I’ve started taking my Instagram seriously maybe… Six weeks ago? I had no idea what I was doing at first, was making a lot of mistakes and was basically wasting my time tapping (hearting) pictures. In a short period of time I grew my audience from 160 to 700+ (check my insta here). I know, it might not sound super impressive (like from 0 to 500k in a month) but if I grow at this speed, soon huge organic audience will be a reality.
So let me start by saying that it does require a lot of time. Instagram is not only about pretty pictures (crazy, huh?) it is way more complicated than that. However, once you know few main things – you will rock it!
1.Decide on your audience and focus! Once you start instagraming seriously you must decide what story your feed is going to tell. Are you going to post food pictures? Maybe nature? Maybe your babies? Focus and stick with it! If you keep jumping from one thing to another you might start losing followers. So let’s say you post pictures about veganism (food, recipes, quotes & etc), some people start following you because they care about this topic, they are interested. And then bam, the next day you start uploading pictures how cute your baby looks wearing Mickey ears. There is nothing with that, but remember that you must always target your audience with your main theme/focus if you want to keep your loyal fans.
2. Quality is very important. Don’t know if I can stress it enough. It is very, very important! No one likes to look at blurred, low quality pictures. Think of your favorite instagram accounts that have more than 50k followers, I bet all of them are posting very high quality pictures. I am not saying that you should stop using your phone camera (some phone cameras are rather impressive!), but think more about lighting (daylight is the best!), composition (what is the accent of the picture, is it clear enough). Don’t go gaga with filters – it can easily ruin the quality and point of the picture. See list below of the best apps for editing. Note: for my Instagram I use a Canon EOS 1200D. Not too expensive, easy to use and it definitely delivers!
3. Be consistent! It is super important. To keep people interested you must post at least once a day (ideally 2-3 times a day at different times). Unfortunately I don’t have time to post on weekends and when I check my stats on Monday, I lose approx 20-30 followers per two quiet days. Best way to be consistent is to schedule your posts (read on to see what I recommend using). Best time to post depends on where you are and your audience. I’ve noticed that people are more active in the morning (around 8:30am – 9:15am) and after work (after 5pm). Try to avoid posting after 9pm, Instagram gets quiet around that time. However, keep experimenting and searching for what works for YOUR account.
4. Look for Instagram promotion groups on Facebook. If you want to grow your Insta quickly, you must use Facebook quite a lot. There are groups that help you promote your account – you exchange follows, likes and comments. Groups that I recommend: Instagram Fabulous, Instagram Posse, BLOGGERS WORLD!!, Bloggers supporting Bloggers. Stay active on those groups, return favours and soon it will start paying off.
5. Use comment pods. This one is very important as well… Your Instagram account is worthless if there is no engagement. You can have 30k followers, thousands of likes on your pictures but if you get no comments – something is wrong. Clearly people do not pay that much attention to stuff you share. Comment pods (you can find more help on them on Instagram Posse Facebook group) work this way: you join a pod that is covering your niche (lifestyle, fashion, beauty, SEO and etc) and 10-14 people help each other by liking pictures and commenting. It is like a private group on Instagram that you can direct message. So if you are in one active comment pod, once you post a picture, send it to pod and that day you should receive at least 14 likes and 14 comments on your picture! Make sure you don’t go crazy about pods, it is not easy to keep it up and all comments must be thoughtful not simply just “Wow!”. I recommend being involved in not more than 3 comment pods. Stay active and involved, otherwise you will get kicked out.
6. Use relevant hashtags! You can use 30 hashtags on one picture so make sure you are taking the advantage of it! Try using hashtags that are relevant to YOU. For example #femaleblogger, #ukbloggers, #veganblogger, #puppypower and etc. They do not have millions of pictures so it is easier for people to find you. Avoid something super obvious like #Friday or #food. Your picture will simply get lost in millions and millions other pictures. Read more about hashtags and how to get your picture featured here .
7. Be active! Make sure you follow relevant accounts, leave meaningful comments, heart everything you like, search for new accounts and compliment their work. You should do that for at least 0.5h- 1h every single day.
8. Make sure your feed looks pretty and “flows” together! It is very important (I know, another “very important” point haha!) that all the pictures somewhat looks the same. The easiest way to achieve that is to use the same filter on every picture you post. My feed is kind of earthy (I use VSCO app and apply: filter M3, Exposure +1, Contrast +1, Shadows Tint Purple +6) and I do use the same filter “formula” for all my photos.
The best apps to use
- VSCO – Sooo many instagrammers are using it! It is great to sort out the filters are colours of your pictures. It is very easy to use and it is free!
- Facetune – Perfect for selfies, portraits or pictures where the face is a main focus. It helps you to easily hide some imperfections, smooth your skin, to white teeth. It costs around £1.99 but it is very effective and easy to use.
- A Beautiful Mess – This one has some beautiful fonts and doodles that you could use on your pictures. I always use this app for my Twitter account just to make it more visual and appealing. It also offers some pretty cool filters. It costs around £0.79.
- Buffer – This baby is a must if you are trying to be very organised and consistent! I would strongly recommend upgrading it to a PRO version (I believe it is $10 dollars per month) and use it to all your social platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. It is very easy to use and plan the schedules. Just dedicate few hours a week to sort out what you would like post and there you go, all week you can take it easy! Please note that Instagram does not allow any apps post automatically therefore you will receive a reminder to post it yourself (like a draft, all you need to do is to click Publish). When you think about it, it would still save you tons of time and make your Instagram look interesting and keep it consistent.