“How did you grow your following?“ is probably my MOST ASKED question to date. I’ve previously touched on this in other blog posts, but I want to create a post just for this topic! I was able to grow to 10K followers on Instagram in just one year, and want to share all the tips I have on how I was able to do so.
To begin, I just want to let you all know that I solely used my iPhone 8 Plus to take pictures the first year I started really working towards growing my following on Instagram. I also have a post about how I take photos with my iPhone and a tripod (here)! This was something that took me over a year to master, but once I did it was a game changer.
I just recently bought a fancy camera and I hadn’t even purchased presets until eight months into trying to grow. I told myself that if I hit 10K followers, that would be when I invested in presets. Up until that point I just used Facetune to brighten the whites, and the Lightroom app to make photos brighter! This post is really all about what to do to get your name out there and how you represent yourself online!
Now this isn’t going to be that semi-truth about how “if you have good content then the followers will come” because how will they see your content unless you show up where they are (even if you DO have amazing content)? That is 100% the key to Growing Your Following on Instagram. That’s what I did and that’s what will work for you too!
These are My Tips on How to Successfully Grow Your Following On Instagram
1. Decide if you want to seriously pursue growing a following
Creating and monetizing your blog, or trying to become an influencer, is honestly a very time consuming task. If you have a full-time job, it’s even more of a serious time commitment (read more about how I balance both here)! I have to take all my photos for content over the weekend and if it rains I have to make do.
I have gotten super burnt out many times because I just felt like my face was in my phone the entire day. It takes a lot of work and effort! I probably spend at least 30 hours a week on top of working 40 hours at my full-time job doing blog related tasks. It’s hard work, but if you want to put in the effort it’s so worth it and very rewarding!
2. Join Blogging Groups on Facebook
One of the best things I did when trying to grow my following was joining Facebook groups! A lot of these groups have bloggers of all sizes with various followings. It’s literally an awesome way to meet bloggers from all over the country and globe to support each other! It’s also a great idea to join them because you can get valuable tips and tricks too.
I have loved it because any questions I have had being a newer blogger have been answered! A lot of times the owners of the groups do “Follow Fridays” where you follow 3-10 bloggers and they follow you back! I have met a lot of other bloggers this way and been able to gain followers this way too. This isn’t the most organic way to gain followers, but if you only follow accounts you love, it’s definitely not a problem!
There are also specific groups for each blogging platform so make sure to search for those too! I have some that are specifically for the affiliate platforms I use (find out more about RewardStyle here) and then others that are just general blogging groups. These are great regardless of the following you have because people consistently post questions and tips that can help with a variety of problems.
3. Work with Influencer Marketing Platforms
When it came to Influencer Marketing Platforms, I figured I would start small. When I was around 3,000-5,000 followers I started to applying to a platform called Heartbeat! They’re great for bloggers who are just starting out because even thought it might not be companies with a huge following, you’re still able to start a portfolio.
That being said, if you take great photos, you’re more likely to get re-posted! My first campaign with them was with Better Skin Co. and I got re-posted to their page. They actually have a massive following so this was really helpful. I also have a whole post about how Heartbeat works linked (here).
If you’re a little bit larger of a blogger (I would say about 7K plus followers), I would suggest branching out to larger brands on multiple platforms! The ones that I suggest are all linked to in my post titled 10 Places That You Can Find Influencer Campaigns that you can read (here). I’ve been able to work with brands including: Steve Madden, eBay, DryBar, and so many more!
4. USE HASHTAGS
Hashtags are actually super important y’all. I know a fellow blogger who got over 6,000 impressions the other day JUST from their hashtag use! Impressions are awesome because it means more people are viewing your content and it’s more likely you’ll end up on the explore page. I used to think that the explore page only showed recent content; however that’s not true!
It’s starting to be more like Pinterest’s smart feed (they show you more content based on what you interact with and search) and they show you posts similar to your interests. This is super important because that means more people can find your content. An easy way to get onto the explore page is by using hashtags! I have an entire post on 80+ Instagram Hashtags for All Blogging Niches you can use and how best to use them. That link is (here).
5. Join Group Pinterest Boards & Share Your Content
Pinterest group boards are something that I’ve become more well versed in! They are an easy way to share your content and get more eyes on what you’ve written. I utilize Tailwind a lot to schedule my pins and it’s a really great platform to use! You can schedule out as many pins as you want a day (I pin around 50 pins a day) and this will GREATLY increase your blog views too.
Pinterest has seriously changed the game for me. It’s even helped me to make money through RewardStyle (want to find out how to join? click here)! It did take me a while to figure out how to utilize it best; however, when I did it became a life saver. If you’re already a member of RewardStyle, check out my post on How to Make Money With RewardStyle (here).
My Pinterest strategy is that I share equal parts content from my blog, content from my Instagram, and content from my LIKEtoKNOW.it page to them! This is a great way to gain exposure for all of your profiles. This has helped me to gain LIKEtoKNOW.it followers as well as new Instagram followers too! It’s a good idea because it’ll also help to grow your Pinterest account at the same time. If you want to see my Pinterest profile, click the link (here).
6. Join Comment/Like Pods
A lot of bloggers do this on Instagram, but I’ve heard that Instagram can track this and they might flag your account for bots (
which to me is literally so dumb which they actually do now and will snatch your profile from you quick). The way to avoid this is by using Telegram pods!
Often times in blogger Facebook pages, they have people comment about how they’re starting a “group Telegram pod” and they’ll ask others from similar niches to be in them too.
I’ve heard negative stigma about groups, but seriously this is such a great way to support other bloggers! I know personally I get distracted and might not have a lot of time, this is a great way for me to see my favorite people’s posts!
Personally, I do not recommend using comment/like pods any longer! I was only in a few small ones to begin with, but they are just not authentic. If you do decide to join any groups like this, I suggest only being in very small, niche groups with people you like/bloggers you already interact with! I was in one with about eight people on Instagram and thought it was going well; however, one day I opened the chat and a few of the girls were talking about me “behind my back” like I wasn’t even there.
Authenticity is KEY in 2020 and you need to try to be that for your audience! I talk more about why you need to curate and create meaningful relationships in my post called How to Overcome Discouragement as a Blogger (here). I’ve been able to meet some amazing women from blogging and I know you can too!
7. Do Group Giveaways
Another thing people ask me is how I end up in group giveaways. The truth is, people always come to me! I suck pretty bad at things like this because I feel awkward asking people for money like that. Bloggers will likely reach out to you once you establish a good following, but definitely don’t be afraid to start one yourself! If you need some product ideas, the following are great: Louis Vuitton Giveaways, iPhone Giveaways, PayPal Cash Giveaways, etc.
Wanna start your own? Most of the time all you have to do is reach out to bloggers with a pitch. For example: “Hey *insert blogger name*! I’m thinking of starting a giveaway on *insert date* with a *insert amount* buy-in. I’m thinking of doing an *insert amount* gift card giveaway to *insert company* with about *insert amount* other bloggers! Let me know if you’re interested or if you know anyone else that would be!”
The loop giveaways I’ve done have gotten me at least 200-300 followers (that have stayed) and the individual giveaways, or giveaways with less people, have gotten me 500-600 followers (that have stayed). Either is a good idea and honestly it just depends on how engaged all of you separate audiences are. I do recommend not doing these too often because 1) it’s kind of spammy and 2) it becomes inauthentic.
8. Engage. Engage. Engage!
This is the most important tip in this post! Engaging with your audience is SUPER crucial. I have spent up to four hours before just ENGAGING with people who like posts and tag similar niches. This is what seriously burned me out but it got me serious results. I mostly just searched hashtags in my niche like “#atlantablogger” to do this!
During the summer of 2018 I would work my 9-5 internship job and then come home, run, eat, and ENGAGE. It was exhausting and after I hit 10K followers I really took a step back to breathe. That all being said, it’s now over a year later and I’m still engaging on Instagram daily, just for a lot less time.
For 2020, there is a specific way you should engage with your audience! The best method of engaging on Instagram is to interact with your followers thirty minutes before, and at least 30 minutes after, your Instagram post! The most crucial time is the first thirty minutes of your posts (try not to edit after the first five minutes) so try and engage for at least thirty if not more. Then you should be good to go!
I hope this post has answered some of the questions you guys have had about “How to Successfully Grow Your Following on Instagram“! These are the methods I have used that have been super successful for me and that I hope work for you too. By creating genuine connections, engaging with your audience, utilizing hashtags, and participating in giveaways, these are just some ways you can really grow your following!
Have any other topics you’re interested in hearing about? Be sure to let me know in the comments! If you loved this post, be sure to head over to my home page (on desktop) or scroll down (on mobile) to subscribe to my blog! that way you’ll never miss out on another post. Not ready to commit like that? Add me on one of the social media platforms below to always stay up to date on what’s happening over here at Sequins and Sales!