Understanding a bit about Instagram can help save a load of wasted time, especially when the expected hundreds of followers do not appear. Everyone has their own reason to use Instagram, some to show off their photography skills, others to get thousands of followers and potentially make money. So let us have a look at how this app functions.
I have used the below ideas on one of my Instagrams accounts and it works a lot better than just following everyone and expecting amazing results.
Here is my account on Instagram
Types of Followers.
There are over 1 billion users on Instagram and I think maybe we could define a few groups to understand this.
- Vanity Users: Loads of selfies and about themselves
- Photographers: Showing off their work
- Amateur Photographers: Improving skills and getting acknowledgment
- The Gatherer: Getting max followers at any cost, then discard who they follow as soon as
- The Others: the odd post, having lots of followers doesn’t mean a great deal, and just enjoy just using the app
- The Poster: Posts thousands of photos of varying degrees of quality
What Followers Do We Want?
We have a choice to make, do we just want loads of followers that exist as a number for a nice ego trip or do we want followers that are interested in our work and actively comment on our posts? Personally, I prefer the second option.
How Do We Get These Followers?
If our goal is just quantity, search hashtag #follow4follow and follow 60 per hour. Lots of time and minimal skill involved. Post about 30 photos of just about anything, and follow everyone to your heart’s content. There is a maximum which is about 7000 people you can follow. When you reach that, you have to discard some of the people you follow for new one ones. Not a very nice way to use this app although it is common.
If our goal is quality, we will want followers who will become loyal, look and comment on our posts and become remote friends all over the world. So how do we get these types of followers?
Firstly: Posting a photo and expecting it to float around Instagram getting loads of ‘likes’ and getting you followers is unlikely. The speed of which photos are posted globally, within a few minutes it disappears into the depths of the Instagram universe. We need to actively find people with similar interests, look at their photos, like some and hope they return the favor.
Typically, the user will be using a mobile phone with a small screen, compared to a laptop. So taking an amazing panoramic with lots of objects in the photo may not be appropriate. Seeing all this on a tiny screen could seem cluttered. The exception could be a nice skyline with a beach that clearly divides the image. Take photos that look good small, a clear object and easy to look at.
Have an idea for a theme. This could be macro, seascapes, landscapes, nature, animals, fashion or just about any subject you can think of. Sticking with a theme avoids an Instagram account just looking like pics of this and that with no order. Styling the photos can often add to the feel or mood of the account.
The maximum amount allowed is 30. The balance between oversubscribed and undersubscribed hashtags is difficult. If a photo has a hashtag like #girls, it will fall into a category of tens of millions and disappear fast. An example could be: A photo of a daisy: #daisy #whitedaisy #flowers #nature #photography #plants etc. Using hashtags like #follow4follow, in my opinion, devalues an account.
Liking and Following.
My advice is to get followers that have a similar interest in your account. If your account is based on landscapes then there is little value in having a following who is completely in love with boats. Firstly, look at the number of people they follow, generally, if they follow 150 people and 15000 followers it is very unlikely your account will exist to them. The opposite is worth not following as well. If users are following the maximum allowed (approx 7000), then you will get dropped in favor of better followers. I find the better followers have numbers that are fairly close. Followers to following and actively engage in responding to comments.
Another piece of advice is to respond to comments, show you are real and value their opinion. When they post, make a point of liking and commenting on their photo, if it is worthy.
Why Do I Get Unfollowed?
There is a huge audience led my numbers, specifically the number of followers they have. The accounts may be good or contain a load of general pics, there is no difference to this type of user. It is about the numbers. They will follow 60 people per hour, then unfollow those do not follow back. Over time they will have a lot of followers, more quantity than quality.
Comments on Post.
A little story behind the post, location, camera or even a quote from something that has a meaning. some people read these, some do not.
Getting Your Picture Seen?
Relying on hashtags alone will do not do this. Find people with a similar subject, look then like some of their images, leave some comments, show you are real and the likes and followers will appear.
How Often to Post?
Posting 20 pictures in 10 minutes is annoying to your followers. Spread them out over time. Let the system digest them. 2 or 3 a day is more than ample per day. Then show off your photos by finding new followers.
There is no quick route to getting followers that are loyal and engaging. It takes time. Give people an account they enjoy looking, clear, nice photos and be engaging to your followers. Look for like-minded people to follow and they will follow back. Don’t fall into the trap ‘Its about the numbers’. It is not. Put the effort into your account and the followers will come and even better, stay.
- Get a theme, and stick to it. Open another account if want another theme.
- Take photos that look good on mobile phone-sized screens.
- Engage with followers. Respond to comments and like there pictures.
- Search out new followers that have similar topics to yours.
- Be selective on hashtags and avoid the ‘follow4follow’ type tags.
- Don’t overpost. Slow down, there is no hurry.
- Don’t follow someone just because they follow you.
- Don’t be led by the number of followers you have. Quality, not Quantity.
One last TIP.
There are apps out there that can track your followers. As in who left, new followers, who are not following back etc. I seriously recommend one ok. Following 7000 people for 1000 followers can be a huge waste of time, especially when liking pictures.
Personally, I use an app called: Followers for Instagram.