I know 2000 followers is quite small fry when you look at all the big Instagrammers, but for me it was a huge achievement. I had been stuck on 1600 followers for over a year, and it just wasn’t going up, no matter what I did. Then I really started concentrating on it from September, and I upped my followers by 250 within a few weeks. So if I keep doing what I’m doing, hopefully one day I’ll hit that big 10k number!
If you don’t follow me already, my Instagram name is themummystylist – go follow me!
When I started Instagram, I wasn’t a blogger, and I just shared collages of photos I had already shared on Facebook – I didn’t quite get the point of it other that being able to put pretty filters and frames around your photos. Even after I became a blogger, I still didn’t understand the importance of hashtags and telling a story. I think I finally ‘got’ Instagram after Lily was born, and starting joining in with these hashtag communities. I started using it as a diary, and every day at around 9pm, I wrote a daily baby update about Lily. But my follower growth was non-existent, it was just stuck. And the thing is, there was nothing wrong with my photos, I still like looking back at them and reading what I wrote that day. But I wasn’t using Instagram in the right way, and by reading tips from other bloggers, and randomly stumbling across an iPhone photography book in the library, I upped my game.
Now, I’m no expert, and what I have written may not be relevant to you and how you personally use Instagram. But from what I have learnt over the past few weeks, here are my tips on upping your Instagram followers:
1) Get the ‘Followers for Instagram’ app on your phone. My problem was that I was following 1000s more people than were following me. In the early days, I followed lots of accounts in the hope they would follow me back which left me with this huge number. By getting this app, I could unfollow all the accounts that were not following me and sort of start again. The app lets you unfollow 200 at a time so you can do it quickly, but space it out so that Instagram doesn’t block your account.
2) Instagram is a game of followers unfortunately, you will find some accounts with 30k followers will suddenly be following you, but as soon as you follow them back, they unfollow you. At first you think, what, what’s wrong with my account, why did you unfollow me?! But now I realise they are just trying to get more followers. Some accounts will even block you – yep I have 7 blocking me. But don’t get offended by anything, there are so many robot accounts out there. Concentrate on the people who want to follow and interact with you. Use the ‘Followers’ app to check who has unfollowed you so you can unfollow them too and your numbers are even again.
3) Choose relevant hashtags and use them like communities. Each photo is allowed 30 hashtags so use the whole allowance. Save about 5 lists of 30 hashtags in the ‘Notes’ section of your photo so you can copy and paste as a comment on your photo. Don’t use the same list of hashtags twice in a row – that’s why you should have about 5 lists to choose from. Look at what hashtags the people you follow use, so you can find the ones you want to join in with.
4) Choose hashtags that have less that 100,000 photos in them, so your photo will be more likely to be noticed and you will find it easier to become part of that community. As an example, I am using #funseekingkids for outdoor photos. Once you have posted your photo, go through the other photos in that hashtag and like and comment on the ones you like – that’s what I mean about become part of the community. So you are joining in with the hashtag, not just pasting it on to your photo.
5) Find your theme. It took me a while to decide how I wanted my feed to look, but I have finally found it, and that’s light bright photos of my family, an outfit shot from me on Monday mornings, with flatlays of coffee breaks dotted in between. The background has to be consistent, so now I’m using my kids bedroom wall, the wooden background/brick wall of our apartment block, and my mirror in our bedroom, for a bit of consistency amongst the candid outdoor shots. And for flatlays, I took some wallpaper samples from Wilkos to make a nice wooden background (that was an actual tip from the Next blogger event).
6) Stop using filters. I have stopped using filters and just whack up the brightness, up the contrast and saturation slightly and take the shadows out, lower highlights, up the sharpness. The photos are from my camera now rather than my iPhone so they are more crisp. The wifi function on my camera makes it easy to transfer photos to my phone.
7) Your captions – tell a story and ask a question. It’s almost like a mini blog, and I actually love writing the captions, remembering a moment from that day, what Tyler or Lily did to make me smile. And I read somewhere to always end your caption with a question to get engagement.
8) As soon as your have put your photo and hashtagged it, choose a hashtag and like and comment on the photos on there. You should be liking 100 photos a day (again, I read that somewhere). And the funny thing is, I genuinely like commenting on the photos, you feel like you are chatting to that person and over time you get to know each other through your photos, so it’s win win. This also gets people you don’t follow you to notice your account, and that’s where the new followers come from. And then you can follow them back if like the look of their account.
9) Quality over quantity. I read somewhere that you have to post 3 times a day if you have less that 2000 followers – this is wrong, as you will end up posting photos that just don’t fit in with your feed. You need ALL your photos to look good – that will affect whether someone will want to follow you or not. Now I am more picky about what photos to put on Instagram, and the other photos I share on just Facebook. I post at least once a day, usually twice. I haven’t worked out the best time to post photos, but I usually do it after the kids have gone to sleep so I have time to do the commenting bit straight after.
10) Put yourself in your photos. Selfies, mirror shots, or photos someone has taken of you and your children – these do well in between the photos of your kids. People like to see the person behind the account it is that they are following.
That’s all I can think of now. I’m going to carry on doing what I’m doing and keep those follower numbers increasing. It sounds like a lot now I’ve written it down, but it doesn’t feel like it, and I LOVE it, Instagram is such a joy for me.
I read somewhere that the point of Instagram is to ‘inspire’ people, it’s all about beautiful photos to make you feel happy when you look at them. That’s the way I want to look at it anyway!
If you have any tips on Instagram, please let me know in the comments. I am still learning, so any advice would be greatly appreciated!