How can I grow my Instagram following?
This is a huge question; one with an equally HUGE answer. Growing an Instagram following is not a mystery, but it does take time and commitment. If you are willing to take the time and make the commitment then you sure want your actions to be the right actions. You want all your hard work and effort to culminate in success. I understand and agree. That’s why I love sharing what I’ve learned about Instagram. Here is my advice:
1. Create Your Account Name
Name your account something that reflects you and your goal. Your name is your calling card…so it’s pretty important. It should help people understand, for example, that you are public, want to be followed, and are part of a specific community. A personal name or something completely random might not attract as many followers. When I started off my account was just personal, so it was my name. As I started growing I worried that changing my name would confuse people and/or I might lose followers, so I waited a long time before changing it. My advice is don’t wait. You can alert people and use #youroldname (whatever that is) until everyone is on board. You’ll be surprised (as I was) how easy it actually is, so go for it!
2. Write an Enticing Bio
It should tell people what they will find if they follow you. What are you going to do for your follower? The answer should be in your bio. Yes, your bio is about you, but ultimately it is what you are offering your followers that will entice them to follow. Dig deep and make sure this reflects who you are and what you are passionate about. I read a bio the other day that said “Married.” Hmmmm. Ok. Why would I follow exactly? I really wasn’t sure, so I didn’t.
3. Define Your Content/Style/Identity
This is soul searching time! Now that you have your name, photo and bio you should have a pretty good idea as to your chosen niche. It’s time to take this to the next level and identify how you will express these goals. Many of us have found our identity and style as we have traveled our IG paths. The sooner you have it clear in your mind, make it clear on your feed, and present a consistent identity the faster your success. People really want to know what to expect when they follow. If you surprise them along the way be prepared to possibly lose followers.
4. Reach Out & Interact to grow your Instagram Following
You can’t post and run. Well, you can, but don’t expect a lot of growth. There are always days that we are too busy. But time commitment is essential. You should try to answer every comment…I did say try. Besides spending time on your own feed you should invest time in others. I dedicate time every day and hours every week supporting other accounts and finding new accounts to explore and follow. You should be following plenty of people, responding regularly to their posts in heartfelt ways (trying to not be generic). Sometimes if I find myself leaving generic messages I realize I’m just too tired. I stop and make time when I’m really ready to give.
5. Start your own hashtag to grow your Instagram Following
Think of something unique and creative, develop a catchy hashtag, invite 3-6 people to join you, and have at it. It is a bit of work, but besides gaining new followers, you gain friendships with your group. It’s lots of fun.
6. Host a giveaway to grow your Instagram Following
This is similar. It takes a bit of brainstorming and organizing but it can be successful in the same way. I don’t suggest going overboard on either of these…All in moderation.
7. Improve Your Skills to grow your Instagram Following
Not many of us started as professional photographers. So honing your craft is absolutely necessary. If you are in the home decor community (as Jodie and I are) you can look at magazines and catalogs to see how the pros photograph vignettes and rooms. Practice, practice, practice. Jodie and I have written several helpful blog posts on this topic. One is Pros and Cons of Using a Camera vs. Your Phone and the other is How to Edit Camera Phone Pics on Instagram. Skills also include writing. Words matter, your voice is an integral part of what you offer. Don’t ignore this aspect. Success is judged not just on numbers but on engagement. Your personality and how you share it has the power to increase or decrease your following and definitely your engagement.
8. Follow people to grow your Instagram Following
Follow people in your community, those who are successful and doing what you are aiming to do. Learn from what they do. Reach out to them. Ask questions, offer praise and kindness.
9. Be true to yourself to grow your Instagram Following
While I suggest you follow inspiring people you need to develop and showcase your own unique style. Your posts will be most successful if they come from your heart and are uniquely you. No one does YOU better!
10. Enjoy the Journey!
I know you want to grow your Instagram following, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. But here is my final and most important piece of advice. Enjoy the process. If it feels like work, it will show. When I’m tired or not in the mood to respond to comments I wait until I am rested and ready to give. If my replies feel forced they will sound forced. I try to always be authentic, and I feel like it shows.
Instagram should be all about the journey, not about any destination. It is about personal growth, the people you meet, and friendships you create. If you focus on the journey and enjoy every post, every conversation, every interaction your JOY will attract people. Be yourself, have fun, spread joy…if you do that you already are successful!
Julie & Jodie