People keep asking me, “How did you get so many followers so fast?!” or “What’s the secret to getting followers?!”
Honestly? I don’t know.
People don’t usually see the struggle behind the screen. The years of trying to figure out Instagram algorithms, which content does better, etc. And sometimes you’ll be struggling to keep your 200 followers and then you look at someone who started at the same time as you and they have over 1000 followers and have several hundred Etsy sales. It can get very disheartening. You throw a little tantrum to your husband and ask him why they are doing so much better than you, why you can’t seem to figure out all of this while it comes so easily to others.
It has taken me almost 2 years to get to my 800+ follower count, and two months ago I was barely pushing 500. Let me tell you what helped me get to where I am, and hopefully will help you too.
Taking Better Pictures
In the beginning of my Instagraming I would post, well honestly, I would post some pretty terrible pictures. Bad lighting was one of the big ones. I see some people with big lights and fancy cameras, but what I found that works for me is just using natural lighting, my phone, and a photo editing app. Let me tell you, Snapseed is amazing! Total game changer!
I take my pictures on my little cube organizer by Better Homes and Gardens I got from Walmart, right in front of a window. I’ve found that with this window, the lighting is best in the morning/early afternoon. Once the sun hits it, my picture taking for the day is over. My dad likes to think he’s a photography buff and he’s been telling me as far back as I can remember to make sure and take pictures in the shade or on a cloudy day. If you’re in the sun it can wash things out, and make it look super harsh.
Another good thing is having props in your pictures. I love mixing materials because it creates a better picture, in my opinion. I have a set of 3 wooden boxes that are different sizes, and I love using those in my pictures. I got them for under $10 at Walmart, and it was one of the best purchases I’ve made. Another thing I recently started using is a faux fur mat in my pictures. I found some of Lion Brands Faux Fur yarn for $2 a skein and used 2 of them to make a mat big enough to use in my pictures. Using your coffee cup, or plants are also good.
One thing I did from the beginning, even if I wasn’t always using the right ones, was use hashtags. Using hashtags allows people to find your posts, and you, even if they aren’t necessarily looking for you or following you. There have been a couple times when I’d accidentally forget to put them, or I put too many and then the text on the post wouldn’t show up and I’d get like 5 likes on a picture in a day.
Another good thing is taking companies or other Instagrams that like to share peoples posts. One big reason I went from 500 to 700 followers in under 2 weeks was because Yarnspirations shared one of my posts. It was so crazy, I just couldn’t believe it. I got 100 new followers in under 24 hours, and the rest in the following week. I kept telling myself that this is going to end and then people are going to unfollow me and so I shouldn’t get so excited about it, but they haven’t left yet, so I think I’m stuck with them 😉
Posting Instagram Stories
One thing that took me a loooong time to finally use was Instagram stories. I believe it’s a good way for your followers to get to know you better, and form a relationship with you. I love watching my favorite Instagrammers stories, I feel like I get a glimpse into their day and their life.
It’s also a good way to let your followers know when you posted something. Sometimes your stuff doesn’t always show up in your followers feed, so letting them know when you have a new post, or have a big sale going on, you can let them know in your stories.
Making Your Followers Feel Important
Another really big thing that you see all the really “successful” people do, is to communicate with your followers. When they comment on your post, reply! When they send you a DM, make sure and reply! It doesn’t have to be anything long and extravagant, just a quick response to let them know that you do care what they say.
This has been a bit difficult for me, being such an extreme introvert with so much social anxiety. Someone would comment on a post and I’d type out a reply and then read over it and then hate it and feel like they would judge me or read it wrong. So what I’ve been working on is to just type up a reply and post it. Overthinking things can also make you sound less genuine.
This may end up being a continuing series here on my blog, since I’m always trying to improve my Instagram. Let me know of any topics you’d like to see in the future!