How I'm Growing My Following On Instagram

 

There are a few things in this social media game that I'm actually testing out as I go along. I'm one of those people who can absorb a massive amount of information but I'm also that person who hasn't had a lot of time to implement the things that I know into action (hello #momlife). 

For those of you that don't know, I have three young kids, the youngest being only 9 months old. Now that the little one is a bit older, I can finally start to implement my social media growth strategy. There are things that I've noticed in the last few months that has helped me to not only increase my Instagram following by almost 50%, but these things have helped me increase the engagement between me and my followers as well. 

Today, I want to share with you tips that have worked for me, as well as things that I've seen other Influencers do that has contributed to their following growing.

First, post every single day. Every time I've stopped posting regularly, not only did I not gain any followers, but I would lose followers. Even more than that, once I started posting again, my engagement would sink for the first few posts compared to the level of engagement that I'm used to getting. By posting regular content that your audience looks forward to, your posts will actually show up via Instagrams 'new' algorithm (it's terrible, I know) and you'll start to train your followers that they can look out for really awesome posts from you on the daily. Are there certain pages that you check regularly because their content is THAT good? There are a handful of pages that I specifically go looking for within the app if I don't see their posts as I scroll through. Why? Because a) their content is something that I look forward to and b) I know they post regularly and I don't want to miss it. Train your audience that you're going to be there every day and they'll start looking for you and what you have to post.

Next, be sure to only post clear, bright, high-resolution photos. Your pictures can not look like they were taken with a flip phone from 2003. Fortunately and unfortunately, Instagram has been around for years and just like YouTube, the level of picture quality has increased as the people on the platform have been able to step their games up. If you pictures are blurry, if they are out of focus, and if they're not appetizing to look at, people will skip over them completely. Structure your pictures so they capture someones attention right away and then maybe they'll take the time to read the caption you've put underneath it, too! If you're like me and often use text in your photos, keep the number of words limited. I try to keep it under 6. That way, the words are quick and easy to read, but they also give the viewer a clue as to what I want to talk to them about, in more detail, in my caption.

My Sunday plans. What are you guys up to?

A post shared by Belinda (@belindalaurie) on

Post at different times of the day to see when you get the most engagement from your audience. Different times of the day bring in a different type of Instagrammer. Personally, posting around 5 o'clock EST is perfect for me. I've posted in the early morning, as well as the afternoon and neither of those time windows work as effectively as my 5 o'clock window. Instagram analytics (Biz Account required) will give you user data. I haven't changed mine over just yet, so I can't tell you exactly how it works but another amazing tool for the 'gram that I've used that shows you when you're posts get the most engagement is UNUM. It's great for planning the look and feel of your board and it'll even remind you to post!

Use hashtags that people are actually searching for. Hashtags like #elmoismyhomeslicealldayerrday is fun for an inside joke but it's not how you'll get discovered on Instagram. When you use tags, don't just worry about how popular a tag is, think about how likely that tag is going to be used by someone who is using the search bar within the app. If you want to showcase your makeup skills and want to have followers that follow you because you can teach them something, use tags like: #howtodoasmokeyeye, #eyeshadowforbrowneyes or list the palette you've used. Hashtaging is the only way people will be able to actively find you. Make sure you're using tags that your target audience will be looking for and they'll slowly, but surely find you!

Come up with a picture style that is unique to you. Some of the best looking Instagram accounts have a certain style and aesthetic to all of the pictures that they post. It varies from a special filter that they always use, the types of photos they post etc. I'm still working on this part personally, but as time goes on, you'll find a style that will feel like you and will convey the message you are trying to convey on your account. 

Last week on the blog, I answered the question of whether or not it's still worth it to become a beauty influencer #linkinbio (answer: abso-freaking-lutely!). Today, I want to give you a few ideas of beauty posts that you can write to spur your creativity and help you standout from the beauty pack. • The key to making it as an influencer and growing your audience are two things: First, you need to think beyond the typical review. Second, you need to speak to a particular part of the beauty community. • If you have oily skin, talk about foundations in your collection that are particularly good for people with oily skin. If you have a deeper skin complexion, talk about highlighters that work for deeper skin tones. If you have blue eyes, share some of your favourite eye shadow combinations that really help your eye colour pop. If you live outside of the US and have ordered products online from a popular brand, talk about your unique experience to help others (I personally look for posts like this ALL the time). Over 30? I'm sure the products you use has hanged over the years - share your favourites with the world! • See what I did there? I segmented the content type by the target audience. People will always look for information that they feel speaks to them and THEIR needs. Sharing a haul of items you picked up will always be useful and titling your posts/uploads in a way that lets a viewer/reader know that this haul is not just 'any old haul' will have them choosing to read/watch your content instead of skipping over it. Example: 'Skincare Haul for Acne Prone Skin' • I hope this helps! #influencer #youtube #blogger #beautyblogger #woman #over30blogger #beauty #makeup #makeupjunkie #ontheblog #womensupportingwomen #creative #creator #coaching #hardwork #dedication #blogging #howtoblog #werkwerkwerk

A post shared by Belinda (@belindalaurie) on

Learn how to edit your photos on a basic level. Even photos that don' have a filter on them have been touched up just a tad. Something as small as cropping a photo to give a certain area of that photo specific focus is key to creating and posting visually appealing photos. You don't have to shill out a bunch of money on apps, the editing software that comes on most phones can do wonders. Just learning the basics of adding light contrast & sharpness, as well as cropping will help make you feel as visually pleasing as possible.

Write captions that are worth reading. I mentioned this earlier, but I think the caption section is the most under utilized section by most users on the platform. Yes, Instagram is a photo sharing app and it always will be. But what will really help you build a community and have people coming back for more will be your captions. A captivating photo will draw someone to your account but a caption will have them learning from you and really looking toward you as an expert. Write captions that help walk your followers through the steps of something, or write captions that (briefly) explains the pros and cons of a new tech product launch. The great thing about longer captions is they often will draw people to your website if they are looking for more information. A good rule of thumb to ask yourself is: "So What?' What's the reason a person would want to look at this picture and read this caption? 
Ps. This is how I get quite a bit of my blog traffic!

Be an active part of the Instagram community. If you want people to like your pictures, like lots of pictures. Comment on other people's pictures. Follow people who you like and be sure to interact with their page. Don't just comment 'yay!' or 'so cool!', comment something meaningful that looks like you spent time actually looking at their picture and reading their captions. I've made a lot of really meaningful relationships on the platform this way and it's a great way to get noticed by brands, as well!

Like all social media platforms, consistency and showing that you are a real person behind the account will get you really far. You really get what you put in. So put the effort forward. Post original content and being giving with your likes, comments and follows and soon, you too will have amased more followers than if you didn't! 

Get access to the weekly planner that's helping me grow my Instagram following below!