Tuesday Talks- How to Grow Your Instagram

This may not be what you were hoping it would be…

Mostly because I can’t give you an abc 123 guide or how-to on growing your Instagram. I was lucky. I entered into this blogging world at a good time. Sure, I wish I had been a couple of years ahead of the game, but I am so glad I didn’t come in any later.

Growing your Instagram is HARD WORK. Especially right now. With Instagram’s algorithm forever changing there is just no way to get a handle on it. I think these days I am actually losing more followers than I am gaining.

When we first started out, loop giveaways were all the thang. Then they went away for awhile (HOORAY), but unfortunately they are now back and stronger than ever. Weirdly, people will over 200,000 followers are doing these ‘international’ loop giveaways a few times every month and are growing 20,000-40,000 followers each time.

While that can seem like the way to go for you, I wouldn’t advise it. Why? When you gain new followers from loop giveaways, you don’t gain the engagement that goes with them. You might during that week because they are liking your stuff and hoping that it helps them win the prize, but then once it is over your engagement goes back to what it used to be even though you have gained allll of these new followers. You would literally have to do these giveaways weekly to keep up that engagement.

You should be striving for anywhere between 1-2% engagement. If you have under 100,000 followers you should definitely be getting around 2% engagement. As you grow, that number gets less and less. That is why you see people like @songofstyle, an Instagram phenomenon, who has around .8% engagement.

So on to the most asked question ever… How to grow your Instagram:

The Miller Affect talks about How to Grow Your Instagram

*make sure to pin this image above to save for later use!

Focus on Engagement, Not Followers

Both brands and Instagram itself have caught on to all of the loop giveaways, the bought followers, the autobots that are liking and commenting. They aren’t fooling anyone anymore. You have sites like socialblade.com and many others that brands can check out to see exactly how many ‘real’ followers you have an how many are actually actively engaged. I was recently visiting Fossil headquarters and they told me they look this stuff up every time before working with an influencer.

Did you know that out of the top 5 bloggers on rewardStyle, 3 or 4 of them probably have under 100,000 followers on Instagram? It isn’t about the number of followers you have. It is about the amount of INFLUENCE you have.

If a brand wants to work with you and doesn’t want to pay you based on your Instagram engagement, give them some other hard stats they can go by. I get so mad when they think the amount of influence I have is determined by the amount of likes or comments I get on Instagram. That is not my main channel.

Stop focusing on followers for a month and focus strictly on engagement. Try to get it where you think it should be. Find ways to engage your followers by hosting your OWN giveaway, or by asking them questions in your captions. Create surveys that ask your readers what they want to see, or what they are currently shopping for. Engage with them and they will engage with you.

Micro-Influencers

Micro-Influencers, or influencers with under 100,000 followers, are being targeted by brands right now. Some brands are ONLY wanting to work with micro-influencers. Why? Because they have the most engagement on their posts. You see someone with 50,000 followers getting over 2,000 likes on their posts. It is a small community that is very trusting and engaged.

What does this mean to you? That you don’t need to have tons and tons of followers! Stay under 100,000, focus on engagement, and you will come out on top! DO NOT buy followers or try to cheat the system. Try to keep your loop giveaways to a minimum. Do it the right way and you will be rewarded in the end.

How to Grow Your Instagram

For those of you who are doing it right and want to start seeing some growth (even if it is slow), here are some tips:

-Engage with your readers with your captions. Comment back when you can or if anyone ever asks you a question.

-Show them behind the scenes using Instagram Stories. Let them get to know you.

-Put your latest post on Instagram Stories and tell them to check it out. Sometimes they will see your stories and NOT see your actual Instagram post!

-Use relevant hashtags, but don’t use the same list over and over. Mix it up! Use different hashtags each time if you can.

-Everyone loves selfies. Try to throw in some looks in front of your mirror or in front of your garage door if you can. Let them see you in a natural setting.

-Go to popular events in the area or country and use those hashtags. I grow so much during Fashion Week and other events!

-Focus on your feed. Make it flow. I use the Planoly app and plug in all of my photos and move them around until I like the way they look on my feed. When people are scrolling through Instagram to find new people to follow, they will look at your last 9-12 photos. Treat it like your portfolio.

-Comment on your follower’s photos. It will hopefully open more conversation and they will start commenting on yours too. That, and their friends will also see your comment and click through to your page!

Instagram Sucks Right Now

Is your engagement hurting right now? I am right there with ya. Likes and comments are wayyyy down across the board. You are NOT alone! The amount of reach you have with each post is also wayyyy down.

All we can do is ride out this latest Instagram wave with dignity. Keep doing you and pushing through. It will go back up! Focus more on your blog and other social media sits (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) during this time. There are so many different other sites you can have influence on other than Instagram.

In the end, Instagram won’t be there forever. Do you have something set up for when this happens or are allllll of your eggs in that basket? Put some focus into what YOU OWN- YOUR BLOG! Grow that and you will feel save no matter what kind of mood Instagram is in!

Hope this helps you guys grow your Instagram! Leave a comment below with any insight you have on this or with a question I can hopefully answer for ya!

Catch my latest Tuesday Talks post here, The Importance of Photography.

xoxo Amanda

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36 Comments

  1. August 29, 2017 / 11:40 pm

    Yes- I am completely stalking your blog posts right now- in the good way, not the creepy way that sounded, lol. This is such great advice all the way around. I hate Instagram……….because I just can’t crack it, and because visual is not my thing. I really appreciate your posts because they are always so valuable. Thanks again
    xx
    Melissa
    https://freshairandfalselashes.com

  2. August 9, 2017 / 1:43 am

    Could you do a post giving advice on the best ways to do a solo giveaway & how you pick a winner fairly. Are there apps that you use that can randomly select a winner?

  3. August 8, 2017 / 9:04 am

    Love these blogging tip posts! They are soooo helpful. I can’t wait to use the app. So great to see a blogger that wants to help new bloggers. I’d love to know what your main channel is. It seems like so many people rely on Instagram right now so I found this especially interesting. xoxo Maxie!

  4. August 6, 2017 / 1:11 am

    Thank you thank you thank you for all of these Tuesday Talks! As a new blogger, I have yet to find another blogger whose articles are as helpful as yours are when it comes to blogging tips. Keep it up!

    xo,

    Hilary
    hilaryfornefeld.com

  5. August 5, 2017 / 10:35 pm

    I think it’s so important to remain focused on blogging and the content and engagement versus only on gaining an Instagram following. It’s such a good point that the form of social media we use is constantly changing and will continue to do so. Thank you for sharing!

    Erin | Tartan Haus
    tartanhaus.com

  6. Laura
    August 5, 2017 / 9:54 pm

    Wow this was a really good post actually!! A lot of inof that micro-influencers ignore these days. Wanting to buy tons of followers is not the best option right ? And also how important it is to create our own feed in a personal blog, not knowing what the futurne is gonna bring with Instagram, I’ve seen tons of influencers with tons of followers but they don´t own a website, even though they have good engagement at the end of the day is better and more save to have a website not only Instagram account.
    I really liked this post, found it really helpful.

    greetings from South America 🙂

  7. August 3, 2017 / 1:06 pm

    This was a great read, and really helpful to know that this something happening to everyone. It can be frustrating when you try so hard to encourage engagement that was there before, but gotta keep going 🙂

  8. August 2, 2017 / 6:59 pm

    Thank you for these tips, Amanda! Every time I read your blogging or influencer tips, I learn something new – it’s not just the same advice over and over that you see popping up on Pinterest. You’re so authentic – keep it up! I also love your Insta try on sessions. 🙂

  9. August 2, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    Loved reading this — I even showed it to my bf as he knows I’ve been super frustrated with growing my account. You are right in saying that engagement is everything. I finally got on LIKEtoKNOW.it because they saw how my engagement is high even though I have ~1700 followers. I SO wish I had started doing this when I first got Instagram in college, right when it took off, but better late than never. Thank you so much for sharing this and reaffirming what I should be remembering: Engagement, engagement, engagement.

    P.S. Love your try-on sessions!

  10. Kari
    August 2, 2017 / 4:34 pm

    Really great post Amanda!
    I just started my blog/instragram a few months ago and I realize how hard it’s to grow in Instragram.
    However I think that being real is the best policy… I’m being me, being honest and putting out what I love, hoping the best!
    I think it’s more rewarding… As they said It’s better a few friend than a lot of acquaintances. 🙂
    xo.
    Kari

    http://www.acolorfulstyle.com

  11. August 2, 2017 / 3:28 pm

    Definetly hard work!!!! But sooo fun too!!! Thanks for sharing all the tips!!! Help me a lot with @chicandpetitepty

  12. August 2, 2017 / 2:25 pm

    This is such a great post!! I have been trying to focus on engagement but I’m also seeing a dip in that this week., so that’s frustrating!! Thanks for all the tips- I will be going back and re-reading this.

    http://www.cashmereandjeans.com

  13. August 2, 2017 / 8:24 am

    Thank you for this I so needed to hear this tonight!

  14. Camila
    August 2, 2017 / 12:33 am

    Preach it babe! Thanks for this! Really helps me with my @bakeandtone 😍
    And yes I don’t agree with these fake followers. Why would anyone want this? The whole point is to be honest and create a relationship with our followers, which you have! ❤️

  15. August 1, 2017 / 11:00 pm

    These were good tips, thank you! Also, I love your try-on sessions on your IG stories! 🙂

  16. August 1, 2017 / 10:30 pm

    Such a great post! Thanks for sharing!

  17. August 1, 2017 / 10:19 pm

    Thanks Amanda! What are your thoughts on comment pods? Yay or Neh? ;o) xoxo

    • August 1, 2017 / 10:26 pm

      No no no unless it’s with a group of close friends. I have talked to so many pr firms and agencies about this and they hate comment pods and they think brands can see that. If they think your comments aren’t real/authentic they will question everything about you! Just comment regularly on people you love and they will comment back! Xox Amanda

      • August 3, 2017 / 10:03 pm

        Haha! You just made my day! I’m so over the comment pods, lol! Thanks for the reply ;o) I really appreciate it! And YOU! Love your Tues Talks! xoxo

  18. August 1, 2017 / 10:04 pm

    I never really liked social media until Instagram came around, I like Instagram because I love photos and can get so much inspiration from photos. Instagram is the only social media platform I am on and I try not to worry about things like growing a following. I feel like social media is one of those things you can’t control and it will always change so putting to much thought into it can be a waste. I get from a business stand point it can be helpful but I don’t believe that was Instagram’s first purpose. I agree with you 100 percent that focusing on your blog and on other areas of hard work are more important than an Instagram following. So funny this is the second article I read this week about Instagram, it seems people in general are disappointed with Instagram and it’s algorithms. Thanks for the interesting read and have a great day!
    http://www.forthewonderer.com

  19. August 1, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    Your Tuesday Talks are awesome! We are new bloggers, but have been visiting your blog regularly for quite some time. We really appreciate all of your tips. You are by the far most helpful blogger out there! By the way, love your try-on sessions on instastories. Super helpful! Thanks for sharing! <3

  20. August 1, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    YESSSSSS. Thank you for this! Instagram can be extremely frustrating, but this was a great way to keep up a positive mindset! Great words of wisdom!

  21. August 1, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    YESSSSSS. Thank you for this! Instagram can be extremely frustrating, but this was a great way to keep up a positive mindset! Great words of wisdom!

  22. August 1, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    Thank you for this post!! I’ve been writing a blog for awhile but really dropped off when I got pregnant and during my daughter’s infancy. She’s almost a year now and I’m getting back at it! I hate the algorithm on IG and you’re right, focusing on the blog is better! I feel like I just got reassurance on everything I’ve been thinking lately, from a great blogger! So thanks! I’m headed in the right direction! Love following you! ❤

  23. August 1, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    As a new blogger I am loving these Tuesday Talks! FohrCard was such an awesome software suggestion and I like the look of Planoly too, but don’t really want to pay for a service. Any additional great tools / apps that are free for starters like me? Again love these and you!

  24. August 1, 2017 / 7:58 pm

    I think you are spot on with all of this!! Are you aware of and do you check the shadowban website? I don’t know how accurate it is but the first few times I checked it I was fine, and now it seems it’s always telling me my posts aren’t showing up with my hashtags. Frustrating! What are your thoughts on always using 30 hashtags? My following/engagement is still pretty low so I am always using all 30, but do you think that can hurt somehow? Thanks girl, for writing these, and sharing some good ol’ honesty! 😉

    xoxo brandi
    http://www.brandisoileau.com

  25. August 1, 2017 / 7:12 pm

    Yes! This Just made my day. I’ve been so focused on how many followers I’m losing a day or how many bloggers that started at the same time as I did having 10,000 while I have 2,000 but you are so right I have a lot more engaged followers and that’s who I do this for.

    Thanks for the talks 🙂
    Xo- Courtney {thefinishingtouchokc.com}

  26. August 1, 2017 / 7:08 pm

    I feel like I was growing really fast to start and now I have come to a screeching halt. I’m looking forward to trying your tips!

    XO,
    Faryn

  27. Lisa chong
    August 1, 2017 / 6:40 pm

    This is a great post! I am new to Instagram and have only recently started following you and your blog and I love it! I only have a couple of hundred followers at the moment and hoping to grow that over the next few years but I do find the Instagram algorithm very confusing xxx
    @thingsineedinmywardrobe

  28. August 1, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    Love all of your stuff! Thank you for this post, I recently started a blog and was getting discouraged by my number of followers. Quality over quantity!

  29. August 1, 2017 / 5:57 pm

    Thanks for this post and the ideas! I had no idea anything like socialblade.com existed! I’m now checking it out.

  30. August 1, 2017 / 3:02 pm

    I’ve found that the more I like and comment on people posts, the more they show up in my newsfeed which is nice. That’s how I’m able to see yours on a regular basis. I’m loving what you’re doing so keep it up!
    xo – Amanda

    • August 1, 2017 / 3:57 pm

      Yes! The Instagram algorithm will definitely record each like and comment and even takes notice of when you stop scrolling on your feed to look at a post! Pretty cool! Thanks so much for always engaging on my posts <3 xoxo Amanda

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