The Thirsty Tourist’s Guide On…How To Get More Instagram Followers
So you started an Instagram page, and you don’t have many followers and your pictures aren’t getting liked. You are trying your hardest, but it doesn’t make any difference. Then you see these other accounts with thousands of followers and pictures that are no better than yours, which are getting hundreds of likes. What gives?
You head on over to Google and do a quick query on “How To Get More Instagram Followers.” Several sites pop up on how to get more followers – most of them unhelpful – sites where they want you to $$ Pay Money $$ for likes. Let’s just clear one thing up – you don’t need to buy likes. Save your money for something else.
What Makes Me The Expert? I’m By No Means An Expert But…
I started my Instagram account in August 2015. In the last 6 months I have gained over 4,000 Instagram followers. I have been frequently asked by others about what my secrets are for gaining new followers and getting people to engage or like my pictures and an audience to interact through comments. I have put together some of my musings and trends I have noticed as my number of followers has increased. The steps I have listed below have been tailored to gaining up to 7,500 followers.
Step 1 – Pick A Good Name
Your Instagram name should reflect either your brand or your specific niche. If you weren’t able to get the desired name you want, make sure your profile headline name reflects this. This is the name that everyone will see when they visit your Instagram page, search for you and view you in a list of followers. An interesting name will gain you more followers and attention.
Step 2 – Public Profile
Make sure your profile settings are set “Public” and not “Private”. If you profile is set to Private, no one outside of your current network will be able to see your posts.
Step 3 – Determine Your Niche
Everything on your Instagram page should reflect your brand or specific niche. If you are into Travel like I am, your biography or bio should be filled out, and the majority of your posts should be on Travel. Be creative and flexible about what you post, but everything should tie back to the theme. The last 9 pictures, or first 3 rows that you post should be a short collection of what your brand, blog or profile is all about.
Step 4 – Post Frequently & Post Consistently
When you first start out, post everyday, especially if you are trying to grow your audience. Post Frequently, but Don’t Spam. Post a maximum of two posts per day, and spread them out by at least 6 hours in between. When I had less than 1,000 followers I would post twice a day. Between 1,000-3,000 followers I posted once a day. Now I post once every 1-2 days and still retain my followers. You need to feel out how responsive your audience is and cater to them, without burning yourself out.
Be consistent. If you start with posting everyday, then you need to post everyday. Post at the same time everyday. The more engaged your audience is, the more often they will be looking for your posts. If you can only post every 1-2 days, that’s fine, just stay consistent. If you know you don’t have a lot of pictures, work out a posting schedule that works but has the same posting intervals.
Step 5 – Instagram Networking
Networking is key to gaining more Instagram followers. One strategy is to follow other niche accounts, and hopefully they will follow back. This makes it much easier for users who are looking for similar accounts to be able to find you. Do you have any other social media accounts or a blog? Ask your followers to follow you on Instagram as well. While you are out-and-about in your travels or day-to-day grind, ask friends, family and acquaintances in person if they have an Instagram account, and if they will follow you.
Step 6 – Be Aware Of Time Zones
You need to be aware of your posting times based on time zones and peak hours for Instagram. A great picture can go to waste because it was posted at a time when there were a limited amount of viewers to see it. Most people check their Instagram accounts in the morning, at lunch, when they get home from work and after supper or before bed. For the United States and Canada, the most popular time zones are Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Pacific Time Zone (PST). If you can post during these high activity peak hours, you will get more likes and account engagement, and therefore followers. Which brings me to…
Step 7 – Image Quality over Quantity
I believe in the quality of my pictures over the amount of pictures I am posting. I have gained all of my followers to date though only 165 posts. I see similar accounts that have close to 900 posts with the same amounts of followers, and who have been on Instagram longer. I select all of my pictures with care. I don’t post any pictures that I don’t enjoy myself or wouldn’t want to share with a friend in real life. Don’t feel like you need to spend hours in Photoshop or taking photography classes – sometimes those doctored photos just come off as fake. I want to see pictures on Instagram of places I could go in real life. If they are heavily edited, I am going to be extremely disappointed when I get there. BE YOURSELF AND BE REAL.
Step 8 – Follow Back
The best way to keep your followers from unfollowing you is to FOLLOW BACK. You aren’t a celebrity. Sure, having fans you don’t feel obligated to follow back is nice, but it’s also a good way to have yo-yo numbers or less account activity. When I follow people and they don’t follow back, I almost take it as a personal snub or affront. I wonder “What is wrong with my account?” and “Why won’t you follow me back?” Instagram allows you to follow 7,500 people so if someone has a decent account, why not follow them back. It takes minimal effort on your end and is the start of a relationship and future engagement.
Step 9 – Unfollowing Is Rude
Unless you hate someone’s content, or they are spamming you – don’t unfollow them. It’s Rude. You wouldn’t do this in real life, so try to use the same etiquette online. If you unfollow someone, don’t be surprised if they unfollow you back. I specifically use an app, where if someone unfollows me, I unfollow them immediately. I’m not giving you something for nothing. 😉
Step 10 – Make Use of Hashtags & Picture Tags
We’ve all heard this – too many hashtags is annoying and spammy. Using too few can be problematic too, as your photos won’t get any visibility. Using the same hashtags everyday is boring and will not engage your audience. Do you research. Use the right hashtags. You can do an internet query to find out the most popular hashtags, or even typing them into the picture will prompt how many people have used the same hashtag. I try to blend in a few popular hashtags with unique ones I creatively make up. Depending on the picture, I will use as many as I think the picture needs, typically between 10 to the maximum of 30. Tag the places you have been (an option when you upload a picture). When people search for that location, your pictures will then be visible.
Bottom line…MORE HASHTAGS & PICTURE TAGS = MORE LIKES.
Step 11 – Active Engagement
Don’t be a robot. Engage with other people through liking or commenting on their pictures. This will be harder to do as you get more followers, as there will be so many pictures and people, but make an extra effort some days. You get out what you put into it.
Step 12 – Be Creative. Be Real. Be Yourself.
Don’t forget to – BE YOU! Everyone is unique and different, so let that shine through in whatever pictures you take or adventures you have. Thousands of people can go to the same spot and take a picture, but it’s your personal perspective that makes it unique.
Bonus Step: Have FUN
When all else fails, forget the rest of the 12 steps above and Just Have Fun. No need to have rules or get bogged down by all of the details. Just keep posting.
Happy Instagramming and Be Sure to Follow Me @1thirstytourist!
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