Instagram has been one of the most powerful tools we have used to build our California + Destination Wedding Photography business. On average, we get 3-5 wedding inquiries a month from brides that found us on the platform. And it cost us ZERO dollars to get their attention! All that was required was time and engagement.
This morning we were pretty excited to see that our Instagram account had tipped over the 10k mark.
The Instagram community is full of so many talented dreamers, freedom thinkers, and artisans. After nearly two years of networking, liking and sharing – we have over 10,000 people that believe in us.
Our hearts are truly full.
With a solid Instagram strategy, and a little hustle, you can grow your account just like we did. Today we are sharing the exact strategies we used to grow our Instagram audience to over 10,000 followers.
#1 Optimize Your Instagram Profile
Your Instagram profile is the first piece of real estate that a potential follower sees.Making a good first impression is key to gaining new Instagram followers. Click To Tweet
It’s super important to optimize the profile space to its maximum potential. There are 4 main components to an Instagram profile :
- Profile Photo
- Instagram Bio
- Website Url
Learn how to attract your dream followers with a killer Instagram profile that stands out and converts in this post here.
#2 Develop Your Instagram Feed Aesthetic
Instagram is a visual platform, therefore your photos need to be top notch. No exceptions. With iPhones pretty much being the norm, it honestly blows our mind when an ugly photo pops up in our feed. How is that even possible!? That to us, and most everyone else, communicates laziness. #sorrynotsorry
If you want to capture your audience’s attention and turn them into raving fans, then you have to blow them away and make them stop scrolling.Your images must encourage people to check out your entire feed and become interested in what it is you are saying. Click To Tweet
Think of your Instagram feed as a 9 image grid. You have nine changes to make someone like and follow you! If you think about your favorite feeds to follow, the emulate a certain feel or vibe to them with the images they share.
Some accounts that do this really well are @studiodiy (left), @songofstyle (middle) @juliahengel (right).
The key to an Instagram feed is the balance of color, and space.
Try to keep the color as uniform as possible. The trick to doing this is to stick to one filter. Editing your photos in the same way each time will make them flow better.
For a seamless flow, you need space. Whether that be white space, or the main focus of the photo being closer or farther away. Think of space like zoom on a camera – you need a balance of tight and wide photos to make it look most appealing.
#3 Use Hashtags
If you’ve heard about the new algorithm changes, then chances are you know it’s getting a lot harder to master Instagram. Now more than ever, it’s absolutely vital to maintain engagement on your feed.Engagement is the key to success on Instagram. Click To Tweet
This is where hashtags come in.
Hashtags are your like your best friend. You need them for support.
You’re currently allotted up to 30 hashtags on a photo. USE THEM ALL. These are your keywords. People will use these words to type in the search field and find relevant photos or accounts to follow.
Struggling to know which hashtags to use? Read our hashtag strategy post to answer all your questions.
#4 Tell A Visual Story
You’re the only person who knows what actually went into taking that photo. Share with people the story behind it. Where was it taken? How does it make you feel? What is happening in the photo? Make us connect to the image and pull at our heart strings.
You need to be relatable. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, and study how they communicate. Research your ideal client and learn what they are interested in. It’s ok to have a one liner every once in a while, but try to go deeper.
#5 Plan Ahead
In order to post everyday, you need to plan ahead. We recommend creating a social media calendar to help you become more consistent with Instagram. When planning out your content, leave room for change. Sometimes you might go to a really cool coffee shop mid week and want to post a photo of your cappuccino. If all of your posts are scheduled already, you won’t be able to.
#6 Tag Brands
Tagging brands and vendors in your photos is essential to building your Instagram following quickly. Not only will it notify the people you tagged, but also expand the reach of your photo. Chances are, the person you tagged will want to re-share the photo on their feed and tag YOU back! This will result in even more exposure and credibility for your business.
We’ve had photos liked by Kate Spade, Tilly’s and pretty much every donut and coffee shop we’ve visited.
#7 Use Geotags
A geo tag is like a check in on Facebook. If you have a physical location for your business, then you must set it up as a custom location and tag it in each post. If your business is worldwide, then use the location that you took the photo in or the city you want to attract customers from. According to Simply measured, Instagram posts that feature a location see a 50% higher engagement rate.
#8 Use Call To Actions
Ask something and they will answer. Create conversations and a highly engaged audience. People want to join in and feel like they are part of the discussion.
Think about what your audience might respond to. By asking questions, it shows that you care about your audience, and they aren’t just numbers.
If you’re afraid your question will be met with crickets, don’t be. If you want to build a following, you have to get over that fear. More people are likely to double tab (heart) your photo than they are to comment. Change their behavior by posting a question at the end of every caption. Whether they reply or not, they will always have the option to. The easier the question is to answer, the higher response you will get.
#9 Reply To Comments
We’ll admit, as you gain more followers, it becomes harder to reply to each comment. Often times people leave comments that are empty such as “nice” or “cool” and it doesn’t feel worth our time to reply. Even worse, it could be an automatic bot that leaves these comments.
However, it IS worth your time, only because they took the time to write it, and therefore you should reciprocate. If it was a bot that left the comment, you still will notify the person that left the comment forcing them to take a peek at your Instagram feed.
Unless you have thousands of comments on each photo, there really isn’t an excuse why you can’t spend a few minutes writing thank you. Be social! Respond to comments to keep the conversation going. Visit your followers accounts and engage with their posts too .
#10 Post Every Day
You don’t have to post to Instagram every hour, but definitely everyday if you want to stay relevant. Consistency is what will propel you forward. If you post too much, you will saturate your followers feeds and annoy them. Track your engagement to see your optimism posting days and times. We tend to have the most engagement after 10pm because a lot of our followers are on the opposite side of the world as us. Crazy, right!?
People want to know that you are reliable, and can count on content from you. It keeps you relevant. Many of us give up before we see results, but we promise if you keep going, you will gain momentum.
You won’t grow ANY social media platform if you don’t show up like it’s your boring 9-5 job. HUSTLE.
If you don’t have a solid Instagram strategy to follow, it can get messy and overwhelming trying to grow your account.
That’s why we’ve created the #InstauthorityChallenge, a FREE step-by-step email course that teaches you how to build a solid foundation and grow your Instagram in just 7 days.
If you want to grow your Instagram in 2017, it’s time to start planning NOW. You can REGISTER here and get started today!