As you might have read in my Fresh Start post, I decided this year I am going to improve my blog by introducing a variety of topics I am passionate about. While thinking about the new year, I began wondering if I am providing the best content for my readers. I started brainstorming some ideas for growing my blog and decided to start including some beauty and general blogging tips! So over the next few weeks I will be writing about tips and suggestions I have for starting a blog and how to make it successful and the little troubles that come along the way. This week is the start of my tips on blogging, my first topic is going to be geared towards Growing your Following on Instagram.
Everyone is on social media in someway or another, we all spend countless hours scrolling through and planning our day around what to post next. So improving and growing our Instagram is essential in the process of starting a blog or growing the blog you currently have. Since this is a question I get asked pretty often I have put together a few ways to grow your following, these are a few of my own techniques that I have used and continue to use to improve and grow my Instagram.
Perfecting your Instagram will help narrow down what your niche is and help you find out who your reader will be, this is important to know when starting a blog – hint hint, next weeks post.
Quality of your Posts
Most likely you are not just starting on Instagram, you are just trying to improve the current feed you have. Quality is one of the most important parts of your Instagram, not only for keeping your followers but adding new ones as well. You must have a unique following voice, something that sets you apart.
Ask Yourself these Questions:
Why do people want to follow you?
What do you do for them?
What separates you from the rest?
It is important to study your followers, know what they want to see, and what they don’t. A great way to do this is by using Iconosquare, this program was created to provide you with the information you need to grow your Instagram community. Iconosquare gives you the behind the scenes information about the content you are posting such as helping you determine the best time of day to post and what hashtags work the best for your followers. This program also shows you which photos get the best responses, this is good to know because you might love posting about your plants while everyone else really doesn’t care. People follow you if they feel like they can connect with you and as you grow you will begin to notice what photos are liked and which ones are not, so as you grow, keeping up with Iconosquare can be very beneficial. Post according to your audience and always post well taken photos, if you are unsure about a photo…don’t post it.
By looking at the chart above you see the days of the week vertically and horizontally the times, the larger the grey dot means the best feedback you received (likes & comments). For my feed – my best days for posting are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays in the early afternoon.
By using Iconosquare it will help you narrow down what time and day is best to post, but you need to also make sure what you are posting looks great too. When people come across your feed, give them something they want to look at. By staying consistent with the filters you use and posting only photos that fit your theme will easily make your feed look cohesive. People will be naturally drawn to a great looking feed and want to follow along.
Three descriptive words you want your account to represent and make sure your Instagram shows that.
People follow you for your vibe as well as your consistency and purpose – because like we asked ourselves earlier what value do you provide for your followers, what do you do for them? By being consistent, you are giving them a reason to stay following and also a reason to come back everyday! Try to post often and post well, I would say about 3 photos a day is manageable for me (on a good day) but everyone is different. I would love to be able to post 4-5 photos a day but working and going to school full-time doesn’t make it easy.
The main photos I try to post in a day:
A photo from my blog post of the day — if I have a post, I will post about that so my readers can head to my blog to read more.
A real life photo — in the moment
Another blog post photo — maybe a detailed shot or another angle
Obviously these change depending on the day and what I am up to, because some days I just simply can’t post at all…which is okay! But I have realized the more I post, the more interaction I receive.
Tip: Pick one photo and a standard bio for all your social media platforms & make sure your blog is linked on all your social media accounts so it is easy to find.
Do NOT buy followers — I know it is tempting because sometimes it feels like more followers = success, but it is so obvious when people buy their followers. Think about it, there is something so rewarding about knowing these people chose to follow you, it doesn’t matter if it’s 3,000 or 300,000, those people chose you!
Are a good idea…when used correctly. When I first started on Instagram I used hashtags pretty often but after time I started to cut back because I almost thought they were embarrassing. But in reality if you are using social media to grow your business, you have to use them. Over the past years when using hashtags on Twitter and Tumblr I have received great feedback, so I decided to give it a try on Instagram again. So far I have seen a positive reaction — people looking for those hashtags want to see your photo so they will be naturally drawn to your page. I have seen that a few Instagram accounts (@prettylittlefawn & @littleblackboots) place their hashtags in the comment right below their ‘caption’ so as people comment it disappears — I thought this was such a good idea!
Try to use hashtags that actually pertain to your post — if you are a fashion blogger posting about overalls you could use: #ootd #fashion #style #fashionblogger #blogger #overalls #denim
TIP: Keep a note on your phone with hashtags so you can quickly copy and paste them into your feed.
Reposting is a great way to grow your Instagram, which is easier said than done sometimes. By tagging and using a brands appropriate hashtag they can see your photos and potentially repost your photo for a whole new group of users to see.
Engage with your Audience
If you are trying a new product, ask them if they have tried it. If you are working on something, ask their opinion. While traveling, ask if anyone has been there and if so, what they would suggest doing. Ask how their day is going. If they take the time to respond, connect with them. They will appreciate the interaction!
Socialize — respond to comments:
Take the time to respond to comments and questions. Building a trust and friendship with your followers is so important for growth. If you are asking questions, wouldn’t you want a response? If you ignore their comments they are less likely to engage in the future.
Like photos in your niche:
When first starting out I would go through people’s feeds that were similar to mine and like their photos, follow if I wanted, and comment something nice and genuine. When commenting on someone’s photos, leave an engaging comment, something they would respond to. This is a great way for people to see you and follow you if they like your style. Also, this will give you the chance to find some new accounts to follow! Browse through the people who comment or like accounts that are similar to your tastes, those people are more likely to be interested in your account.
There are several ways to encourage participation on your own feed, such as posting an inspirational quote and asking people to like it if they feel the same or posting something you find funny and asking them to tag a friend.
Participate in contests:
This can be done by participating in different types of giveaways, contests or twitter chats. In a giveaway: have the contest rules involve must be following you, repost the photo and tag three friends in the comment section of your photo. With giveaways you might gain a lot of followers initially then lose a few but some will stick around because they love your feed.
Ask your other social medias to follow you on Instagram:
You might have followers on your other social media accounts that don’t know about your Instagram so ask them to follow you! Make sure your Instagram is correctly linked on all your sites so people can easily gain access.
Geotag – when necessary:
I get nervous about tagging my location for every photo but if you are at a cute restaurant or shopping at your favorite store, geo-tag your location. This will lead people who are checking out that given place to come across your page.
Next week, I will be talking about how to start a blog…growing your Instagram is essential in directing people to your blog so this is where I decided to start. Do you have any suggestions for growing your Instagram, I would love to hear more ideas. If you have any questions you can always comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
love always, Sara