Increase Your Instagram Followers
I started Instagram last Nov. 2015, and I’m proud to announce that I have over 6,000 amazing followers already. I say, not bad given it’s not even a year old. However, my first few months were disappointing. I was struggling to reach 500 followers and the engagement was non-existent at all.
“How could I attract sponsors if I don’t have followers and interactions?”
One cold winter’s night, I googled (hahaha!)… “How to increase Instagram followers?” I read about 10 articles, some were helpful and some were so technical that I didn’t even bother. So what I’m sharing with you are the 5 strategies that work best for me, thus increasing my followers and engagement.
1. THEMED “SHOWROOM”
When I started Instagram, I used to randomly post pictures of anything. But I learned that an Instagram feed is like a “store showroom”. It needs to be attractive, clean, eye-catching and/or unique to attract traffic. It hurts to admit that my old feed wasn’t interesting at all, so I deleted a bunch of pictures and gave my feed an overhaul.
To be consistent with my food and travel theme, I alternate my food and travel posts. I also try to give it a consistent color pattern.
2. #FollowforFollow #FoLLOW4FOLLOW
The first 2 weeks of #follow4follow was thrilling. I was gaining at least 10 followers a day. What turned me off was half of the followers unfollowed me after a week or so. Also, my Instagram timeline was populated with images I didn’t care for.
I’ve been in the advertising and marketing industry for decades, and I understand the importance of a “quality audience”. I’d rather have a smaller audience that will interact and appreciate my posts than to have a huge audience that won’t produce any result at all.
BUT… If you just care about quantity, GO FOR IT! It’s fun, and it’s easy. All you have to do is follow whomever you want to follow, and then made them aware by commenting on their picture that you’ve followed them. There’s about 290 million posts of those 2 hashtags combined. HAVE FUN!
“Using hashtags make you look desperate.”
NOT AT ALL! I love it when I see sponsored posts with a lot of hashtags added to it.
If you’re one of those who don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers yet, and have been using a lot of hashtags,KUDOS TO YOU! You’re showing enthusiasm and passion to grow. You’re smart for taking advantage of this opportunity to reach more people.
I don’t hide my hashtags at all or put it in a comment section for a cleaner look. I like showing my sponsors that I am maximizing their exposure because I care about their business, and not because I’m desperate.
I think most of us understand the value of hashtags. It helps us boost our brand, expand reach and most importantly increase engagement (likes, comments and followers). It’s a wonderful FREE TOOL to get the most exposure possible for your clients.
“Instagram is a social channel where hashtags are particularly valuable.
According to Buffer, accounts with fewer than 1,000 followers that use 11 hashtags with their photos get an average of 77.66 interactions per post.”
Social Media Examiner http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-use-hashtags-on-instagram-to-grow-your-reach/
4. Track your posts
I’ve been monitoring my Instagram activities. I like to track the pictures that receive the most and least interactions with. What I notice is, each time I post a picture of myself or a silly video, there’s a significant increase in engagement and followers.
This lip-synch video to Britney Spears received the most impressions. OMG! Ron’s Food Trips gained over 200 followers overnight. Thanks to my friend Angela who advised me to start posting videos of myself. She thinks that I need to start working on showcasing my fun personality rather than just posting food and travel images.
5. Picture Trade for Followers
This strategy is my favorite because I find it to be THE MOST effective. I’m very proud to say that this strategy is all mine, not from those articles I found on Google.
I follow a lot of travel/tourism related accounts. One time, I was scrolling through the pictures of this official tourism Instagram account for this exotic country, which has over 500,000 followers. I noticed that some pictures were “regrammed” and some said “photo credit to”. Since, I’ve been in that country and taken lots of pictures, I sent them a private message.
I inquired if I could provide them royalty-free pictures with a brief description at no charge if they mention “Follow @ronsfoodtrips on her food and travel adventure” instead of saying “photo credit”. Photo credits are great, but I’m not a fan of it because there’s no call to action.
I was surprised when I got a positive response from the Communications Marketing Coordinator. She completely understood my “call-to-action” request and thought it was a fair trade. I expressed how much I admire their followers, and explained why they’re also my target demographics. I made it clear that I want to be compensated with their followers in exchange for pictures.
I love, love, love this strategy very much! It works great for me! I gain 25-50 followers/day… followers who interact and appreciate my feed. From then on, I’ve been providing pictures to various TOURISM Instagram accounts.
When I’m approached to have my Instagram post “regrammed”, I say YES as long as there’s a call-to-action and not just a photo credit.
The most rewarding part of this is I’m building an excellent relationship and connection with these agencies. They’ve expressed their interest to be featured on my blog, and would be more than happy to extend their services if and when I decide to visit their country. For somebody who loves to travel, that’s the best offer you could hear.
There you go! I hope you learned something. I know it’s a lot of work, but I think it’s all worth it.
HAPPY INSTAGRAMMING! PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW ME @RONSFOODTRIPS