I thought quite hard about what to title this article, on the one hand, I don’t want to come across as boasting but on the other I am proud to have seen such quick growth over on Instagram (my happy place) I also know I need a good post title in order to hook readers in <winks> Anyway, you’re here now and the truth is: I have doubled my followers in 5 months but how did I do it?
If you’ve ever read any of my previous posts on Instagram then you might have heard me say
‘there is nothing instant about my Instagram’
I have written about my reasons for believing that it is better to only post your very best photographs and to have a clear strategy in using Instagram as an extension to your blog. I do still do this – most of the time – however, being so stringent in posting frequency and theme began to take a bit of the fun out of Instagram for me, and even though I use Instagram as a tool for my work as opposed to sharing every detail of my personal life I need to be vested in it or I will start to not care, then it becomes a chore and something I have to do rather than enjoy.
So I have let the odd iPhone snap sneak into my feed (rhubarb and custard donut anyone?)
I’ve listened to other Instagrammers about the types of images that fill their feeds, I’m the Instagram round-up editor over on the BritMums site and so research and read about Instagram all the time. I’ve joined in lots of conversations surrounding Instagram and attempted to uncover what users want to see.
What do YOU like about Instagram?
Is it the very obvious ‘big camera’ images? The breathtaking portraits of children that have all the soft bokeh in the background and beautiful light? Someone (myself included) has gone to a tremendous amount of trouble to take the perfect image, edit and uploaded it to beautify your feed when you search for #childhoodunplugged
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place”-Kurt Vonnegut . So much sadness and pain in the world and yet young minds are uncorrupted by what goes on all around them. They still see magic, they are capable of hope even though they are not yet hopeful for anything in particular. . To my children, Lewis, Holly and Rose: you are my fairytale, my ambition, my promise, my perseverance, my dreams, my courage and my light. I am lucky to be your mama. . Be soft 💛 . . . . . . . .
A photo posted by Amy Treasure (@mrandmrstplus3) on
Or, is it the iPhone snap of the interesting floor tiles and trendy shoes – hello #FromWhereIStand – perhaps you like the overhead shot of a cappuccino on an aged brown wooden table in a fashionable cafe somewhere. Chances are the same amount of thought has gone into this type of shot but it’s just that bit more instant.
I get the feeling that most Instagram users appreciate a whole variety of shots, but done prettily. Not many people really want to see the piles of washing up, and the snotty kids do they? In reality, I just have to look around my own home for that! I think what we want is to open up Instagram and scroll our feed for inspiration; outfits, home, dinner whatever it may be, but also to get to know the person behind the camera a little better.
What do they eat, how do they dress, what types of places to they go for coffee?
Just not the mess, no one really wants to see the mess.
My point is I have let my feed diversify but I still try to share only the very best, unless I’ve been drinking lunchtime cocktails in which case I may not…
I’ve mixed up my feed for two reasons:
- Although images taken with my DSLR of my youngest daughter are historically my most popular, some days she is just not happy for me to photograph her and I have to respect that. It was turning into a bit of a chore for us.
- The more followers I got on Instagram the more brand work I was offered. When brands pitch an idea to me now, although they want the bulk of the coverage here on the blog I am being asked more often to include a post (or three) over on Instagram, it has become quite a hefty part of my contract with them.
I am a family and lifestyle blogger and approached by different brands all the time. A recent example of this is my work with Swisse vitamins, the brand ties in well with my blog and busy lifestyle but has zilch to do with photographs of kids.
Sticking to a theme can work amazingly well for some and they pull it off perfectly, but for me, I just couldn’t maintain the momentum, it was stressing me out and I knew I had to change direction. I still post mainly images of my children and the stuff we get up to as a family, but I do like to show off the odd cake and I want to be able to do that!
Anyone for a slice of cake? I spent Sunday afternoon preparing a ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ for the family and this was the centrepiece. Amazing how a pile of fruit on top of cream can transform a simple Victoria sponge and make it look even more appealing. Goodness me I love a nice slice of cake and a cup of tea, from a teapot of course! . . . . . . . . .
My reasons for concentrating so hard on Instagram and increasing followers are to make myself and my blog more appealing to brands thus increasing revenue.
Yes, I love Instagram and the community feel but ultimately there is no point in having all these followers if I’m not going to do anything with them. I don’t think many people, especially bloggers want to grow their followers just so they are super popular. There is more than likely a reason and if I am completely honest I want lots of followers in order to make myself and my blog more appealing to brands.
The more engaged followers I have, the more work I will get.
In December, I hit 5K this was after a couple of months of being very careful with the images I posted. Since then I have followed about 100 more people than I was in December but the number of people following me has more than doubled to 10.4K.
Here’s what I did to double my followers:
- Posted my best images but tried not to get too worried about them being perfect all the time
- Aby and I built up a successful hashtag community #LittleFierceOnes it currently has almost 17,000 uploads.
- Hashtags! I use 30, the list below are the ones I use the most and find work the best, it does take some experimentation.
- Unfollowed people that don’t follow back unless I love their feed
- Used an app like Crowdfire to follow people similar to those in my niche (I did this to get to 5k and just use it to track unfollowers now)
- Engage, engage, engage! Like and comment on other pictures as much as possible
Hashtags I use on a regular basis:
#LittleFierceOnes #noordinarykids #myweekofhappiness #Wandeleurspark #clickinmoms #lovemyblog #ABMlifeissweet #darlingdaily #mommyblogger #mummyblogger #thehappynow #childhoodunplugged #RSlove #Flashesofdelight #humansofjoy #livebeautifully #simplepleasuresoflife #our_everyday_moments #simplychildren #simply_children #liveauthentic #candidchildhood #howyouglow #nothingisordinary #KeepItWild #littleandbrave #myhappycapture #lifecloseup #MyHappyCapture #CelebratingMotherhoodIG
Aby has the most EPIC post all about hashtags over on You Baby Me Mummy so do check it out for loads more ideas. There’s a whole wealth of info on the subject of Instagram on Aby’s blog, and she’s a really good example of when having a theme on Instagram works brilliantly, she’s not short on brand work either and has a magical way of weaving it into her content and making it work!
A few tips…
If you are going to start up a hashtag, make it original and different to others in your niche or it will get lost and people won’t be interested. You do need to work on building a community and Aby and I do this by liking and commenting whenever we have time and also by featuring our favourite images of those participating in the community on our own feeds. Aby also features her favourites every week on her blog, and I feature a round-up monthly.
Using an app like Crowdfire can be really useful, get rid of all the people that don’t follow you back, I always liken social media to having a conversation with someone and them ignoring you. Now obviously National Geographic aren’t’ going to follow me as they have literally millions of followers but I enjoy their feed so I follow them. However, if I’ve made the effort to follow someone and like and comment on their gallery but get nothing back unless I REALLY love their feed I will unfollow.
It is a numbers game, after all.
Engagement is so important, just going on to the popular feed and liking pictures will be beneficial in getting reciprocal likes back. I now belong to a couple of smaller communities where we support each other on Instagram. Having a community on Instagram is vital especially since the algorithm change.
If you search Instagrammers by hashtag #LittleFierceOnes for example and comment on the images you like you will definitely get likes/comments/followers back. Just think about when someone comments on one of your images, do you click through and like one of theirs back? Do you follow them? Engagement is one of the best ways of building numbers quickly.
Pop over to Instagram now and engage, find an account you like and comment on their pictures, do this a few times a day and if your own gallery looks good you will find your numbers going up in no time.
Let me know how you get on and if you have any Instagram tips let me know in the comments!