This is probably the #1 Question I get on a regular basis both from people who follow my blog and from other bloggers –“how do you grow your Instagram account?” So, I thought I would share some insight on the approach I have taken to grow my own Instagram Account and why I think it is a good plan that should work for everyone.
Instagram Lesson #1 : It’s All About the Imagery
Instagram is ALL VISUAL…high quality pictures will win every time. I have a professional photographer that I use for all of my fashion and product shoots. If you don’t have a photographer, you may want to save and invest in a DSLR camera…my photographer uses a Canon and I love the images. Another tip…if you have a local college nearby, check with the Art Department to see if they have any senior level photography majors who are looking for experience.
Usually, these students know what they are doing, have a good camera, and are willing to do it for free in exchange for free promotion on your blog and/or social media accounts. Or, if you have a blogger buddy, you can take pics of each other (or at least try it and see if it works)!
TIP #1: Invest in an Editorial Photographer or purchase a DSLR camera of your own. Try and use the same photographer as much as possible for consistency.
TIP #2: Too many “selfies” will most likely result in a decrease in followers. If I am scrolling and I see pictures of your face, and then your face again…well, goodbye! Unless you are a skilled beauty blogger demonstrating your makeup tricks, why go this route? There is zero creativity involved in taking a random picture of your face.
Tip #3: Consistency Counts. I usually post a) a full-body outfit image, then, b) a product image, followed by c) a closer detail shot of the same outfit. Send photo emails to your phone. I am not going to go into too much detail about photo editing, but I use the Afterlight App on my I-Phone to get a good, square image in the crop section and I use Face Tune App to fix any unwanted imperfections (ladies we all have them). Just don’t go overboard…there is nothing that will LOSE you followers as quickly as obvious “photo-editing” of your body.
Take Away: It all begins and ends with a single, high quality image that demonstrates your creativity.
Instagram Lesson #2 : Posting Strategy
If you are like me, no one day is the same as the previous; I can get busy, which results in a lazy posting routine. However, to successfully grow your Instagram account, you need a Posting Strategy. What is a Posting Strategy? It is careful planning & research, followed by deliberate action.
Posting only at the times that are most convenient for YOU will not help you grow. You need to know what times of the day your Instagram followers are most active and then post accordingly. Of course, some of this is trial & error, but there are tools available to help you make an informed decision.
TIP #1: Download Iconosquare to analyze your followers’ behaviors. This tool will show you which posts received the most engagement and what times of day you receive the most “likes.” This will help you decide what time(s) of the day you should post and on what days. This should change over time, as your followers grow, so check back frequently to make adjustments.
I know for me, posting on weekdays around 5:15-5:30 p.m., when people are getting ready to leave the office or are sitting in traffic on the way home is a good time; 9:00 p.m. is also good, because most people are finished cooking/cleaning from dinner and are just hanging out. Don’t just post when all the other bloggers post…this could be totally wrong for you!
TIP #2: Frequency of Posting matters if you want keep your followers interested, engaged, and informed. I try and post 2-3 times per day. I will usually post a “Coming Soon” image, showcasing what will be on the blog the next day, then a “Yesterday’s Post,” to show what was on the blog yesterday, for those that could have missed it. Lastly, I try and post a Detailed Product Image.
If I am traveling, I will mix in some photos from wherever I am visiting. Personally, I don’t do a lot of selfies, but a lot of people do…I have not mastered this art, maybe my arms are not long enough or I need to purchase a selfie-stick. Finally, Latergramme is the App I use to schedule my posts in advance.
Take Away: Do your research and stick to a consistent plan that enables you to frequently engage with your most active followers.
Instagram Lesson #3 : Communication & Engagement
Stay in touch with your followers and other bloggers on a regular basis. Engaging with other people is the single best way to Gain & Retain followers. You can’t be a “lone wolf” and expect to get anywhere fast. When you interact with others, you are showing them that you A) Care about something besides your self and B) Enjoy the content they are producing.
Usually, this encourages similar engagement on your own Instagram. Plus, it also advertises your account in the comments section of post, allowing potential followers to view your handle.
TIP #1: Consistently engage on other people’s profiles when you genuinely like or are inspired by an image. Don’t be Fake…if you don’t really like something don’t give a “half-hearted” comment just to get your name out there. Maybe this doesn’t bother normal people, but it is one of my major pet peeves!
What about the images is special?Say something original, not just, “so cute, girl!” I am more likely to reciprocate an engagement when it is a more thoughtful comment.
TIP #2: Get to Know Other Bloggers and try and form relationships with them. Reach out to bloggers that inspire you and have a similar style & aesthetic. Schedule a phone call to discuss your shared experiences. Friends are more likely to give you a “shout out” and re-post your looks than strangers. Plus, it is just fun to get to know “like-minded” ladies!
Take Away: When you engage & communicate with others, they are more likely to do the same to you.
Instagram Lesson #4 : Don’t take it Personally
I have discussed this with many bloggers and we all agree –don’t take it personally. People will follow you and then un-follow you; then, they will follow you again and then unfollow. Generally speaking, it doesn’t mean anything except that for whatever reason, your feed is just not a good fit for that person.
My personal style and vision does not align with every single person out there. Maybe someone is having a bad day and some picture I posted struck a nerve? The point is, you will never really know, and all you can control is the quality of post you are producing.
Again, if someone chooses to un-follow you, then in the long-run, it is probably for the best. I highly doubt that that person was a very active/engaged follower of yours –in which case, why should it matter? Brands look at real engagement, not just the number of followers.
If you have a bunch of ghost followers, how is that going to look good? In the end, women have good weeks and bad weeks…one week, they may love you and the next….not so much. You just have to laugh and let it go!
Take Away: You will have people follow you. You will have people un-follow you. Don’t take it Personally and Don’t get Discouraged!
A Few Other Helpful Hints:
* Take Part in Giveaways…I usually gain anywhere between 300-400 new followers this way.
*Don’t “follow 4 follow.” These people will not engage with you because it is all about the numbers for them!
*Take a Break. Don’t get so consumed with your Instagram growth that you start neglecting your actual blog & family.
*Use Hashtags. In the main body message, just use around 3 relevant hashtags. Immediately after you post, comment on your post and add the most hashtags in this space. Instagram allows you to use a total of 30 hashtags per post –use them ALL.
List of Current Fashion Hashtags I am Using: #OOTD, #outfitoftheday, #lookoftheday, #styleoftheday, #thatsdarling, #bloomgirlblog, #wiw, #whatiwore, #stylefile, #styleblog, #fblog, #blogger, #personalstyle, #classicstyle, #OOTN, #igstyle, #instafashion, #instastyle, #instadaily, #igstyle, #picoftheday, #shoecrush, #bloggerstyle, #fbloggers
Have a Fabulous Weekend!