A few weeks ago, I decided to start up my blogging and Instagram series again. Today, I’ll be sharing some updated tips and insights into a question I still receive daily – how to grow authentically on Instagram. Since we have a lot to cover, let’s jump right into it!
Up the quality of your photo content
Chances are if you scroll through your Instagram feed, you’ve probably been inspired by beautiful photography. Whether it’s a stunning landscape or a great outfit, there’s no denying that most of the content that garners the highest likes and engagement is visually striking. In all honesty, it comes down to lighting, composition, the subject matter, location, and in the case of fashion, styling, that make a photo come to life. That being said, the easiest ways to lift your Instagram ranking and gain more followers is to produce beautiful content. In the case of Instagram, I’m talking about the kind of photo that makes you stop scrolling through your feed and double tap. You can refer back to this post here for the photography equipment I use to get high quality photos.
Because of its unfiltered, organic nature, Instagram Stories can be a terrific place to show your followers a personal side of you. Becoming a social media influencer is all about connecting with a community and having a positive influence on their choices. There’s nothing more impactful than having a face-to-face connection. You can use stories to give others a closer look at your content creation process – or to give a tutorial on something you’re great at. I love stories because they push your account to the front of your followers’ updates and keep your profile popping up. This means your followers are constantly being encouraged to check out your content, resulting in higher engagement. The higher your engagement, the more likely you are to show up on the explore page and be exposed to new followers.
Reply to your DM’s and comments
When you post on Instagram, try replying to comments within the first hour to further drive up engagement. I spend a lot of time responding to comments because I noticed that my followers will tag their friends about something that I’m wearing – or responded to. Since one of the best ways to grow on social media is through word of mouth (or exposure), replying to those who actually comment is small act of kindness on my part. Not only will your followers appreciate it but Instagram will boost your post and show it to more of your followers too!
Run a contest or giveaway
Collaboration is something that continues to trend on Instagram. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with this as long as the rules and requirements aren’t ridiculous. So that a giveaway comes off genuine, I recommend partnering up with a small group of blogger (3-5) to cross-promote your accounts, share followers, and give someone a chance to win something. I’ll be honest – these kinds of contests need to be well-considered if you want them to grow your brand – and not tarnish it.
Use your analytics
I’m not sure if it’s because of my background in finance, but I do believe there’s power in numbers. Every now and then, do a little digging and go back through your photos to see which ones got the most likes and comments. You’re better off modeling after the content with high engagement rather than guessing. Look for common themes from lighting and background to composition and outfit choices. Also, look at the posts that performed poorly and do less of that. With Instagram analytics, this shouldn’t take too long.
Organize stories into highlights
When someone lands on your profile, your bio and highlights are the first few things they see. I see a lot of value in using highlights to communicate what your account is about. It’s also a great way to entice others to follow you so they don’t miss out on great content in the future. Some of my most popular highlights are my Louboutin tips and hair extensions.
Other blogger tips & tricks
Get featured – Perhaps the quickest way to grow authentically on Instagram is getting featured by accounts with larger and/or similar followings. This is why giveaways can be a great way to grow. You can try to get featured by brands and other “feature” accounts by sending a DM or email to partner on content An easy way is to constantly tag a brand or account in your photos to get on their radar. If you’re tagging a brand, just make sure you’re actually wearing or using it.
Join a pod – Instagram pods have been popular in the fashion community for quite some time now. It’s an easy trick to beat the algorithm. The upside to joining pods is increasing your engagement and exposure. However, the downside is that your engagement isn’t truly authentic. Since a lot of brands like to see conversion from influencers, high engagement and low conversion can look bad when it comes to brand collaborations.
Call to actions – I’ll be honest, I’m not always using call to actions in my captions or stories, but I do see how they can be valuable. Studies have shown that people are more likely to do something when they’re specifically asked to. Asking your followers to leave a comment or tag a friend are great ways to get the results you intend.