I’ve always had a strong love for Instagram, but it hasn’t been until this past year that I’ve really got the hang of it. As a blogger, Instagram is key to your growth, building your community and working with brands you love, so it’s important to constantly improve your Instagram any way you can!
I’ve come to love so many amazing Instagram accounts that I aspire to be like one day! Having inspiration helps me plan out my feed and take photos with my ideal aesthetic in mind. Without direction, your Instagram feed can start looking muddled and all over the place, but if you have a vision for what you want it to look like, it can help improve your feed so much.
Whether you’re new to Instagram or have been working at it for a while, you might have realized there are some sleazy ways to grow your account. People are buying followers, buying ‘likes’ and comments, and commenting on other users’ photos using bots, rather than doing it themselves.
But brands notice. Companies notice. Other bloggers notice. If you have 25K followers and 100 likes on your photos, it’s pretty clear that those followers aren’t all real. And if all the comments coming from your account are “love it” and “nice one” it doesn’t seem genuine.
I attended an Instagram workshop last week and there was a boss babe there who works in marketing and PR, so she is the one who looks for and communicates with bloggers to grow the brand. She said that people in her position are taught to look out for this kind of thing, and they’re all aware that anyone can buy followers these days.
The best way to improve your Instagram is to be genuine and figure out what works best for you. But it’s not always easy to know exactly what to do to grow your account. So I’m laying out 7 quick and easy steps to improve your Instagram and grow your followers authentically! Even if it takes some time, you’ll feel so fulfilled when you see your followers grow day after day and know you did it yourself!
1. Make Your Profile Public
First thing’s first. If you want to grow your following, people are going to need to see your Instagram feed, and they can’t do that if your profile is set to private. If your profile is private, people can’t see your photos, they can’t see your Stories, and your hashtags won’t show up, meaning people really have no way of finding your profile unless they know you or you tell them about it.
But if you want to really extend your reach and grow your Instagram followers, set your profile to public. If you don’t feel comfortable because you post pictures of your kids or some other reason, create a separate account for your blog/biz! There’s really no point trying to grow it if you’re not going to let people see what you’re working on!
2. Update Your Profile Picture
I can usually tell by someone’s profile picture whether I’m going to like their feed or not. This isn’t ALWAYS the case, but if you have a killer profile photo, it’s likely your other photos are awesome too!
And make sure your profile photo is branded! If your brand is minimalistic, you can use a photo of you wearing white with a black background. If your brand is loud and colourful, find a bright colourful wall and take a fun photo in front of it!
3. Use Instagram Stories
I was SO excited when Instagram Stories launched a while back! It offers another way to connect with your followers on a more intimate level. If you post multiple photos to your feed it can be a little overkill, but you can pretty much post as many Stories as you like and people can choose whether or not they want to watch them!
When you post your Instagram Stories, keep your branding in mind. As a blogger, you’re creating a visual aesthetic wherever you post and Stories are just another way to extend your brand! They give your followers an inside look to what you do on the daily that’s not as curated as your Instagram photos. They’re so much fun and can really help you build a relationship with your followers!
4. Choose a Theme
One of the best ways to improve your Instagram is to stick to a theme! This could be a color theme, a topic theme or all of the above. If you focus a lot on beauty, your posts will likely be beauty-focused. So choose a color scheme you want to stick to so all your photos look great together. Do you want your feed to be colourful and pastel? Do you want the clean white look with muted colors here and there? Do you want bold and bright colours?
Whatever you choose, stick to it! It will make your feed look amazing!
5. Post Consistently
If you want to improve your Instagram and grow your following, you should be posting (either photos, Stories or both) consistently. I try to post at least 1 photo a day to my feed and multiple stories if I can! 1 to 3 photos is ideal for Instagram. More than three can be Insta-overload and you don’t want to annoy your followers.
6. Engage with Others
Engagement is key if you want to grow your Instagram. Otherwise you’re just posting photos waiting for people to find them. If you don’t engage with others, it’s unlikely that they’ll engage with you, so get out there and comment and ‘like’ photos that you truly love!
Just make sure you’re genuine! Don’t leave comments like ‘cool’ and ‘nice’. Instagram might mistake you with a bot and penalize your account. Leave genuine comments that people can engage back with so you start a conversation. You never know who you’ll meet – I met my business partner who has grown into a best friend on Instagram!
7. Use the Right Hashtags
You must use hashtags on Instagram, otherwise, how will anyone find you? Using hashtags gets your posts in front of hundreds and thousands of people, which can help you grow like crazy.
You can use up to 30 hashtags and I recommend using them all! But use the right hashtags. If you’re posting a flat lay photo of a delicious brunch you’re about to eat, don’t use hashtags like #ootd or #beautyblogger. It’s irrelevant and people will likely be annoyed when they’re looking for beauty photos and a picture of your brunch pops up.
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I am just starting out with my blog and I love your tips. I have an advanced marketing degree, but instagram didn’t even exist when I graduated! I actually focused on social media marketing but at the time it was all about facebook & twitter.
Thanks so much Sarah, welcome to the blogging world! And the world of Instagram, it’s funny how quickly social media evolves! I think Instagram is essential for bloggers so would definitely suggest hopping on the insta train 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by!
These are some seriously amazing tips! I need to get some new photos so I can update my profile photo 🙂
Thanks so much Kristen! I can’t wait to see how your photos turn out 😀
Thank you for these tips! It will definitely help me in the long run 🙂 I’ve been trying to grow my Instagram account.
So happy to hear that! I hope these tips help with your Instagram growth 😀
Great poste Kate! Super helpful 🙂 I was kind of struggling to create and keep up with an Instagram theme but I think I got the hang of it!
Thanks Roxanne! A theme is super important so I’m happy to hear you’re getting the hang of it. Instagram is tons of fun so make sure to have fun with it as you’re growing it 😀
Very useful tips Kate! I’m trying to grow my Instagram at the moment, and you get a lot of fake followers and people who follow you to unfollow once you recipriocate. Very annoying! Thanks for the good advice 🙂
Hi Laura! You’re very welcome! Yes, it can be extremely annoying but try not to focus too much on that aspect of it! Just focus on creating amazing content for your target followers 🙂
Damjan Markovič | TryToBlog
Great post, Kate!
These are some really great tips, I especially agree with the point that you’ve made about engaging with other people in your niche – that one really makes a difference and you can get a lot of RELEVANT followers that way – and also get to know other awesome people in that same niche!
By the way, I hope you don’t mind me posting a link here, but I’ve learned how you can add multiple links to your Instagram bio / profile, and I think that it is really beneficial to most of the people – if you want to find out about it, I wrote a blog post here – https://trytoblog.com/digital-marketing/multiple-links-in-your-instagram-profile/
And thanks again for great tips, keep up the awesome work!:)
Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comment on my post! I definitely think adding multiple links to your Instagram bio can be beneficial, thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks for these tips! I just started a career advice blog for millennials and have been struggling with keeping my instagram updated and appealing. I love the idea of having a theme.
You’re so welcome! Having a theme has been key to my growth on Instagram, I hope it helps you grow yours as well 😀
Just starting out my blog as well and found your article through Pinterest. Thank you for the tips! I think it’s so important to be genuine on social media. It is so easy to get caught up in the amount of followers and lose focus on the actual engagement. Your tips are so helpful and I’ll definitely put them to use!
Thanks Samantha! It’s so true, being genuine is one of the most important traits to stand by on social media! Congrats on starting your blog and good luck with your blogging journey! Xx
I just stumbled across this blog post and I loved it. it was nice, simple, and straight-forward.
You’re a fellow Torontonian like myself- yay! You’ve gained a new follower and “blog-mate” if such a word exists!
I have to admit, I’m still trying to nail down a theme of which I can be consistent with but I know I will eventually get it!
All the best for 2018!
Oh wow, so nice to meet another Torontonian blogger! Thanks for such a lovely comment! Just keep going with it and you will find your groove!! Happy 2018!
I loved reading through this blog post! It was full of wonderful information. I’ve been wanting to start a blog and build up a following on social media. Your tips and tricks will definitely be helpful!
Thanks so much Katelyn! I’m so glad you found this post helpful, wishing you all the best with your blog! Xx
I stopped using hashtags because I felt like they didn’t do anything for me. Maybe I should start using them again and see if anything changes.
It’s always good to keep playing around with your strategy since the algorithm changes so often! <3