If you’re just starting out on the social media sphere, posting photos on Instagram can be pretty disheartening. Post an image and you’ll only get a few likes from a small number of followers that you have, which mostly consists of your friends and your family. I get it, it does suck. Sometimes when you think you’ve taken the most amazing shot, whether it is an incredible shot of a sunset, a colourful array of food, or a really hench picture of you at the gym, you’re just not getting the likes that you want.
I started off that way. But as the months went by, I applied a few simple techniques that saw my followers and engagement skyrocket! I couldn’t believe it, but what I used and implemented actually worked. Not only in gaining followers, but also increasing user engagement. So, in this article, I will be sharing with you my top tips on how to increase your Instagram followers!
1. Post good pictures
I cannot stress how important it is to post good pictures. If you want people to like your picture, and give you a follow, your pictures have to be ones that people want to see in their news feed every morning when they scroll their Instagram feed. I’m not suggesting buying an expensive camera (I use a Canon DSLR for my photos on Instagram and my blog), though that can really help with getting good quality photos. But if you are low on a budget, you can simply use an iPhone. Here’s an example of how to shoot great pictures with your iPhone. It might seem like a lot of information to take at once, but don’t sweat it. You have to simply take into consideration a few factors: lighting, colours and composition. By lighting, I mean, use natural light. It’s your life-saver. Take pictures facing the light, not against it (unless looking like a silhouette is your thing). Even for food photography, make sure you have lots of natural light, and your food is positioned directly in the light. Cloudy days are good, but too much direct sunlight isn’t good as it creates too much light, making your pictures look overly bright. Also, picture editors are your best friends. My favourite apps are Photoshop Express and Vsco Cam. I use these two apps to edit all of my photos on my Instagram. And they work wonders! Play around with the exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows and vibrance. These few things will definitely make your pictures pop so much more!
2. Create a theme
I know you’ve seen this all over Instagram: Instagram feeds that are super cool and rad, and every picture just seems to match. Alot of people tend to go for a simplistic theme, or a rustic vintage thing, or maybe even a theme that resembles a certain colour, for example, an all pink Instagram. Like, how on earth do they do it right?!? How does every picture seem to match? I mean, you can’t simply be taking pictures in the same place all the time. Or be taking pictures of the same thing. Well, let me let you in on a secret: pick a scheme. Think about what sort of vibe you want your Instagram to have. Do you want a fun, colourful feed? A simplistic and minimalistic one? Or maybe you’re a bodybuilder and you want a hardcore, gym sorta feel? Then, think of your colour scheme. Stick to 3-4 colours and no more. Then, make sure all of your pictures fit these colours. If you’re using a filter, make sure you use the same filter for all your pictures. For example if you take a look at Lauren Conrad’s feed, all her photos have a warm and hazy vibe, with pink undertones. Steve Cook’s feed seems to have brown, grey, blacks and whites. One of my favourite grammers is Choosingchia, and her Instagram pictures consist of a white/greyish background and a pop of colour. I know this might seem like a lot to take in.. But just remember: pick 3-4 colours, choose the same filter for all your pictures (if you choose one), and take your pictures in the same light (if you can). No one likes a feed that has a million colours, it’s too confusing for the eye and everything seems cluttered. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just get colourful and organised!
3. Post content that people want to see
Now that you know how to take good pictures, and how to create a theme, here comes the next part: Posting pictures that people like. Honestly, sorry to break it to you. But no one wants to see a million selfies. Period. Unless you’re a celebrity. Also, boring pictures of your food are a no no. And pictures of your friends? Unless you and your friends are doing something cool, then leave that for your home photo albums. Post stuff that is visually pleasing, or, that people can benefit from. I post recipes and motivational tips on my feed, apart from my daily ‘what I did today’ rants. But if you’re just starting out on Instagram, I recommend you post stuff people like to see. For example, workout tips, exercises, or if you’re a photographer, great scenic pictures. Get ideas from other famous Instagrammers, and see what kind of pictures they post. I would recommend, posting visually pleasing pictures and being engaging in your description. Write a motivation post, or ask your followers what they’re doing that day. It’s not all about you, but it’s about how you make their day a little more brighter! Also, think about your target audience. What would they like to see?
4. Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags
Hashtags are vital if you want your posts to be seen. They account for a lot of the automatic Instagram likes sent to your photos. A lot of people tell me they don’t want to seem ‘dumb’ or like they’re trying too hard when posting hashtags. But if you want your content to be seen, you gotta get on those hashtags! Check out the top trending hashtags to see which hashtags are the most searched, and add them to your posts. You can also add hashtags applicable to your genre. For example, if you post about fitness, you can add #fitness #healthyeating to your posts. If you’re a fashion grammer, adding #ootd and #fashion. Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, so use all of them. Most popular hastags include #f4f, #like4like and #TFlers. Use them, and trust me, you will see a lot more likes and comments coming your way!
5. Engage with the community
I think this is the most important tip among all of them. It is the best way to get more followers, more likes and ultimately more user engagement. I cannot stress enough how important it is to really interact with the Instagram community, particularly those in your genre. If you’re really into food, interact with other food grammers. Like their pictures, follow them, and leave sweet comments on their feed. They’ll send you their love back! It’s a great way to interact with other fellow grammers, and also to get more likes and follows coming your way. Doing this can also lead to loyal followers, and you definitely want those by your side!
6. Post regularly
And I don’t mean 10 times a day. Don’t be a spammer. You should be posting at least once a day, if not twice. Your followers will then know that they can always expect a cool picture from you, and they will most likely love you for it. The best posting times, according to research, are at 2 am and 5pm. So get posting!
7. Get regrammed
After you reach a decent number of followers, and you have good pictures on your feed, try to get regrammed by bigger accounts. This means, getting featured on their page. Tag big pages on your pictures and hashtag them. If you get featured, your followers will boost like no other! I’ve gotten featured on a few healthy eating accounts, and this increased my followers by thousands. So get tagging and hopefully one day, you will get that big feature! Can’t help but try, ey? You’ll never know till you do!
8. Have fun with it!
If you see a cool, vintage wall, take a picture in front of it. If your friend is looking really fly that day, and happens to be holding a really cool artisan coffee, snap a pic. It’s all about being in the moment, and taking pictures that capture it. So get snapping, and get experimenting. It’s all about trial and error, and finding your own sense of style. If travel is your thing, get snapping on your trips! If you’re all about food and drink, take pictures of your food journeys and cafe hunts. If the gym is your game, take pictures of you working out, motivational tips, or post workout videos. If you’re into make up and fashion, take pictures of your daily make up looks and outfits. Find your niche, and have fun with it!
So, follow my top tips and you will be on your way to gaining not only more followers, but also more user engagement on Instagram!