JC Tech: My Instagram Experiment – How I Increased My Followers by 25% in 1 Month
I feel as though all bloggers have a social network which they are really into. For me, that is twitter, I even wrote a whole Bloggers Guide to Twitter a wee while ago. However, I wanted to expand my reach in another social network, and although I do love Pinterest, I thought it was time to give instagram a good run.
I’ve had Instagram now for quite a while – a couple of years. But I only turned it into a ‘blog’ Instagram after about 6 months of blogging. I had a small following, which has grown a little in that time. To give you an idea of how I was using Instagram previously:
- I would post every now and again – likely once every 3 days or so.
- I didn’t have any kind of theme or reason to my pictures, just showing what I had been up to recently.
- I used a couple of hashtags on each post but didn’t pay much attention to them.
- I would scroll my feed occasionally and like the photos of people I followed.
- I started with 578 followers.
Based on those facts, I decided to try a little experiment. For one month, I would put a whole lot more effort into Instagram, try a few different things and see if I was able to grow my audience. I thought I would compile and share the best things I found to engage a following along with some of my ‘most liked’ pictures. As a disclaimer, if you are already an avid Instagram user then these may be well known to you, but it did take me a little while to get my head around them!
1. Post more and relatively consistently
I have tried to make a real effort in posting at least once a day and I definitely think it helps. Putting more content out there into the Instagram world is always going to help more people find your photos and your profile. The surprising bit with this is that it did change my thinking about photos. Now, when I’m out and about, I’m always trying to find something lovely to take a picture of, this definitely helps with my blog photos and capturing what I’m up to!
2. Use the best hashtags for each post (or use an app!)
Hashtags were a mystery for me but I’ve learned a couple of things – use more hashtags so your picture can be shared in more streams, and post the hashtags with the picture and not in a comment afterward as otherwise, IG may not recognize them and index the photo without them.
For hashtags, it did take me a while to get the best ones – I try and use some of the similar ones from twitter such as #lbloggers, #bbloggers, #fbloggers but also some Instagram specific ones such as #instagood, #instadaily, #photooftheday. I also usually add some which are to do with photo editing apps, such as #vsco and #vscolondon. I
I also downloaded the app #TagsForLikes which is actually really helpful in that you select the area which the photo is about and you get a list to copy and paste into IG. I usually tailor it a bit more as they can be quite generic, but it is ideal to get started if you aren’t a hashtag pro! The Stim Social reviews also helped me out and I did actually try using Stim Social, it was great!
3. Promote on other social networks and the blog more
I never really cross-promoted my Instagram on twitter where I have a bigger following so I have been trying this a lot more! Usually one tweet a day with a link to my Instagram. I also added my Instagram widget on the side there, and have been referencing my Instagram a bit more in some of my posts.
4. Like and engage on other profiles
I think this is probably the biggest thing that has helped grow my following. I would usually only scroll through my feed and like some of the posts on there but never ‘explore’. I’ve since been spending more time searching for hashtags such as #lbloggers, scrolling through the posts, commenting, liking, clicking into people’s profiles and liking their pictures. Additionally, now that users have options to send instagram messages on computer, the idea of interacting more with followers and other accounts may not be as tough as some people initially thought!
Not only has this helped grow my following and likes but it gives me no end of inspiration for my posts and has also connected me to a lot of like-minded bloggers!
5. Edit your bio
My bio was pretty old, still reflecting from when I posted mainly about beauty! I edited it a couple of times to try and get the best 140 characters which put across what I was actually posting about – hopefully, this makes it easier when someone clicks on your profile to decide if they want to follow you or not! If you want more than just the one link you’re able to submit in your bio, you may want to try something like link tree, this way you’ll be able to include extra links for more marketing potential and redirection potential to your websites.
6. Content and filters
This is one I still haven’t got my head totally around – the idea of an Instagram ‘theme’, such as posting pictures edited in the same way or all of the same thing, like food. I don’t have a theme that I’m working to at the moment, but I’ve been trying to focus more on good, clear and bright images. I’ve been using the same filter on each and most of my pictures involve either good food, being out and about or good shots of London. I’ve been putting a lot more thought into the pictures I’ve been posting rather than just any old shot!
So with those 6 things, I’ve gone from 578 to 724(now 753) followers in a month which is a growth of 25%! I was pretty surprised by how well small and easy techniques really helped in growing my audience. I have been trying to keep it up and it is still growing, but it is definitely correlated to how much time I am putting into engaging and using IG!
With all that said, if you’d like to follow me on instagram then you can do here!
What’s your biggest Instagram tip?