How to Increase Your Following and Engagement on Instagram

Oh Instagram.  It’s bloggers Marmite – you either love it or you hate it. Or you love it and hate it in equal measure. I must say, I’m the latter. I think Instagram is one of the most fun apps around, and it can definitely drive traffic to your blog if it’s used in the right way. HOWEVER growing your Instagram account is really difficult. Instagram have this mad algorithm which means that the amount of people who see your posts depends on how much engagement the post has (how many likes etc). But how can you increase your engagement if people can’t see your posts?! Your guess is as good as mine, friends. 

As if this wasn’t a big enough roadblock – there’s a trend going around where someone follows you, waits for you to follow back, and then unfollows you again. What a MELT.

When I follow someone on Instagram, it’s because I genuinely love that person’s content, it’s something I want to see on my own feed. I don’t expect people to follow me back (although it’s very nice when they do!).

This follow/unfollow trend happens so often. You gain 5 followers, lose 6 and you end up with the same stats for months on end. Up until recently, my stats had barely moved for MONTHS.

Over the last few weeks I’ve changed my Instagram strategy – and I think I’ve finally found one that works. My engagement has gone up (stories and main grid!) and my follower count is steadily rising too.  I’m not an expert – and results are never guaranteed but this has genuinely worked for me and as with everything else in the blogging world, if I’ve found something that I think is GREAT – I want to share it with you.  So without any further ado – these are my tips for growing your Instagram account:

*This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase. This is at no cost to you! I will not endorse any products or brands which I do not believe in*

Post Good Quality Photographs

Ok, so this is a no-brainer. The sharper and more beautiful your photos are, the more likely you are to get high levels of engagement. Would a blurry/grainy photo grab your attention? Probably not. You definitely don’t need to buy a fancy camera OR fancy editing software to create great images. Case and point, I use my iPhone.

I know a lot of people say its important to have a “theme” for your Instagram, and that has definitely worked for some people. My account has a theme. Ish. I’m using the term “theme” very loosely when it comes to my own account. I still post a huge range of different images, but I try and use the same/similar filters and settings while editing. It can be as simple as that. The main app that I use for photo editing is A Color Story.

Use All The Hashtags Available

instagramhashtags

Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags per picture – why not make the most of it?! These are the words potential followers are going to type in the search field. You want your images to be flagged up in their search results. Hashtags are essential if you want to grow your audience.

A simple Google search will help you to find the best hashtags to use so that they’re relevant to the picture you’re posting. Recently I’ve started using a hashtag library which you can download from Beauty Chaos. It has hashtags for pretty much every kind of image possible and they bring in a lot of likes.

I’ve experimented with putting my hashtags at the bottom of my caption and in a separate comment, but I haven’t noticed any real difference in my engagement. 

Use Geotags

Even if you don’t want to get super-specific with your Geotags – it’s still worth using. If I’m posting a picture that I’ve taken in our house, I use the “Belfast” geotag instead of our specific street name. I love my readers and followers but I don’t want my address out there for the world to see.

If I’m out for dinner and I’m posting pictures of my food or something like that, I love using the restaurant’s own geotag. I’ve actually gained stores and restaurants as followers by using their Geotag. For example, we got this picture taken in the Jailhouse (amazing bar/restaurant in Belfast – if you’re around, check them out!) so I used their geotag AND tagged The Jailhouse’s Instagram account in the picture.

instagram geotag

Follow Hashtags

Yes you can follow hashtags as well as accounts! I recently decided to try and get to know my local blogging scene a bit better, so I started following “#nibloggers” so I can see what other bloggers in my local area are posting and connect with them.

I also follow “#bossgirlbloggers” which is the main hashtag for the Boss Girl Bloggers community from Facebook and if you use the hashtag, your photo may be used on their main account which has 10.2k followers! 

Meaningfully engage with other accounts

If you see a photo you like, HIT THAT HEART BUTTON. Leave a positive comment. Who doesn’t love getting a positive comment? Most importantly, if someone has taken the time to comment on one of your pictures, respond! Set some time out of your blogging schedule to engage on Instagram, even for 15 minutes a day. 

HOWEVER – do not copy and paste the same comment on every picture. It’s spammy and people will see right through it (and probably won’t bother clicking through to your profile either!).

Keep an Eye on your Analytics

If you have a business account – you have access to your Instagram analytics. You can convert your personal Instagram to a business account for free. It’s not essential but I’ve found that it’s a great help. Instagram analytics lets you see what time of the day your followers are most active, and therefore most likely to engage with your content. My analytics tell me that my followers are most active between 9pm and 11pm – so I make sure to post around that time.

instagramanalytics

Post Every Day

This is the one I struggle with the most. If you work 9-5 and then go home and laze around the house (me!), you might not always have a new and exciting picture to post every day. If I’m out and about on an evening or over the weekend, I take lots of pictures and space them out over the week ahead. I know it can be tempting to post them all at once – but you’ll thank me when your account looks more active and your engagement grows.

Post a “Call to Action” at the end of every caption

Even if you’re just asking your followers how their day was. Asking a question gives the impression that you’re not only open to engagement, you’re ENCOURAGING it.I put calls to action at the end of all of my blog posts and I love to get a discussion going.

Tag Brands

This is something I’ve only just started doing properly and I wish I’d been doing it longer. If I’m posting a photograph of myself and I’m wearing a t-shirt from Topshop, I’ll tag Topshop in the photo. You never know, something as simple as tagging a brand in a photo could lead to an exciting collaboration opportunity. I know this all sounds like a lot but as you start putting these tips into action, it becomes second nature.

Related Post: 8 Must-Have Apps for Bloggers

If any of these tips have helped you – I’d LOVE to hear about it. Or if you have any other tips that have helped you to grow your Instagram, leave me a comment and tell me all about it! 

If we’re not already friends on Instagram, why not?! Find me at @MsMegan91 . 

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