Without a doubt, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms at the moment. Particularly, in the beauty industry where visual content rules. Many of you guys already use Instagram, whether it’s for business, blog or simply your own personal accounts. So, let’s be honest, everyone wants a large following. But how do you get more followers on Instagram organically? That’s the question we’re answering today.
A little note before we start. Not a big fan of self-proclaimed titles like ‘Insta-guru’ or ‘Instagram ninja’ instead I’ll give you a couple of facts to show that I know this subject well:
- SoNailicious Instagram was named one of the top nail Instagram accounts to follow by both, Famous magazine and Popsugar.
- I delivered a presentation on How to grow your business with social media at the Social Media Women event in Sydney earlier this year.
- The SoNailicious Instagram account is growing organically very well. From 19,000 to 29,000 in just 4 months (knock on the wood!).
So if you’re keen to grow your Instagram following, here are my top 10 tips:
- Be social: engage with you community and go beyond it. Reach out, follow some cool people, comment, talk and discuss. If you like a photo don’t just ‘like’ it, leave a quick comment about why you like it. It’s likely the account owner will check out your account too and maybe one of your followers. However, don’t become serial commenter cutting & pasting “So cute!” on hundreds of photos. That’s not actually cute, that’s a waste of everyone’s time.
- Be consistently inconsistent: Choose one filter – whatever it is you like the most – black and white, sepia or Polaroid like effect and apply this filter to all the photos you post. Also, it’s much better to stick to one niche topic than posting random unrelated images. Just make sure you occasionally surprise your followers with something off topic. If you want to post on various subjects, you can start multiple Instagrams. For instance, I have two Instagram accounts. There’s my personal CrashingRed account for random stuff I like and a professional feed, SoNailicious with consistent subject matter and filters. Guess which one is doing better?
- Be useful: which for Instagram means be inspiring. Usually people start using Instagram in order to keep up to date with their friends and family but they end up using it as a source of inspiration. Styling, cooking, decor, nail art, travel, etc… It’s all about capturing an idea in a photo rather than clever text. A bright and inspiring photo with no text will do better than a blurry photo with some interesting info in the caption.
- Bright and clear images: do you have Tumblr or Pinterest accounts? What kind of images do you pin? Some pretty, bright and inspiring images right? That’s exactly the type of images you should post on your Instagram. To learn how to produce great quality photos, check out these photography tips. However, what if you have nothing bright and pretty to post today? Skip the day or re-gram someone else’s photo instead. It’ll have a better impact on your Insta-image than posting a photo of a blurry something. Our next tip explains why!
- Re-gram: be generous, share others’ relevant content on your Instagram. It’s the best way to make friends! However, do it in a genuine way without expecting anything back. If you like someone’s work, share it and tell the world they’re doing an amazing job!
- Always give credit: it’s one thing to re-post someone’s content to let your followers know about a fantastic account and another very different thing to take someone’s photo in order to make your account look better. ALWAYS give credit, you’ll earn credibility and your account will be seen as a useful (there you go, tip #3 accomplished!) resource for your followers.
- Link it: if you’re posting for your business or blog, add a link to your product/post in the image caption and a direct link in the link section of your bio. If your image is interesting enough, people will want to see more (or to buy it) and they’ll go to the effort of going to your profile to click the link. So again, you’re being a useful resource!
- Describe yourself: Have a descriptive bio letting everyone know who you are and what you are doing on Instagram. Are you a shop, a blogger, a decor addict, etc? Say it in your bio. ‘Curious wanderer’ maybe a great option for a well-known public person (i.e. everyone knows who Madonna is) but not many people know who you are. So write a concise, descriptive bio to give a reason for people to relate and wanting to connect with you.
- Tag wisely: sometimes when searching tag #nailart on Instagram I get some unexpected returns. Is anyone checking out the #nailart tag really interested in seeing undressed guys? Unlikely, because they’re searching for nail art inspiration. If they wanted to see guys they’d be checking the tag #boysofInstagram. So don’t just tag randomly in the hope you’ll get more likes or followers, tag precisely but general enough to get discovered. I.e. for a photo of nails, a #nailsoftheday tag will work better than #loveofmylife or #ididamazingjob. Also, it’s always a great idea to come up with your own tag. For instance, we have started the tag #sonailicious for everyone who wants to show us their nail art and we also use it to tag all our photos. By checking this tag on Instagram I can instantly connect with the wonderful SoNailicious community, see what everyone is up to, discover new talent, etc.
- Follow, follow, follow: follow real people not just your favorite brands, friends, celebrities or mega bloggers. There are people and brands who don’t have a massive following right now but post relevant, interesting and inspirational images. If you find them, apply tip #1 – be social and make friends. The more you do it the better, not only you can inspire each other but you can grow together too! If you need some suggestions on who to follow in the nail field, check out our ‘Nails of Instagram’ lists.
Also, make sure you check out Tamara’s @OhMyGoshPolish best tips for growing your Instagram. I know, that’s a lot of information to absorb but guys, these tips really work. As soon as you start implementing our tips, you’ll see your Instagram growing.
I want you all have amazing, inspiring and successful Instagram accounts. That’s possible, believe me, it will happen!
What other questions about blogging, social media or even Instagram do you have? How can we help you?
Leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer your question here, or if it’s a big one, in our next ‘Expert Advice’ post.
- Maria, xx