I have had my current Instagram account since September of 2015 and now have finally hit 40,000 followers.   I’ve had a few photos go viral, and well Anderson Cooper said my baby was adorable.  But for the most part growing my account this big has been work.  I’m going to tell you what has worked for me, and what hasn’t.

  1.  Take great photos.  This sounds like silly advice.  But phone photos are generally speaking crap, there are some exceptions but mine are crap.  There are literally less than 10 phone snaps on my instagram account.   So I use my DSLR, then import them onto my phone and upload from there.   Con:  You will have to lug that big camera with you everywhere.
  2. Themes work.  I did a rainbow theme a few months ago and got so many new followers.  I need to do it again, but it was intense planning out my instagram that far in advance.  Worth it but it’s so much work.  There are easier themes and easier way to execute.  Con:  Time Time Time.
  3. Loops work.  Loops are giveaways.  You pay the host a loop fee.  Everyone posts the same image at the same time.  Then people who want to enter the giveaway have to follow everyone in the loop.   The trick with loops is to pick a giveaway that your target audience would want.   I want health oriented followers, they will more likely read my blog.  So I’m currently doing a fitness giveaway with Lululemon and a Fitbit.  My favorite loophosts are Sedarlah (expensive but I’ve gained thousands of followers with her) and Loop_LCB (Budget 15 dollar options, you will still gain hundreds of followers).   Con: You will have quite a few unfollowers after the winner is announced.
  4. Hashtags work, but not the generic hashtags like #followme or #likeforlike.   Use hashtags that your target audience will use.   We are a green family who cloth diapers, I’ve gotten so many like-minded followers with the hashtag #makeclothmainstream.  There is no real con with hashtags.  Go ahead and use all 30.
  5. Robot comments like Instagress work.  You select hashtags that you would like to Like, Comment, or Follow and it works for you.  I suggest using emojis or generic comments for the comments.  Con:  You will have some awkward exchanges here and there and it’s expensive. It’s also so impersonal.
  6. Buy followers.  Instagram has started erasing fake accounts more frequently.  So this option is only temporary and expensive.   These fake followers don’t interact with your account either, so they kill your impact as well.   If you do this, please use the free option at ighoot.com and save your money!  Con:  Option 6 is one big con.
  7. Captivate is an iphone app that is a great way to gain real followers.  The trick is to select an account similar to your own and follow their followers.  I’d say almost half will follow you back, if you select an account that posts similar to yours.  You can do this manually if you don’t want to buy the App.  Just select similar Instagram accounts and follow some of their followers.     Con:  Your newsfeed can get ugly really fast.  You won’t know who you follow.  I don’t like it.
  8. Instagram interaction pods work.   You join a group of 15 instagrammers and comment on everyone’s post.  This gets your images in front of more people and more likely to appear in Instagram Explore tab.  Con: They are labor and time intensive.   PS – Leave your Instagram link below if you’d like to join a new pod with me!  
  9. Instagram Facebook Groups – This will grow your account fast.  It’s a long list of accounts, and you must follow everyone in the thread and they will follow you back.  Con:  Your newsfeed will get ugly and full of people you don’t know.
  10. Feature Pages  – This is a great way to make one of your posts “go viral”.  There are baby feature pages, children feature pages, photography feature pages, food feature pages and travel feature pages.  Pretty much a feature page for everything.   To be featured on these accounts, you follow the page and then use the specified hashtag. If you need any feature page suggestions, feel free to comment.  I think I know of most of them.   Con:  Potential creeps finding your account.  But that con is out there by just using Instagram.  Don’t post any creep bait and you should be fine.

Have you followed me on Instagram?  You should!  I take kick ass photos of my littles.  http://www.instagram.com/faustisland   Oh and check out my blog on how to transition from Instagram Influencer to Blogger.

Photo above is old, I’m at 40k as of March 8th, 2017.  http://www.instagram.com/faustisland 

Sign up to get my reference guide first!

* indicates required