How To Grow Your Instagram Followers And Likes

By Aug 21, 2014August 8th, 201934 Comments

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When I got my first smartphone a few years ago, one of the first things I did – before I even left the parking lot – was to install Instagram. I was so excited! All social media platforms are unique, and I was looking forward to seeing what Instagram would add to my online experience, and to my blogging life. This was yet another way for me to express myself as a blogger, a photographer, and someone looking to build their brand.

Instagram tips to help you get more likes and grow your followers.

How To Grow Your Instagram Followers And Likes

Why should you be on Instagram? There are many wonderful reasons. It’s a place where you can connect and engage without writing whole blog posts. Lately it seems like everyone is on Instagram as it is such a fast growing social media platform! It also has no algorithm, like Facebook, so all accounts are created equally.

Instagram is warm and welcoming and a fun place to communicate!

Who does well on Instagram, for the most part? It’s a good place for celebrities, good photographers, visual storytellers, Etsy sellers, and people with a consistent style. There are many ways you can learn to do well on Instagram too! There is room for all of us to tell our unique stories.

You don’t need to be a photographer or a celebrity to increase your Instagram followers and likes. With consistent posting and these five tips, you can be well on your way to having a beneficial Instagram experience:

1) Learn proven ways to connect and build community.

I like to think of the who, what, where, when and why of connecting with other Instagram users. You have to make yourself visible. Leave lots of comments and participate in photo challenges. I learned from an Instagram expert to leave witty comments on like-minded accounts. While I agree with this tip, not everyone connects by being witty. You can benefit as much by leaving genuine comments on like-minded Instagram accounts – whether they be sweet or funny or even hungry. (People post a lot of delicious food photos on Instagram) Be inspiring. Be yourself.

You can also do a giveaway – and partner with users who have larger followings. This can increase your visibility greatly.

I love to utilize SITS Girls linkups! When there’s an Instagram linkup thread on Facebook, I will add my link and follow at least the suggested number of people to follow. I will usually introduce myself and use the #SITSBlogging hashtag to let them know how I found them.

It’s helpful to use hashtags, tags and geotagging. Hashtags are important! Use popular ones that you see trending within your own niche and community, or create your own and promote it as much as you can. Use interesting hashtags, but not too many at once.

Instagram will also let you tag other users as one of their goals to make it easier to share and discover photos.

Geotagging photos can be useful because Instagram users are interested in photos from locations that they know. When you post geotagged photos, Instagram will bring up other photos from your location and others posting photos from there may see them. You can also use Instameet to find Instagram meet-ups happening in your city or area!

Consider having a call-to-action on your Instagram posts, such as a request to share a story in the comments, or double-tap a photo. Or ask your followers questions! Use the photo captions to get more comments.

Always respond to comments and questions on your own photos. This is important etiquette on any social media platform. Your followers are more likely to interact when they see you taking the time to answer questions properly and respond to comments.

Lastly, follow people! You can use the tool within your Instagram profile to find your contacts or Facebook friends who are already using Instagram. You can follow the users that Instagram suggests. You can find people through the #SITSBlogging hashtag, and other micro communities in which you are interested. There are also Instagram linkups on blogs you may follow.

2) Promote Yourself on Instagram!

When you are posting a photo or video on Instagram, check off the options to share the post on Facebook and Twitter. Many times, I have gotten followers this way, and have also followed people I already liked or followed on Facebook, Twitter, or their blogs.

There are also plug-ins you can install on your blog that will show a gallery of your Instagram account, or even a current, as-it-is-happening feed of what you post on Instagram. You can put a follow button for Instagram on your blog or website to attract new followers. I also like to write about Instagram on my blog occasionally, and I always make sure to put the link to my Instagram profile in my posts too. Sometimes a new reader or even a current one will see it and follow right then.

The best ways to promote yourself can be through the channels in which you already have existing followers, whether that be Facebook, Twitter, your blog or website, or even email signatures and newsletters.

3) High Quality Content is Key on Instagram!

One of the most important, if not THE most important tip for gaining Instagram followers and likes, is to use interesting and unique photos to set yourself apart. This is your chance to offer exclusive content and your own views and angles! A good photo does not have to be perfect to tell a story and connect with your audience, but quality can be important.

Try to take photos that will resonate with your target audience. If your audience can connect with your images and captions, they are more likely to follow you and “like” your photos.

An interesting and genuine caption can turn a good photo into a great one. Captions can grab followers’ attention.

Sometimes it helps to look at your profile as a whole, and see how your photos look together. People’s eyes are drawn to white, so try to use a white background sometimes. Black & white photos get a lot of likes, as well as oddly cropped photos, instead of perfectly centered subjects. Try taking photos of special details up close, like decorations at a party.

You’ll want to space out the timing of your photos, and use editing software and apps, which brings us to my next two points.

4) Make Good Use of Apps and Tools for Instagram.

First, Instagram’s recent update added a lot of new filters and controls. I love to edit my photos right there in the program before sharing. You can also get other photo editing apps like Snapseed, Camera+, VSCO Cam, Photo Editor, Afterlight, Bokehful, Overgram and many more.

Besides editing, there are many useful apps and tools to help you connect with other Instagram users:

  • Iconosquare is the world’s leading analytics and marketing suite for Instagram.
  • Repost will enable you post other user’s photos.
  • ScheduGram helps with web uploading, scheduling, and supporting more than one account.
  • With Flipagram, you can create video stories using music and your Instagram photos.
  • SnapWidget allows you to embed photo galleries in your blogs and websites.
  • Kapwing has a suite of completely free tools including an Instagram Story template collection, a video subtitler, an easy resize tool, and a slideshow maker.
  • Instafollowers helps you to keep track of new followers, unfollowers, inactive users, and people who are not following you back.

5) Don’t Turn People Off!

Another important way to increase your Instagram followers and likes, rather than decrease, is to follow Instagram etiquette.

Limit “selfies” whenever possible. I like to post one every now and then, but I wouldn’t want selfies to dominate my Instagram feed. It can come across as narcissistic or repetitive.

DO spread out your content, and post at good times. Instagram is incredibly popular and is updating constantly. If you want people to see your photos, you need to post them at good times – such as during the morning or after weekday work hours. Photos typically last around four hours on a person’s feed so if you post in the middle of the night, your followers might never see your posts.

DON’T dump all of your photos into your feed at once!

DON’T post unappealing photos of food, like with flash in a dark restaurant or with slimy looking foods. When I was pregnant, I couldn’t even look at food photos, much less ugly ones. White plates, natural or ample light, ice cream cones, or other attractive foods will get more likes.

DON’T post too many memes.

DON’T use every pic to promote your blog posts.

DON’T do too many reposts of giveaways or product mentions.

DON’T post too many photos of the same thing.

DO have fun and be yourself.

Instagram can be very rewarding if you just put some thought, heart and strategy into it. Enjoy! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions. Instagram is definitely a place to grow.

Keep Reading

Looking for more tips to help you grow your presence on Instagram? Here are a few posts you’ll find helpful:

About Tamara Bowman

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a writer/blogger and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter and son in glorious western Massachusetts. She spends her spare time looking for moose, taking pictures of her kids, and maybe – just maybe – teaching them about photography. She can be found on Facebook @Tamara Camera Photography, Twitter @TamaraCamPhoto , Instagram @TamaraCameraPhoto , and Pinterest @Tamara Camera Photography & Blog and on her blog @Tamara Camera Blog.


  • thanks ya’ll! Any advice on having to start a 2nd acct? my demographic for the past 5 years have been senior girls & that instagram is fine. recently had a little dude of my own, and wanted to be a part of the (hey-look-i-am-a-cool) mom culture. but didn’t want to lose the current following so i started a new one, to go with the blog for it… was this dumb? My seniors see me as “edgy” i don’t want to “milk that down”…

  • Iris says:

    Instagram is probably my favourite social network. I just love how you can say a lot with a picture with a nice filter. I’ve also recently started doing a bit of ‘micro blogging’ to accompany some pictures, rather than just a one-line caption. Giving a bit of insight really seems to increase interaction and likes. Also definitely agree with don’t dump all your pictures at once. If people post more than 3 pictures at the same time of the same subject I tend to unfollow them.

  • Melissa says:

    Some great tips here. I need to put more effort into my instagram. I will definitely be using you advice.

  • Erica Brooks says:

    Good tips. I have been growing my account slow and steady using the tips you’ve mentioned above. I find that commenting and being mindful to choose like minded individuals has been effective for me. Instead of worrying about the quantity of followers I focus on quality and taking time out to get to know everyone I follow by liking and commenting on their posts.

  • I like Instagram. It’s a bit of a firehose after you follow a few hundred people, though.

    I’m curious if you took out people in the entertainment industry and took out attractive people, what the numbers would look like. Anyone I’ve seen with lots of followers is usually one of those two. I think the only ones I follow that aren’t are food only accounts.

    I never have inspiration for photos so more than anything I just comment on others’.

    • Tamara says:

      It’s so true – it’s very hard to see everything if you have a lot of followers. I remember when I could go through 24 hours or so of my feed.. in only minutes!
      There are definitely some tips and tricks that people follow to get a lot of followers. Either way, it takes work! Unless you’re of the above types you mentioned!

  • Kirsten says:

    Great tips!! I got to 52K on Instagram organically, by doing most of these things. And now every week I get 20 or more people asking me to give them a shout out on my feed so they can get more followers. I’m just going to start replying to them with a link to this piece.

    Even though I really want to help people, I can’t do what they’re asking and be loyal to the following I have gained, but these tips are genuinely spot on if you do follow them. It’s great advice.

    • Tamara says:

      Wow! You are a superstar. And now you have one new follower – me.
      It’s hard to do it all. And I agree that I just want to help people in every walk of life that I have a lot of experience with.
      I still have a lot of work to do with my own profile – onward and upward!

  • hinaismail says:

    I like this and thanks for this share post your site is so awesome…

  • Gary Kerr says:

    Good advice. Instagram is an amazing tool.It works really well.I will definitely try out the tips that you have mentioned to attract more traffic and more followers.Great points must to follow. Thanks for sharing this useful tips.

    • Tamara says:

      Thank you! I find it to be very amazing. It’s warm and welcoming and supportive and I love visual storytelling.

  • Great tips, I will take to heart to some of the good advice given…thanks!

  • Jamie G says:

    That is SO true about food post. I’m guilty of posting drinks every once in a while in dark light, but sometimes they’re just too pretty not to post!

    • Tamara says:

      Well sometimes that’s all you have! This is just based on research that people don’t like that. Personally I’d say if it’s down to not taking it at all, or taking it in low light, take the photo!

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  • Elizabeth says:

    Tamara, I must admit that even though I have an instagram account, I don’t use it! I have gotten the knack, and need to learn more about tagging and geotagging! I think a picture is worth a thousand words so it is a great platform. Thanks for giving me a little more information so I can get started!

    • Tamara says:

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I think that’s the case with many people. It’s another social media account to learn and master.
      It’s totally fun, though, and you’re so right – a picture is worth a thousand words. I love visual storytelling.

  • Vanessa says:

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • GREAT tips! I have been on instagram for a few months and definitely found it to be overwhelming in the beginning. But, I am getting used to it slowly but surely. Will incorporate some of these. Thanks for sharing.

    Thrifting Diva

    • Tamara says:

      That’s awesome that you’re getting used to it slowly and surely. Once I really got the hang of it, it became a lot more fun!

  • I love Instagram, partly because I think it’s a great tool to advertise my blog and partly because I LOVE taking foodie pics! I wonder though how many of my followers actually jump on over to my actual Blog???

    • Tamara says:

      I wonder that too. There has to be some analytics that would show it! I know I’ve visited blogs based on Intagram posts so there’s that.

  • Such an awesome post! I see titles like these all the time and rarely click on them anymore because they are always full of the same basic general ideas that we’ve all heard a million times. But some of the things you listed are awesome new ideas for me..especially some of the resources listed! Thanks so much for this one, definitely sharing!

    • Tamara says:

      Thank you so much! That makes me smile. I really wanted to put REAL info in there so I did a lot of thorough research to see what seems to work for people.

  • Great tips! I just wish I had the time to keep up with Instagram these days! I definitely think participating in challenges is a great way to meet like minded people and definitely commenting, just like on blogs, is a great way to gain followers. Thank you for telling people not to take too many selfies ;). You might know that I hate selfies.

    • Tamara says:

      ha! I like the occasional selfie myself, but for me, that’s the one that says, “You know that person usually taking every photo? Yes. That’s me. Here’s what I look like!”
      I have friends who post a ton of selfies a day of themselves in seductive poses. I have to wonder what that says. And these are married people too!

  • Jennifer says:

    Such simple, yet great tips! I have been working on liking just a few new profiles a day and have seen a lot of success in getting follow-backs from like-minded people.


    • Tamara says:

      That is a great idea! I like to do that too, although I forget to do it daily. I think it’s important. I do that with twitter too.

  • Limeade Gal says:

    Great information and App resources, thank you.
    By the way, love following you on Instagram :), enjoy the kitty updates!

    • Tamara says:

      Thank you so much! I’m so not a cat person so of course when I found myself filling my own feed with kitten photos, I asked myself, “Who ARE you?”
      They’re just so photogenic! And weird.

  • karen says:

    Love these tips! Ever since I started my blog, I changed how I post to Instagram. I make sure each photo is edited and thoughtful.