Instagram is one of the hardest social media platforms to grow your following on since its algorithm changed about a year ago. As a blogger, Instagram is one of the main platforms where you can interact with your following, if not the most important platform.
On Instagram you have the ability to share your photos, reply to comments, share videos of you chatting to your following on instagram stories and if you have over 10,000 followers you can embed links so people can “shop your look” if they love your outfit, for example. But the platform is so hard to grow on.
The algorithm changed the instagram game for so many people; with many of us losing followers, not gaining any and seeing their engagement drop like a lead balloon. It was a horrible time for bloggers when this first happened and I heard a few stories of people giving up on the platform altogether. For me? If anything, it made me more determined and overtime I gained roughly 500 Instagram followers in just 8 weeks.
Now, to a lot of people this might not seem a lot. But to me this showed massive improvement in the content I was producing and my average number of likes per photo, soared about my usual average.
I’m not saying I’m an expert and have cracked the algorithm – but I do have a few tips and tricks you might want to try if you’re struggling to grow your following because they’ve really worked well for me!
Having Set Upload Times
Before I had structure to my Instagram I would just upload at anytime I took a picture and didn’t think too much of it. I would get a little engagement but not much and I would see certain other posts, that were fairly similar, doing better than mine. It wasn’t until I really thought about it that I realised during the day, most people will either be at School, University, work or just plain busy!
I find the best time to upload is either between 7am-8am or after 6:30pm UK TIME. The morning time slot is most likely when people are checking their phones before their day commitments and the evening time is for after dinner and everyone is chilling out either checking social media or uploading themselves. It’s the time I find my engagement is the highest and so I’ve found a real improvement to my feed interaction and the number of likes my photos get.
Consistency is key to organically growing your following. If you’re active everyday, either posting yourself or liking/commenting on other’s pages then people are twice as likely to see you on their feed. If you upload a photo at the same time everyday, chances are the same people will see that photo everyday and will start to remember your account and possibly recommend you to others to follow. Being consistence shows determination and it demonstrates the love for what you do in order to do it every single day. If you can, upload twice a day! This way, both morning and night, people will see your feed.
Interacting with other instagram users is a great way to get your name/brand out there and find friends in the blogging community. A lot of the girls I speak to and see on a regular basis are who I’ve met through instagram and social media. But not only does it get your name out there, but it also showing your fellow bloggers support and love. We all know what it’s like to feel disheartened when a photo we’ve uploaded doesn’t do so great. So when you like someone’s photo or their filter or whatever it may be, just leave them a comment!
Find a Theme / Filter
For the first few years of blogging I didn’t have a theme. I would upload photos with all kinds of filters, mixtures of black and white edits along with sepia edits (gosh who remembers when that filter was a thing?) and not care what it looked like. In a way this was a positive thing because I was happy and posted what I wanted – but it just didn’t look aesthetically pleasing. Now I have a set editing pre-set I use for all my photos and my feed is slowing starting to look how I’d like it to. Of course you don’t have to follow this rule but I found it helped to grow my following.
This is a frustrating point because I only feel this excludes a certain percentage of instagram. Influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers can post a photo with any locations and get tonnes of likes; whereas someone like me, its not so simple. My London photos seem to do a lot better than photos I may take at home…but then my photos from nights out with friends don’t match my theme at all can sometimes do even better than my London photos. I strongly believe certain locations/style of photos will do better than others so it’s all about trial and error to see what your followers like.
And finally, the all important hashtags. These babies are so important to gain followers/exposure on instagram. Tagging the brand of clothing your wearing, the location of where you are and the type of blogger you are can really help to boost your photo on the explore page. I read somewhere that you should aim to use around 30 hashtags on a photo because you have a higher chance of it reaching higher on the explore page and your followers feeds. If you would like to see a list of hashtags that I use regularly on my instagram then you can head over to my latest posts or I could do a dedicated post on here for the hashtags I’d recommend for different blogging styles if any of you would be interested? Leave me a comment or drop me a message on social media 🙂
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