Tuesday, 5 July 2016

How I Grew My Instagram Following

Ever since my obsession with Instagram truly set in, I've been working my hardest at increasing my following. Of course, it's not all about the numbers, as they say, but the numbers are a pretty damn good bonus (everyone thinks it!). 

Now, I'm not claiming to be an expert in growing numbers super quickly, in fact there are people who have grown their following by triple the amount I have in an even shorter period of time, but I have made a significant increase since this time last year and I have often been asked what my "secret" is. 

Around June 2015, I had roughly 400 followers. This low number was for a number of reasons, the main one being that despite having blogged for a year and a half by this point, I had never really given Instagram a second thought. The idea of having a 'theme' sounded like waaaay too much work and I didn't really ever get the appeal. I used it just as a promotion platform for my blog which meant inconsistent posts and a whole load of random crap making its way onto my feed. 

One day, I found myself inspired to make a change. From this moment on, I was determined to grow my following and make my Instagram something that I was proud of. I am now about 30 followers away from 5000. 

1. Quality

Sort of goes without saying that if you don't have quality content then people won't really feel inclined to follow you. Posting photos that are both appealing and admirable will encourage people to follow, as they'll want to see what's coming next. Working on this area will be your biggest boost. When I was posting all kinds of random nonsense to my feed, nobody really cared because I didn't care. Passion shows through in almost everything you do, so if you're just posting stuff for the sake of it, people will realise. 

2. Consistency aka. 'The Theme' 

DUN DUN DUUUUUN. The idea of the "theme" is one that used to make me recoil in horror, and now that I've mastered it I see many people do the same. A lot of people like the idea of a theme, but don't think they can pull it off because it's "effort" or they can't stick to one colour. In fact, a theme doesn't have to be about colour consistency at all. Some people absolutely rock just posting images of a certain colour, like Freddy My Love

But the majority of people can stick to a theme while still displaying the wonders of everyday life, like Carrie from Wish Wish Wish or Sabina from Girl Vs Globe. They post a large variety of content but their photos are still recognisable as their own. A lot of this comes down to shot composition and editing. Choose something you like and apply it to everything. For my theme, I chose the base colour of white and then the secondary colour of pink. I try to make sure these colours are present in the majority of photos meaning that I am still free to post photos that don't fit that palette too. I also use the same filter and editing set up every time. Voila! A theme and you didn't even try! 

3. Interaction

This is the one I actually find most difficult. Interaction is a huge part of growing your following. Going through and liking and commenting on as many photos as you can is key to putting your blog out there and showing yourself to potential new followers. I know some people who object to liking lots of photos at once, but in my opinion if you're giving something positive to that person while getting your username shown, why not? Commenting is even better as your comment can be seen by not only the user, but by everyone who sees that picture as well. I learnt this from Caitlin and I can't emphasise enough how much it's helped me. I'm super lazy at commenting because I hate typing on my phone, but it really does benefit to work hard at it. And I'm talking decent comments here, not "Nice pic!" *bleugh*

4. Hashtag It


Ever since the new algorithm from hell set in, it's even more difficult to get interaction and followers. BUT, the hashtags are here to help! You can have up to 30 hashtags on your photo and I usually use them all, posting them in a separate comment below the photo. Not sure which hashtags to use? Check out someone else's pics! If you see someone who has a good interaction rate, they've probably got some sweet hashtags going (as well as all the other things in this post!). A great tip I gained from Millie from Milli Grace London is that using hashtags with under 500k posts on them means that your photos are more likely to be seen. You can see which hashtags I use by clicking underneath any of my photos here

5. The Grid

I'm definitely that guy who plans a grid, and I'm not even sorry. I'm also not sorry to say that if I post a photo and it doesn't 100% look how I want it to on my feed, it has to go. When someone clicks through to your profile, the first thing they see is how your grid looks and as they say, first impressions count! This is what is going to make people hit that follow button. 

In order to have an organised and clean looking grid, I always make sure that I don't have too many similar photos in the same line as each other, so you'll notice that I never have two photos of myself directly next to one another. I try to make every other photo a picture of me, but that isn't always the case because I look like a potato 96% of the time. This also counts for similar objects, colours or settings, so the grid is spaced evenly. It all sounds rather sad, but it's worth it if you're an Instagram nut. 

6. Regrams 

Not gonna lie, this is probably the biggest one. The majority of the big follower surges on my blog came after I was regrammed by a large brand and the reaction has always been amazing. You can get regrammed usually by tagging a brand in your photo (provided you're showing off their product, obviously) and sometimes by using a certain hashtag. 

This one kind of relates to point number 1 on this post; if you don't have quality content, brands aren't likely to regram you. It's not a rule, but it definitely helps! My biggest follower increases came after I was regrammed by Oasis and New Look; brands with huge follower interaction. If you're into fashion, it also helps if you show your face in the photo. I was regrammed by New Look twice; the first time was a photo of my feet that got me 10 followers, and the second time was a full length shot that got me around 500. 

7. Knowing Your Brand

My 'brand' wasn't something I had ever really thought about until recently, but it has changed the way I use Instagram. Like a theme, a brand can sound a bit scary, but I promise it's not, because it's just you. After using Instagram for a while, you'll notice that some pictures do better than others, and this will always be unique to each person, because everyone is good at different things. These things are your brand; the parts of you that you love and your followers love and want to see more of. For me, my brand has become 'everyday princess style', and my photos where I utilise this to the max always get the most interaction and follower increases. After all, people follow your account because they like you first and foremost, so why give them anything different? 

There have been a few times where I've looked at other people's accounts and wished I could be more like them, that my feed was a different colour or that I had someone else's whatever. But really, it's me that gets me the followers. People wouldn't follow you if they could get the exact same things somewhere else.

Well, this post got rambly didn't it!? Honestly, I really do love using Instagram and I thought a post like this would be helpful for anyone wondering how I've been increasing my audience. If you made it this far, well done! 

You can follow me on Instagram HERE if you don't already, and I'd love to know in the comments if you have any more tips for Instagram growth <3

Nominate me for 'Best Fashion Blog' in the Bloggers Blog Awards HERE!


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