It seems like being famous on Instagram is the dream job. You get to travel the world, work with well-known companies, and get paid to simply share a post on Instagram.
But it’s more than that.
Those people that have tens of thousands of followers have worked their butt off to get where they are. It took a lot of time and a lot of work on their part to not only establish themselves but the message they are trying to cultivate.
Yet I’m assuming that you’ve landed on this blog post because you want to gain Instagram followers fast instead of focusing on the long-term growth…
And there’s nothing wrong with that because I get it. I’ve been there!
In February, all I wanted to do was grow my Instagram account. I spent hours on hours sitting on Instagram following accounts, liking pictures, and leaving simple comments.
And after that month, I wrote a blog post about how I grew my Instagram by 1.1k in 1 month. Because I did. And there’s proof and images in that post to prove it.
But when I wrote that post, I never imagined the amount of traffic that it would produce for my website month after month. And to date, it is still my most viewed blog post!
But I have to be honest with you, when I wrote that blog post, I did a crappy job. I spent most of the time talking about unimportant things instead of the actual steps that you need to follow to grow your account.
I just told you that I did it. And I didn’t provide you with any real value to gain your own Instagram following.
Now, it’s been months since I wrote that blog post. And I never put that much attention to Instagram in a month again.
But what I’ve learned from this experience, is that you guys, my wonderful readers, want to know more about how to build an honest Instagram following! And I’m here to help you do just that.
So what do you say? Let’s get into it!
It may seem like a long time. At least for little kids, this is still considered a long time. But as adults, we know that 30 days go a lot faster than you think.
But 30 days provide you with 720 hours, 43,200 minutes, and 2,592,000 seconds! Now that’s a lot of time for you to get stuff done!
Sure, you have to sleep and everything. So that takes away about 240 of those hours. But that still leaves you with 480 hours for you to find time to work on your Instagram!
So no excuses from here on out. Your excuses are just lies that you are telling yourself to hold you and your Insta-success back!
Tough love over. Let’s talk about the good stuff.
Anyone can grow their Instagram account. Just like anyone can be successful or famous. The key to both of those things is that you have to be willing to work for it!
When I grew my Instagram account by 1.1k followers in 1 month, I spent most of my time on Instagram! It was insane. But it worked.
And now I’m here to share with you some other tried and true ways that you can use to grow your Instagram.
Before you can make a dramatic change, you need to understand what works and what doesn’t work. Take a look at your engagement on your account. Are there images or messages that perform better than others?
Whatever trends you notice, take some notes and learn from it.
And know that this all comes back to your brand image. Or as most people like to refer to it on Instagram as your “theme”.
Your Instagram account is an extension of either you or your brand. So it needs to look like it.
If you are a fashion blogger, there is no need to share pictures of you drinking at a club every weekend. If you are a small business owner, there is no need to share stories of you going to yoga. Unless you own a yoga studio!
Everything you share needs to hold true to your message as a brand. And it needs to hold true to your niche.
Stay inside the box and your audience will learn to love your specialty.
Now that you know your set brand message, you need to create your theme. And this is important that it stays in the guidelines of your brand.
If your website is colorful and fun for your audience, there is no point in having an all black and white Instagram feed.
Your theme should be cohesive from one platform to the next. So let’s look at my account for example.
Over the past year, I’ve had a few themes that I’ve played with. But I finally have one that I love and will stick with for a long time!
All my pictures are edited the same. I use the same app and I use the same tools. I always increase the brightness and decrease the warmth and saturation. I want to achieve the cool-tone, slightly gray, image look… if that makes any sense.
Now, you don’t have to copy my theme! And now that I say that, I actually mean, please don’t copy my theme!
You and your brand are unique and deserve a theme that uniquely represents you! So don’t try to copy other accounts.
Instead, use them as inspiration to better your account and make something that your audience will love!
If you want to grow your Instagram following, then you need to know who your target audience is.
It’s not enough to have a large following. You need to have an authentic and engaged following to make the real money.
And if you want to know if your audience is authentic, you can use Fohr Card. This is a really cool tool that a lot of Instagrammers are using these days to evaluate their audience.
But establishing your ideal following is not as easy as it may seem. You may have a general idea of what your target audience is down to the gender, age and location. But when it comes to Instagram, it can be difficult to find that ideal follower!
So what I recommend is finding a successful Instagram account that’s similar to yours. So if you are a Dallas fashion blogger, try to find another successful Dallas fashion blogger. My guess is that their following is similar to the following that you want to achieve.
Go take a look through who is following them. DO NOT start following their followers! That’s not what I’m saying.
I want you to evaluate their followers and see what they have in common and if they match up with the ideal audience you want to have. That’s it. Nothing creepy here other than some real stalking.
Okay. I change my mind… That is creepy. But it’s still important!
Have you ever gotten those comments that say “nice photo”, “love your feed”, “*insert emoji here*”, or anything else generic and not relevant to your caption?
Yeah, that’s what I call low-quality engagement. People use this trick to get their account out there and seen by other people. And sadly, it works sometimes.
But if you want to build an authentic following, then you need to cut the crap. Enough with the thoughtless comments and liking. It’s time to get down to business.
Next time you go on Instagram, I want to see you like 10 photos that you actually enjoy, and then comment 1 genuine thought on someone’s post that relates to what they are talking about.
This isn’t hard and will go a long way.
So do this will the accounts that you follow at least twice a day, and then do this with accounts that you don’t follow. Try to focus on people who would be an ideal follower! Remember all that stalking I talked about before, this is where that comes into play.
So by the end of the day, you should be doing this at least 4 different times. That’s 40 likes and 4 honest comments. Simple enough, right?
Everyone’s heard of #FollowFriday by now. It’s nothing new. But it works wonders to help your audience grow!
When you participate in Follow Fridays, you get your account placed in front of the followers of other similar accounts. This helps to expand your reach, increase your engagement, and build your community.
There are so many great things about this!
But when you reach out to other accounts to do this, you need to find accounts that are similar to yours in terms of content, audience size, and more.
The more closely related your target audience is, the better it will be for both of you!
I know, I know. A little self-promo here.
But I’m not kidding. If you want to grow your Instagram account in the next 30 days, then I highly recommend that you get access to my 30 Day Instagram Challenge.
This lays out tasks for you to complete over the next 30 days to not only improve your Instagram account, but also build your brand, establish your theme, and connect with real people along the way!
Although it only lasts 30 days, after that, you have the tips and tricks you need to get on your way to building a long-term following!
Now growing your Instagram authentically is not easy. And it will definitely take more than 30 days to hit your big goals. But here are some of my best tips to help you grow your Instagram following for the long-term.
One of the best ways to build your Instagram account is to convert your current website visitors, or blog readers, into Instagram followers.
That means that you need to openly talk about your Instagram and have links to your account on every page of your website. And I mean every page!
On most pages on my website, I have 2 or 3 links to my Instagram account. Now that might seem like a lot, but it’s really not. In this blog post alone, I have over 5 links to my Instagram! Say what?!
Most people need to see something 7 times before they decide to go through with it. And that holds true to following your social media accounts.
So start linking to that account already!
Another great thing to do is tell your audience the benefit of following your Instagram account. For example, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll get an inside look at what I do on a daily basis plus content, social media, SEO, and other work tips to help you get ahead.
AND some of this information is only shared in my Instagram stories, which gets deleted after 24 hours! So you need to follow my account to be in the know and get the most out of TheContentBug.com.
So what makes your Instagram account interesting? And why should your website visitors want to follow it?
Social media is meant to be a place where you are social! And it’s important to connect with other accounts and build a community.
Follow accounts that you like. Leave genuine comments. And even schedule virtual coffee dates with people. Collaborate as much as possible. And participate in #FollowFridays to build an even bigger community.
I’m telling you, this works. And it’s one of the best things that you can do to grow your account without performing endless engagement, likes, and comments to people you don’t even know.
Plain and simple. You need to post every day. This is non-negotiable. And if you really want to take it up a notch, try to post twice a day a few times throughout the week.
When I started posting twice a day, I noticed my engagement and my followers spike! I was stuck in a rut of only gaining 3/4 followers a week. But once I stepped up my posting game, I grew 80 followers in a week! And they are quality followers too.
So if you can, then I encourage you to post more than once a day. But commit to your Instagram right now and promise to post at least 1 photo EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!
This is obvious. But not to most people.
If you really want to create an honest following, then you need to stop it with the follow-unfollow rule.
When you do this, not only do you lose your honest followers, but you gain more spam accounts than real accounts. And you don’t ever actually grow an honest following.
The worst part about this is that once you get started, you never stop.
I constantly get people who have over 40,000 followers that use the follow-unfollow rule on me. This clearly shows me that they just focus on the numbers instead of building an honest following. Because if your following was honest, then it would naturally grow without these small-minded tricks.
This is my favorite thing to do on Instagram. I love to plan out my feed before I post.
When I first started out, I would post an image without a caption or tags to see if it fit my theme. And then I would delete it immediately so I could post the final image with the caption and all.
Now, I have an app that does it for me. So I don’t have to post and delete all the time!
I use the Preview app every day. It’s amazing. And it looks just like Instagram! Could you tell from the screenshot above that you were looking at the Preview app? And did you notice how the first 9 photos on the picture haven’t even been shared on my Instagram yet?!
It’s pretty cool. And easy to use.
With this app, it shows me my current Instagram feed and lets me add images to see how my feed will look with different pictures added. You can move images to see what works where. And you can even edit your photos to make sure everything is up to code with your theme.
You can move images to see what works where. And you can even edit your photos to make sure everything is up to code with your theme.
Now, I don’t like to use this app for my editing because I think it takes away from the quality of the image. But keep reading because I’m about to share my all-time favorite editing app.
Instagram has a lot of editing features, making it simple and easy to edit and post at the same time. But I don’t recommend this.
Instead, use different editing apps outside of Instagram to get the job done. I like to use Facetune. But I know a lot of people like to use VSCO as well.
So whatever editing app you choose, make sure that it’s not Instagram! It will really step up the quality of your photos and the overall theme of your account will thank you.
Well, my friend, that’s all I’ve got for now.
There are so many parts to Instagram that I’d love to talk about. Like the impact of your Instagram story and the importance of location tags. But I think I’ll save that for another post to keep this one focused on helping you authentically grow your Instagram following in 30 days.
I’ll see you back in here next week with another blog post. Until then, check out the Keep Reading section below with more Instagram tips for you to enjoy!
Why, hello there! I’m Cathrin, the creator of The Content Bug. But since we are already virtual best friends, you can call me Cath. After working in the digital marketing industry, I decided it was time to share my love for online content creation, social media, and SEO with the everyday hustlers of the world… like YOU! You can almost always find me at a local coffee shop writing, reading and working on new things for The Content Bug. But when I have some free time, I love hanging out with my dog, going to a yoga class, and being outside. Stay connected with me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter to see what I’m up to!