5 Habits That Will Help Grow Your Instagram Following

5 easy habits that will increase your potential reach and follower count on Instagram.

Let’s make it fun and use an acronym just because: INSTA

IMAGES – This might seem like a weak way to start a list about a platform dedicated to image sharing, but bear with me. 
Posting new content serves two purposes: Attracting new followers to your page for the first time; and keeping existing followers interested and engaged. There isn’t a Golden Number for how often you should post, but it’s worth taking a few moments to consider the type of content that characterizes your Instagram and what posting frequency will satisfy your target audience. A page dedicated to sharing news highlights should ideally have multiple posts covering multiple subjects per day; however, a page that focuses on detailed discussions and in-depth analyses of specific news topics needs only one quality post here and there to satisfy the target audience. What is your page about, and how often should you post?

Next, make it a goal to post as often as you decided you should! Developing certain habits (even ones that seem unrelated) is key here. If you run a fashion/beauty/selfie instagram, set your outfit out the night before and take care of all your personal grooming before you start your day; being picture-ready all day means you won’t turn down that opportunity to take a picture in front of an awesome background you came across because you’re “not ready” or “look ugly.”

If you’re an artist and completing your work takes days, or weeks, or months, or even a year, don’t worry! We’ll make sure your followers will be there for you! The content you post doesn’t have to be limited to the final project! Progress pictures are a great way to keep your post frequency up, and an even better way to keep your followers curious; when you post your finished project, they’ll be waiting for it! You can also post a time-lapse video or a step-by-step slideshow compiling your progress pictures when you’re finished. Some other ideas might be posting about new art supplies you purchase, or old supplies that have never done you wrong. Perhaps you can post an infographic with your image that tells the story of WHY you created that piece. Get creative in how you share your creativity.

NAME – Make sure your name is on your content. This is so often neglected, but the best way to brand yourself is to make sure people know YOU are the WHO that made the content they’re enjoying. There were many times I made memes for fun, and then sure enough I would see them gain momentum as they were shared by verified accounts…. And then they were viral…

And I had no watermark..

No name stamped on the image..

It was too late for me to translate the reach my memes achieved into traffic to my own Instagram, but c’est la vie.

Make it a habit to add “@yourusername” somewhere discretely within the frame of each image you post, or grab an app like Desygner and make a personalized logo for free. You never know who your content might reach: 6 degrees of separation can easily become 1 if you put your name on it. 

SHARE content you enjoy from other Instagram users(make sure to give credit where it’s due!) Not only will this help build rapport with other users, who may reciprocate and share your work on their page, but tagging the relevant account will expand your potential reach! This is because Instagram’s Explore page adds weight (meaning, makes a picture more likely to appear on someone’s explore page) to posts from accounts that are similar to other accounts a user follows. Sharing content you enjoy from another page, and tagging appropriately, is a great way to reach the part of their audience that might take a shared interest in your content.

TAGGING – I’m not talking about hashtags. Using hashtags is a given, though I could probably write an entire how-to guide on improving hashtag effectiveness (Hey, comment below if you’d find that useful!). The tagging I’m referring to here is location tagging. The explore page adds weight to posts that are made near you; when you search by username, weight is given to users that are near you; you can also search purely by location, and posts that have no location tagged have no chance of appearing in this search.

However,it’s not all too often I see people utilizing location tags when they post, even though it’s one of the simplest ways to increase discoverability. You can choose a specific location (restaurant, shopping center, event area, etc), city, state, region, country, or really any number of abstract places. Especially if location is a factor in your target audience (i.e. you own a local business) choosing appropriately will help get your posts seen where you need it to be seen. Whether you want to grow your audience in a specific area or use location-tagging just to increase the weight your post gets on Explore pages/in searches, make it a habit to tag a location every time!

APPLICATIONS – I’ll end this one short and sweet: I used an app (Photo Candy) to give some life to a picture I probably never would have posted otherwise; it’s now my profile picture. Try using an overlay to add an expressive feel to your image, and to make your image stand out from others!

What apps, if any, do you currently use to edit/add text/crop/rework your pictures? Drop your suggestions below!

And hey, while you’re here, be sure to stop over to my personal IG at http://www.instagram.com/MzMarcoPolo.