I recently hit the Instagram milestone of 30,000 followers so I thought I would share some tips on growing your Instagram base! I went through all my photos (which are helpfully time-stamped) and summarised that it took me about a year to get to 20,000 followers but that the following 10,000 were gained in little more than a month. I can’t say I’ve been doing anything drastically different but I have refined what I do in terms of posting. I’m not saying that this list is definitive and I suspect that there are a million ways to successfully grow your Instagram following but these are some of the ways that I’ve been doing it:
1. Post consistently
Unlike YouTube, Instagram photos don’t tend to stick around gaining you new followers weeks or months after posting. It’s much more immediate than that so you’ll find that if you post frequently (I try to post every day or at least every other day), then your following is much more likely to grow.
2. Stay curated and focused.
That said, don’t post all the time/ everything that happens to you on any given day. It may be tempting to document every moment of your life, from your breakfast to cuddles with your dog, but unless you’re a celebrity, the audience for this will be pretty limited. Try and discipline yourself to be as curated as possible – I won’t ever post more than twice a day and even then, that will be pretty rare – once daily is my go-to. Whilst I like to mix it up every now and then and post a candid shot, a lot of my photos are carefully considered and are almost always ‘on-topic’ for me. Over the months, I’ve learnt the photos that are popular and try to cater to my audience, whilst still keeping things fresh, authentic and (hopefully!) interesting!
3. Find a theme
This isn’t essential but I think it helps to have some kind of theme to your Instagram. You can do this with colours if you want (the ‘white’ theme seems to have lasting popularity), or by using a consistent filter, or by having a topic theme which in my case, is handbags and luxury goods! You don’t have to be militant with this – I’ll frequently just post whatever I fancy but it helps when people click on your page if they can get an immediate sense of what your IG is about.
4. Good lighting
This is probably the most important tip I can give with regards to taking photos that people are going to respond to. The better the photo, the more chance it has of catching a mini Instagram viral wave – attracting you a lot of likes and new followers along the way. And the single most important element of taking a good photo? Lighting. I’m no photography expert but after taking over 250 photos for IG over the past year, I can tell you that the lighting will make or break the photo much more than the composition or even the subject matter. Great lighting elevates the mundane to the beautiful whereas bad lighting will ruin even the most planned out of images. Bright daylight is always the best, so find a big window or take a trip outside and snap away 🙂
5. Edit your photos
I don’t post a single photo without editing it first. Even the best photo I can possibly take will benefit from a bit of brightening and sharpening. I don’t go absolutely nuts of course and usually stay away from filters, but I almost always brighten, up the contrast, up the warmth and sharpen my images. The IG photo editor is great and what I use 95% of the time. For photos that need a bit of extra help, I also use Facetune and Snapseed.
6. Hashtag and tag away
Honestly? I don’t even really know if hashtags work. What I do know however is that I’ve used them consistently over the past year and I’m very happy with how my follower numbers have grown. Check out what other IGers are using in their hashtags or as I sometimes do, just make it up! If you’re into bags/ luxury, then you can also tag larger accounts in your photos – they’ll sometimes repost your image and credit you which is a great way to get a boost to your account. There’s loads of pages for Chanel as well as Purseboppicks, TalkShoes and a host of other brand-specific ones.
This is slightly a hypocritical one as I’ve not used this tactic myself but I have seen others doing shoutouts and collabs with other IGers to great effect. Most people on IG want to grow their following, so find someone with a similar amount of followers to you (you probably won’t get a positive response if you have 200 followers and you ask an account with 20,000 for a shoutout…) and see if they’d be willing to do mutual shoutout posts. It never hurts to ask and you might stumble upon a whole new audience base!
Not only is this good from a general branding point of view but it also helps when people steal your pictures. It’s sad that this happens but I constantly find my photos being used on other accounts without any kind of credit. Watermarking goes a long way to help combat this.
P.S. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, watermarking is simply putting your name somewhere in your images in a consistent way. I use the app ‘Phonto’ for mine 🙂
9. Get props!
Now this one is really only for those who are serious about growing their Instagram as it may require some financial investment. Props can be incredibly helpful for taking eye-catching imagery. My go-tos are fun, textured or patterned rugs or beautiful tiles. You can of course just use what you have around the house which I frequently do but sometimes a little expense can go a long way. Fun fact? The marble background you can often spot in the background of my photos is actually just a loose tile that I bought from B&Q! I’m not nearly fancy enough to have proper marble furniture so this gives me the look I want (for a fraction of the cost) in a neat, portable way – perfect for chasing down that perfect lighting 🙂
10. Seek perfection (aka take 40 photos for every one you keep)
I’m fanatical about trying to get the best possible shot I’m capable of – and this often means taking dozens from every conceivable angle. I’m no professional photographer so I don’t have the eye to figure out what’s going to work straight away. Taking a whole bunch of photos ups my chances of getting a great shot so for me, the extra couple of minutes is worth it.
And those are my tips! I’m thinking about doing a video covering specifically how I take and edit my Instagram photos – let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing!
As always, thank you so much for stopping by and reading!