Instagram: How To Get More Followers
Ever since Facebook brought Instagram and re-figured the algorithm , Instagrammers have found that growing their following on Instagram has proved to be far more difficult than we thought. Before I was able to get an average of 900-1000 followers per month but the algorithm meant that my account had reached stagnation and I didn’t know what to do. My enthusiasm for Instagram had waned and I struggled to get past 3,000 followers. But then something changed, I was so sick of brands turning me down because I didn’t ‘have the following’ they were looking for that I made it my mission to grow my following on Instagram. In the space of a month, I have gone from 3,200 followers to 6000 followers and counting, while averaging 845 likes on each photo, an increase of 87.5 %. While brands had always found me through my Instagram before, I have found that more ‘Instagram based collaborations’ have come my way since employing the changes below and I don’t even have to post 2 times a day to garner a bigger following.
You might be wary of me being just another blogger to lure you into my money making course-sadly I don’t have one- but you will be thankful to know that I am just here to help my fellow bloggers out. I have had so many of you wonderful readers ask me how I managed to increase my following so quickly and wanted to demonstrate the strategies and tactics I have used and how they have evolved since my last Instagram post ‘How To Get More Followers On Instagram‘ was written.
Learning How To ‘Super Target’ Your Audience In Order To Gain More Followers
Prior to a month ago, the concept of ‘super targeting’ was as alien to me as keeping a micro pig. But employing the ‘super targeting’ strategy not only increased my following but it also increased my engagement, including the amount of likes and comments given on each photo. But what is super targeting? Super targeting is when you identify a set amount of ‘influencers’ in your niche, that have a good amount of following and interaction. Automatically you would expect the account with the ‘highest amount’ of followers to be the one to give you the most followers back in return but that is not the case. For example consider these two influencers that I have super targeted: Sarah Ashcroft (713 K followers) vs OannaFashionsimbol (29.8 K followers).
While you may think that Sarah Ashcroft would garner the most likes considering she has a bigger following and more amount of likes, it is Oanna’s account that has given me the most users in return. For example only 45 new followers have come from Sarah’s account, whereas 200 new followers have been generated from interacting with Oanna’s account. But how on earth do I know how many followers are being generated from each super targeted account? Well it is simple, read on below to find out more
How To Super Target
- Pick 10 influencers in the same niche as you that have a micro to high following. The key is to look at their engagement i.e. the amount of likes and comments rather than how many followers they have
- Once you have chosen said ’10 accounts’ check their top three latest photos and pick random users who have commented on each photo and interact with their feed. A mixture of both likes and comments seem to work the best.
- Like and comment on a minimum of 50 super targeted influencers followers feeds per day. The key is to space out your interactions though as you don’t want to appear too ‘spammy’ so if you choose to interact with more than 50 accounts a day, leave a few hours in between. I tend to interact with accounts at times that I know my users will be most active.
- Keep track of A. the influencer accounts that you are super-targeting and B. if you want to be even more organized, write down the names of the accounts you are interacting with. Using an app called Unfollowers +, you can determine who has followed you and check it against your list. While keeping track of how many followers you gain from each targeted users account is not the most important step, I do it because I like to keep an eye on my analytics.
- Not all ‘super targeting’ has to be done through influencers either. Although ‘influencer targeting’ has given me the most amount of followers, locational and hashtag targeting works too. In terms of location, I targeted 4 locations, making sure to have a mix of well known and lesser known locations to target niche users. For example the locations I targeted were ‘Shoreditch’, London, Madeira and the US, because that is where my audience is based. Picking locations to interact with is ideal if you know where your users are from and the ‘type of content’ they would be interested in following.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Without hashhtags I am pretty sure my engagement would be far lower than it is now and that is because it is a great way to find new accounts like yours. With the introduction of Instagram’s latest murder device ‘shadow-banning’ I and other readers noticed a dip in likes and engagement, meaning that certain hashtags we were using were getting shadow banned. So therefore I hear you ask, how on earth do you avoid shadow banning? Well, I find that using a mixture of ‘low conversion’ and ‘high conversion’ hashtags seem to work best. Confused? Essentially you need to look at how many people are using a hashtag and remind yourself that overly popular hashtags like #fashion 377,687,644 is more likely to get shadow banned than a lesser used, more niche hashtag like #Fbloggersuk which has 169,855 posts. More confusingly however is even the lesser used hashtags can still get shadow banned so here is what I advise.
How To Use Hashtags
- If you post regularly, you might find that engagement and following can become ‘stagnate’ and that might be because of the ‘over-use of certain hashtags. To ensure your photos are not getting shadow banned use different hashtags for each photo that are still relevant to your niche. For example in this Instagram Photo linked which got 1,085 likes, I used the following hashtags #abmlifeiscolourful (1,815,391), #acolorstory (998,748), #colourgram (6,086), #colorhunters (5,198), #abmlovesmurals (23,603), #ihavethisthingwithcolor (189,773), #thatcolorproject (212,786), #walltraveled (646) and #lookoftheday (14,924,979). Although the majority are ‘low use’ hashtags, because they are niche they tend to be less prone to getting shadow banned.
- To get more followers, it is not only about the hashtags you use but how you use the hashtags. For example you can only use 30 hashtags in a caption, so what I tend to do is insert more hashtags as a comment on my post, before people start commenting. It means that the photo will look less ‘spammy’ and that the hashtags will disappear in the comments but still generate more followers.
- Try and aim to get at the ‘top’ of the hashtags that you use by interacting with the hashtags you have chosen. For example in my latest photo which has 900 likes I used the following hashtags #dating (2,290,807) #iamchichi(1,489), #ootd (127,378,292) , #wiwt (7,713,916), #wiw (6,855,548), #whatimwearing (1,002,047) #whatiwore(7,340,052 ), #blogger (35,912,352), #fblogger (2,449), #fbloggers (2,191,015), #fbloggersuk (169,862) #fashion (377,701,113), #fashionblog (11,809,554 ) #blog (20,001,941) #streetstyle (28,913,386) #outfitpost (4,859,683 ) #fashionblogger (39,447,418). In at least 7 of the hashtags I used, I made it into the top three hashtags and that was because A. the amount of likes and comments I had received and B. through interacting with those ‘said’ hashtags.
- Use different hashtags in each photo to avoid getting shadow banned and gaining new followers . To find out whether your tags have been shadow banned use https://shadowban.azurewebsites.net/ to find out what tags have been shadow banned. For example in the photo above the tags #instadaily, #igdaily, #instapic, #photooftheday, #instafashion, #colorcolourlovers, #acolorstory, #flashesofdelight, #colorhunters, #amblifeiscolorful, #abm, #candyminimal were shadow banned.
Interact With Accounts In Your Niche
Similar to ‘super-targeting, interacting with followers in your niche will allow you gain more followers. Unlike super targeting though, you are not targeting accounts based on their following and engagement ratio but through their relevance to your accounts niche. For example, because I am a ‘fashion’ blogger on Instagram and use street art as my aesthetic, I combine a search for both ‘fashion’ blog accounts and ‘street art feeds’ because they will be the most likely to interact with my account.
Primarily interacting with accounts in your niche can be done by searching through relevant hashtags (see above) but another way to find accounts in your niche is by reading blogs i.e. through a google search and then finding their social media accounts. Once you have found their account, you will notice other bloggers or instagrammers interacting with their accounts and you can follow and like/comment on their content to form an ‘alliance’. Which brings me to my next point:
Like and Comment On Photos In Your Niche
Once you have found said ‘niche photos’ whether that be ‘street art’ or ‘food’, ensure to comment on their photos, rather than just liking their content. Comments tend to be seen by users more than ‘likes’ which means that other users who happen to stumble upon their content might find your comment, like your feed and follow you. When commenting, make sure that comments are meaningful, as comments that are less than three words and just ’emoji’s’ are not seen as authentic comments. Plus a comment that connects with the photos caption or photo shows thought, meaning the user is more likely to follow you.
Geotag Your Photos
Geo-tagging means turning the ‘location’ on for a photo i.e from my feed you can see that many of my photos say ‘Brick Lane’ or ‘Shoreditch’ because that is where the majority of my photos are taken. Without geotagging there might be less chance of your photo being found and we all know we need to try our hardest to beat the dreaded altoreigm. This is because users might be wanting to travel to a particular place and your location may show up in their search. I find that when people are searching for street art in London they stumble across my feed, because of the geo-tag I have used.
Have A ‘Unique’ Theme
Now this is a bit of a contentious one I know. Some feeds do very well without having a ‘set theme’ but for me personally I am more likely to follow a feed that has a set theme than one that is miscellenous. It shows presentation skills and a good grasp of aesthetic but then again we all look for different things in the themes we follow. Whether that be a ‘monochrome’ aesthetic or a colourful feed like mine, finding a theme that will seperate your account from others, will help you gain more followers. But how do you create a unique theme? There are so many ways that you can create your own aesthetic and that is by identifying a ‘gap’ in the market. Take a look at how I created my feed below.
How I Created My Unique Feed ‘Theme’
- Believe it or not I used to not use street art as my aesthetic and would use a variety of different, often scenic locations to make up my feed. Finding ‘street art’ helped hone my aesthetic and eventually I cut out all other ‘locations’ out completely because there was a gap in the market for ‘street-art’ led feeds. Although I had seen plenty of accounts that ‘featured street art’ there were very rare feeds that dedicated the entirety of their accounts to street art.
- My next step was colour-code my feed in rows of three. Those who know me in real life know that I am a perfectionist when it comes to ‘colour coding’ so whether that be matching my clothes to the wall, or finding an alternate wall to clash against the clothes I am wearing, it is all about making the colours pop. I typically use a colour theme of blues, pinks and reds, as many of the walls I use seem to be those colours. By analyzing those colours I have used, I have found that those with lower saturation as opposed to bright have not only garnered more ‘likes’ but they have also gained more followers too. In the photo that got the most likes, I used mixed colouring – red and white- which was tieing into that weeks theme of ‘red’ but you don’t neccessarily have to colour code like I do unless it is part of your theme.
- The last photo in each row will mirror the one below it, either through a similar colour that will mark the beginning of the next weeks theme or through using the same wall. This allows my feed to look clean and cohesive.
Use Facebook Groups
One of the biggest ways I have increased my following is through using Facebook groups. Whether that be through taking part in threads, or promoting our links, this has helped boost my Instagram precence. Follow threads are a great way of increasing your following and you get to meet some cool bloggers in your niche, as well as outside of it too. Although there are plenty of Facebook groups that are catered to all social media channels + your blog like Blog Support Group and Bloggers United , if you want groups that are specifically tailored to Instagram, then Instagram Fabulous , UK Instagram Support and Instagram Bloggers UK are the best ones.
Making Use Of Instagram’s Interactive Features: Instagram Stories
When Instagram introduced their ‘Instagram Stories Feauture’ I almost wept with joy. While I don’t use it as often as I should, I have found that because my account is not private there are some people who watch my videos and stories because it has been suggested to them. Thus an increase of followers is ensued; that being said if you post too often that can make you lose your following so strike a balance and see what works best for both you and your audience. Posting a mixture of ‘behind the scenes’ type videos or photos and even screenshots of your blog can not only bring you more followers but also bring more traffic and thus followers to your blog but more on that in another post.
Tag Influential Accounts
Some bloggers have found that tagging ‘famous’ or well known influencer accounts in their photos can often gain more likes and follows. But if you really want to generate a higher following, I find that creating a shoutout and tagging accounts that you feel inspired by works more effectively as users are likely to A. Re-gram or share your content and tag you in return meaning their followers may follow you in return.
Including CTA’s ( Call To Action) in Caption
Regardless of the length of your caption, creating a ‘call to action’ i.e ‘sign up to my account with Like To Know It‘ or ‘click the link in the IG bio to find out more’ is an interesting way of A. engaging with your audience and getting them to interact with your external content and B. you gain more followers because you are actively ‘calling out’ to your audience which of course is rather exciting for them. I tend to include an excerpt from my latest blog post, meaning that people who stumble upon my account will not follow my feed but they will also visit my blog.
Schedule Your Content & Maintain A Consistent Schedule
Because I am signed up with Like To Know It, I am part of their ‘Reward Style’ Database, meaning I can schedule my Instagram content through the app. So when I am ready to post I just click on the scheduler and then it copies over the content to Instagram, although it can not post the photo for you without your permission. Ideally you want to be posting at least once a day at a set time that works with you and your audience although because of my full time job, I only post 1-3 times a week which probably means I could be getting more followers if I posted more often. You need to find a time that works for you; for me I post at 8 PM, because that is when I am able to post the content and also when my followers seem to be the most active.
Host A Giveaway and Partner With Other Influencers
Although I have not hosted a giveaway, I have seen that other bloggers have partnered with other influencers to host a giveaway, meaning that they have gained more of a following as a result. The only thing with a giveaway is that many users may unfollow after the giveaway is ended so just be wary of that. For others though partnering with another blogger has allowed them to get more followers.
Cross Promote To Gain Followers
As well as Instagram I am sure that you have Facebook, Twitter and more so why not cross promote to gain followers. For example whether that be by including your account at the end of blog posts or promoting your account on Twitter, your other channel followers may follow your feed if they like your content. I find that Twitter, apart from the blog, seems to be the best way to cross promote, as we all know that tweets can be the biggest driver of both ‘traffic’ and ‘following’.
There you have it, Faded Spring’s long and rambling -but hopefully informative- guide to getting more followers on Instagram. Any Questions?
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