How to Grow an Authentic Instagram Following

After TBScon, I came home with valuable tips and have really changed up my Instagram game. I know sometimes it can feel like you’re never getting anywhere with growth on the platform. But honestly and truly, numbers aren’t the end all, be all. It’s about followers that are invested in you and your content, and creating genuine relationships with those that follow you. Today I’m sharing everything I learned and how I’ve found success in growing an authentic Instagram following.

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How to Grow your Instagram Following

Talk to the followers you already have

Engage with the people who are already invested in you! Since I launched my blog, I have fallen back in love with Instagram. There are so many amazing Instagram accounts that people can choose to follow. So if someone decides to follow you, be sure to engage with them. It takes a lot more effort to gain followers than it does to retain the ones you have.

If you continuously engage with your target audience either by responding to DMs, respond to comments in real time and even engage with their content, you’ll begin to create amazing connections with your followers. If you’re taking the time to respond and connect, chances are they’re going to continue engaging with you and your content and actually seek out your Instagram content. I was so disconnected from the people on Instagram and now my favorite thing is connecting with the girls who reach out to me on the platform. 

Post consistently

This is something I constantly have to work on. You have to post on Instagram consistently for your followers to remember you exist. I was guilty of going a week (or longer!) without posting, and I stayed at the same number of followers forever. Now that I’m posting daily or every other day at least, I’ve started to grow my Instagram following again. The Instagram algorithm is nearly impossible to figure out, but one thing to help keep the algorithm on your side is to be consistently creating content on the app. If you post every day for a week, and then don’t post for two weeks, chances are the algorithm won’t like that and hide your posts from followers who normally see your posts.

Post in your niche

If you’re treating your IG like a business and not a personal account, it’s important to keep your posts “on brand.” Yes, your blog is a brand! If you’re a fashion blogger, keep your posts centered around fashion and add captions with personal stories if you want. Audiences love when you connect personal stories to your Instagram content because it helps them learn more about you as a person, and helps differentiate your Instagram profile from others. If you want to talk about something other than fashion, you can save those posts and topics for your Instagram stories or Instagram live. 

Another great tool to utilize is Instagram analytics. You have to have a business account to access this tool, and it’s just a simple click under you settings tab to switch to a business account. The analytics shows you information regarding your audience, how many impressions your shared content receives and even what time of day and days of the week your audience is most active. It’s insightful information to keep a pulse on your audience and engagement. 

Delete or block spammy followers

This may seem counter-intuitive, but I recently started deleting and removing spammy followers or men following me that I don’t personally know. They are most likely bot followers and that’s not authentic! So far, I’ve deleted 1k and I plan to keep cleaning it up as I continued to grow. These ghost followers are just plummeting your engagement rate, which is what brands really care about these days. I also delete any followers that don’t have a profile picture and haven’t posted to IG at all. If fake accounts or inactive Instagram users aren’t actually using the app, then they’re not going to engage with your content. Brands want to know that your type of content is resonating with and reaching your audience. That’s what’s important to brands when they make a decision whether to work with you or not.

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Post and tag on stories

I was scared to post to stories, but that’s where the majority of your followers are looking these days! The goal is to get to the front of the line on the IG stories header. The accounts that the follower watches the most will show up here, so you need to post consistently to stay relevant. Always tag your location and add hashtags to your IG stories. To be safe, I usually don’t post to stories with my location until I’m leaving, but this is a personal preference. You can hide hashtags by pinching the screen and making them really small. Growing your local community should be your first priority. It opens the door to work with local brands and people love connecting and seeing what other people are up to in their area.

Post at least five stories a day

I notice from week to week when I’m not as active on IG stories that my posts overall get less engagement. It’s so important to post user-generated content not only on your feed consistently, but also on your stories! People want to see what you’re up to during the day and more “real life” on stories. If you wrote a blog post recently, share why you wrote that particular blog post on your Instagram stories. Cross promoting your content across multiple channels is a great strategy to extend the use of your content. Maybe you start out writing a blog post, but then create an Instagram post with some of the info from the blog post and refer them back to your website. You can also create an email with the information and send it out to your subscribers and link back to your blog post that way too. You work too hard on creating content. Why wouldn’t you cross promote?

Hashtags

I don’t do a lot of research when it comes to hashtags, but I always include them at the bottom of my captions because #whynot. Sometimes, I notice a large number of people found my post through hashtags, and other times no one discovered my profile through the same hashtags. I think it’s hit or miss, but you might as well use them.

Stay active on IG before and after you post

I started to engage on Instagram a couple of minutes before I post a photo. I stay there and reply to all my comments as soon as they come in right after I posted, and I return likes and comments to other accounts. I’ve found this has helped significantly with my engagement. I think the more you engage on Instagram before and after your post, the better, but don’t let it consume your day!

Take the time to comment on other posts

Don’t just comment “cute” and move on. Spend the extra few seconds to write a sincere and authentic comment. You’ll stand out and people will be more likely to return the favor to your posts. The more engagement your post gets, the more impressions you will get on a photo.

Support other blogging friends

A quick way to gain followers in your niche is to partner up with other bloggers and share each others Instagram feeds with a tag. You want to team up with accounts that are similar to your content so readers will be interested in following. Also, I wouldn’t recommend reaching out to people who have a larger following than you and asking them to shout out your account. Ask people who you already have a relationship with first or girls who are in a similar point in their blogging business so the partnership is mutually beneficial to both accounts.

If you really want to take your business and brand to the next level, I have an in-depth course called The Profitable Influencer. It arms you with the tools and strategies you need to create the dream influencer business you’ve been reaching for. 

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Are you in an Instagram rut because of the “algorithm?” My suggestion to you is to stop worrying about the numbers you see on your account and start talking to the people you’re connected with on there. Doing so myself has made the platform way more enjoyable and you start doing it for the fun again. Let me know if you have any tips for growing your Instagram following! 

Looking for more tips on blogging? I have a lot of free influencer resources here!

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