Vest: Similar | Leggings: Nordstrom | Boots: Nordstrom Rack (size down a full size) | Purse: Similar (less than $40) | Sunglasses: Karen Walker
Photography by: Banavenue
The question that I get asked the most since I started blogging is “How did you grow your Instagram so fast?”. When I started out, I think I probably googled the same thing and tried to look to other bloggers for some magic formula that would shoot me to the top. Unfortunately there is no magic formula and while there are certainly tips that I am going to share with you today, remember that what works for one person may not work for another. I am by no means an expert on the subject, but since so many of you have asked over the past year, I thought it was finally time to share how I gained 18,000 followers in one year.
In the beginning…
- The “follow to unfollow” method: If you don’t know what I am talking about, I am referring to where someone will follow hundreds of Instagram accounts and then after a few days they will go unfollow every single account. Why would someone do this? Because it get’s their name in front of Instagram accounts that might not have seen them otherwise. It is pretty frowned upon by people who have been in the business for awhile because it is “spammy”. It might be “spammy” but it certainly works and in the beginning, you do what you have to do. So I would go follow about 100 accounts a night, and then go unfollow them 3 days later if they didn’t follow me back. This got me a couple thousand followers. You can download the app InsTrack to easily track who is and is not following you back. At the point that I am at, I do not do this anymore but I felt like it is one that I should still disclose.
- Loop Giveaways: If you have been around Instagram for awhile you most likely have participated in one. These are where in order for an Instagram user to enter into the giveaway, they must follow every single account that is hosting the giveaway. It is called a “loop” because it will take you to each host’s Instagram and will bring you back to whoever you started with. If you are looking to get involved in one of these giveaways, they are usually around $20-$30 to be a part of and you can find out how to get in on one by simply asking someone else that has already done one. They should be able to point you in the right direction. Again, these are a little “spammy” because contestants hate having to follow so many accounts. While giveaways are great to help gain followers fast, you will usually see that right after the giveaway is over, you will lose a substantial amount of the following that you just created due to the fact that they only followed you so that they could win a contest, not because they actually wanted to. I still participate in these from time to time but I try to keep it to a minimum. This has probably boosted my following by at least 5,000 followers.
- Call on your friends: Sometimes all it takes is asking! Have your friends give you a quick shout out on their social media pages telling their followers to give you a follow. This could be something along the lines of, “Everyone go follow my best friend’s new blog, you can find her on social media with the handle @itsallchictome”.
- “Follow Fridays”: I’d say that these are more for bloggers and small business owners. Essentially what you do is get together a group of 4 people that would want to promote each other to their own followers. As you probably guessed, this happens on Fridays. I typically will try to pair up with 3 other fashion bloggers that I genuinely like to follow so I know that they would be people that my followers would like to follow as well. I would suggest trying to stick to promoting other accounts that are in your same realm of business. Whenever you promote a “follow Friday”, you are essentially getting all of the other participants’ followers. The higher the amount of followers that each of the other 3 participants have, the more followers you will get. These do not gain a ton of followers, but they certainly help. Most people will delete the Instagram post after 24 hours.
The must do’s…
- Engagement is everything: You must engage with your current followers but you must also engage with potential followers. Both parts to this equation are crucial. Your followers want to hear from you and know that you are a person that is interested in them and what they have to say. On the other hand, it is important to constantly be getting your name out there. So while you might not think that commenting on some random girl’s photo is doing you any good, you are wrong. Each time you comment on someone’s photo, there are new people that are going to see your name. Exposure is everything and it all starts with engaging. When I say engage, I specifically mean liking and commenting on other people’s photos. You should be doing this daily. I would say that I like and comment on about 100 people’s Instagram accounts per day. Make sure that you are constantly following new people and commenting on different people’s accounts so that you are getting a broader reach.
- Use ALL 30 hashtags: This is imperative. Instagram only allows you to use 30 hashtags and you should be using all of them. It doesn’t matter if you think that they make your caption look dumb, I promise that everyone else is doing it and you just have to realize that it’s part of the business game. It is important to think of Instagram like a search engine and hashtags are the only way to search for something. Hashtags get users to your page that might not have found you any other way. There are popular hashtags that you can and should use (and I will most likely do another post on that). I would suggest doing half and half when it comes to popular hashtags versus explanatory hashtags. Explanatory hashtags are anything to explain what is going on in the picture. Whether it is an article of clothing, a brand, or an action that is taking place. Think about what someone might search for in hopes to land on your picture. The best way to input hashtags into your photo is by hiding them into a comment right after you post. This way once people start commenting on your post, the hashtags will get hidden unless someone takes the time to go back through your comments.
- Getting featured: Tag every brand or company possible in every single photo that you post. Regrams (when a company or account reposts your photo) help grow your following so much and also put your name out there to brands that you might really want to work with. If you know that a company is going to be posting about you on their Instagram account, make sure you ask them to not only tag you in the photo, but to also give you credit in the caption. The bigger the following of the account that reposts you, the more followers that they are sending your way. Getting featured on Liketoknow.it’s Instagram is just about the best thing that can happen. They have over 2 million followers and if you get reposted on here, not only will it send hundreds if not thousands of new followers your way, it also will give you a nice paycheck to boot.
If you have any other specific questions on this topic, please visit my contact page and shoot me an email. I am always happy to help where I can! If you enjoy my blog tip posts like this one, please let me know so that I can keep them coming for you guys!