If you have been on your blogging journey long, you probably know that Instagram can be an excellent tool to share your blog posts, connect with potential viewers, create a community, and learn from others. I started sharing on Instagram in April of 2017, and eight months later I reached the milestone of 10,000 followers. Over the course of that time I read about various growth practices, and the following Instagram growth tips are what helped me build a strong community and connect with so many amazing women! This entire journey has really been so rewarding and fun, and I believe by applying the following Instagram growth tips, you can get in front of the audience you want to connect with most.
The first step in growing your Instagram account is to think through your purpose. Why do you want to grow? Are you planning to share a business, make friends, or earn an income? Just as you can monetize your blog, covered in my How to Monetize a Blog, you can also monetize your Instagram. My recommendation is to first determine what your goals are, the target audience you want to connect with, and where you want to be at the end of this year. Those three things will determine your path, and if you can apply the following 10 Instagram growth tips found below, I believe you will achieve your goals!
This is part 5 of 5 of my Beginner Blogging Series. This post contains affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are my own. See our disclosure for more information.
- How to Start a Blog
- How to Monetize a Blog
- How to Promote A Blog
- Photography Gear for Bloggers
- Instagram Growth Tips
I cover my photography gear and a few tips in my previous post, Photography Gear for Bloggers, but featuring quality photos is a sure way to grow an audience. I’ve found that photos that are bright, crisp, high-resolution, as opposed to blurry, dark, etc. perform much better on social media, and are more likely to be shared by Hubs. When I started using a professional camera, the quality of my photos increased tremendously, and now I have these precious moments in history recorded in such a beautiful way!
There’s been a lot of talk among various bloggers and media about the “perfection” facade among influencers. Many influencers opt to feature professional photos, and a certain filter or theme to their feed, otherwise known as a cohesive feed. I’m not here to debate on this topic because I believe 100% in the phrase “to each it’s own” and “stay in your own lane”, you know I’ve said that one before. Here’s my recommendation for the absolute best practice for YOUR content: You do YOU!!! Be authentic, be genuine in what you share. You will not find a post on my Instagram that is not genuine to who I am. Don’t like it? That’s ok, you don’t have to like it! I say that lovingly, because my confidence comes from who I was created to be, not from what anyone else thinks of me. This is what I want for you to believe as well, believe in YOU!! You are beautifully and wonderfully made, my friend!
I want to encourage you to approach your content (what you post, what you write, the filter you use, etc.) first and foremost by considering who you are. There will be people who will not relate to you. But there WILL be people who get you immediately, they will follow, they will engage, and they will stick around. When you quit focusing on your follower numbers and focus more on being yourself and engaging with those that you enjoy engaging with, I think you will see the growth you are looking for!
“You do YOU!”
USE OF HASHTAGS
Hashtags are the gateway for people to find your account. Several years ago I thought hashtags were an opportunity for me to add in a snarky or funny remark to my post on Facebook. It wasn’t until I started sharing on Instagram that I realized the power of hashtags. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post. Some training articles you’ll read will mention using 11 hashtags. In my opinion, if you can attempt to hide your hashtags, I think you are missing out by not using close to or the full amount you are given. I typically use 25-30 hashtags on each post. I have researched hashtags and created a list in my phone of my favorite hashtags that pertain to my favorite subjects. Some hashtags are used so often that it’s really hard to be seen among the millions of other tags, so I recommend using some popular tags, some niche tags, and some smaller tags together on your post so your chances of getting lost are diminished but you have a greater chance of getting in front of different types of people.
You have two locations to put your hashtags, either lump them together under your post or put them in the first comment under your post. I use a series of “. . . . . ” between my text and hashtags because those dots will hide them within the post. There is a theory that by placing them in the comments you lose out on a little bit of time lapse when people are searching for the hashtag you’ve used and it will get buried in results faster. I’m testing that theory but I’ve not personally seen a difference yet and in watching Influencers with large followers I see them placing hashtags in both places. If I learn that one location is better than the other, I will update this post.
USE OF INSTAGRAM STORIES
Instagram Stories are all the rage right now. Many people enjoy watching the stories more than scrolling the Instagram feed due to the new and ever-changing algorithm. Instagram Stories gives you a chance to directly relate to your audience and allows your followers to get to know you. You can build an amazing community through your stories by posting about your life throughout the day. Experts recommend posting 5-8 times throughout the day and getting in front of the camera and sharing personally. This one has been a little harder for me, but I am always looking to grow so I’m embracing it and getting in front of that camera more! Other best practices for increasing your engagement: asking engaging questions, use a call to action, use the “poll” feature. But be prepared to respond when people respond! I’m sure I’ve missed messages before, but generally, I try to respond!
A few tools that I love to use include Story Slicer App which allows me to make a video, and then it will seamlessly slice the video to the size of Instagram (or facebook) stories so I can upload them quickly. I love the Hype Type App that allows me to add scrolling words across a video or image. You can check out the highlights on my Instagram page to see an example. It’s a fun, professional looking way to add text to your story.
A great way that I’ve built a community (and a following) is through engaging others. By engaging I mean liking photos you see (that you enjoy seeing), and leaving a genuine comment on their post. By doing this, it’s kind of like an introduction saying “Hi, I’m over here and I love your content”. It puts your account in front of others and gives them the opportunity to follow you. With the new Instagram algorithm, while there are some good things about it, it can be so hard to be seen. This is one of the best things you can do to put your account in front of more people.
Another great tool to engage others is through a POD. I was invited by a friend to join her “POD”. I had no idea what that was, but it’s something I have enjoyed so much! A POD is a group of people who band together and share tips, trends, and who agree to support each other in the way of liking and commenting on each other’s photos. I have gotten to know some amazing women through this and I’m just so thankful for my tribe!
COLLABORATING WITH OTHERS
Collaborating with others can be a lot of fun and can mean a lot of things. When I first started sharing on Instagram, I noticed seeing mom accounts posting a “mom-crush-Monday” post highlighting a few of their favorite mom accounts. On Friday I noticed people sharing a Follow Friday and highlighting a few accounts they loved. Funny story, after seeing this trend I thought it was so fun, and I randomly choose four accounts that I genuinely loved and featured them…some of them weren’t even following me. I later found out that a lot of these shout-outs were actually collaborations coordinated in advance…not just some random girl choosing four accounts she loved and tagging them! This still makes me chuckle and shows you how much I’ve learned. Ha!
I have also collaborated with others by co-hosting Chat Loops. This has been a very fun way to get in front of a very small niche of people. Chat loops are very simple to participate in, you simple coordinate with a group, post the same image at the same time tagging one another, and then you decide on a question to ask your audience to create a “chat”. People will see the post, follow everyone involved and answer all the questions. Not only do you get great ideas and answers to your questions, but it’s created some great back and forth dialogue, and I always meet some great people through them!
Hosting giveaways involves linking up with a group of accounts, contributing a certain amount of money towards a prize, and then hosting a Giveaway on your accounts together. As your followers see the Giveaway, they will follow the instructions in following all of those accounts who are hosting it. Giveaways can range in size and financial commitment that typically bring a smaller amount of followers, and some have a larger commitment and bring a larger follower base. I’ve had success in meeting some AMAZING accounts through this. My biggest advice is to ensure that the prize matches your niche, or your personal interests, and make sure those accounts who are co-hosting also match your niche. This can be a great tool if those two things align and the giveaway is executed properly.
FOLLOW FAVORITE HASHTAGS
Instagram recently created a new way to follow your favorite Hashtags. By following your favorite hashtags you can apply the principle we discussed above of engaging others. This will introduce you to other accounts using the same Hashtags and chances are you will find inspiration and account you love! By finding new accounts to follow, chances are you’ll get a follow back. By liking and commenting on photos you enjoy seeing and that are perhaps similar to your content, it puts your account in front of theirs and you are likely to get followed if they like your content. I love this new tool that gives me a better opportunity to see accounts I might not have ever seen, so finding great content is not easier than ever!
USE OF TAGS AND GEOTAGS
Another best practice that can bring more people to your account is using geotags on your regular Instagram posts, and using geotags and hashtags in your stories. When utilizing this in your stories, use a geotag of the largest city closest to you. You’ll want to use relevant hashtags as well so that might include blogger or mommy hashtags, recipe hashtags, home decor, etc. If you are traveling to a city, use the locations and some of the local hashtags to put your account in front of the local audience. Use hashtags and geotags that are relevant to what you are sharing, but relevant to the audience you want to reach.
JOINING SUPPORT GROUPS
This may be last on the list, but really it’s been one of my favorite things that I’ve done. There are so many support groups, both located on an app called Telegram, and through private Facebook Groups. I’ve asked questions and learned. I’ve discussed challenges and hurdles. I’ve also met some really great women who have become dear friends and such a supportive community. When women band together, something special happens, amIright? Some of my favorite Facebook groups include Courage to Earn, Grow Your Blog, and I’m So Blogging This, just to name a few.
And this completes my five-part series for Beginner Bloggers! This was such a fun process to think through the past 10 months and assess what did and did not work for me. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did, and I hope you picked up something new or found encouragement to keep moving forward with your goals and dreams. If you found this helpful, I hope you’ll pin for others to see!