Instagram has got to be one of the most popular social media platforms ever. In fact, it has more than 300 million daily users. That's a LOT of people. I've been using Instagram for years and years. I think I started my personal account in 2010, but it wasn't until about two years ago that I began to really take it seriously; not only as a fun place to connect with friends and people I admired, but also as a business tool.
Now, this post is definitely going to be geared more at people who run a business of some kind and are looking to grow a following in order to aid their business' growth. However, if you're interested in social media in general, I hope this is equally as interesting to you!
But, who am I to tell you how to grow a following? Well, there's certainly people with much bigger followings out there who could give you plenty of advice, but in the 4 years of running Atlas Magazine, we've successfully grown an Instagram following of 32,000 + people. That's not the biggest following ever, but it's not bad (in my opinion!). My personal account, @oliviabossert, was left pretty dormant for two years whilst I focused solely on Atlas' account. However, at the start of 2016, I began to put some attention back into my own account, and although growth has been slow, I've used exactly the same techniques that I used for Atlas, and they're working in exactly the same way... So I can't be doing too bad!
Enough of me blabbing on though... here are my top tips for growing your Instagram following!
Consistency is one of the most important parts of building a successful Instagram following. Why? Because the more consistent you are, the easier it will be for people to expect your imagery. If you spend one week posting every day, and then the following week only post twice, people get confused, and they unfollow.
Consistency may be key, but quality is even more important. If you don't have a decent photograph to share, you're better off not sharing anything at all (especially if you're a photographer).
Hashtags are the quickest and easiest ways for people to discover your images. Instagram lets you use up to 30 per post. People have varied opinions on how many you should use, but I say go all out, and use them all! Make yourself as discoverable as possible. I like to hide my hashtags in the first comment underneath the caption of my image. Why? Because I find hashtags a bit distracting and unsightly! PS. Please #dont #do #this #in #your #captions. It's annoying, and a sure way to get people to unfollow you!
But Use The Right Hashtags
Think about this: Would you rather be a little fish in a big pond? Or a big fish in a little pond? Don't fall into the trap of using the most popular hashtags on Instagram. Using #likeforlike will definitely get you a few likes, but they'll be people who are totally uninterested in your images or business, and just want you to go and like their images. These tags also get millions upon millions of images added to them every day (even ever second) so within minutes of posting your image, you're already down at the bottom of the page. So, get specific! If you're a wedding photographer, research the more niche wedding related tags to get yourself into the feeds of people who are interested in weddings. If you want to reach more clients local to your area, research the hashtags relevant to your area! This works for all industries. Do your research, and use hashtags which are specific to your niche.
Engage With Others
A big mistake with Instagram is to think that you can get away with just posting images, and not doing anything more. You need to work a bit harder than that! One of the best parts about Instagram is the community that surrounds it. Get involved; comment and like other people's photos! And you know what? Magic will follow, because the people who's images you comment and like will head over to your page, and do the same for yours. But please, make sure you're doing it authentically. Don't just go around commenting "Great Photo!" because everyone knows you're not actually engaging, you're just fishing for more likes/comments on your images. Be genuine, read the captions and engage properly with people. People can see right through anything unauthentic.
It's Not All About The Numbers
Are you totally fixated on getting 10,000 followers? Have you ever stopped and asked yourself why you're so obsessed with growth? After all, growth isn't the be all and end all. What you need to focus on is gaining ideal clients, and followers who actually love and engage with your images. If business growth is your aim, then I'm assuming that you'd like to gain more clients thanks to your Instagram page. That's completely possible! Because what if you manage to attract 3000 followers, but those 3000 are all amazing, fully engaged, potential clients? I'd take that over 10,000 uninterested, unengaged followers any day.
So there you go! A few tips on how to help grow you Instagram following. I really hope that helps, and please let me know if you have further questions, as I'd be glad to answer them. And while we're at it... why don't you follow me on Instagram! You know you want to ;)