Instagram now has over 800 million active monthly users. To put that in context, it’s over 12 times the population of the UK. Nowadays it is vital for brands to show a big presence on Instagram and other social media. Most individuals have personal accounts and there are a growing number of ‘influencers’. I started on Instagram as a way to share my work and portfolio with an audience. As my account grew more and more I started to be approached by brands who wanted to use my platform to reach an audience for their product. I am very careful who I work with and I never promote a brand that I don’t believe in. This is all for another post though. Today, I want to talk about what I have learnt from growing my account and give you guys hints and tips on how to grow your Instagram in 2018. Let me start of with this video and expand a little on it after. Also, check out my Instagram account here.
So let’s run through the points on how to grow your Instagram that I made in the video.
1. Create great content
As I said in the video, I know this sounds so obvious but it’s SO important. It’s all about standing out and this is for two main reasons. Firstly, people are only going to follow you, if they click onto your account and they really like it. It’s about only posting your very top work, even if it means not posting very regularly. But secondly, if you have really great content, you are more likely to be shared on feature accounts and other platforms.
2. Be Original
I showed you @Paperboyo‘s account in the video. I think it’s a great example of how you can be different. Theres millions of ideas out there for how to stand out. You just need to brain storm and then get experimenting. Your first idea may not be a hit but it’s just a way to learn and try again. The more original, the more likely you are to be shared by other pages and platforms and the quicker you will grow.
3. Plan and Curate your feed
This is really an extension of the first point. Keep your feed looking tidy, make sure the photos are in a good order and complement each other. I use an app called UNUM for this which is great, but theres plenty of different ones that do it and they are mostly free.
4. Build a relationship with your audience
Share stories, show your audience behind the scenes, reply to comments and reply to messages. It’s really important to engage with your followers. Make them feel valued and they will be more loyal to you and engage more with your work.
5. Engage with the Instagram Community
For me, this is one of the most important ones. It takes time, but it’s worth it. Engage with other creators. Spend time showing your appreciation for others work and following their journeys. You will find a lot of people will follow you back and show their appreciation of your work. When I started to do this properly, is when my page started to grow. Instagram can see you are an important member of the community and I found my work started to feature more on the explore page and I started to gain more new followers.
A point I didn’t make in the video is how important it is to engage with feature accounts. These are large accounts that share other peoples work. An example of this in Landscape Photography would be @EarthPix. If you engage regularly with these and hashtag them in your post, and if you have good content, eventually you will find these pages start to occasionally share your work to their large audiences.
6. Use other social media channels
Use other platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, 500px, Viewbug, Google Plus. These all have different audiences and different ways of growing. If you start to grow on other platforms, you’ll find a lot of your audience will cross over to Instagram and follow you on there too.
7. Engage outside Instagram
Approach blogs, websites, magazines, papers, anywhere you think your work may be relevant. If you have great content there will be plenty of platforms that will be interested in sharing it.
8. Collaborate with other creators outside Instagram
This point is one of the most rewarding and for me, it’s what it’s all about. Instagram is a great way to meet like minded people. When you go to a new place, try and connect with locals. You can inspire each other and can feature in each others work and tag each other. This way you help each other grow, but most importantly, you’ll enjoy it! Most cities have regular Instameets and this is a great way to meet other creators.
These are all the main ways to grow your Instagram account organically and doing it right.
A word of warning
There’s a lot of websites that offer growth through bots, some of these are open about it, some aren’t. These follow and unfollow and also like thousands of photos. Don’t do it, it’s not worth it. You’ll annoy a lot of people, you’ll damage your engagement in the long run and instagram will flag your account as spam and you’ll stop all organic growth. I did it when I first started and apart from annoying people, it made my engagement really bad, which it took me a long time to recover. A few people had told me this was the main way that all the big accounts grew and I didn’t know any better. Well that is NOT the truth, I have had most of my Instagram growth through real organic followings and it has all been done through the 8 points above.
Well, if you made it to here, then thanks so much! I hope you found this useful. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions.