5 Ways to Grow Your Instagram

I feel like over the past year or so, Instagram has really taken off. Whether you’re a creative, blogger, entrepreneur, or all of the above, Instagram is an awesome little app to interact, meet new people, and advertise your work!

As I was doing my research on the gram, I found some interesting info…

  • There are 8 million registered businesses using Instagram business profiles.
  • Instagram has 1 million monthly active advertisers—up from just 200,000 in March 2016.
  • 60% of the top brands on Instagram use the same filter for every post.
  • In March 2017, over 120 million Instagrammers visited a website, had directions, called, emailed, or direct messaged to learn about a business based on an Instagram ad.

Isn’t that wild?! After reading these stats and researching some more, I wanted to share some key things that I think would add value to your Instagram! So grab your favorite drink + snack, and stay awhile!

There are FIVE key factors that play a role in Growing Your Brand on the gram!

When I began my photography career about a year ago, I reached out to a TON of photographers in my area for TWO reasons. One: I had NO idea what I was doing or where to start and TWO: hearing wisdom from others who were on the similar route was useful (plus it’s nice to have friends, duh!) I would take one night out of the week to send a message to photographers all around my area. An example you could send a creative in your area to spark up that convo…

Hi _____,

My name is ____ and I am a ________ (fill in with blogger/photographer/etc) based in [city.] I came across your feed and love _____ (share three things you admire about their work.) I am just starting out as a [job title] and would love to chat with you sometime & learn more about ______. Hope to hear from you soon & that we can get together for [coffee/tacos/drinks/etc!]. *insert friendly emojis here*

Before meeting with the creative, be sure you have an idea of what you want to get out of the meet up. For example whenever I met with local photographers we chatted about how to get clients, how to prepare for a shoot, their editing process, camera equipment, favorite softwares, etc.

Some important things to ask when reaching out…

  • How did you get started? (get to know them & hear their story)
  • What are some things you wish you knew when you started your business?
  • What are some of your favorite apps? (For photographers ask about presets/editing softwares)
  • How do you organize/plan your work?
  • How do you maintain consistency? (with clients, followers, feed, viewers on blog, etc)

I always heard this and actually hate using hashtags because they look excessive haha. BUT! They work! I have a notes section on my iPhone that is dedicated to hashtags. I simply copy & paste them in the comment section so my caption isn’t super long and filled with hashtags haha. (There is nothing wrong with copying & pasting the hashtags in your caption- I just think it looks cleaner when they’re in the comments) Using hashtags allows other people who aren’t following you to see your posts, therefore increases your like. When deciding what hashtags to use, look at other creatives. For example, I looked at other photographer’s hashtags and made a list of them. You can even Google “best hashtags” and throw some of those in! Since Instagram changed their algorithm, posts no longer show up in the order they were posted. Instead, Instagram only shows what the posts that they think you would “like” the most. So, use your hashtags so others can see your posts!

Spend 5-10 minutes each day commenting and liking other creative’s posts. This is just Instagram etiquette and let’s be real, who doesn’t love a little extra loving? I’ve noticed that whenever I comment and like other photographer’s posts or bloggers, I get more followers, likes, and engagement on my posts. Another Instagram etiquette– when someone likes your photos, return the favor & same thing goes for comments. Reply to comments and comment on others!

I know, I know you’ve probably heard this a lot. But, I can’t stress this enough! Make it a goal to post 3-5 times a week if you can’t post everyday. I tend to post everyday, sometimes twice if I’m feeling a little crazy hehe. Essentially it’s all up to you, but I’ve noticed that the more I post, the more followers I gain. People like to see what you’re doing. If you’re a busy bee (chances are you are and I’m right there with ya!), there are some awesome apps that you can use to schedule your posts! When I use to create content for a small business, I would first create a monthly editorial calendar on excel. Nothing fancy, but I saw the big picture for the month. Then after deciding what to post, I would gather photos & captions and put the info into Hootsuite. Now, a heads up, if you’re planning on doing this, it’s not as easy it sounds…because this too takes time.

Figure out what you’re posting for the month…

  • Write down the photos you need and be sure to schedule photo shoots for content if needed
  • Plan out captions for posts
  • Upload content to the planning app

In the long run, scheduling your posts ahead of time saves a lot of stress AND time. It’s also awesome if you want to limit your time on the app and gives you more time during the day to actually live in the moment! I personally do not plan my posts out ahead of time unless I’m traveling…this is a goal of mine though! Some of my favorite Scheduling apps are…Hootsuite, Later, Planoly and UNUM.

When I hit 2K on my photography Instagram account, I did a giveaway in honor of that little milestone. Giveaways are awesome for a few reasons:

  • You gain followers
  • People look forward to winning something
  • Creates engagement
  • It gets your account out there

Some helpful tips if you’re planning on doing a giveaway…

  • Consider hosting a giveaway with similar Instagram accounts- this allows their followers to also follow you and collabs are great!
  • Have people tag their friends in the comments- you can also have each comment count as an entry, this way people will tag more of their friends
  • Have people follow your account for a chance to win- heyyyoooo more Insta-homies

If you have the idea of a giveaway, make sure it’s planned so it can be successful! Collaborate with others and have fun! Find a creative way to announce the winner, whether that be on your Instagram stories or through a post dedicated to the winner.

I hope this was helpful to you! Best of luck growing your gram! And be sure to stay tuned for next week’s post about creating a cohesive feed!

Julia Mann