This is one of the most asked questions I get in my Instagram DM's. "How do I grow my Instagram account?" "What are some tips on getting 'big' on Instagram?" "How can I get more people to see my work?"... So here are my top 10 tips on how to grow an Instagram following!
1. DON'T FOCUS ON GROWTH, FOCUS ON CREATING GOOD WORK
This is probably the best advice I can give. Your main focus should be creating good content, NOT your follower-count. I am a firm believer that if your work is good enough, then the followers will come. You want to be able to back-up your large following with a great portfolio (or else people will question why you have such a large following but your work is "not so good")! Whatever it is you are interested in, show your passion to the world and push it to the limits, and then push that even further! Learn new technical/editing skills and focus on making your next piece of content better than your previous one!
2. GIVE VALUE TO OTHERS
This is a question I ask myself everyday when I am editing a photo or thinking about my next idea: "How can I add value to people's lives through my photography/Instagram page?" No matter how big or small your following is, you can still add value to your followers. Ask yourself "Why would people want to follow you?" and try to answer that question! A few ways you can provide value to people could be through teaching editing/photography techniques, giving travel tips/life hacks to help people who are going through the same thing, or even through telling funny jokes/puns in your captions to brighten someone's day! Get creative with it!
3. BE SOCIAL AND ENGAGE GENUINELY
Instagram is not only a photo sharing platform, but it is also a social media app! This means genuine engagement is very important and it can really show your personality to the world. If you see a photo you like, actually "Like" the photo and even comment on it with your thoughts/observations. If you show people that you are genuine, there's a higher chance that they might like/comment on your photos back - however you should never need to ask people to follow you back or to check out your work (more on this later!).
4. BE ACTIVE, STAY CONSISTENT
The more you show up and post new content, the higher your chances are in reaching more people. This does not mean posting as much content as possible without caring, it means posting your best work as often as possible. If you can only manage to post once or twice a week (or even once or twice a month!) that is completely fine as long as you are consistent with it! Another thing you should try to find out is when your followers are most active as this is when you should be posting. One way to find this out is through your Instagram Insights (if you are on a business account) OR you can experiment by posting at different times and seeing how engaged your followers are at certain times! Currently I am posting 5 times a week at around 9pm Sydney time (because I know that that is when my followers are most active).
5. TRY NEW THINGS AND BE DIFFERENT
This goes back to point number 2 about giving value to others. Another way you can add value is by showing people new perspectives and different views of familiar places/people/things. What will make you stand out is if your work is different and unique from everyone else. For example, you've probably seen hundreds of photos of the Sydney Opera House online, so when you go out and shoot the Sydney Opera House, set yourself a challenge to find new unexpected perspectives that not many people have seen before! By doing this, not only are you training yourself to become more creative, but you are also able to inspire others to do the same - in other words, be a trend-setter!
6. UTILISE ALL ASPECTS OF THE APP
Currently on Instagram, there are four ways you can share your content: 1. Post a photo/video on your feed, 2. Instagram stories/highlights, 3. IGTV, and 4. going Live. If you consistently utilise all 4 of these methods to communicate to your audience, then there will be more chance for your posts to be seen and appear on the Explore page to be discovered by new people. If you see on the Explore page currently, IGTV videos (and videos in general) have a higher hierarchy over regular photo posts - which means that being able to adapt and learn new skills (such as making videos) would probably be a beneficial skill to have.
Watch my latest IGTV video here.
7. DON'T ASK OTHERS TO "CHECK OUT YOUR WORK" OR "FOLLOW YOU BACK"
This is a common mistake I see every single day.. It's quite a harsh thing to say, but if you have to ask people to check out your work or to follow you back, this means that your work is not good enough to stand on its own! You will gain a much more engaged audience when people discover your feed by themselves rather than being forced to see your work. Most of the time, comments that say "Love your work! Check out my page!" have been copied and pasted to hundreds of photos and this just goes to show how not genuine you are and that you'd rather spend your time trying to trick people into seeing your profiles rather than working on your content/art! This can also be said for people who use bots to "follow and unfollow" people on the daily. There are no shortcuts, do the work and you will be rewarded.
8. POST WHAT YOU LIKE, DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE 'LIKES'
This tip is very important. Just because you got a lot of likes posting a certain type of photo, it does not mean that your whole feed should be dedicated to just that one type of photo (unless you are super passionate about it - which is fine). However, if you also enjoy and love to create other genres of photography or art, then you should do it and show it on your feed! This will not only demonstrate to future clients that you are able to create a variety of styles/content but it also means that you are not trapping yourself into doing the same thing for the rest of your life (unless you want to - which is again totally fine!). What I am saying is that you should always be experimenting with and be open to try new things, and if you like the photo then you shouldn't care if other people like it or not.
9. MEET LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE AND COLLABORATE
Collaboration is very important for not only growing on Instagram but also for growing your skills and creativity. Meet new people through community events in your area (such as Insta-meets and photo-walks) and make real life genuine connections! I've met some of my closest friends through Instagram and we chat to each other every day about how we could improve our edits or where/when our next road trip is going to be. Having friends who love the same things as you and who are going through the same challenges will make your journey/growth much more enjoyable and fulfilling!
10. BE PATIENT AND HAVE FUN!
Growing on Instagram is a very slow game (for most people). I've been using the app for 6 years now and it's only been the last year that my account been growing at a more consistent rate. Be patient and don't worry about the numbers, work on creating new and unique content, make real life friends while you do it, and most importantly HAVE FUN with it! At the end of the day, it's just an app, there are so much more important things in life :)
If you found this useful, let me know in the comments below or by commenting on any of my photos on Instagram @demas. Keep on creating and show the world something we've never seen before!