Since starting my third year of University just over a week ago, I’ve rediscovered my love for Instagram. Although this social media platform is often temperamental and the algorithm can be irritating at times, the perfectionist in me loves looking at perfectly-curated grids and wonderfully-edited photos. I’ve never been close to being Insta-famous or anything along those lines, but my follower count has been rising steadily over the last few weeks, so I thought I’d write a very basic post with a few hints and tips for growing small Instagram account followings.
This first point is pretty obvious, but try to engage as much as you can with followers, potential followers and people you enjoy following. Following other accounts, leaving comments and liking photos allows your account name to be seen by other people and encourages them to make a visit to your grid and potentially give you a quick follow.
2. Stick to a theme
Colour schemes are arguably quite difficult to maintain, but the overall effect is so beautiful if done properly. My own theme is a mixture of greys and blacks, but of course you can pick any colour you want and the results can look amazing. If colour schemes aren’t your thing, you could stick to a content theme. Many of the accounts I follow seem to fill their own specific niches – whether it’s fashion, animal photography, study tips or food blogging – and each niche comes with its own general follower base. Obviously themes and colour schemes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re worth thinking about if you want to increase your follower count.
(Grey theme = my personal account @sameoldlaurie)
(Photography account = @ben_roach_photography)
3. Make use of stories
I was initially quite sceptical about Instagram stories. I was a prolific Snapchat story-er and never thought I’d use Instagram stories instead, but I actually prefer using Instagram’s GIFs, colours and text styles. I also love watching other people’s stories to see what goes on “behind the scenes” of a successful feed. Stories encourage followers to watch and engage with your feed, so putting a few non-grid-worthy photos into a story is worth investing time in as well.
4. Mix up your posts
Your selfies may be fantastic, but no-one wants to see a grid with hundreds of pouty faces staring back at them. If you find that you’re posting much of the same content – ie. the same room photos, outfit photos etc., mix it up a bit! Throw in the odd flatlay, pet photo or picture from a recent day out… the list is endless! If you’re not sticking to a rigid content theme, change up what you’re posting to keep your feed fresh and interesting for new and old followers alike.
5. Don’t be afraid to use the archive function
If you look back on your feed and decide that something doesn’t quite look right anymore, archive it! I love going through old posts and archiving them. When I changed colour scheme, I went through all my old pictures and removed anything that didn’t seem to work with my current grid. I find that archiving helps to declutter your grid and reignite a bit of inspiration for future posts, without permanently losing any of your photos. It’s a win-win! (And you can always change your mind and return the archived photos to your grid later)
6. Use a post scheduling app
Last month I decided to start using Planoly to schedule my Instagram posts and to see what my feed would look like before posting a certain photo. I’ve found that this app really helps to streamline my theme and allows me to select and curate my favourite photos before posting. Apps like this are usually free and definitely worth downloading if you’re interested in working on your grid aesthetic.
7. Write decent captions
There’s only so many photos you can post with a series of emojis as the caption. I’m not saying you should be writing paragraphs with perfect punctuation, but a line or two about the photo or what you’ve been doing that day is always far more interesting than a few random symbols.
8. Don’t play the follow/ unfollow game
The bane of my Instagram life is the follow/unfollow brigade. What is the point? We can all see what’s happening and we simply won’t follow you back. Don’t become one of them! Instagram is supposed to be a fun way to share photos and be slightly creative with your time – so grow your followers organically and don’t mess around with games or buying followers. At the end of the day, this is just an app on a mobile phone and it’s just not worth it.
9. Join an Instagram pod
There are loads of comment and follower pods available to join on Instagram with like-minded people. Bloggers often advertise their pods on Twitter and other social media sites, so try and get involved with a similar community and engage with people who share similar interests to you!
10. Use hashtags and locations
People often find photos and accounts to like and follow based on the photo’s location and the hashtags used to describe the picture. You will reach a much larger audience if you use general, popular, short hashtags instead of using your own made-up tags to describe the photos you’re posting. Remember, you can edit your captions whenever you want, so you can delete the hashtags at a later date (usually once you have reached a certain number of likes or a follower milestone)
(Valencia photo = @ben_roach97)
I hope you found some of these tips useful. Leave your Instagram URL or username in the comments below and I’ll leave you a few likes or a follow!
(My personal account is @sameoldlaurie – and the blog account is @labelnv for those interested)
Madonna –> Material World