Everyone seems to be trying to grow their Instagram following. And why not, there are hundreds of millions of people on Instagram and it’s growing daily. There are people who make their entire living based off their Instagram success. You may not want to be a professional Instagrammer but you can definitely see the value of a good following for your blog of business. And even if not, who wants to post when no one is going to see them?
So I wanted to share a few tips on how to improve your Instagram presence.
Curate your Photos
Look, no one really wants to see what you had for lunch (Perhaps food bloggers excluded or if you have a really really cool looking lunch), and generally speaking a most accounts seem to post way too many selfies. Now I’m not saying don’t show your personal style or your personal self but there needs to be a limit on the amount of photos you have showing too many every day events. We all already have boring lives, we don’t need to see yours too.
Actually if you want to improve here, try to show people something new or interesting. I’m a travel blogger so I’m constantly on the move to different places. And even among them there are too many me-too photos of the same places. Get off the beaten path either in your travels or at least with your photography. Show them photos they may not see or experience themselves and that may inspire them to do the same. In my field there are few people who might find themselves in the back streets of India or the eastern deserts of Jordan so it is ripe for photos of something new and different. Be that person and the people will continue to follow your journey.
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Edit your Photos
Every photo needs some work. Yes, that is true. “Photoshopping” has gotten a bad wrap and I’m not saying you need to completely change your photograph around, but there is never a photo that comes straight out of a camera (or phone) that couldn’t use some tweaking. The great thing is that it is easier than ever with Apps such as SnapSeed that allow you to easily tweak right on your phone as well. Take a few moments and do a few adjustments and see if you like the improvements. And if you don’t, spend time learning how to do photo editing better. You’ll notice the difference and your followers will notice it too. And hopefully it will convince them to stick around following you longer.
Use Hashtags Effective
In Instagram you have the ability to add up to 30 hashtags for a photo. Now really you shouldn’t need to add that many. These days I use hashtags far more sparingly than I did in the past and I think its for the best. Most of the really popular hashtags are in fact too popular. Your photo will be buried too quickly for people to really get a chance to view them. When searching for hashtags to use, look for related ones. Ones that have a fair number of photos but not hundreds of thousands or millions.
Also one of the ways I find effective in growing my following is to use hashtags associated with big brands. Huge brands some as BBCTravel have their own hashtags (in this case #BBCTravel) that they use to find photos to feature on their page. Using these hashtags I was able to get several of these brands to both follow me and to feature some of my photos that helped to promote my brand and my account. Some popular ones include, #lp #tlpics, #beautifulplaces, #ourplanetdaily.
Take a look at other brands in your niche and look for hashtags that they promote and see if you can get featured or at least on the radar of other instagram users.
You get what you put in, whether in life or in Instagram. What’s the point of having 100,000 followers if only 500 of them actually care about your posts? People want to know that you are a real person and that if they comment or interact with you that you will also do the same. Make sure at the very least to respond to comments and questions, whether through DMs or comments. (Although make sure to block any weird DMs as I’m sure people are apt to get). I found that taking the effort to comment on other people’s photos, ask questions, and show real engagement has been huge for my Instagram following. Sure it won’t necessary grow your following hand over fist but it will definitely work to keep people around and new followers will feel more willing to stay if you seem like a great person to follow. Look a big following is great, but honestly higher engagement is really what matters in Instagram.
Do you have a following on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.? Make sure to actually post information and such about your Instagram account on those social media outlets as well. When you post Instagram photos you can have it also share to your other SM accounts as well. I found huge gains by posting my Instagram photos to my twitter account. This way followers on the other account can track you there too if they choose. Often they don’t even realize your presence or your interactions on those other SM accounts! Why not take advantage of those followers you already have?
Have a takeaway
If you want to improve interaction, give people viewing your account something to do. Perhaps ask them questions about themselves or related to the theme you are posting on. Maybe you should ask them about their favorite restaurant or city while you are exploring somewhere new? Or perhaps their memory of that place as well? Maybe make a contest out of it. You could post an interesting photo and perhaps ask viewers to write their own caption. Or have them guess the location based on certain clues you leave. I have gotten great interaction from followers when asking them about the location of photos I posted from around the world. You could if you are able to offer prizes for winners too, thus perhaps promoting your account to more users.
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So tell me how you manage with your Instagram account. Did you implement any of the above? Do you have other things that have worked for you to improve your following? And if you have the chance, please do stop by and say hello to me on Instagram @beyondmydoor
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