I’m excited to write this post because I love sharing tips and hacks with you guys – I know how much I appreciate it when people let me know what they’ve learned or tips they’ve used, and I want to pass along everything I know about organically and authentically growing your Instagram account. I have almost tripled my followers over the past few months, and while the numbers aren’t astronomical or anything, this is real growth with real followers who are engaging and commenting and liking my photos.
Having tons of followers who don’t engage won’t help you at all.
It might look nice to have a ton of followers, but if you’re only getting 400 likes on a photo and a few hundred story views when you have 30k+ followers, it doesn’t look like your followers are that engaged or authentic (or possibly real – brands may view this level of engagement as purchased followers). Authentic followers who enjoy your account and engage with you, your stories and your photos is the kind of growth you want to experience.
I started implementing a few changes last fall and it took a bit for my to find my footing, but once I did I started noticing massive growth with my account. I have grown around 15,000 followers since January I think, and I want to share everything I’ve done and I want to help you grow your account too!
So, what did I do differently?
The first thing is I found a preset that I loved. I spent some time making one that worked for me and my feed and made taking photos and editing them fun and exciting. That might sound corny, but if you aren’t loving the photos you are taking or posting, it will show. That enthusiasm and enjoyment is the main reason why I enjoy Instagram so much. I love taking photos and sharing home decor on my feed and if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it. Changing my preset changed the game for me. I wasn’t posting often because it wasn’t that fun and I wasn’t able to get the look I wanted for my home.
I launched several of my own affordable Lightroom Presets including the preset I use on my feed all the time (that I always get asked about). They are only $7 (cad) each and the preset I use on my feed is ‘Blushing’. It’s a warm, bright and slightly contrasted preset that is almost a one click edit for me (meaning I don’t have to tinker around with editing settings, just adjusting the exposure a touch). I will share a bit more on presets in another post if you are interested 🙂 But finding one that I really loved made a huge difference.
You don’t have to buy a preset either (or even use one if you don’t want too). But a lot of people want that look of a cohesive feed, where everything has the same tone and same look. That’s what using the same preset/photo filter on each pic you post will give you.
Also, it might not sound the best, but pretty photos will do better on Instagram and that’s just the truth for the most part lol.
I changed my Instagram handle too…
My previous Instagram name was A Dash Of Mum (it was the name of this blog a while back too). I’m not sure why I chose that name, I cycled through quite a few tbh before I landed on something that I loved and felt more me and related more to my blog and decor style.
I thought about changing for sooo long you guys, I was worried about losing tagged photos and that sort of thing associated with my old handle. At that point I think I had like 3000 followers maybe? The tags were still there and it was literally no issue at all LOL. If you feel like your current name doesn’t really represent you, change it! A Dash of Mum didn’t lead anyone to believe I was sharing home decor or anything like that, it was more of a motherhood blog/Instagram name where I actually don’t share my kid’s faces or names or anything like that. Going for a more lighter, home decor based name changed the vibe of my feed so go for it if that is something that you are thinking of doing 🙂
Using those hashtags you guys!
The next thing I did was start putting my hashtags back into my caption. I use to put them in a separate comment with a … before the hashtags so they would be hidden and not look so spammy and annoying in my caption lol. But I heard that Instagram was cracking down on a whole bunch of random things, the separate hashtags in a comment being one of them. Honestly, I noticed a difference after I included them in my caption and saw a jump in my engagement. It could have been a fluke but there was a significant increase in having my photos shown after that so it is just what I do now.
The second tip for hashtags is USE ALL 30 OF THEM. You are allowed to include a total of 30 hashtags and I highly recommend using every one of them. It’s a way to get your photo seen by hundreds of accounts that don’t follow you, but might once they view your pretty pic or read your amazing caption. I always use all 30. When I switched to a business feed (in February I think), I was able to see my insights and on some of my photos I had over 100,000 impressions meaning my photo was seen by that many accounts and over 80% of those accounts were shown my photo because of my hashtags, according to the insights. Those statistics guys, that’s pretty crazy. Use the hashtags!
^^ from this one photo alone I received over 200 follows and you can see that out of 195,421 impressions, 156,017 were from my hashtags
Here is my final hashtag tip:
Don’t use hashtags with a million or more tags attached to it. Why? Well your chances of ending up in the top photos for that hashtag go down drastically when it is so oversaturated with content. Ending up in the top photos is an amazing account booster! That means that whenever someone searches that hashtag, your photo will be one of the first that they see and they will most likely click on it and then check out your feed.
When adding hashtags, I include several really small hashtags; ones with 2500 photos all the way up too hashtags with 100k – 200,000 photos attached to it. I usually steer away from really large ones or super basic spammy ones (like #vsco #vscopic, etc). A lot of those basic hashtags that were really popular when Instagram first started can get your account flagged randomly. It has happened to me a while ago and I avoid those hashtags now.
Make sure you are using hashtags relevent to your photo too. Don’t use #farmhousedecor when you are posting a picture of your family. It might get your photo seen, but people looking for farmhouse decor most likely won’t click over to see your whole feed because they are not looking for family photos.
I’ll leave one last tip here and cover more in another post because I have so much to talk about on this topic ;)- my final tip in this post is:
Hashtag your stories! Don’t go crazy here but include a hashtag or two when posting stories. This is something I’ve been doing recently and depending on the hashtag, I can get an extra 500+ views on my story. Some good ones are #homedecor #recipeoftheday or tagging a store you have shopped at like #anthropologie or whatever. It’s an easy way to get a few eyes on your feed.
(Okay I lied, last tip!)
Switch over to a business account! I literally just did this 2 months ago lol, I put if off for so long because I’ve heard it can slow down engagement on your account at first or eventually you’ll have to pay to get your photos seen, I don’t know there’s like a million negative things I have read about switching over so I just didn’t. Well after I hit 10k I couldn’t include any links in my stories unless I had a business account (ps you don’t get the swipe up feature unless you have a business account). So I begrudgingly switched over and omg the stats and stuff are so fun to check out! Like I had no idea how many views I was getting on my feed and how many of them were related to hashtags, or that people were saving and sharing my photos. All of that is in there and you know what?? My engagement shot right up after switching over. Again, could have been a total fluke but I was posting the same content this whole time, same captions (just me chatting basically lol).
^^ another screenshot from my insights – this is from a photo that didn’t do as well as my other ones but you can see how many people clicked over to my profile to check it out and from those 309 profile visits, I had 167 people decide they wanted to follow me. I don’t check my insights too often but one some photos that have done really well, I will click over to check them out & it’s always interesting
Okay! If you made it through all of this Hi! Thank you! I appreciate it LOL. I hope these help you and like I said, I’m not sure exactly what I did but I’m just sharing all my little tips and I’m hoping it will give you some inspo and if anything, just remember that it’s just Instagram. Not having a ton of followers doesn’t mean that you don’t have a wonderful feed, beautiful photos or that you are not an amazing person. There are a ton of accounts who use all kinds of crazy apps to sneak the system and lots of accounts are super shady too. So try not to compare to anyone else because it’s just an app and does not define you or your self worth. I’ll also add that I notice ebbs and flows with my own growth. There will be spurts where my account grows so fast, like several hundred a day, then other times it’ll be just a few followers a day. So you can’t stress about growth! ♥ ….And that concludes my Ted talk haha.
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