For readers who are new to Instagram, it is a photo sharing application for iPhone and most recently Android which allows you to take pictures from within the app or choose a picture from your photo library, apply an effect filter to this photo and upload it to the Instagram server.
During the upload process, you can choose to share the photo and the accompanying comments on Facebook, Twitter, Email, Foursquare and many other social media platforms.
I am guilty of utilising Instagram solely as a convenient channel for enhancing photos taken on my iPhone and sharing them on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare for a pretty long time. I was totally unaware of my growing Instagram followers and my unintended engagement with them through the photos I posted.
I only begun to take note of my followers and my engagement with them after Instagram created their 'Likes', 'New Followers' and 'New Comments' Summary Button that surfaces each time you activate the app. My followers are actively viewing the photos I post, telling me their preference and sharing their feedbacks through comments.
That was when I started taking the community behind Instagram seriously and begun researching on how to grow, interact and engage Instagram followers.
Here are my 10 tips to get more instagram followers:
1. Only Post Your Best Photos!
If you are starting out on a brand new Instagram account, dedicate time to put together 10 to 20 photos that you are really pleased with as your base portfolio. These photos should catch the attention of instagrammers and set you on your path with some decent followers.
If you have been using Instagram as a convenient channel to share your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare (like what I have been doing previous), you have to change that perspective and only post quality images on Instagram.
In fact, I would recommend going through your previous photos and start deleting away those that you will not want as part of your portfolio. You will not want to be represented by your errmm not so pretty past.
2. Stop Spamming Us!
Even if you have selected 10 - 20 photos that you will like to start your portfolio with, you should not post it up as a chunk. Spread them over a few days so as not to spam users who are already following you with tons of images.
If you are on a roll with your iPhone and have loads of photos to share, always remember point 1: Only post your best! and review through your collection again.
3. Spread Your Love Out
Once you have picked your 2 – 4 photos for the day, do not post them out all at once during your lunch break.
Remember the Instagram community is a global community so the busiest time of day for American followers will certainly not be the busiest time of day for Asian users.
So try to spread your postings out by at least 2 hours apart. After staggering your postings for sometime, you will begin to know your followers Instagram habits. This brings us to the next point.
4. Don't Post When Followers Are Sleeping... Duh
If you post during the most active times of day, you are more likely to get a lot of likes & comments in a short amount of time. That appears to be what it takes to push your photo onto the popular page – a lot of “likes” in a short period of time!
As your follower base grows, this becomes less and less important because you will have enough followers to generate the snowball effect you need.
5. Be a Tag Whore
Tagging your photo with a hashtag will have it placed with other photos with the same tag. If you are posting an image from Botanical Gardens in Singapore tag it with #singapore and #park. That will help instagrammers to find related photos easily.
There are a lot of popular tags that will help you get noticed. The more tags you place on your photo, the more places it gets to appear in. I have consolidated a convenient list of tags for you to use on almost any photo:
The bad news is that you can only include a maximum of 30 tags per photo so use them wisely.
6. Geo - Tag Your Photos
Instagram offers users the opportunity to geo-tag where the photo was taken.
When you tag a location, other instagrammers who are close geographically or visited the same location at a later date will be able to view your photos. Chances are they will want to keep updated with what you’re doing hence resulting in a follow.
7. Sell Your Account
The fastest & easiest way to get more followers is to communicate your Instagram Account to your existing social media base.
Post, tweet or blog about your Instagram so that followers can check out your photos and start following you.
I personally use Instapress to showcase my latest Instagram photos on my blog.
8. Start Following People!
Following other people is one of the best ways to get followers. The people you follow will start noticing you and check you out.
I tend to only follow people who have really good images or who have taken the time to interact with me & my followers through meaningful comments.
9. Leave Meaningful Feedback and Comments.
Comments like 'Nice', 'Cute' or 'Cool!' are always welcomed but they are not going to help you get noticed.
Instead leave comments that requires replies like 'Loved the scenery, where did you snap that?' or 'Stunning, which effect filter did you use to achieve that?'. Most instagrammers will take the time to answer and it is likely that they will visit your portfolio. If your images are good, chances of them becoming your followers are high.
10. Be Active to the Right Audience!
Avoid spending too much time at the Popular page. If they have made it to the popular page they are probably well established and are less likely to check out your portfolio or follow you.
There are many “micro communities” within Instagram. One of the most popular one is the @joshjohnson #JJ community. It comprises of other people just like you, eager to find new followers and folks to follow.
Tag all your photos with #JJ hastag and follow @joshjohnson’s “123 rule” which is: For every 1 photo you post, comment on 2 others, and like 3 more.
You should also stay connected with your existing followers. Watch your feed, 'Like' photos from those you are following, leave meaningful feedback and thank people who have left comments on your photos.
That’s all I have to share on Instagram for the time being. I am still in the learning process myself. I hope to hear your Instagram experience too, feel free to drop your comments below.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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See Wee Heng is a Social Media & Digital Marketer with experience in B2B + B2C Marketing & Branding. He shares his experiences as an Avid Foodie, Curious Traveller & Social Media Enthusiast on his blog: www.AspirantSG.com and interacts with over 22,000 followers daily on twitter via the handle @AspirantSG.