Instagram is an amazing photo sharing network, but it’s only fun when other people are following you. However, if you signed up recently, the chances are that you don’t have many followers. Thankfully, there are some simple and non-spammy techniques that anyone can use to gain followers on Instagram, and in this article you’re going to discover these techniques.
My @iPhonePS Instagram Account
I still remember how frustrating it was when I started my Instagram account. For the first few weeks I had practically no followers, and nobody liked or commented my photos. That’s when I decided to gain more followers on Instagram using the following techniques.
Step 1: Pick a Clear Focus For Your Account
Before you do anything else, you should pick a clear focus for your Instagram account. If your goal is to showcase your best photography, you should stick to it and never post poor quality photos of you hanging out with friends. The people who want to see your artistic photos probably don’t want to see the sandwich you ate for lunch today.
Some Instagramers have found success in posting small snapshots of their daily life in a way that their followers can get to know them better, but this is much harder than simply sharing great photography.
Unless you’re a celebrity, the chances are that only people who know you in real life would be interested in following your daily activities.
To give you an example, I use my @iPhonePS Instagram account to share my best iPhone photos. People are happy to follow me because they know that I only post interesting iPhone photos. I would never post photos of me hanging out with friends since the majority of my followers don’t want to see them.
Step 2: Make Your Account Look Great
When you’ve picked a clear focus for your account (such as sharing your best iPhone photos) you want to do everything you can to make your account look great.
While an interesting description and a cool profile photo can help, it’s far more important that your photo feed looks great, because that’s what people will look at when they make a decision about following you.
Before you move on to the next step, you should build a portfolio of 20 high-quality photos that match the focus of your account, and you should make sure that there are no ugly or irrelevant photos in your photo feed.
Practice creating photos with good composition that will catch the viewer’s eye. And experiment with shooting in different types of light to create more stunning photos. Check out our great video tutorial that will teach you 7 Simple Tricks For Using Light To Create Beautiful iPhone Photos.
Before they start following you, people will look at your feed and ask themselves, “Do I want to see photos like this on my Instagram feed?”
If you post boring photos, silly text screenshots, or what you ate for lunch today, the chances are that many people don’t want to see that on their Instagram feed. Delete your old photos if you have to, and remember that quality is more important than quantity.
If you take photos with your iPhone, sign up for my iPhone photography email tips where I share free iPhone photography video tutorials that you won’t find anywhere on this website.
Spending time to improve your iPhone photos will definitely pay off when you try to gain more followers on Instagram.
Step 3: Leverage Your Existing Channels
When your Instagram profile finally looks great, it’s time to let the world know about it, and the easiest way to get started is to leverage your existing channels and platforms.
If you go to instagram.com/username you’ll get a direct link to your Instagram profile, which you can then share on Facebook, Twitter, your blog and other platforms you may have.
You can also go through your email contacts and send a quick email telling people that you’ve signed up for Instagram, explaining what kind of photos you’re going to post, and asking people to follow you if they’re interested.
Depending on the size of your network, this is a great way to gain your first 50 to 100 Instagram followers.
Step 4: Get In Touch With Other Instagram Users
When people from your existing network are already following you, it’s time to reach out to more people who will potentially be interested in seeing your photos.
Forget about posting a hundred hashtags, asking for shoutouts, trading likes for likes or follows for follows. None of that works. I got a shoutout from an account with 150K followers and it only got me about ten new followers.
The best way to get someone’s attention on Instagram is to leave a nice and thoughtful comment on one of their photos. Don’t just say “nice” or “great photo.”
Say something thoughtful or explain why you like that photo. When you leave a comment like that, the person will usually be happy to also check out your photos and potentially follow you.
Never ask people you don’t know to follow you – this will only annoy them. But if you leave a nice and thoughtful comment about one of their photos – and if your Instagram feed looks great – many of them will be happy to follow you back.
Now, how do I leave hundreds of great comments without going crazy?
First, you don’t want to do that from a mobile device. You can leave good comments so much faster from a computer. Go to IconoSquare, log in with your Instagram account, search for a hashtag that relates to the focus of your Instagram account, and leave comments whenever you have something to say about the photos that appear in that hashtag.
If you post photos of cars, search for hashtags like #Cars, #SportsCars and #BMW as people who use those hashtags are more likely to follow an account about cars. For iPhone photography you can try hashtags like #iPhoneography, #iPhoneOnly and so on.
You should only comment on photos that were posted within the last day or two, and that have less than five comments. If there are 50 other comments already, the chances are that nobody will notice your comment. This strategy may seem like a lot of work, but it won’t take you very long to leave thoughtful comments on IconoSquare.
Unlike the scam techniques that some people use to gain followers on Instagram, this technique will only get you real followers who actually want to see your photos and who will continue to engage with them over time.
Step 5: Keep Your Followers Engaged
There’s no point in building a following on Instagram unless you keep your followers engaged, and the most important thing you can do is post high-quality photos on a regular basis. You should try to post every day, but also remember that quality always beats quantity.
On the other hand, if you post multiple photos at once, there’s a good chance that you’ll annoy some of your followers who will unfollow you because they don’t want to see so many photos from you. To make sure that doesn’t happen, you should spread out your posts evenly and never post more than one photo within a six hour period.
Finally, when your followers leave comments and start discussions with you, make sure you always respond. Even a simple gesture like saying “thanks” for positive comments will make your followers happy and engaged.
You can see how I apply these tips and techniques at my @iPhonePS Instagram account.