{12 Secrets to Instagram Success}

Instagram How-to

How to succeed on Instagram; the question everyone wants to know the answer to. By no means will this blog post make you instafamous, but I will share some helpful tips to get you over 5-10k followers pretty quickly.

Almost everyday new bloggers or friends will ask me how I grew my Instagram so fast. I don’t have a huge following, but at the beginning of the year I was only at 3k and now at a little over 15k in a short few months. It wasn’t easy and it is a TON of work, but here are my tips that could help YOU be successful on Instagram.

1. Probably the most important… Use a real camera, get a good lens and edit your photos! Don’t use those pre-set Instagram filters… VSCOcam is a great resource if you are on the go and don’t want to deal with Photoshop.

2. This is something I need to work on more. Find a theme and stick with it from the very beginning. There are a ton of Instagram feeds that have the same color scheme and it looks AMAZING. Check out these – MichelleTakeAim, OracleFoxBlog, SarahStylesSeattle, Krystin_Lee,  and MattCrump.  This takes a lot of planning and picking 1 filter to edit with every single time, but people love cohesiveness.

3.  GET CREATIVE!! This is something else I personally need to work on.    Get creative with locations, lighting, clothing, etc.  It definitely helps you stand out more. As most people say, Create a moment. Quite a few of the photos I see, even my own, look staged. It definitely isn’t easy to scout locations all the time to have that perfect setting, but it does help so your photos don’t look like generic model photos.

4. Friends and family are your best friends. If you are just starting out I recommend asking everyone in your network to support your new Instagram account.  Share it on other social media accounts and ask people to come follow you. That will get you quite a few off the bat so people will take you more seriously.

5.  HASHTAG! Hashtags are stupid… People need to chill with the hashtags… Stuff I hear everyday. When I was first starting to grow my blog and Instagram, hashtags broadened my reach. Instagrammers, including me, search for fashion related hashtags. Don’t use stupid hashtags that are obviously ridiculous.  Use relevant tags to what you are posting.  If it is fashion, use #fashion #blogger #ootd #styleblogger #whatiwore #whatimwearing, etc.

6. I have a love/hate relationship with loop giveaways. I started participating in loops in November when they were first getting big and saw a MASSIVE increase in my followers.  That is what is so appealing about them… You just throw in $20 here and there, all loop at the same time, and watch the followers come in.  Little did anyone know that you will lose 30-50% of those followers immediately after your contest ends and then they continue to drop off as time goes on.  As of now, I will probably NEVER do another loop giveaway.  I have screwed myself because I continuously lose followers everyday and loop giveaways don’t gain you the types of followers you want.  They DON’T interact…  If you are starting out, I would do a few to gain a decent following and then build the rest organically. It’s not about how many followers you have. It’s about interaction!!

There are ways to appropriately utilize giveaways.  Partner with a brand and the 2 of your accounts will give an item away.  It’s definitely not as many followers, but they are more loyal to you and the brand and will most likely stick around for a while whether they won or not.  Most brands or retailers are down to do giveaways like this because it gives them exposure and they’re giving away 1 item that isn’t extremely expensive.

7. Start collaborating with brands. Once you have a decent following more brands will want to collaborate with you and send you free items to promote.  This brings me to my next point.

8.  Get featured. The key with getting featured is to post photos with specific items in them.  I did some research to see which retailers or brands featured the most blogs and started posting more clothing from that brand.  Most features will gain you quite a few followers and they are the followers you actually want to have.

9. Once you have a following and a cohesive instagram you can apply for RewardStyle or Liketoknow.it. This is a great resource for bloggers as it is one of the only ways bloggers are making money. If you are taking amazing photos and linking everything correctly, Liketk.it will feature you on their instagram which can gain you 100-500+ followers!

10. Something that is very time consuming, but very beneficial is ENGAGING with other Instagrammers.  This takes a lot of time but it definitely exposes your Instagram to other people out there who are looking to follow bloggers. There are a few ways to go about doing this; the first being following a ton of people. I personally don’t go this route, but it does work.  If they don’t follow you back, unfollow them. I go through related photos to like and comment on them; build a relationship with that account and hope they follow me. This has worked the best.

11. And if you don’t have time to engage that much they make programs to do this for you. The most trusted is Instagress. You can set it up to follow hashtags and images tagged with those hashtags will be “liked” automatically. (It also offers auto-follow and auto-comment features, but I don’t typically use those; it can look spammy or desperate.)

12. Now that you are on a roll, find the best time to post when your fans/followers are most active. For me it’s early in the morning, around 6pm and then around 8-9pm. Weekends are slow but I try and post at least once a day.

I hope this little guide was helpful!! Please share with anyone who is looking to boost their Instagram exposure!!

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