And in that time I have doubled my instagram following!
I am by no means an expert, I'm just sharing the best tips that have worked for me.
So I present to you...A Beginner's Guide To Increasing Your Instagram Following.
1.) Take good pictures and edit them.
It sounds simple and like common sense, but I didn't really pay attention to the composition of my pictures all that much. I would snap something and post it and wound up having my feed look like a mess. Then I started paying attention to the instagram feeds that I really enjoyed and realized that they all had a cohesive feel to them. So I started practicing my camera skills with my phone and worked on getting the best picture possible.
And now I edit every single photo I post. Sometimes I don't do a lot, but every picture does get edited a bit and all of my photos now have the same filter applied - to give my feed its very own cohesive feel. I LOVE the app Afterlight to edit all of my photos. It seemed a little overwhelming at first, but once I played around with it, I found what filters and editing tools I like to use.
Basically, you want to create a feed that people will enjoy scrolling through and grainy/bad lighting/funny colored photos are not that appealing.
2.) Use Hashtags. #duh
I have loved hashtags for awhile, even before instagram, but I always preferred the "ironic" (read: ironic only to me) hashtags over actual ones. Big mistake. Creating a fun/ironic hashtag every time I posted a picture wasn't doing much for me. Yeah, it would be fun to be silly, but people are not searching instagram for #thankgoodnesssheisntallergic and #bringonthebreadandherbmix. Nope, people are searching for hashtags that apply to their life.
Here are some popular hashtags that get used a lot that I can easily apply to my own photos:
I started using actual hashtags and have gotten several new followers every. single. day. I recommend that you search in instagram for hashtags that apply to your life and see how popular they are. And then start using them. It is very rare for me to post a pic without a hashtag.
Yeah, the affirmation that comes with running an instagram account is great, but it doesn't do much for relationship building if all you do is read your comments and view your likes. Instead, why don't you actually interact with people. I always comment back to the people who leave me comments. And when I see the same people liking my photos all the time, I will visit their feeds and show them some love. In fact, I've discovered several feeds that I now love because they started liking my photos first. Take it a step further, instead of just liking photos, leave a good comment on photos that you really like. And I don't mean that you should comment "great pic" instead say why you like the photo so much. Trust me, the user you are complimenting will really enjoy reading your honesty.
4.) Post regularly and pay attention to when you are posting.
I try to post at least three times a day when I know people are active: first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, and around 8 p.m. (when kids are in bed and parents can now have time for themselves). Check out iconosquare and you can actually view which days and times give you the most interaction with your followers. (click on statistics, then optimization to see the best days and times)
5.) Consistently take photos and plan.
It was very hard for me to get out of the mindset of "instagram means instant/what's happening right now." Now that I use instagram as a business, the majority of my photos that I post were not taken and immediately uploaded (some still are). Instead I take photos of everything and I mean everything. Then I keep a folder on my phone titled "upcoming instas" and will scroll through there and find a photo that fits the mood or sentiment I want to get across.
6.) Tag businesses in your photos.
Are you working with a company/brand and helping to promote their product? Did you just buy something that you really love? Well tag that company! I purchased a hat from Ollie Marie Boutique and just happened to be wearing it in a photo that I posted to my account. The description I was using with the photo had nothing to do with Ollie Marie Boutique, but I still tagged Ollie Marie Boutique in the photo in case people wondered where I bought the hat. Well Ollie Marie Boutique loved the photo so much that they reposted the pic to their feed AND tagged me in it - which brought me new followers.
So there you have it, these are the tips that have worked the best for me. My following grows everyday because I pay attention to what I post.
Do you have any tips that you would like to share? Or have any questions about the above? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments and I will be sure to respond.
Oh and go follow me on instagram! (But no judging my feed by the photos before February!)