Find out how I switched up my Instagram game
I know I am a “fashion” and sometimes “lifestyle” blogger but I really wanted to share with you what I did differently to expand my engagement and increase my follower numbers. I have noticed that since changing my strategy and outlook, my engagement and following increased quite rapidly.
I’m not going to waste any time as there is quite a bit to touch on. So without further ado lets find out how I cheated the instagram algorithm.
Business to Personal
Once I changed my profile from business back to personal, I started to get a lot more engagement. I had learned from Twice Blessed that Instagram purposely makes it harder for business profile’s to reach new audiences. They do this to prompt you to pay for ads and I’m not about that so I made the switch and I began to see progress.
I started to join instagram pods which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. So definitely give that a read.
Be Genuine & Authentic
Don’t over facetune your pictures and don’t be shy to show off your fine lines and stretch marks. Show your viewers the true you and don’t be afraid of showing your flaws. Don’t be like those magazines that tell society how we need to be, how we should look and that cellulite is wrong. Because it isn’t, it’s natural and we all have it or we will get it eventually so embrace it and celebrate it.
When you reply to your comments or you’re leaving a comment on someone else’s pictures, be real. Don’t just leave an emoji or say “nice”, “cool” or “I like that”. Show some interest in the picture and if you don’t really like the picture then don’t say anything at all. Sometimes taking the time to read their captions can change your perspective and it shows the person that you took an interest and cared enough to read what they had to say.
In your pictures, be yourself too! I find that I get a lot more love when I upload pictures like this on instagram.
Once I started being a little more witty and personal with my captions, I started to see a difference in my engagement. I like sharing a verse from a current favourite song or maybe something funny that is happening in the moment when the picture was taken. Sometimes I go onto pinterest and try and find some funny captions that will go with the image I want to upload. The captions highlight my sense of humour or reveal a bit abit more about my personality.
I can’t stress enough the importance and value of engagement. You can’t expect to get engagement if you don’t do the same. You need to spend some time on instagram (some say they spend 30mins per day) and share the love on people’s photos too, especially with those who follow you as well as the people that YOU follow. Look for new people within your niche and engage with them and hopefully they will check your instagram out too. It’s not easy, but if you want engagement you need to give some of it back too. It’s a two way street. I’ve noticed that I generally get a follow back from someone if I’m consistently showing love on their pictures and engaging with them.
Replying to your comments is just as important as it shows that you appreciate their time for them showing the love on your page. Even if it’s just a thank you, it counts for something but I always try and add a little more into my replies.
Look for some bloggers and/or instagram groups on facebook too, to connect with different people across the world.
Quality over Quantity
I’ve read some forums where some people recommend uploading at least 3-5 images on instagram per day. I personally think that is overkill and consider it a little bit too much! I prefer to upload once a day or two max but you know, everyone is different.
Quality of your image plays a huge role too. You don’t need a fancy camera to do this; your iPhone should do just fine but I guess the older the phone the older the camera quality can be. I use my iPhone 7+ and boy oh boy does it produce great quality photos. A SLR camera will do just fine too!
You could always find a local aspiring photographer and reach out to them to collaborate as it’ll benefit them with their portfolio.
I try so hard to bring some creativity in my images and I try to do something different for a bit of a variety on my feed.
Lately, I’ve been looking to Pinterest for ideas as well as saving any images I see on instagram that I like and want to re-create in my own way too. Please, please, please do not plagiarize and copy the image to the “T” as you want to re-create the image so that it is wholly yours. Copying someone’s art is not cool and if you’re copying a picture from someone who has a huge following base, their followers will notice and they will say something and it won’t look good for you or your brand. There is absolutely nothing wrong with finding inspiration but it’s important to make it “yours” and ensuring it represents you.
Find your Theme & Niche
Having consistency in your theme and aesthetic will make a huge difference with your engagement, trust me! Everyone says it and I’m saying it to you too. Finding your niche will also benefit you. I for one have noticed that my readers/followers like my selfies and outfit posts more than my flatlays and beauty posts which is why I don’t have many of these on my feed. However, sometimes I upload these for the aesthetic and ensure that everything flows or is needed to break up the colours.
Once you know what your niche is, you can start to find other users within the same niche as you. I started to go through my favourite instagrammers pictures that I felt had the same style as me and would check out their comments from their followers. I then went on their page and if I liked it and felt we had similarities as well, I’d then like their pictures (that I genuinely liked) and would leave a comment too.
I know so many people always say “it’s not about numbers to me” or “you shouldn’t worry about the numbers” but people who say this are generally always people who already have the numbers. While I do understand it isn’t about the numbers and agree with them, I also think it’s a little rich coming from them because you’re still trying to build your brand which basically means finding new viewers and/or customers to follow you. They have already done that so everything else comes easy to them. Don’t worry, I get you….
So yes, you should try and not worry too much on the following count, and just remind yourself as to why you started your business in the first place and just enjoy it and go for the ride. Don’t feel bad if you have your moments where you get a little disheartened, because I still do too but then I remind myself or Idrus reminds me why I started doing this in the first place and then I feel better.
Things to stay away from
I get a lot of emails from companies offering their services to me to help with my engagement by doing all the hard work for me such as: Like, commenting and following users. Don’t do it! It’s not authentic and I’ve heard they don’t even follow other users within your niche. It isn’t worth it.
Don’t buy your followers. I know it’s hard but you can easily tell when someone with 10K or more has bought their followers because their engagement does not reflect the amount of followers they have. You can also notice when someone has bought their following when their number grew so rapidly and then all of a sudden it just stopped.
Do Not do the follow/unfollow tactic. It’s not cool and it also gives you a bad name. People talk and they will catch on with your strategy. Furthermore, quite frankly it’s an unprofessional strategy. I’m all for unfollowing someone if you don’t feel like you enjoy their photos anymore but please don’t just follow/unfollow to get them to follow you back. Follow people because you like their photos, want to engage with them and make new friends.
I hope these tips help as I thought I should share with you what I did differently since my following increased by 3000 within approximately two to three months and I’m guessing it’s because of what I started to do differently. I was sitting on 2000 for a very, very long time (a year to be precise) so for my following and engagement to increase this fast is a huge achievement.
So remember – be AUTHENTIC and EMBRACE who you are, flaws and all and CELEBRATE who you are through your posts.
Disclaimer: I can’t take credit for the tips mentioned above. These are tips that I had learned over the past year and took note on reading a lot of articles about how to build your engagement as well as watching a lot of youtube videos too.
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