How to Boost your Instagram 'Organically'

Ok so first off, I am not claiming to be a specialist on the subject.  I started my Instagram back in 2014 as a personal account (pre blogging days) , where I crept up to about 300 followers in a year.  It has only been since Winter was born and subsequently @mywinterandjonah in December 2015 that my Instagram has grown to the current 15k it is today. 

So how did I gain 15 thousand followers in a year?  The real answer is I’m not entirely sure… Instagram is a fickle friend that I'm nowhere near cracking -some days are great and I get an influx of activity and some days feel like an absolute write-off. Some photos that I think will blow up the internet are an absolute flop, and others get thousands of likes that I’ve put up on a whim!

These two photos are examples of photos that didn't initially 'make the cut' but yet have had over a million likes throughout social media.

This post is about sharing tips and tricks that I have picked up over the past year on how to increase your followers and improve your engagement.  If you have any questions about any of this, please comment below and I'll get back to you!

CHOOSE ORGANIC

I use the term ‘organic’ in reference to growth as a way of highlighting the need to have like-minded followers  and people who genuinely appreciate what your feed is all about. That way, you know that the people liking and commenting enjoy what you are posting for the right reasons. I think especially when it comes to posting pictures of your children, you want to know that these images are being kept within parenting circles and don’t fall into the wrong hands. What you don’t want to do is grow your Instagram following ‘unorganically’ i.e BUY your followers.

BUYING FOLLOWERS IS NOT THE WAY!

I’ve seen people shoot up from a thousand to 25k overnight and yet when you look at their likes and Follower list, it’s full of Followers from far flung places of the earth who are NOT the type of demographic you would choose to see liking your pictures (creepy men, generic accounts etc).  If you have no problem with that sort of thing, go for it. I’m not one to judge.  What I will say however is that is you ever want to work with brands or even get paid work, this will put them off.  They know…they just know… and so do we.

FIND YOUR ‘LOOK’

The most important thing to remember is to be YOU.  Don’t try to be something you’re not... Me?  I’m NOT a monochrome gal. I see these gorgeous feeds in black and white bliss and have tried on occasion to duplicate the style… only to fall flat on my face.  Turns out I’m all about the colour.  I like my photos to pop, have a soft focus and also have a slight pinkish hue.  I have worked this out through the  1500 photos I’ve lovingly prepared for Instagram.  I like to think that my photos have their own signature and fit well in my feed.  Find your own style and go with it.  Your followers will love your consistency and will recognise your photos as they scroll through their feed.

FIND YOUR ‘NICHE’

What do you post photos of?   Our feed is full of photos of the boys in a mixture of staged and candid shots.  I work with a lot of small businesses to promote their clothes and other products and have developed a style that works well with that.  I also love to take natural shots of them as an amateur photographer and tend to alternate between the two styles. I’ve built up followers that enjoy seeing those types of photos.  My husband has started his own account over at the @the_candad_camera and although we live the same life effectively, his style is VERY different to mine.  I like to think of his feed as a ‘behind the scenes.’  I’m not sure if it’s a Dad thing, but posting rough and ready photos really works on his feed. For example, I couldn’t post a picture of a toilet roll and get many likes. He does!  

FIND YOUR ‘TRIBE’

The bloody algorithm...  it gets way too much attention for my liking because it annoys me that Instagram has introduced something that in my opinion is to the detriment of their users.  Unless you are in direct contact with your followers and followees, there's a chance that they are missing your posts because they are so far down their feed.  Super annoying.  

Friendship is the backbone of Instagram for me.  I have dear friends who I speak to on a daily basis who I've never even met (and some I've been lucky enough to hang out with)  who I know will be there for me.  Support each other, share posts, do #followfridays and comment/like their photos routinely.  That way, not only are you putting yourself at the top of their feed, but indirectly you are interacting with their followers too as they see your interactions.

Find your ‘time’

Work out what time is best to post your pictures by finding out what time your audience spends on Instagram.  Think about it; when are you on Instagram?  I pop on between 7 and 8am getting ready for work, between 4 and 5 after work and then from about 8 o' clock onwards once the kids are in bed.  There are some really useful articles, one here from Lifewire about peak audience time.

Some neat engagement boosters

Finally, a couple of quick little gems:

Hashtag the heck out of your photos (up to a max of 30).  Copy hashtags that others use, heck, copy mine!  That way, your photos are being shared in those 'hashtag pools,' (totally a phrase I just made up) and therefore being seen by more who may be drawn to your feed.  You are also then in with a chance of being featured on feeds with large audiences that will see your photo.

Current faves include:

#dailyparenting #simplychildren #myfamilyadventures #uniteinmotherhood #umh_kids #pixelkids #childofig #littlestoriesofmylife #letthembelittle #littlefierceones #curiouslittleexplorers #myhappycapture #simplylittle #magicofchildhood #childhoodunplugged #our_everyday_moments #candidchildhood #pblogger  #cherisheverymoment #my_magical_moments #acupofmotherhood #petitejoys

Did you know that Geo tagging your photos increases engagement by over 50%?

Also tagging someone in the caption i.e 'having dinner with the fabulous @alwaysalexie,' can increase your engagement by up to 80%

The most popular photos on Instagram are predominantly blue in colour.

Use your photo captions to ask questions, it's a great way to generate comments and conversations with people.

Alright, I'm done. Thank you so much for reading! Happy Instagramming, let me know how you're doing!

Karen x