There’s always that point where you see your follow count slowly drops, your most recently posted picture has ten likes in several hours, your comments and engagement rates are dwindling and you have nothing to post. Those days are what makes the days where you get 70 new followers and your recent hits 300 so much better; they provide you with the highs and the lows of blogging, especially when you’re just starting out. This post should help you steer clear of the days where all you do is lose followers and start your journey to 1k in only 30 days.
You need to link to your blog as much as you can without being spammy (leading to unfollows). I put the link to my blog in my bio and mention posts I am writing, recently published posts or any significant targets I have hit whilst blogging in the captions of my posts. Find bloggers that may already be following your blog on any other social media and also your subscribers to not only boost your following but gain loyalty. Follow a certain amount of similar accounts to you daily and watch your following grow – however, this only works if you connect with them and comment relevant things on their pictures.
ENGAGE WITH TARGET AUDIENCE
This is the most important thing to gain both loyal and active followers. I spend 10-15 minutes daily scrolling through my home feed and commenting on and liking any relevant pictures; this not only means some of the accounts you find will give you a follow back, the followers of that account will see you and be inclined to follow you as well. Only do this with accounts that have a relatively good followers to following ratio for the best results. I also spend a few minutes going through the Explore page which allows you to explore other accounts that are similar to yours and find new people to engage with – more on that below!
Getting your content featured on the Explore Page isn’t difficult, but the results having just one photo that people view every time they search for a hashtag is massive! To have your photo listed as one of the 9 featured when you search for any hashtag does require some patience and research but I did this within a week and it gained me a lot of followers, as well as simply being exposed to more and more people, resulting in a spike of page views.
If you want to get on the Explore page without using hashtags and you just want to be seen my other bloggers, simply engage as much as possible. You can also increase your chances by following other people and hoping they follow back, which means more of their followers will see your account. Again, remember to stick to your target audience! You might gain a few followers with hashtags such as #Instagood or #Followforfollow but they may well be bots or people you know won’t read your blog.
Your profile is the first thing that your potential followers and readers will see when they click on your page, meaning you can both attract and repel depending on how you set your profile up. This is, of course, Instagram, so we’re talking a profile picture, three or four lines of short but sweet text in your bio, with an account name that should preferably be a little different to the one of your blog/business and link to your site.
CREATE INFORMATIVE, USEFUL POSTS AND POST AT THE RIGHT TIME
Posting is a great way to keep your following high and also develop a feed (more below!) but posting at the right time, the right content and with relevant information is also vital. I personally post in the evening every day and will post in the morning sometimes if I have any extra information for my followers. My posts get the best engagement at around 8-9pm and 7am. However, studies also show posts uploaded from 1-4am get high engagement rates because not many people choose to post then. Most Instagrammers will upload a post with a short caption and then a question for their followers to answer, which I tried for a while but honestly, I didn’t always remember to add the question and only about 20 people responded. I worked around this and wrote longer, much more detailed captions and then finished by asking everyone something like ‘What did you do today?’
HASHTAGS ARE KEY
Hashtags are one of Instagram’s best features. They instantly increase your chance of getting followers, likes, comments and ultimately, visitors to your blog. I personally found an engagement rate increase of 77% after start using hashtags, and whilst my socials were developing I averaged 14 hashtags; I now use 25-30 and find my engagement is constantly increasing. If you want to know which hashtags to be using for your own niche, you can find over 100 hashtags as well as where and how to use them Hashtags To Explode Your Blog post. However, there are dozens of hashtag tips and tricks that will leave your like count sky high. My favourite is using the hashtag funnel, where you use hashtags according to where you are. For example, if I visited London for a blogger event (I wish) I would use these hashtags:
Here are some generic hashtags that many bloggers use (I am including location hashtags, though, so be careful if you aren’t from Britain! And yes, using a selection of these in your posts will guarantee you some engagement and followers; but remember to continue using the other techniques to land you some active followers, high engagement rates and a general grow in your reach (always a good thing!)
#bloggersunite #bloggingdaily #ontheblog #friendsinmyfeed #howtoblog #ontheblognow #blogger #wordpressblog (obviously only use this if you use WordPress) #wordpressblogger (and again) #postitfortheaesthetic (anything Tumblr, visually appealing or colourful) #abmlifeiscolorful (again) #abmhappylife #ukblogger #ukbloggers #ukblog #londonblog #londonblogger #livethelittlethings #livethemoment #slaytheflatlay (for everything flatlay) #fromabove #flatlayoftheday #photooftheday #bloggingdaily #styleblogger #lifeblogger #travelblogger #bloggingaroundtheworld
BUILD A THEME
Having an obvious theme is key to building a following as people will then recognise your posts as they will fit the theme; many bloggers opt for minimal themes with clean black and white photography, do a colourful theme or choose to use an aspect of editing such as light or contrast to create an aesthetic theme. My advice for finding an aesthetically pleasing and also practical feed is to test out a few photo editing apps, decide on one or two favourites and then use these to create and edit each image, preferably using the same filter to achieve your feed. I would recommend Lightroom, Snapseed and VSCO; I use Lightroom and Snapseed every time I edit a picture for the gram and it really helps you achieve that colour coordinated theme.
YOU GET BACK WHAT YOU PUT IN
This is one of the least talked about tips as people are all over using 30 hashtags per post and having your profile fully complete, but you hardly ever see advice on liking images listed under the hashtags you have recently used or are frequently used. For example, after posting something to Instagram, I will then go to each hashtag I have used, yes, every single one, and then like and comment accordingly on around 30 photos. Not necessarily the most recent ones but any photos that look like they could be of a similar account to yours, as well as the nine top posts for each hashtag. This not only allows you to find and engage with people in your target audience and vice versa, it also means many people may see your activity and either follow you, check out your page and lead to more pageviews and perhaps subscribers but also will return your likes or comments. This really works if my page is looking a little tired, so don’t just limit this technique to immediately after posting!
SEE WHAT WORKS
Post near to every day, which helps me build an account faster than if I only posted a few times a week. It also means I am able to compare the engagement rates on photos and compare the best and worst times to post photos, which questions get the most engagement, which hashtags are best and which posts receive the most comments. For example, my most liked photo was actually one announcing a giveaway that I promoted quite a bit, so it only makes sense that it would have higher engagement rates than other photos I didn’t put as much effort into advertising. Further, I worked out I got most likes and comments at night and relatively early in the morning; I often post around 8pm, just before I start my nightly routine, so it fits nicely. I also post at about 7am, which also gets good engagement rates, but this trick only works for me on half the week (obviously not Saturday and Sunday). So, my last piece of advice is just to see what works for you! Experiment with different lengths of caption (although long captions ALWAYS work best for me!), different colours or themes, hashtags and times of day, as well as tagging people and brands, as that could make a difference. What works for one person may be a waste of time for some people, so don’t be disheartened when the top tips of someone may not work for you. Instagram is a very creative platform and there isn’t an exact formula for such creativity, so work it out and have fun in the process!
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