Organically and ethically grow your Instagram followers
There has been a lot going on with Instagram at the moment. From algorithm changes to fake follower buying scandals, there has been a bit of an uproar recently. Instagram is still one of my favourite platforms to use. However, I have noticed a rise in spam accounts and spammy tactics from some larger accounts to gain a following. It is also a little harder for your post to be seen.
It has taken me a long time to build a following and a question I get asked a lot is how to get more followers. I use Instagram as a platform to distribute content from my blog. I also love taking and sharing pretty photos. I don't have a massive following in comparison to larger accounts but I have got some tips I have learned along the way that I can share to help you build your following.
Stay away from bots and third party websites
I cannot stress this enough. Do not use automated liking and commenting apps to promote your page. Instagram will remove your account when you are caught and you won't get it back. It's also really annoying when an account comment's " cool" or " nice pic " on my photos and it's clearly a bot. I mark them as spam and block the accounts.
You will get caught out if you buy followers/likes. There is a website called socialblade.com where people can check your growth on social media channels. This tool is used by brands and PR's to look at accounts before working with them. If they see massive spikes in your growth it can indicate that you may have purchased your followers. Don't get me wrong, I have gotten some shoutouts in the past from large accounts but if your account grows by 10k followers overnight then you either had something go viral or you bought your followers. Stay away from cheating the system. You will get caught eventually.
A few months ago I stopped and took a good hard look at the content I was putting out. If your page has become stagnant then maybe you too should do this. I asked myself if what I was putting out was of any quality. It's a hard thing to do but I was glad I had done it. I had got stuck in a rut of sharing the same things and my followers were bored of it. I wasn't sharing outfits or DIY projects and was sharing the same old house pics. I decided to make more effort with my blog content and it reflected on my Instagram. Although I run my blog whilst working full time I make sure I plan in up-cycle projects each month and outfit ideas. This way I am sharing something new on my Instagram and keeping it fresh and I am not boring my followers.
I hear people complain about Instagram and how it has changed, my answer is to accept it and get creating. Stop wasting your time moaning and instead use that time to create something of value to your followers. There will be ongoing algorithm changes on all platforms and nothing we can do about it but quality content always gets found.
For me, quality content is something that inspires or gives value to the person reading it. Whether I am giving knowledge through a DIY post or inspiration through a dress post I try and give something to the follower.
Quality over quantity
You might only have a few followers but what if one of them followers was a PR for your favourite company and liked your stuff? All it takes is one person to follow you who likes what you do and you will get your work and content discovered by the right people. A good PR and brand know that it is all about engagement and quality. Yes, some PR companies just go by numbers but they are catching on. I have worked with some big interior brands who have chosen my account over larger ones because of the quality of engagement I have on my posts. Do not obsess over getting large follower numbers. Focus on engagement.
Engage Engage Engage
Like most algorithms on different platforms, they are focusing on engagement. When you post a pic, reply and chat to the people who comment on your post. Do this in a genuine non-spammy way. I post in the morning and evening on my Instagram. I always post when I have a few spare minutes to reply to people and have the chats. You don't have to reply to people right away but you should reply when you can.
Build a community
Engage with relevant hashtags. I love scrolling through other people's projects or outfits and leaving a comment, liking and interacting. When you leave a comment to make sure it is genuine and relevant. Not just " nice pic ". When I have the time in the evening I will scroll through my hashtags and make some new Insta buddies.
As for hashtags I try and stay away from the spammy #flf ones as your picture is quickly lost and it attracts spam. I use hashtags that are more relevant to what I post about.
Shout outs, This is a great way to get a sudden boost in followers however, I avoid doing them. I am not against them I just like when it's authentic and not spammy looking then I don't mind doing it but I don't do them often. I get asked regularly to do shout outs and a lot of the time it is from people I don't even know or have never engaged with. If I gave everyone a shout out who asked for one then my page would just be full of shoutouts and people clicking the unfollow button.
If you are approaching larger accounts for shout outs then my best advice is to engage with them first and build a relationship before asking for a shout out.
Promote on other platforms
I share my Instagram on my Youtube, blog and Snapchat. Lately, I have seen an increase of followers coming from my Youtube account. I make sure to leave my Instagram link in the description box and encourage people to engage with me on Instagram in my videos. I also share it on my Snapchat too. You might have a large Facebook account and you can share the odd Instagram post there too and encourage people to follow your Instagram.
Another tip is to Pin your Instagram posts to Pinterest. Every now and again I will do this and Pin it to a board on Pinterest and this is a good way for new people to find your account and if they like what they see then they will follow.
Clear quality images
You don't need fancy camera equipment or a strict theme on your Instagram for it do well.
However, My best advice is to create images in natural daylight that are clear, bright and not blurry or dark. Instagram, after all, is an image based platform so you want to start out with good quality imagery. I used my iPhone camera for a very long time before I got a proper camera.
I admire accounts that have gorgeous themes. I am a little scatty at times with my page but I try and put some thought into how my overall Instagram page looks. The app Planoly is a good tool for seeing how your Insta feed will look before you post and you can reposition your images. I use the free version for when my page gets a little scatty looking.
I know my tips might not be groundbreaking but they have worked for me. There is no magic way to gain quality followers other than hard work and creating quality content that gets shared in your community. Be patient, put in the hard work, engage and interact and people will start to find and follow your account.
Let me know what has helped you to grow your Instagram account and what tips you have to share in the comments section below. Come say Hi over on my Instagram too @daintydressdiaries