5 Ways to Grow Your Instagram Following

This past weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at the See Jane Write “Pin, Gram, Post: A Social Media Workshop”.  I’ve had the fortune of experiencing fast growth on Instagram (IG) this past year and a half (from ~200 in August 2013 to a little over 14,000 in March 2015), which has in turn, helped to grow my other social media platforms as well!

5 Ways to Grow Your Instagram Following, http://chicinacademia.com

So, Heather Brown of My Life Well-Loved, and I accepted Javacia’s invitation to speak about the things that helped us grow our social media following at the workshop. Javacia is the founder of See Jane Write and if you haven’t checked her out yet, make sure you do as soon as you’re done reading this post!! Those in attendance got the first-hand account and of course, also were able to participate in a live Q&A; but as with anything social media-related, 1.5 hrs is often not enough to cover absolutely everything there is to discuss.  So, we now take to our blogs to provide a synopsis of the material covered in the workshop, as well as a few other tips we weren’t able to share with everyone that day!

Here are my 5 tips for growing your following on Instagram:

  1. Hashtags – Some may disagree, but I have found the use of hashtags on my posts to be extremely effective.  As of late, I have included 3-5 hashtags within my caption, but later will add 1-27 additional hashtags in the comments section.  Why a maximum 27 additional hashtags?  Instagram only allows you to add 30 hashtags per post at one time. Hashtags expose your post to people who may not necessarily be following you already.  My favorite app for creating hashtags is Tags for Likes.  You can download it on your phone and simply copy and paste pre-curated hashtags for whatever topic your post is on!  Tip:  Change your hashtags every 4 hours to help expand your audience.
  2. Links – Instagram gives you the option to link each post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and Flickr.  Use them to your advantage!  You can either post to all of those platforms simultaneously, or if you are like me, will share later and change the caption so that it is customized for each platform you are sharing to.  Be particularly aware that Twitter will only allow 140 characters per post, so be succinct when sharing your Instagram post on Twitter.
  3. Blog – Your blog can be a very useful tool for growing your Instagram following, especially if you already have a nicely sized following.  Two tips for using your blog to grow your insta:
    1. Embed Instagram posts within your blog posts.  You can do this by 1) accessing Instagram from your computer; 2) clicking on the image/post you want to embed; 3) click on the three little gray dots at the bottom of the post; 4) copy and past the code to embed in your post.  This will also make it easier to link everything when you pin your posts to Pinterest!
    2. Add a widget to your blog that will allow you to display at least one photo from your IG.  This will allow people to see your most recent post and link them straight to your IG where they might decide to follow you!  Your blog statistics can help you determine how many people are clicking on your embedded photos, or your Instagram gallery widget.  Iconosquare is also another great place to get statistics on your Instagram posts!
  4. Engage – Like and comment on other people’s posts.  Part of your success on IG will come from getting to know other people and letting them get to know you.  Help them understand how amazing and interesting you are and help convince them that they should hire or follow you because of your wit and talent!  As you engage with others, you will also start to figure out when people are most active on Instagram.  This will also help guide what days of the week and what times of the day your posts are most likely to get the most engagement.  For me, mornings and evenings around dinner time work best.  Sunday evenings are also prime time for many.  Start with those times and days and see if you notice a difference in engagement!  Don’t forget, you can use scheduling apps like Latergram to schedule your posts the day before so that it doesn’t interrupt your workflow during the day (this is what I do, so that I can focus on work during the day, but also manage to keep up with posts that need to go out).  If you’re willing to pay a little for some help, virtual assistants are also a great way to manage your social media posts and engagement!
  5. Network – Connect directly with brands, influencers (people with large social media followings), and/or other bloggers/instagrammers in your niche.  Working with other people helps to get your name out, thereby increasing the odds of growing your following, your brand, and exposure!  One way I have connected with a large number of bloggers lately is by participating in Loop Giveaways and Follow Fridays.  In fact, a group of bloggers and I are hosting a loop giveaway as we speak!  Be sure to check it out!

5 Ways to Grow your Instagram Following, http://chicinacademia.com

What are some tips you have tried/used that you have found useful??  Leave a comment below and let me know what you have tried and liked or not liked.  Also, check out Heather’s post for tips on growing your Facebook following.  Finally, don’t forget to stop by my Instagram to enter this week’s $400 Nordstrom giveaway!!

Until next time!  Stay Chic!