‘How different would people act if they couldn’t show off on social media? Would they still do it’ – Donna Lynn Hope
It took me a long while to really embrace Instagram and how best I could make it work in my favour. I always loved the concept of pictures over words and Twitter seemed to be dying a death quicker than Dubsmash. But in terms of the blog I couldn’t get my head round how I could use it as a platform to publicise myself when it was so intrinsically visual and you couldn’t post hyperlinks. So for a long time it was just pictures of me and Dave in pubs.
Now of course though the world has caught on and instagram is the most used and most influential platform out there. With over 1 billion monthly users, how is it that less than 1000 of them follow me? I’m hilarious!
Anyway, ego aside I decided to take matters into my own hands and aim to get over 1000 followers by the end of 2019. Over time I’ve slowly been picking up different tips for increasing your following, and therefore increasing your blog profile. If that’s your bag. I’m not by any means saying that I’m some kind of social media guru BUT employing these tactics has seen significant growth at a quicker rate than usual.
How many hashtags should you be using to ensure maximum exposure to one of your posts? Well, the maximum you can use is 30, so I find it churlish to use any less. There’s an argument that this can come across as a bit spammy but in all honestly, my engagement rate says otherwise. I separate them with bullets so they appear way below the caption (where I keep it light and chatty rather than salesy) so I can’t imagine that people are all that bothered. If I adopt this method, I usually see my follower rate go up by about 10 followers for each post. Which doesn’t feel like a lot, but if you post every day, you could be in the swipe up club in no time at all
I adore instagram stories, and it can sometimes be the 2018/19 version of falling down a YouTube rabbit hole. I mean, some people get it wrong and when I see someone’s story bar looking like this:
I die a little inside. But I also believe in never letting your stories ‘fall off’ – that is, post something every 24 hours so that when you get new followers they always have something to see. I’ve also seen a huge increase in views and followers since using location tags and hashtags in stories too. In the lst year I’ve seen my viewership go from around 40 per story to regularly over 200 so it seems when it comes to keeping your stories live, more is more!
In terms of comments it’s absolutely ‘give and thou shall receive’. It’s so important to comment and engage in other peoples posts. It opens up the lines of communication, makes you appear more approachable and dare I say it, likeable and puts a bit of personality behind your grid. After all, we all feel good when someone engages with us posts, so be the change you want to see I the world. In the same vein, I always make sure (or at least try my very hardest!) to like and respond to every single comment I receive, which I’ve found encourages people to comment more if they feel they’re getting something back.
Time your posts
There’s a reason why I post at 7am every Wednesday morning without fail and that’s not just because I like to think of my blog posts as ‘episodes’ kind of like a podcast – although that was the idea initially. It’s because Wednesdays are when I get my highest engagement and early morning means I catch the commuters on the bus or metro on the way to work. Instagram is no different and one of the most popular times for user engagement is apparently 9pm on Wednesday (what is it about Wednesdays eh?). So if you’re looking to grow followers, it makes sense to post at a time there’s lots of people online. Other popular times are Thursday at 2pm and Fridays at 10am. Weekends are noticeably quieter on the grid as people are out and about doing stuff, however stories are more popular on Saturday and Sunday and people have more time to watch. Just something to bear in mind.
This is probably the thing i’m worse at. I try and stick to the same filters on most of my pictures mainly because they’re the ones that make me look less like a pale, wrinkly, broken packet of biscuits
It’s all very vain and superficial I agree, but as something based solely on the visuals, consistency draws the eye and makes all your pictures look like they go together and are part of a set. Chloe (New Girl in Toon) has the perfect grid (in my opinion. All her pictures are professional, similar colour schemes and look like a brand:
If you’re a bit over Instagram’s own filters and don’t have time to take everything through Snapchat then Adobe Lightroom is a good app for editing your pics – it’s free too!
Follow like minded people
I increased my following by about 150 in June this year by following a load of Backstreet Boys Fans who were just as excited as me that they were touring again, and like me, wanted some good old fashioned concert spam. I followed them, they followed back, and a perfect little nostalgia circle was formed. It’s made me step up my boyband game on the blog too, which is something I’m sure you’re all thankful for.
Of course this is all just advice for if you want to grow your following from a business perspective because, much as I love my full time job, if I could give it up and blog about the Backstreet Boys all day, I would! I mean, we’re not arguing over the existence of God here, it really doesn’t matter how many followers you have, in fact it probably means you have a much more fulfilled and exciting life than me because you’re out there doing stuff rather than sitting here on a wet Sunday afternoon writing about it. So who’s the real winner?!