You're probably thinking... how could someone with ~2K followers be writing a blog post on why you aren't gaining followers.... but let me tell you why. I'm still learning - but instead of telling you my success stories once I've reached my goal, I figured why not start now so we can grow together and help each other out along the way?! #CommunityOverCompetition, right?
Based on my experience and through the help of so many fellow bloggers and friends on Instagram, here are a few things I've learned (AND how to change the way you're doing things for a better outcome)
1) You don't have a bio.
This is key for bloggers - let's say your goal is to be collaborating and working with brands as an influencer. How can brands reach out to you if there's nothing for them to work with? Are you located in Australia? America? Spain? What if they're a company that only ships their products to certain areas? It's really important to provide basic information (you don't need to publicize your direct address but even the state or region you're in is really helpful) Additionally, what kind of blogger are you? A fashion blogger, beauty blogger, mommy blogger, lifestyle blogger, interior design blogger? The blogging world is quickly growing - when people come to your page, they want to quickly figure out what you do without having to guess. Another key aspect to have in your bio is a link (personally, I use Linktr.ee - it's amazing and you can add multiple links and put them ALL in your bio - it's free, too!) I KNOW, that was a lot of information, but your bio is one of the first things people see when they visit your profile)
2) You aren't set up as a business profile - another HUGE important step as a blogger/influencer. The pros of having a business profile:
- You can easily track your analytics (super cool to see and it helps you figure out the areas you could improve on)
- You can add a shop (people can buy your products directly through Instagram)
- You can link your Facebook page (not necessarily your profile, but your PAGE - you know, those kind of annoying invites we get on Facebook from people inviting them to "like this page" ... yeah, those ones.) But it's really beneficial, especially if you don't have a TON of time to regularly update all of your pages/accounts - I know I always post my Instagram posts to my Facebook page.
- You can promote your posts through advertising/ target certain audiences (paid promotion)
- You can post branded content ("paid partnership with x")
- You can add your contact information -- NECESSARY for bloggers looking to collaborate with influencers ~ it gives you the option to add your phone number, location (if you have a business/shop for people to visit), and email. By providing these contact options, it makes it easier for brands/people to contact you AND gives you more space to write about yourself in your bio (no need to write your email in your bio if it's already accessible through the contact button!)
3) You buy followers - this is the BIGGEST "no-no" you can do when trying to grow your Instagram!!! It sounds great - you get your followers up in number really fast and if you also pay for likes, you'll get hundreds on your posts. But it's inauthentic and people notice that. If your followers are fake, it turns people away - yeah, it may seem like the easy way out, but it'll hurt you in the long run for sure and people won't want to work with you.
4) Not having a theme - this is more specifically for bloggers - if you don't stick to a theme (using the same filters, etc.) when people visit your page, your feed seems all over the place and inconsistent - aka not appealing to the eye and that's kind of what Instagram is all about - posting great pictures -- I mean, they do give you some filters to choose from to edit your photos/videos. Some apps I suggest: VSCO, Lightroom, Afterlight, Unfold, and Snug too - plan your feed out before you post to see how it'll all flow together.
5) You don't post regularly - I know this is definitely something hard to do (especially when you work a 9-5 job) I've been told in order to grow your following you HAVE to post every single day - okay, that's not necessarily true. I post every 2-3 days - partly because I don't always have the time to create content (take pictures) and post one every day. It's not always easy getting a photographer to help you out - one because some require payment and it adds up fast, and two, everyone has their own life - finding a good time for both of you is challenging. I will admit that once I started posting more regularly
(every couple of days) my following did increase and my engagement went up dramatically. (I went from posting once every 1-2 weeks to posting every 2-3 days).
6) You aren't engaging with your followers (or even with people you aren't following/aren't following you). One of the best pieces of advice I've received so far is to ENGAGE. I don't mean just go like every post you see, but actually take the time to read that really long caption, develop a comment that shows your interest and do that consistently enough that you form a relationship with this person or brand. People like when you take the time to appreciate their hard work - it may look like a cute outfit picture to you - but to them, that was an hour photoshoot with tons of editing and taking the time to write the perfect caption - ALL FOR YOU!!! Share your appreciation! The favor will be returned to you.
7) Posting spammy stuff (like for like posts, MLM "join my team", tons of random quotes that don't fit in with your typical posting theme/style, fake looking posts or stalk image/grainy photos that aren't yours) -- all of those things won't help you grow your following and create real relationships.
8) I think we're all guilty of this one... but the follow/unfollow method isn't worth your time. I know, for me at least, when someone who follows 400 people and has 5K followers, follows my page, I purposely don't even bother following back because I know they're going to unfollow me within the next couple of days. It might work for some people, but it's a scammy way to grow your following - and let's face it, nobody likes being unfollowed.
9) You aren't using the right hashtags. I've made this mistake and learned from it - you post a picture using the hashtag #ThatsDarling - a hashtag with 20.1M+ posts that's followed by thousands and thousands of people - sounds like it would be really beneficial then, right? No. When you're trying to grow your account (and you have less than 10K followers) posting a hashtag like that on your photo will only get lost in the mix - think about how many people use that hashtag. Now think about how many people use that hashtag that have 180K followers. Their post is going to show up and get seen way before yours does (I don't mean for this to come across as rude, just sharing my two-cents). Try sticking to hashtags that are popular but aren't used on millions of photos. Here are some examples that fit my theme: #LifeAndStyleBlog, #BlogIdeas, #FreeDownloads, etc. the hashtags that have posts in the thousands are a better bet for your post to get noticed. Don't be afraid to experiment with new hashtags - just keep in mind that you can only use 30 per post!
10) This is something that's worked for me - but it might not work for you. My suggestion is to find a group of bloggers similar to your theme to engage and connect with - let each other know what works for you, when you have a new post up, when you're looking for advice, etc. build your #girlgang (lol) with people that are similar to you and you'll open your world up to a thousand new pages to follow and interact with that are in your niche.
If you've made it this far - I hope you'll try some of these tips and let me know which ones worked for you! I know this was a long post, but to be honest, I think it's better than watching a 20 minute Youtube video that almost tells you how to grow your Instagram and then asks for $395 to get the real answers from their course.
Tell me what works for you and tell me what doesn't. Let's help each other grow and support each other along the way. Like I mentioned before, it's community over competition. Keep that in mind.
Stay connected and follow along for more tips and blog posts!
questions? comments? email me and say hello!