Back in August, I was hovering around the 750 followers mark which had grown very organically since I started blogging. Back then my blog was mostly just therapy for having two young children so that’s what it reflected. Everyday life, mostly pictures of me being up at 4am, a lot of cups of tea.
But a few weeks ago, I decided to start taking it all a bit more seriously. Really make the blog a brand. I just want my blog to reflect where I am now in my life. I don’t need to blog about being tired anymore and it’s great to now write about yoga and poetry and cooking – things that define me, not just as a parent, but as me.
So when I decided to be a bit more serious about it, I took to Instagram, only to find….it had changed! There were confusing new algorithms and I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing! So I studied and watched and implemented and I’m now at 1500 followers just a few weeks later.
It’s not massive numbers yet but it IS massive growth and that’s exciting. I’m under no illusions – I’m sure it’ll slow down at some point and I’ll need to change it up a bit but for now…I’m pretty happy with doubling my followers in such a short time.
So how did I do it?
I decided to look at Instagram profiles I loved and what I loved about them. The most visually appealing profiles are consistent. They have similar shots, similar colours, similar filters. So that’s what I did – I have tried to keep posts to similar themes and with common colour schemes and filters. It creates more of a mood board for your feed rather than a mishmash of photos.
Look at the posts that do well
I looked at the most successful posts – what was the image, what time was it posted, what hashtags did I use? Then I tried to recreate those aspects for future posts. The new algorithm shows people posts based on their recent engagement – so if a lot of people have engaged with one of your posts, Instagram is likely to show your next similar post to those same people.
Talking of hashtags in the previous point, they are still a fantastic way to increase engagement and get your posts ‘seen’ on Instagram. People aren’t put off by them because, to be honest, they don’t read them. So don’t be shy about using them. When you start using a hashtag, Instagram will suggest lots of others with these words and will show you how many existing posts there are for that hashtag. This is really helpful as it means you can use the most popular hashtags for your posts.
Because Instagram will show posts based on recent engagement, the more you can encourage people to engage the better. This can be done through gorgeous images of course but you can also do it through a question, or a quote or a ‘double tap if this is you today’ type thing. Don’t do this all the time as people will just switch off from it, but a couple of times a week is a good benchmark. As well as this, make sure you engage with other people. I follow people who are inspirational to me and this makes me engage genuinely with their feeds. It means they will often engage back with you on your posts and this will then increase how visible you are on Instagram.
I have reservations about doing this just to get followers back. I don’t do it for that reason. What I do do is follow feeds that I genuinely love. This means I will engage much more with their posts and this often means reciprocal following – which is always good!
I now need to develop my Insta Stories and live video (gasp!) This is something I need to build up to (more so the live video!) but I want it to be ‘real’ and genuine so I will wait for an opportunity to present itself and hopefully be brave enough!
Any more tips for me? I am loving Instagram and just want it to grow and grow and grow!