6 Ways To Naturally Grow Your Instagram Account

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It’s been a couple of months since I did my last Blogging Advice post and this topic is one that I wanted to share with you, since it’s one that I often get asked and have been hired by companies to do for them as well – how to get a popular Instagram account or how to get followers on Instagram. These are very valid questions and there’s not one simple answer to it which is a golden ticket, but I’m listing the 6 ways to naturally grow your Instagram account that have worked for me over the years. I’m in no way saying I have the best Instagram as my account has 40,800 followers, so I’m well aware there are many out there with more followers than I have, but I have built all of those up naturally and I want to share with you tips on how you can do the same thing, it just requires a lot of time and effort.

Interact With Likes & Comments

We all get lost in thought while looking through our home feed, but do you remember to like and comment as well? One thing I have found is that if you give likes out to other bloggers of a similar niche to you and you leave them comments as well, they will most likely return the favour. When you leave a comment and like people’s photos, your Instagram handle shows up in their notifications which means it’s promoting your account to them, so it’s up to the other people to head over to your account and do the same.

Not everyone will do the same back, but by going to a certain hashtag that you are familiar with and liking and commenting on people’s photos, or by checking out the followers and commenters on another fashion bloggers Instagram account, you can find like minded people who will love to follow you and interact with your content. It’s all about promoting yourself to be found, other than using the simple hashtags on photos.

Respond To Comments & Follow

Similar to the above where you’re commenting and liking other peoples photos, you should also respond and thank the people who leave comments on your own photos as well. It’s polite to say thank you and appreciate the comments, but it means that person is likely to come back as well as they know you appreciate their input on your photos. I know this can take up a lot of time, especially if you receive a lot of comments, but set some time aside every other day and make sure you respond with their @usernames in your thank you comments.

Another thing you can do is follow accounts that you love and are similar to your own. Be careful not to follow a huge amount all the time as you will end up with a bad following to followers ratio, but following some accounts can often end up resulting in those accounts following you back because they like your photos. I only recommend following those accounts that you really like as you can end up with some hideous things in your feed, so keep it on track and be authentic with it. It’s a win win situation as you’re promoting yourself to other people and they often follow you if you have an account which captivates their interest…which leads me to my next points.

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Publish Only The Best Photos

This is of the upmost importance and I can’t stress this enough! Have you noticed the most popular (non celebrity) accounts on Instagram with millions of followers have only the most gorgeous photos? You only have to look at vacation accounts and experts like Tuula Vintage or Song of Style to see that. Aimee Song even wrote a book on this subject and only publishing your best photos makes sure you’re showing off the best of your blog and your skills. It makes sense doesn’t it?

If you’re promoting your account to other people and it’s filled with dark, grainy, blurry photos, or the same photo multiple times from different angles, it can be extremely off putting as it doesn’t look pleasing on the eye. You need to keep this in mind as often enough, people wont follow an account which isn’t visually stimulating or pleasing on the eye. I know this first hand as when I started out with Instagram years ago, I used to post whatever I wanted, even if it was blurry or not that great, just to fill up content, but since I changed my approach and only publish my most colourful, interesting, beautiful photos, I get a lot more interest, which is where the next point comes in. It means that sometimes I don’t publish photos I do like because they aren’t good enough, but at least I have them for myself.

Make It A Portfolio

If you’re only publishing your best photos, it becomes very similar to a portfolio of your best work. This is incredibly helpful to us fashion bloggers because it means we have a visual platform to share the best of ourselves. If you look at your Instagram account as a portfolio, you will see the way it’s set out as a grid of photos is extremely important to pay attention to. You want to stay away from posting photos next to each other if they are the same colour or if they are of a similar object. You need to alternate your photos between a mix of outfits, landscapes, foods, detailed shots of shoes or new purchases, flat lays, selfies etc, and keep it different.

I’ve noticed sometimes if I haven’t paid attention to the photo I published the day before and I’ve ended up posting something similar the next day, the visual is all wrong on the eyes and you end up drawn to a section of the photo grid which stands out for all the wrong reasons. My point for this would be, vary the subject of your photos each time and make the colours different, to even out your portfolio and create something really spectacular. You can see amazing examples of this here, here, and here.

On the other hand, if you have a theme to your Instagram (like I do with The Jeans Blog Instagram) then you want to look at it as a niche account and keep to the theme throughout your photos. As an example, my photos on The Jeans Blog are all of blue hues and feature denim in every one, but I alternate the angles and what I post, so it’s still different, but keeping with in its theme. Again I only publish the best photos, but the theme of it is extremely important as people know what they’re following for. You can see what I mean here and here.

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Tag Accounts In Photos For Features

Another great way to get exposure and build your Instagram following is to get featured. Sometimes Instagram will feature you on their search page, but nobody knows the maths behind what it takes to get there as their algorithms are complex, but you can be featured on popular accounts. Accounts like OOTD Magazine are ones that feature fashion bloggers photos everyday and it’s important to find as many as you can (don’t go overboard) and tag them into your photos using the ‘Tag People’ option. This means your photo will show up on their account in their tagged section and sometimes will get you featured. Depending on the amount of followers on the account you’re being promoted on, you can receive a lot of followers and likes from it. Some accounts often tell you to use a certain hashtag to be noticed as well.

Give & Get Shout Outs

In a similar way to getting featured on respected accounts, you can sometimes team up with similar fashion bloggers who have a similar amount of followers to you and do a shout out. I’m not talking about the generic ‘follow this account now before it’s gone’ shout out that you see all over your feed, I’m talking about sharing one of each others photos on your own account and crediting them, saying you love their account (only if you do, of course!) as this gets you both exposure to a new set of followers. Not everyone is up for shout outs and it can take a while to get some, but they can be really helpful if you’re featuring a blogger that’s in your niche as it wont upset your followers either.

– So these are my 6 tips on how to grow your Instagram account naturally and make it popular. I’m sure you can see that this isn’t an overnight solution and you wont wake up with hundreds of followers every morning – it’s more of a maintenance situation which will help your account grow at a steady rate. Some people get extremely lucky and end up featured everywhere, while others make it happen slowly. It’s all about building your reputation, your portfolio, and establishing yourself as someone who is worth following. If you do that, your account will definitely get bigger. What are some of your own tips on growing your own Instagram accounts?

Image Credit: Myself, Your Average Guy Style & Digital Trends.

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26 Comments

    • December 1, 2016 / 6:04 pm

      You’re welcome!

  1. November 30, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    Instagram is just a hobby for me so I don’t really want to grow much beyond the very modest point that I’m at 😀 Indeed I have periodic culls on my Following list to remove the ghost followers!

    However, I agree with all of your points in principle, for those who do want to grow. I certainly always reply to every comment that I receive and I’ve built up some really good friendships on Instagram – including the person who has become my absolute closest friend despite the fact that we’ve never met in person yet. 🙂

    • December 1, 2016 / 6:04 pm

      Instagram is great isn’t it? Especially for meeting friends! I love that about it!

  2. November 30, 2016 / 8:58 pm

    Thank you so much for your advice! I work very hard on my instagram account and a lot of effort into it but it is so hard to gain genuine followers…

    xx, rebecca
    rbcmrm.blogspot.de

    • December 1, 2016 / 6:05 pm

      Glad you like it!

  3. December 1, 2016 / 12:00 am

    These are all such great tips. IG is one of my favorite social media accounts and I’m always looking for ways to find more followers (in a natural way!).

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

    • December 1, 2016 / 6:05 pm

      Glad you like it!

    • December 1, 2016 / 6:06 pm

      Lol, I know, I do the same sometimes as I can’t help all the accounts I like to follow 🙂

  4. December 1, 2016 / 1:35 am

    Lorna, I think these are really great tips for people that want to have many followers on Instagram… I have mine more for personal and I do like to interact with others… it is a fun app where I can scroll through and like a picture and comment quickly on something that catches my eye… xox

    • December 1, 2016 / 6:06 pm

      I know, it’s a great app for that reason!

    • December 1, 2016 / 6:07 pm

      Glad you like it!

    • December 1, 2016 / 6:07 pm

      You’re welcome!

  5. December 1, 2016 / 7:02 pm

    These are all lovely tips! Thanks for sharing! 🙂 xx

    • December 2, 2016 / 10:44 pm

      You’re welcome 🙂

  6. trulymadlydeeplyfashion
    December 2, 2016 / 9:50 pm

    Wow these tips are really helpful Lorna! I never realised just how much effort goes into maintaining a popular Instagram account. The images you share on your Instagram are always stunning, and I appreciate your sincere and authentic approach. I’ve learned a lot from reading this blog post. Thank you for being generous enough to share your insider advice!

    Lots of love Saba xx

    http://www.trulymadlydeeplyfashion.blogspot.com

    • December 2, 2016 / 10:45 pm

      You’re welcome, Saba! I’m really glad it could help you and you found it interesting! Also happy you like my Instagram photos too, thank you xx.

    • December 2, 2016 / 10:46 pm

      You’re welcome 🙂

  7. December 4, 2016 / 4:55 am

    I look at every comment I see come through my account. If you have a decent feed there’s a really high percentage chance that leaving a comment will result in a follow from the account holder and probably even some of their followers too.

    • December 4, 2016 / 2:15 pm

      Yeah, it does work!

Thanks for your comments =) I read & reply every one =)