Whilst I love my little blog, it’s undeniable that Instagram is where it’s at right now. If you’ve read my post Instagram vs Blogging then you’ll know that this is an area I’ve been focussing my efforts on recently. This is because quite simply it’s the area I’m seeing the most growth in, making the most income from and takes up the least amount of my time (compared with writing blog posts). With many brands shifting towards only wanting Instagram content from influencers, I do think it’s important to grow your Instagram if you’re a blogger/influencer. It can also be a great way to drive blog traffic, so it’s a no brainer for me.
If you’ve been following my blogging journey from the beginning then you’ll know that I started my blog at the end of August 2017 and regularly started writing from October 2018. I’ve come a long way since my first about me post!
When I first started I was the kind of girl who had their Instagram account on private and mainly posted photos of me before nights out, selfies with the snapchat filters, wagagmas meals, cocktails and the odd photo of my cat. I believe I had just over 1000 followers. Fast forward just over a year to the 16th September and I’d managed to grow my account to 10k!
I guess you could say I was both fortunate and unfortunate as I started trying to grow my Instagram account around the same time as the dreaded Instagram algorithm changes kicked in. Whilst it meant I probably found it harder than if I’d started a couple years previous, when other bloggers were complaining about their growth halting and their likes decreasing, I didn’t know any different. I’ve just cracked on with it. Now onto the bit that you’ve probably come here for! I’m going to list below my top tips for growing your account.
Just a little disclaimer*- all opinions in this post are my own and are not guaranteed to work for you. I am merely giving some advice which you may or may not find useful! (But of course I’m writing this in the hope that you will!)
Also just to note I have never bought followers or likes, bought into loop giveaways or used the follow/unfollow method and would really not recommend using these methods for growing your account.
Convert to a business account
First off, if you haven’t already- ensure your Instagram account is public and that you convert it to a business account. This way you’ll be able to get a better read on your audience, see how many people are seeing your posts, which posts perform better and how many people have ‘saved’ your posts. It’ll also display a contact button which will enable brands to email you directly from your Instagram. Brands and PR agencies will also expect you to have a business account to provide them with statistics so if you’re wanting to get paid ADs you need to convert to a business account now.
Be consistent with posting
Consistency is key. If you’re only posting once in a blue moon, then you’re not really giving people much of a reason to follow you. I personally try to post at least once a day, occasionally twice. I have however found that often if I post twice in a day, the second won’t get the same level of engagement so it is often best for me just to post once! Also be consistent in what time you post at. From personal experience and speaking to other bloggers the best times to post Monday-Friday are-
8.00am-8.30am- this is often the time that people are checking their phones before work in the morning
12-1pm- this is often the time that people are checking their phones on their work breaks
5.30-6.30- this is often the time that people are checking their phones just after finishing work
8-9pm- this is often the time that people are checking their phones in the evening whilst relaxing/watching TV etc.
(It’s just common sense when you think about it really!). Weekends are slightly different as people tend to wake up slightly later so post around 9-10am in the mornings instead.
Having said this, you’ll need to experiment with what times work best for you and can also check on your Instagram insights to see when your followers are most active. For me personally, I find that the morning is the best time to post!
Find your niche
To stand out in the saturated market of social media influencers, you need to find your niche. Whether this is your editing style, your photography skills, you fashion sense, the topics you talk about, how honest you are in your captions, your relatability etc. defining your niche is important. I’m still getting there on that. But I think from self-analysing myself and from feedback I’ve had I think that I’m bridging the gap between the ‘cool girl’ and ‘girly girls’ of Instagram, potentially meaning my style appeals to a broader audience and larger range of brands. But who knows, let me know what you think I’m doing differently to other bloggers/influencers out there, I’d love to know your view on it!
Work on your content
This is a BIGGIE. I’ve seen lots of bloggers complain that their followers/likes have dropped but in all honesty, they haven’t worked or improved on their content. In a world where there are SO many influencers out their your content has to be top notch, otherwise your followers will simply…unfollow you. So whether it’s perfecting that flat lay, getting your editing skills on, scouting out the next big (and sometimes unusual) instagrammable locations, creating fancy Instagram stories, inspiring your audience, creating videos etc, you should be striving to be produce better content constantly! In an ever changing industry, you can’t afford to stand still…you’ll get left behind.
There’s also split opinions on this but I have personally found that since using a preset to ensure my photos all have a similar editing style, my followers have increased. It’s hard to say if this is the definitive reason, but I certainly think it is a factor. I use the tezZa presets in lightroom as a starting point to edit my photos, but mobiles apps such as VSCO, snapseed and a colour story are also great apps that I’d recommend you trying out!
I’ve included a before and after post that I uploaded to my Instagram story not long ago, just look at the difference a year can make! I still have a long way to go, but I’m so excited to see how my feed changes over the next year…
It’s undeniable that when I moved to London back in May, my followers started to see a massive increase. Now, it’s obviously not possible for everyone who’s looking to grow their Instagram account to move to London (and I’m obviously not recommending you do this!), but I do think it’s about finding those instagrammable locations, which London has an awful lot of. So whether you’re in London or any other town or city, try and scout out locations which you think will appeal to your audience and set you out from the crowd. And if you can get down to London, I don’t think it would do any harm to make the most of the abundance of amazing photo locations to take a few snaps for the gram!
In a world where our attention span seems to be getting shorter and everyone is living busy lives, I’m hearing more and more that when people are heading to Instagram, if they don’t have much time, they may only be watching Instagram stories rather than flicking through their feed. This means you need to up your Instagram story game. I’m talking daily Instagram stories, Instagram polls, using the ‘ask me anything’ feature and using fancy templates (the app unfold is the best I’ve found for this so far). I’ve also found that talking directly to the camera (I’m still getting used to this) helps your followers to get to know you and build a stronger connection with you.
Build your audience (Engage, engage, engage)
This. Is. SO. Important. To be successful you need to post more than just pictures, you need to build an audience. People will want to get to know the person behind the screen and showing your followers your personality by engaging and getting to know them is so important. Replying to comments, asking questions through your captions, doing polls/get to know me Instagram stories and engaging back are all great techniques to get you well on the way to building your audience. This will also help to ensure your followers stay loyal and don’t unfollow you, as they’ll have become invested in you as a person, rather than just your images.
Tag brands and use hashtags
Brand exposure can be a great way to build your following. For example if you buy a top from Topshop, tag the brand and use the #Topshopstyle , the brand may see this and repost your image to their large following! Exposure to new followers will often convert to new followers for you! This happened to me recently when Topshop tweeted my image and posted it on their Instagram stories- winner! It can also be a great way for brands you love to notice you and this may end up with them wanting to work with you. If you’re just starting out have a look at the brands you love that are working with bloggers of similar followings to you and maybe buy a couple of their items and use the relevant tags/hashtags. You could then reach out to them to propose a collaboration or ask if they would consider re-posting your image. Again, if you’re content is amazing, you’ll increase your chances of getting your images re-posted.
Some people/brands frown on giveaways as they are technically a way of un-organically growing your following. However, I personally see them as a way to give back to your dedicated followers, whilst also gaining a few new ones. Giveaways with brands where people will have to follow both you and the brand can be a really great way to draw new followers to your account if they have a large following. However, don’t do too many as they aren’t for everyone and you don’t want to bug or to risk looking un-authentic to your followers.
Last of all, stay true to yourself, don’t try too hard to be like others and be in it for the right reasons. Take inspiration from your favourite influencers, but do not imitate their style. Be authentic and be yourself. Trying too hard to be like others is very transparent, so it is always better to let your own personality shine through! You do you girls/boys. Also if you’re just in it to get A. Get Instagram famous B. Get free stuff or C. Get ‘easy money’ (I quote this because it’s seriously not easy at all, that’s a major misconception that I’ll save for a after post)…you’re seriously doing it for the wrong reasons and I don’t believe it’ll work out for you unfortunately. Most importantly…have fun and enjoy it!
And that’s it for now! If you’ve got any other top tips, leave them in the comments as i’d love to hear them.
Until next time…
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