How to Increase Your Instagram Following Authentically in 2019
Ah, #Instagram, the hub of social media and creative content. It's incredible to see how much content has grown and improved over time, when in the beginning it was just selfies and Insta filters with way too much contrast, good times... I've done my fair share of research on Instagram and how to increase your following not because of the Insta-fame but because of this blog right here. I believe I have a voice that can impact and hopefully help make others happy throughout their day and give them the chance to understand what is out there in the world.
That being said, lets go into my first tip here.
1) Pick Your Niche & Stick to it
I've had a lot of people tell me that they try to blog and just have so many ideas, talents or routes they want to go into. They get overwhelmed and just give up because of that, or they do it all and then get burnt out. Don't think you're alone in this idea that you want to do everything. I was the same way. Just because I chose travel doesn't mean there aren't 1,000 other things I love and can talk about endlessly. But realistically, followers won't relate to this right away. So first, build your content up to be stable enough to get there. Your niche should be something you truly love and can talk about with anyone. It should light a fire within you, otherwise you won't end up loving the content, you'll end up giving it up if there is no passion there. Plus, people know when you seem happy with what you're doing, they can tell. And lastly, make it something reachable. Don't become a travel blogger if you never travel, that's not realistically going to get you the content you want to gain a real following with.
Stick to the content you can love and appreciate.
2) Use That Creativity
When it comes to Instagram, using your creativity to the max is how you will truly gain more attention from others. Trying different edits to find ones that work for you and just having fun with it. Remind yourself not to put too much pressure on it all though, I've had moments of just feeling overwhelmed because I wasn't producing the content I wanted to, write out places you would want to take cool pics maybe and outfits that might pop or show the style you want to show. A lot of the time I learned from trial and error. But keep the content consistent with everything you do. Don't use a bunch of contrast and then completely switch over on the next photo. Maybe try a theme that works for you, what colors do you love? What Instagrammers do you love? Take a little bit from each and build what you love most. You can always change it over time but you have to show consistency first. Use your talents also, if you are killer at art or graphic design why not use that talent on your page? You'll improve skills over time and people will love that it is something you are doing yourself.
Originality is a beautiful thing.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is content. If you are doing a lifestyle niche then have some photoshoots with your friends, get a good camera or use your iPhone and take some pictures that look good to you. Ask your friends opinions before posting at first, sometimes a clear view is the best thing to understand what will do well on others feeds. Play with editing apps and make it fun. Explore shapes, colors, themes, photography ideas, poses (if its mostly about you), maybe food, etc.
Surprise! I will provide some of my new favorite editing apps/blogging apps for you on my Insta story @BackpackingBee this week! These are apps I am obsessed with so definitely check them out.
3) What Your Bio Says...Says a lot
Below I am going to show you my own Insta-homepage. I made my page a business Instagram so I could see more of the analytics behind my followers, etc. Which I will mention again in the next step but I just wanted to make a point here that I 100% recommend doing it.
Now, when it comes to your bio there is a crucial thing to mention here. When people search for content that is within your niche, they do not know you personally yet so they aren't just going to search @backpackingbee. I'm not going to just pop up on everyones travel feeds cause I'm not that popular yet, but there's a trick to that. Below where I made the line with my name you can see I added a line | and then travel blogger. This is actually going to help people find me when they are searching for travel content or something within that niche. So once you figure out that niche, insert the tagline!
When it comes to your bio there are many different routes to take, it really depends on your brand and content. Keep it consistent with your theme, what are you going to do for others? Why should they follow you? What do you embody? These are questions to ask yourself before writing that bio.
*Side-note once in the business profile you can also select the title blogger below that tagline as well!
Most importantly, keep it simple and to the point. And if you have a Youtube or blog, you're going to want the link on your page so definitely explain that right above. People won't just click on something without knowing more or having some sort of content that will make you want to click on it. If you're a lifestyle blogger maybe something along the lines of: Want to know more on my daily routine? Click below (insert arrow pointing down). Maybe something shorter but that's off the top of my head, really play with ideas here though.
I wanted people to know 1) my brand and 2) my purpose. My brand? Positivity, travel, and a healthy lifestyle. Living a balanced lifestyle is the type of content you are going to get from me, plus you get a little bit on my personality from the quote that I changed slightly "Bee the Change." A little bit goes a long way. And lastly, make it pleasing to the eye. Some people use spaces and center it, others might play with colorful emojis. My brand just happens to be a bumble bee so I stuck with the colors black & yellow. Be consistent with your "brand."
Now, the fun part really starts. What many don't realize is there is SO much background work to really gaining followers in a natural way. I'm going to break this down with some simple steps here.
You are going to want to post at your peak time. Every single day. It's the best way to show consistency and is also going to use the Insta algorithm to your advantage. If this stresses you out like it did for me start small and then get yourself comfortable with content and slowly get there. How can I see my peak time? You are going to need to switch to the business profile so you can see how many people are looking at your profile everyday. (The business profile will help you in many different ways as well so really just make the switch if you haven't yet). On your homepage at the top of the page you can click on that number and see more details on who is seeing it exactly. Click Audience. Scroll down and select the day of the week you want to look at.
Look at who your audience is. Mostly women? Men? What ages? What areas of the world? (**Side note for travel bloggers I recommend switching up the time you post every now and then if you want to get more global followers since we are trying to gain different areas attention and time differences are something to consider). Cater your content to your audience. Keep your followers in mind and just appreciate the ones who are taking an interest in what you're showing, reach out and ask questions. Find out what they want more of.
Story analytics. A whole other ball park. Whenever you post I personally think its best to put that post on your story with some sort of sticker linking it to your main post (its easier to reach your content). Most people might not see you pop up, and if they're anything like me on Instagram they might be lazy to scroll and see everyone so what do we do? We look at stories. Your story is just as important as your feed. Let me say that again.Your story is just as important as your feed. In fact, it might even say more about you, sometimes there is more on your daily life, it's how followers get to know you. You might video more to show your personality a bit. Don't ever try to be someone your not, it's just not going to last you. And finally, use hashtags in your stories. Tag brands you are wearing or use locations. This is crucial because people watch for these tags and that is how you pop up on others feeds!
Hashtags. Another way for people to find you, and another way you're going to show up on others feeds. I keep a bundle of about 3 different sets of hashtags I rotate with and I think this is the way to go so you're not overusing one set. (Some Insta peeps say there is a shadow ban Instagram might do if you overuse hashtags, I'm not sure I believe it but I rotate just in case this is true). But again, it's up to you to make it your own. I also use my notes app on my iPhone and paste everything there before I post so I can kind of control the content and make it look more aesthetically pleasing before pasting it into Instagram. Using spacing and lines or dots to separate content so its not all bunched up is another usual tactic most influencers will use.
Alt Text: when you edit your photo in Instagram after posting you can actually also add in another factor to make your photo more likely to be shown. Alt text is basically describing your photo and content in simple words using commas. This is normally used just so when others search for content it can be more easily found through simple words and hashtags.
Being an Active Follower. More people are likely to continue following you if you are liking content and commenting. Fact. There are actually apps out there that can tell you which of your followers aren't being active with your content. Why is that not a good thing? Well the algorithm has made it so you are going to pop up on different random followers feeds within each time, and if some of these randos are not active, they won't see your content. The issue with that is when you get a certain amount of likes within a certain time-frame Instagram deems this content interesting enough to put in larger search feeds, explore pages, etc. So ghost followers become an issue when building your brand. What do we do? be as active as possible, engage those followers, maybe unfollow some people who aren't really engaging depending on the situation obviously please don't go unfollowing friends and saying it was because of my suggestion... But liking others content in your niche and commenting is another great way to really gain an active community. Follow the hashtags you are putting on your page, get to know others in the same field.
Promoting content: another awesome way to put yourself out there and show others your content. I like to have Instagram pick the audience that is going to be more worldwide because this is how I am more likely to gain that global audience but perhaps you are showing your lifestyle in California so you might just start with Cali people. Again, make it your own.
Linking your page to Facebook Analytics is another thing to keep in mind, since Facebook is a whole other audience that might only aid in people reading or watching your content. And for gaining that slightly older audience this is going to be your best bet.
5) Engage Your Followers
In your posts it is always a good idea to ask questions and gain people's interest. Click bait is a common tactic to use, and just talking to your followers like you would with your friends is another way to go about those daily captions. Get comfortable writing more content as well, tell a story about your day or give advice that people might need to hear in their days. (Aka what I am known for).
6) Don't Just Follow & Unfollow
This is going to be one of the worst things you can do if you are just mindlessly unfollowing after following. You will not gain a steady ENGAGING following if you do this. Being genuine and building relationships is what you are trying to focus on, follow the ones who inspire you, message and build those friendships. Share each others content. Build each other up. This is the way to really gain those engaging followers that actually care about what you have to say. Unfollowing and following or BUYING followers is the way to get ghost followers that won't engage with content therefore you get 0 likes. They just sit there are pretend to be real, that's not what you want.
**Side-note- if you do have any ghost followers I would block and unblock them, this way you get them to unfollow you and they aren't just sitting there as a dead follower.
7) Plann Content in Advance
#Plann is the app I use for this, it's free so I definitely recommend it and I can show you a bit more on it in my stories this week but planning out your content is what's going to make this less stressful on you. Posting everyday and coming up with the content for that can be exhausting mentally (and physically if you're hiking to get a cool shot or flying somewhere, etc.)
Make it as easy on yourself as possible.
8) Engagement Groups
Once you hit about 5k I think you're going to want to be a part of more engagement groups and focus on uplifting each other, commenting on content and liking/following each other. What engagement groups are are people within your niche joining together in a large chat and posting their recent posts so everyone can comment and like. You can give each other advice and learn tips and tricks as you go.
9) Tag a Friend
Once you have a certain following base I think this is another thing that's going to get you great engagement. Having some sort of "tag a friend" post will get your page noticed by more people. I personally haven't done this a ton yet, just because I still feel I am building that following but it is in the works for sure so keep this in mind for content!
I have done a little micro giveaway and met some awesome people through the group I decided to do it with! These can be great to try out and get a feel of how they work but ultimately the big kahuna is doing that 10k giveaway. It's a way to really show your followers you appreciate their interest in you and want to do something nice back. And sometimes if its a good prize it'll get you a great following even above that 10k line.
Choosing that giveaway might have to do with who you collab with, choosing people who have a similar follower base is crucial and make sure they are real followers that you'd be marketing to. Don't choose fake influencers to work with if you want to do a team. And use brands to your advantage, some might reach out but make sure they are legit and real brands you genuinely would want your followers to try. Stay authentic down to every free thing you are offered guys.
11) Collaboration Over Competition
This needs no explanation but I'll give you one anyways. Instagram is a platform for people to use their creative energy and some choose to make it their job. I've had some influencers who ended up being more about negative energy and competition. This is no way to go about things and truthfully, I don't believe that energy will last you long. You might burn out, or it'll get to your head in some way or another. Collaborate with each other and uplift others in your field, in your niche. It's a great way to meet friends and learn from each other. I didn't know anything at first and I slowly started meeting people through Instagram connections who truly taught me so much about things I could be doing to always grow and use my creativity. I'm grateful for each of them.
Ultimately remember you are building a brand and its best to keep that in mind with everything you do. Tag brands whenever possible cause you never know when you might get a shout out. Show off brands you truly like, be as honest as possible with brands because you ultimately are recommending whatever you do post. I once received a product from a brand that I just truly wouldn't recommend to you guys so I unfortunately had to tell the brand I didn't like their product. Be honest and authentic.
Thanks for reading this post guys!
Now keep watching my story all week to find some of the best apps you can use to edit those pictures, get creative and some other hidden tricks to the trade.