10 Ways To Grow Your Instagram Following



"How do I grow my Instagram following?"  is one of the most asked questions in my DMs and emails.

I've been promising this post for a long time and it's finally here!

Let me start off by saying that growing your audience is a marathon not a sprint.
It will take lots of time and dedication.
There are people who spend money and buy their followers but trust me when I say, this is not how you want to go about your growth! 
In the end, it's not worth it.
Not if you want to grow an engaged following anyway.

I could probably spend $200 right now and go from 12,000 followers to 50,000 ( I don't know if that's actually the cost as Ive never looked into it) but then I wouldn't have followers who are actually interested in what I'm posting which would result in low engagement (how many people are interacting : liking & commenting on my posts)

So, if you want to grow overnight this post definitely isn't for you.
If you're here to learn how to grow an engaged following, stick around and I'll share 12 ways in which you can grow your Instagram following.  



1. Optimize your profile.
This is the first thing people are going to see. 
Think of it this way, it's like your store front.
You want to catch people's eye and give them an idea of who you are.
People will decide in seconds if they are interested in sticking around or not.

Things to include in your profile:

1. Profile Photo 
Something clear that represents who you are. 
If you are a business you can use a logo.
 If you're a lifestyle blogger a headshot, a family lifestyle blog use a family photo.

2. Username & Tag Line 
 Your username should be relevant to your brand and easily searchable. 
My blog is www.kelseydianeblog.com and my instagram handle is @kelseydianeblog 
Someone who reads my blog can easily find me on Instagram.
 It says right in the tag line that I am a Lifestyle Blogger so people know right away what I do.

3. Bio & Email 
 This is where you can share exactly who you are and what you're about. 
Make sure it looks clean, short and straight to the point.
 Look at the example of my bio above. It's important to include your email address in your bio. 
Often brands that want to collaborate will look for your email and if they don't see it the bio they will move on to the next.

4. Website 
 This one shouldn't need an explanation.
 Instagram is a great tool to bring traffic to your blog or website so it's important your website is clearly linked in your bio.

2. Connect with those in your niche.
Find similar accounts within your niche and connect with them and their followers.
If you're a home decor blogger for example, go to your favourite home decor blogger and like and comment on their 5 most recent photos. Go to five accounts that are following them and do the same. 
Leave genuine comments, not just "so cute". 
Try to comment 5 words or more. 
If they're following other home decor bloggers and your posting similar content, chances are they'll like what you're posting too! 
In my early days of growing my following (2 years ago) I would spend 3 hours each night just liking photos within my niche to grow.
 It's become a little harder to grow since then so make sure to leave those thoughtful comments to increase your chances of having accounts come back to your page and check you out.





3. Hashtags.
Use a variety of hashtags. 
If you're following count is under 5,000 make sure to use more hashtags that aren't as commonly used to help you get to the top of that hashtag.  
Getting to the top of the hashtag essentially gets more eyes on you which is what you want.
Let's say you're a mommy blogger of all girls and you want to connect with other moms, you might want to use a hashtag like #girlmom {see the example above} but since there are already 2.2 million people using that hashtag, the chances of you being pushed to the top are slim to none.  If you use #girlmommy however, there are only 27.9K people using the hashtag so you have a better chance of being seen.
Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags. 
What I recommend doing is putting one or two in your Instagram caption then having a set list of hashtags saved in the notes on your phone with a variety of different sized hashtags { look at the example above:  large hashtag, medium hashtag, small hashtag} that you can copy and paste into the comments of your post.  

4. Tags
Take advantage of tags.
Make sure you tag brands in your photos. 
For example, tag the brand that makes the dress you're wearing. 
If it's a good photo, they may ask permission to repost your photo which will result in a brand new audience with eyes on your account. 
Geo Tags are important too. 
Posting a photo of a cute cafe you went to?
Tag the cafe and add the location. 


5. Connect With Your Followers.
We talked about connecting with those in your niche but don't forget to engage with those who are already following you. 
Answer your DMs. Reply to comments. 

6. Instastories. 
Instastories are a great place to share behind the scenes. 
People want more than just pretty photos, they want to feel connected and Instastories are a great way for your audience to really get to know who you are. 
I actually get a lot more engagement from my stories than I do in my feed.
I usually check in at least once daily as my audience has come to expect it, even if I'm just sharing what I'm having for breakfast or what show I'm watching on Netflix.
Just like in your photos, make sure to add geo tags and hashtags to increase your reach.

7. Plan Ahead.
I have to admit, this is not something I'm great at doing.
I can be pretty impulsive and post spur of the moment but I do know that when I take the time to plan my content ahead of time I get way more engagement. 
This also helps ensure that your feed flows and that you are posting quality content that people want to see.
Make an editorial calendar for the month ahead. 

8. Quality Over Quantity.
Some people will tell you that it's important to post daily but I think it's better to think about quality over quantity. 
Make sure you're posting good quality photos that bring value to your audience. 
If this means you can only post once or twice a week, that's fine. 

9. Collaborate With Others.
I'm sure you've heard "Community Over Competition".
There is room for everyone to succeed! 
Collaborate with other bloggers, small shops etc to do Insta takeovers, giveaways, shout outs etc to help get your account shown to different audiences and vice versa.


10. Purpose.
What is the intention of your post? 
Are you motivating, helping, or informing others? 
Make sure there is a purpose behind your post. 
How are you benefiting your audience by posting?