One of the top 10 questions i get asked recently via social media is how to grow your following.
First off i need to point out that having lots of followers really doesn’t mean so much. The positive thing is being able to spread your message and inspiration and reach more people which is positive. But you should not want to have a high following just to get a bunch of likes or think that you will get free stuff sent to you… you need to have a message, have a passion about something. Just posting and trying to get followers without having a real aim or ambition about it won’t get you far.
But also the more followers you have the more likely you are to get critique and hate, you need to double think what you post and it also means you need to keep more to your theme. I.e if people follow you on instagram because they like your feed and the type of photos you post, if you then begin posting different it won’t be appreciated and people will unfollow. But also the more followers you have, the more likely you are to get focused on numbers and put your worth and validity in numbers… you begin comparing yourself to others and think that if a picture doesnt receive enough likes or comments or a blog post doesnt get as much readers then you are a failure, which is NOT true. Your worth is not in numbers and you dont need to validate yourself through likes and comments.
So there are negatives with having more followers on Instagram… you need to stick to your theme, keep posting content that is roughly the same but also be ready to deal with more hate messages and spam.
So my tips on how to grow your instagram account:
- Find what you love doing. Find the theme that works for you and find what YOU want to share. .What is your message, what is it that you want to share with your followers? Usually there is a theme with the bigger instagram accounts, they have advice or teach their followers somthing. Just posting pretty pictures works to a certain degree, but in the end you have to offer your followers something more whether it is through a blog where you share advice and just post pictures on your instagram or whether the advice is through your instastory it should add more value than just pictures.
- Be inspired, but dont be a copy cat. It is so important to find what you want to do and not just copy everyone else. Find what type of photos you want to share, find the light and angles that work for you. Find YOUR theme. Trends are trends for a reason – people like them. So it is ok to jump onto trends, but do it in your own way. What can you add to the trend to make it unique and yours? If you find an account you love and love what they do, find a way to be inspired and make it your own but don’t blatantly copy another person. This is also important because having an account that is YOURS and YOUR style it makes it stand out from other accounts. If all pictures and accounts look the same as others it is easy that it just becomes “one of many”.
- Interaction is key! Commenting, liking, interacting are key parts of instagram. Spamming everyone with the same generic comment or writing “follow me” in your comment are sure ways to not get you followers or not any real followers anyway. Instead, make comments about the picture and leave a comment that relates to the cpation. It is nice to know that someone took the time to actually read what you wrote in the comment, so if you write something related to the caption the owner of the account is more likely to look at your account and if they like what they see they will follow. But also if you comment on peoples photos other accounts are more likely to find yours. But make sure the comments are valuable!
- Interact with your favourite accounts. Reply to their Instastory messages. Leave comments, be supportive! Nothing better than a loyal follower and if your name shows up enough times in the notifications the account owner will get curious to see who this special follower is!
- Interact with other accounts in the same theme. Even if my instagram is a food account i kind of use it like a personal account haha. Personal IGstories, commenting on tattoo accounts and dog accounts and even celebrity accounts sometimes, not realising that if someone goes onto my profile it will just be a bunch of food haha. But my recommendations is to comment and interact with accounts that have the same theme as you. Not only will that mean that the followers of that account might see your account and check it out, it might also mean that you can do a shoutout with accounts similar to yours. Shoutouts and getting your account shared with a larger public is key to growing your followers.
- Join shoutout competitions. For example, if there are certain trending hashtags or “create an autumn inspired dish and use this hashtag and we might give you a shoutout”, joining that “shout out competition” can help you increase followers. But once again…. have YOUR style and touch to the photo!
- The larger your following is, the more important it is to interact with them and reply to their comments. Of course the more followers you get the more time-consuming it is to answer messages and you might not be able to answer them all. .But do try your best to answer questions and comments at least and keep in contact with your loyal followers. When you build a connection with someone they are more likely to keep following you and like what you do!
- Be personal, honest, open. This is not always possible in the actual captions. For example if you are a fashion instagram or food instagram or natural photography instagram then 50% of your followers just want to see the pictures and don’t care about the person behind the account. But the other 50% will most likely want to know more about you and the person behind the account. So this one is hard… how to find the balance, but i find that instastory is very good for this. Just showing who the person behind the account is… and in time you will realise whether personal posts and captions or pictures are appreciated or not. Sometimes you just need to stick to your theme and instead open a personal account where people who are interested in YOU can follow as well!
- Enjoy what you do/post. If you don’t enjoy it you will eventually stop or feel stressed. Posting should be fun, you should want to post and feel inspired by others. Dont make instagram or social media stressful!
- Quality over quantity! Remember that one comment that has value and is commenting on the text of the photo is so much better than 1+ generic comments all saying “yummy”. Or 100 loyal followers who like your pictures, comment and are interested in YOU and your message are so much better than 10 000 followers where you have no interaction or loyalty from your followers.
- Hashtags, trends, time of posting, knowing your followers all matter as well. Overtime you begin to realise what type of post is most appreciated and what times to post. However those are just small details and if you focus too much on it, it can take the fun away from instagram.
Do what you love. Share a message and advice that will help others. Inspire yourself!
Dont get caught up in numbers and don’t put your worth in numbers. If you feel yourself getting stressed about social media or posting, Take a step back. Trust me. Getting addicted to social media or always comparing yourself to others on social media will effect your health negatively. Only follow accounts that inspire you. Unfollow accounts that make you feel bad about yourself. Instagram should be mostly positive even if at times it can be the opposite.
I hope this helps anyone who wants to grow their social media following on instagram, but also remember… see your followers as FRIENDS and not followers. Sure, not everyone is a loyal follower and followers come and go, that is why it is important to make connections with your loyal followers! 5000 loyal followers is better than 50 000 followers were no one likes, comments, interacts or cares about your pictures or you!