Instagram is hands down, my favourite social media platform, both for personal use and for business. I love to create beautiful content to share on my feed. It’s also a lot of fun to share behind-the-scenes aspects of my life via Instagram Stories. Not only do I enjoy creating content for Instagram, but I’m an active user, too. I spend a lot of time browsing my feed, connecting with other users, and getting lost in stories.
As time goes on, the popularity of using Instagram as a platform for marketing efforts continues to rise. After all, Instagram has over 600 million active monthly users. Some of the biggest influencers, like Arielle of Something Navy or Aimee of Song of Style have grown their Instagram following to millions. It’s crazy! Of course, they’re just two of many, who’ve proven that having a larger Instagram following can lead to greater and greater success for their blogs and for business. It’s not easy to achieve that kind of success, but there’s countless bloggers and brands (including myself), who are all trying to do the same thing.
Even though I’m nowhere close to 1 million Instagram followers, nor do I expect to hit that milestone anytime soon, I did recently pass that 10k milestone. I was very happy about that, especially considering I had about 4000 Instagram followers back in September. Are you wondering how to grow your Instagram followers too? When it comes to growth strategies, there are countless do’s and don’ts. I’ve shared tips for how to take flat lay photos before, but today, I’m sharing some of the key do’s and don’ts that I’ve been using to grow my Instagram following.
How to Grow Your Instagram Followers:
Be Social – Instagram is a form of social media, so it’s important to be social! Take the time to like and comment on other people’s photos. Make sure that if you do, it’s genuine and useful to that user. I get so annoyed when I receive generic comments like, “cute” or “lovely outfit babe”. That’s not going to make an impression, nor does it encourage conversation. Don’t forget to respond to as many comments as you can on your own photos.
Use Relevant Hashtags – Using hashtags is a great way to organically reach new audiences on Instagram. It helps other users discover and engage with your content, and hopefully, follow your account. Do your research and find specific hashtags that are relevant to your content.
Create a Unified Feed – Your Instagram feed is an extension of your brand, so it’s important to be consistent. Stick to certain types of colours, a specific editing style, subject matter, etc. Love + Color shares an amazing guide to creating a unified Instagram feed that you might want to read.
Don’t Post Too Many Photos At Once – Obviously, there aren’t any “rules” about how many posts are too many, but try to have some restraint if you’re a blogger or brand. Please, don’t share 10 photos within a span of 3 minutes. It’s annoying to anyone who has to scroll through that! Now, we have that amazing gallery feature, that allows you to share multiple images at once.
Use Instagram Stories – I love getting to know people through their Instagram stories. It’s a great way to build authenticity and trust with your audience. While my Instagram feed is pretty, bright and near perfect, my real life is not. That’s what I share in my stories.
Geotag Your Photos – Similar to using hashtags, this increases the organic reach of your posts. By targeting a specific location, you can reach an audience who is interested in similar content.
Don’t Buy Likes or Followers – I’ve got news for you. It’s obvious when you do this. So please, just don’t do it. The other day, I was “gifted” 500 likes on my recent post. Um, I’m sorry…what?!
Don’t Do Loop Giveaways – I can’t stress enough how much I hate loop giveaways! These infuriate me for a number of reasons. The most obvious is that it’s the same as buying followers because you’re paying for something that will ultimately grow your Instagram followers. Would these people follow you organically? Eh, probably not. When all is said and done, the followers you gain don’t care about you or your content – they only care about entering a contest. How is that valuable? Heck, most of them unfollow shortly after anyways. Also, have you ever tried entering one of these giveaways? There are like, 30-50 accounts to follow! It’s incredibly time-consuming and frankly, I don’t have time for that.
Like-Only Support Groups – Have you heard of these before? Someone reached out via email to invite me to join. Clearly, I did not, but I was shocked to learn what it was. Essentially, it’s a group of about 500 people, who agree to boost each other’s likes. How does it work? Apparently, every morning, the group will be notified of a very specific hashtag for the day. On that day, when you post any photos, you’re supposed to leave a separate comment with just that hashtag, so it can be deleted later. Then, throughout the day, you go through that hashtag and like all of the photos to guarantee an additional 500 likes on your photo. In my opinion, it’s a shady approach to grow your Instagram following and engagement.
Comment Pods – If you aren’t familiar with comment pods, they’re essentially a group of up to 15 other accounts that are involved in a Direct Messaging thread. Each time you post a photo, you share it with the group and everyone needs to like and comment on the photos. They exist to boost engagement and get more attention on your photos. As you can imagine, this is a controversial way to grow your Instagram followers because it’s faking your engagement. Lauren shared an insightful post on her blog, This Renegade Love, about why she disagrees with this approach.
While I agree with her in many ways, I do think there is some benefit to being involved in comment pods. And yes, I’m involved in a couple of these. I’m in groups with people that I already follow on Instagram. I want to see their content, but due to algorithm changes, I don’t always see their posts. It’s a way to stay connected and ensure that we’re not missing anything. That being said, I’m still on the fence about this approach to grow your Instagram following.
I hope you found these tips for how to grow your Instagram followers helpful. Let me know if you have any specific questions, or if you’d like me to elaborate on any of these points.