I have been speaking about Instagram in several conferences this year.
I wrote a book how to use Instagram as your travel guide.
I have given tips on using Instagram here on Thursdays as part of Instagram Travel Thursday.
I’ve heard some people calling me the “Instagram lady.”
I take all of this with gratitude and I have gladly shared every single bit of information and tips and tricks I have learned about Instagram.
However, there is one question that I get asked more than any other question, and it’s a question I haven’t really answered yet.
“How to get more followers on Instagram?”
My question to you is – why do you want more followers?
When it comes to bloggers, we all tend to think social media is our business, and the bigger the numbers, the better the business. Many of us are willing to do almost anything to get the “numbers up” and at the same point we also have a plenty of explanations why the numbers don’t mean anything when it comes to influence. When it comes to non-bloggers – the high following numbers tend to stroke our egos, and it all goes back to feeling like in middle school and who is popular and who not.
I guess before you read any of my tips on how to get more followers on Instagram, please think to yourself for a while and ask why you want more followers. Sometimes it is much better to have a smaller community, and truly have the chance to get to know them. When the community gets too big, it tends to be much more difficult to keep up with the conversation. The larger numbers are not always better for bloggers either, especially if they are not “earned” followers.
I know several blogger friends who have bought Instagram followers, and they have several thousand followers, but rarely get any comments on their photos. Is it just me, or do you think too it sort of looks odd that you have thousands of followers, yet nobody actually wants to connect with you? I highly recommend not using desperate measures and not using your dollars for gaining Instagram followers, but focusing in community building instead.
Ways to build your community on Instagram:
– Comment on and like other people’s photos.
– Participate in themes, memes and fun activities by using specific hashtags in different communities.
– Don’t be shy!
– Be helpful and answer people when they have questions.
– Recommend people to follow and tag them in your photos.
One of the reasons why I started Instagram Travel Thursday was to connect people who are passionate about traveling. Some of the participants have gained as many as 100 new followers in one day on a Thursday that they have been participating to Instagram Travel Thursday. Some people have joined, added a few photos, and maybe even written a post once and thought it was worthless to join because they didn’t even get many new Instagram-followers.
Being part of a community means that you are active in the community.
YOU have to comment in photos and blog posts and start following great people who you find via the community.
YOU have to ask questions, answer questions to you, and welcome people to your stream.
There is absolutely nothing wrong if you want to join in, and add #IGtravelThursday hashtag to several of your travel photos you took last year, but MUCH better way to join our community is to post a photo TODAY with a comment that goes something like this “I decided to join #IGtravelthursday today, looking forward meeting new travelers around the world!”
People tend to smell miles away if you are joining a community (or hashtag) only to try to get something for you, instead of joining it to be helpful and active member of the community. You truly get as much out of the online communities as much effort you put in.
I highly recommend taking a new look at the community we have already built, and maybe there are people whom you haven’t connected with yet and you would like. It’s not a bad idea to promote our community to other travelers as well and ask them to join in. Or maybe you could promote some people in our community?
A good way to get started is to add a link to your Instagram account here and follow the users in the list.
And of course – remember to use the #IGTravelThursday hashtag for your travel photos.
Latest photos from our community:
Use correct hashtags
Many people also ask which hashtags I recommend for gaining the most followers. Simply: the relevant ones. There are lists of most popular hashtags on Instagram, like #instagood, #photooftheday or #instamood, and several new photos are posted with those hashtags by the minute or often even by the second. I did an experiment – I added several of the most popular hashtags to an old photo, and all I got was one like for the photo. One like, no new followers at all.
Tips on using hashtags:
– The trick is actually use more specific and less used hashtags. That way when people are searching for something very specific, they will find your photos even weeks afterwards. The less used hashtags are probably not going to bring you a huge amount of new followers immediately, but the people who are interested in the same specific things that you are will eventually find you.
– When it comes to travel photos, I highly recommend names of the restaurants, hotels, neighborhoods and activity related hashtags, and doing a little research how to find relevant not as popular hashtags to use.
– When you start using a new hashtag (even if it just for one day when visiting a place), like and comment to photos that already have been tagged with the hashtag. The person might be interested in reliving her memories and seeing your photos of the place too, or maybe others will find you via the comment in the photo.
– Participate to events where there is an Instagram hashtag for the event and connect with Instagram-users. Getting to know other Instagrammers face to face will be the best way to get new friends to share your photos with too.
Use Instagram more
I’m going to be honest here. I don’t have a magic trick how to gain followers (or I would probably have more). I know many amazing photographers get promoted by Instagram and that tends to be one trick to massive follower numbers. I wouldn’t count on that strategy unless your photos are incredible.
I did a lot of research about Instagram while writing my book, and I spent sometimes 3-5 hours a day on Instagram while doing the research. It really is as self-evident as it sounds, but the more time you spend on Instagram, the more followers you gain. Nowadays I don’t use as much time for Instagram, but I still check out photos and comment several times a day, and not only when I am posting a photo. I think that’s the key – don’t only broadcast, but be an active community member.
Quality vs Quantity
Numbers don’t always reflect on how good your photos are, or how liked you are. There are a lot of Instagram-users who post horrible pictures and they have hundred thousand followers who comment nasty comments on each photo. A friend of mine was actually promoted by Instagram and suddenly got a rush of new followers. She is a culinary travel blogger and suddenly all these teenage boys were following her – she in fact asked Instagram to stop promoting her because the audience that started following her wasn’t relevant to her at all and she felt so much time went into blocking people she didn’t even want to follow and comment on her photos.
Remember that social media isn’t numbers game, and the goal really isn’t to have as many friends or followers as possible. Focus more in the quality of your photos, quality of the connections and the relationships you have. I guarantee you, once you start focusing in the quality on Instagram, suddenly the quantity of people who want to be connected with you starts going up too.
Travel Massive Stockholm and IG Travel Thursday event!
Follow the #IGTravelThursday and #TravelMassive hashtags this weekend! We are hosting the first ever Travel Massive in Stockholm, and Finnish #IGTravelTursday bloggers are joining us! We are doing an Instagram walk in Stockholm this Saturday, and before that you can see our photos from the Tallink Silja Line cruise ship that we are all taking together from Helsinki to Stockholm.
Join the Instagram Travel Thursday Linky
Join us! Bloggers – add your blog post to the linky. Not a blogger? No problem. Join us at Instagram by using hashtag #igtravelthursday and share your travel photos. But sorry- no linking to Instagram images from the linky, just to blog posts. Get email sent to you when the Instagram Travel Thursday linky post is up (subscribe it here) and add your Instagram profile link in the Instagram Travel Thursday page and follow other travelers who have left their links there as well.
My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own "skimbaco," how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter as well that I sent out sometimes on Fridays.