Instagram is quickly becoming a favorite network of mine! I love taking photos & editing them for my feed. I also love seeing everyone else’s photos. I started Cuddle Fairy’s Instagram eight months ago & today I have over 3,200 followers. In this post, I’m going to tell how to grow your Instagram followers by going through the steps I took to grow my own. Including the apps I use for editing & expanding my Instagram reach. I’ve included the links in case you want to check any of the apps out (they aren’t affiliate & I wasn’t asked to include any links, just sharing the #BloggerLove).

Share Great Photos

1. Don’t Stress About a Theme

When I started to get interested in growing Instagram, I read a lot of posts looking for advice. The one thing I read over & over was to have a theme & stick with that theme. Much like my blog, I’m incapable of doing that. I have too many things I like & I don’t want to limit myself to a certain color or subject matter. It’s true that a lot of successful feeds have a strong theme. Such as items taken on a white background. It works well for these accounts but that just isn’t me. So, I let that go & I post images of what’s happening in my life. They are mostly of food, nature, quotes, selfies, fun with friends & family & fashion. My advice is to stick with what makes you happy!

2. Edit Images in a Similar Way to Create a Cohesive Feed

I do try to keep a similar look or feel to my Instagram feed by editing the images in the same way. By using the same set of editing functions every time, it makes my feed have a uniform feel to the images. You can achieve this on your own feed by using the same filter or your own selection of editing tools every time. In addition to the Instagram editing functions, I like the editing tools & filters in the Afterlight app.

3. Only Share Nice Looking Photos

This point is debatable. There are a lot of different types of accounts out there that do well. Some are super polished, others have great photos with a strong theme, some have a mix with nice images & others share grainy or fuzzy images. I’ll be honest with you, when I started my Instagram account, I shared “what I’m doing now” photos that weren’t great looking. I also shared a good few quotes that I hadn’t made myself. When I looked into Instagram more & more, I realized the true Instagram lovers are there for quality, beautiful photos. I still share quotes that I make & the occasional one that I steal but I mostly share my own photos & my following has increased a lot after making this change. If you decide to make a change to your Instagram feed, go back through & delete images that don’t match your new look.

4.  Don’t be Afraid of Selfies

When I started out on Instagram, I didn’t share selfies. I feel silly & uncomfortable taking photos of myself. And, because I don’t wear make-up I feel like my selfies are very plain. But, I’ve warmed up to the whole selfie scene now. What made me feel more comfortable about it was when I started using the Facetune app. Most of the options I don’t use, like making my face smaller. But, I do use it to smooth my skin, add detail to my eyes, unfocus a part of the photo & add a stream of light. I feel more confident sharing selfies I’ve edited & they have received a good response.

 

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Get Your Photos Seen

It’s all well & good taking amazing photos & spending time editing them but all of that effort is wasted if no one sees them. So, let’s get those photos out there!

1. Work the Hashtags

a.  You are allowed to add up to 30 hashtags per photo. If you add more than 30, your entire comment won’t appear. It’s easy to accidentally add more than 30 so I recommend selecting your entire comment & hitting “copy” before you hit share. That way, if the comment disappears, you simply hit “edit” & add your comment back in, minus a couple hashtags.

b.  There are apps that will give you a list of hashtags that are popular on Instagram according to the type of photo you are sharing. I use Tags For Likes app. I type in the type of photo for example, desserts. The app gives a list of hashtags for desserts. There’s a button to touch that copies the list & you paste them into your comment. I don’t use all of the hashtags they show. I think the ones that say follow or follow me are spammy. You can go through & delete out the hashtags you don’t want & add in any additional ones to suit your photo.

c.  Make your own hashtag lists! I have a list made under “notes” on my iPhone. I have a selection of tags for nature, healthy food, dessert, drinks, etc. When I have a photo ready to post, I simply copy my own hashtag set from notes & paste it into my Instagram comment. Then I add any additional tags to suit the photo. I always copy the entire comment before publishing, just in case I’ve gone over the 30 hashtag allowance. This is a huge time saver for me!

2. Tag & Set Location

When you set the location of your photo, that image then shows up under that location.  For example, I had dinner at the Ashling Hotel in Dublin. I added the location to my photo. If you search Ashling Hotel on Instagram, a list of photos taken there will come up & my dinner is one of them. You can tag other accounts by touching your photo in the edit mode. By tagging people, the photo will show up under photos of them on their Instagram account.

 

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2. Facebook Groups

There are lots of Blogger Facebook groups out there & they each have different goals. I have joined a few groups that focus on sharing each other’s posts. I’m co-admin in Blogger Club UK. We have daily Instagram threads as well as other social media threads. It’s also a great way to get more likes & followers. I also use Grow Your Blog & Social Media Network Group to help promote my Instagram posts.

3. Choose the Right Time to Share

I learned this by trial & error. Try sharing your photos at different times of the day to see which times get the most likes. Then stick with those times each day.

4. Post Consistently

I post three times a day – morning, lunch & evening. I was doing five posts a day in the beginning but didn’t find that it benefited me & it’s a lot of work to produce that many images. You don’t have to post three times a day, you can post once a day but do that consistently.

 

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Follow & Unfollow Appropriately 

1. Follow Similar Accounts

As a parenting blogger, I went through & followed fellow parenting bloggers. Many of them followed me back which increased my following & also helped me build a relationship with other bloggers.  Also, check to see who follows you & follow back accounts that you would enjoy.

2. Monitor Your Following

I use the Crowdfire App to keep an eye on both my Instagram & Twitter accounts. It tells me who unfollows me, who never followed back & who my inactive followers are. I go through & unfollow non-followers, unfollowers & inactive followers about twice a month.

3. Don’t Be a Meany

I don’t recommend following accounts to unfollow. I think it’s such a horrible thing to do but there are a lot of accounts out there doing it. They follow you, then you follow back. Anywhere from a few minutes to a few days later, they unfollow. Often these accounts have lots of followers but are following very few. They are counting on the fact that you won’t know they’ve unfollowed you.

4. Unfollow When Need Be

I unfollow spammy accounts which include people selling wraps or other products. Or, accounts that post something that I don’t like or approve of. Don’t be afraid to unfollow if you aren’t happy with an account’s content.

 

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Final Thoughts

Instagram tells a story via photos & images. Choose images that represent your personal brand. And, share the Instagram love by liking & commenting on the accounts you follow. The love will come back to you. If someone comments on your post, reply to them & tag them so they see it. Put yourself out there & enjoy it! Good luck growing your Instagram! I’d love for you to visit Cuddle Fairy’s Instagram & let me know what you think.

If you are looking to grow your other social media networks, check out my posts on Facebook & Twitter. And find even more advice under Blogging Tips.

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