How to Gain Genuine Instagram Followers
Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today’s post is going to be different than anything I’ve ever really talked about on the blog, but after receiving numerous comments, e-mails, and requests asking about my social media growth, I wanted to share all of my tips + tricks in a post to help others out there looking for ways to grow and engage with their social followings.
The methods I’m going to talk about today are things that have personally helped me gain my Instagram following from 500 to 10,000 followers in a little over 6 months time. Yes, that’s right I finally reached 10K!! Woot woot! Thank-you so much to everyone who has followed me, and if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?! 😉 With both a Master’s Degree in Marketing and as a full-time marketing professional, I can assure you these methods work and will 100% get you on track to gaining followers and improving your engagement rate.
Instagram Growth Tips + Tricks
Change Your Approach
First things first, if you’re serious about Instagram growth, then you need to change your entire approach to the platform. As an influencer, your social media pages should be an extension of your blog, and as one of the most popular social platforms and the #1 app for social engagement, Instagram is a serious game changer for bloggers, brands, and businesses.
Like most people, I originally used my Instagram account as a personal account to keep up with family and close friends. But once I started a blog, I quickly realized the importance of using my social pages like a business and as a gateway to my blog. Referrals from both Facebook and Instagram make up a huge portion of my monthly page views, which just further confirms the importance of using them strategically. I now use my personal Facebook account to keep up with family and friends, and use my Instagram account solely for my blog. Once I committed to using my Insta account for my blog and stopped using it to just post random personal photos, I started noticing a change for the better in engagement and started gaining traction with new followers.
Update Your Profile
Now that you’ve realized you need to stop using your Instagram page for personal use, let’s figure out a way to get you noticed. Although most people overlook the importance of this step, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to update your profile. Think about it- what’s the first thing you go to when someone follows you, likes, or comments on your post? You visit their profile. Although cute quotes, emojis, and a one word description might be okay for personal profiles, you want to be strategic with your profile and use key words and phrases that will resonate with your ideal follower.
Your handle, name, and bio all need to be in alignment with your blog, brand, and mission, and need to be easily recognizable and searchable. For example, my old handle used to be Cara2289, which had nothing to do with my blog and probably would never be easily remembered. Now my handle @cara_kindlyunspoken features my name and blog name, which helps further build upon my brand. Also, by adding Beauty/Lifestyle beside my profile name, users can easily find me when searching for beauty/lifestyle bloggers. Lastly, make sure you always include a way for users and brands to contact you, and include a direct link to your website or shop. Numerous brands and bloggers have contacted me through my Instagram profile, so definitely don’t forget this important step!
Build a Cohesive Feed
Remember how I mentioned that I started noticing a shift in my Instagram account once I stopped using it as a personal page? The content you post on Instagram matters oh so much. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and even Snapchat, people come to Instagram to see beautiful imagery and photographs. Additionally, the content you are posting must make sense with your brand, your mission, and your audience. I’ll also add, it’s super important to find a balance in the content you are posting. For example, you’ll notice I rotate between beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and family, so that my feed has a nice balance to it. (Scroll to the end of this post, to find out what app I use for this).
Although I still share a few personal photos from time to time, I instead started focusing in on posting content in alignment with my blog and I noticed my engagement skyrocketed. Don’t believe me? This time last year I was receiving on average between 5-15 likes on my photos. I’ll add that my account was private, I wasn’t using hashtags, and I only had about 150 followers at the time. Now, compare that to one of my most recent photos shown below. Being strategic with your content on Instagram works 100%.
Happy New Year everyone! ? In case you’ve missed me on the blog I’m back today and have a brand new post live! I’m sharing my 2016 reflections + my goals for this year! Plus my blog has a brand new design! ? (Link in bio) What are your top goals for 2017? #notebooks #planningtime #newyeargoals #hotcocoatime
Use Strategic Hashtags
Regardless of what poor advice you’ve received in the past regarding hashtags, by far one of the best tools for growth and engagement on Instagram is hashtags. I too have heard the crazy advice of only using 2-3 hashtags on an image, but seriously guys use all 30! Look at it like this- if you are a business owner and you want to send out flyers to potential customers and you have been given 30 contacts, you wouldn’t just send it to the first 5 on the list, right? No, you would send it to all 30. Each hashtag provides an opportunity to be seen by more people and potential followers.
With that being said, your hashtags need to be specific to the image you are posting and targeted to your ideal audience/follower. You also need to use hashtags within your following range. What I mean is, don’t use hashtags that have been used over a million times like #love or #coffee. Because those hashtags are so overused, your photo won’t stand a chance at being seen, and the only thing you’ll end up with is spammy likes/comments by bot accounts. Instead, focus on using more specific hashtags that your ideal audience will be looking at and searching for. I personally use a range of different sized hashtags that have been used 150,000 or less times.
*Hashtag Tip- Don’t put all the hashtags in your caption. Instead, put 4-5 hashtags specific to your photo in the caption, then using the Notes app on your phone do five lines of dots followed by the rest of your hashtags. The dots will create a comment so large that users will have to click “see more” in order to view it, and it will appear less messy looking.
Develop a Schedule + Stick to It
Whether it’s daily, twice daily, or 3 times a week, find a schedule that works for you and be consistent with it. I currently post on my Instagram 3-4 times a week, typically on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and once over the weekend, and it works for me and my followers. (If you’re curious on how to find out the best time to post, be sure to sign up for my newsletter at the end of this post to receive a helpful list of my favorite Instagram tools & apps!) Just as you would with your blog you want to focus on quality over quantity, and trust me when I say you’ll be able to tell if you’re posting too frequently or not enough through your level of engagement. Once you begin to grow your following and engagement, you can always increase the amount of times you post, but again you’ll want to keep an eye on the engagement level with your followers to ensure you’re not flooding their feed.
Comment/Like/Follow Those In Your Niche
Last but certainly not least, if you want others to comment, like, and follow your page, then you have to do the same. Trust me when I say, commenting, liking, and following accounts within your niche will yield awesome results! First and foremost, you need to follow other accounts within your niche. Now I’m not saying go out and follow every single person you find on Instagram, but seek out those accounts within your blogging niche that have feeds that you love. You remember how I mentioned changing your approach in step 1?
Instead of filling your follower feed with people who aren’t your intended audience, you really need to figure out who your ideal follower is and start following/liking/comment on accounts within that category. For example, my ideal follower is a 25-30 year old female who loves beauty products, affordable fashion, and all things girly. These types of users are going to be the most interested in my posts, therefore it makes sense to put more time and effort into connecting with these users. By doing this, you will then have a greater chance of exposure to people who honestly and genuinely are interested in your content, and who are more likely to engage (i.e. comment, like, click-through) with your post.
In terms of engagement, each and every time you post a photo you need to always engage with those who comment and like your post by genuinely responding to them. You also need to be actively liking and commenting on your followers pages and even their follower pages to both increase awareness of your page and to further strengthen your connection with your followers. I can honestly say I’ve gained a lot of connections through social media, and Instagram in particular, so it’s a great way to meet and build up a following who you want to eventually turn into subscribers.
So there you have it! Using all of the methods I described above, you will be well on your way to growing your Instagram following and improving your engagement. If you’re curious about what my favorite photo editing apps and tools are for Instagram, subscribe to my newsletter below and receive an exclusive pdf full of helpful resources!
I hope you found today’s post helpful, and I’d love to hear any questions you have in the comment section!
Thanks for stopping by!-Cara