Instagram Secrets: How I Doubled My Following

By Aug 5, 20165 Comments

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Are you a fan of Instagram? I think it’s my favorite form of social media because I’m such a visual person; I get so much inspiration from the things I see! At the same time, though, I’ve found it to be one of the harder places to build a follower base. Starting last November, I’ve been really intentional about putting some simple things into practice that have had a definite payoff. By March, I had doubled my following, and by the end of July it has almost doubled again! Here are the basic strategies I’m using; hopefully you can make my Instagram secrets work for your Instagram account too!

Instagram secrets that helped me double my Instagram followers twice. This post has easy tips to help you grow your following and engagement.

Instagram Secrets: How I Doubled My Following

Keep It Light And Bright

Instagram has tons of filters to choose from when we’re posting our pics, but the reality is that what viewers seem to like best are actually light, bright, unfiltered photos! There are a few tricks you can use to make your pictures just that. First, use natural lighting whenever possible.

Take your picture outdoors if the weather allows, or near an open window. Because of my hand lettering, I work with paper a lot, which helps to add large areas of white to my photos, but no matter what you’re photographing, you can use a light colored background to brighten things up.

Finally, before you post, make sure you use the editing options in the Instagram app. Personally, I tend to make both the brightness level and the highlights as high as possible without washing the photo out or distorting the colors. I also make sure to adjust the warmth because when I take photos indoors, they often end up on the warmer side. Play around with the editing tools until you get a look you’re happy with.

Stylizing Matters

Want followers? Post things they actually want to see. If I’ve learned one thing about improving my Instagram photos, it’s that taking the extra few minutes to style a photo makes all the difference in the world. Resist the temptation to just snap and post. Instead, think about what you can do easily and quickly that would make the photo more visually appealing. First, consider the background. Is there somewhere you could place whatever you’re photographing that would offer better contrast and draw the eye to your project? Are there basic props you can add to infuse color/interest?

Here are a few easy tips for styling. One trick is use a faux white or light wood background {you can find them in paper or vinyl for a decent price on Amazon, or use scrapbook paper for small projects}. Another trick is to use your supplies into a photo of a finished product. Seasonal items like candy hearts for Valentine’s Day or greenery and ornaments for Christmas add instant flair to a photo. For everyday projects, ribbon can make a great prop, as can food!

Take the time to style your Instagram photos and use props.

Separate Personal And Business

If your goal is to grow a following for your brand, blog, and/or business, it’s important to maintain a professional feel to your account. There’s nothing wrong with sharing an occasional photo of your cute kids or your pet, but the majority of your pictures should reflect what your brand is about.

My feed is a collection of hand lettering and general craftiness, which is what my followers want to see. Of course, followers enjoy connecting on a slightly more personal level sometimes, but if you can, keep your personal photos relevant to your brand too. 

Hashtag All The Things

One of the easiest ways to be “discovered” on Instagram is by using hashtags. It’s one of the most important Instagram secrets. Instagram users have certain things they’re interested in, so they browse relevant hashtags to find new images and accounts. For example, I personally love to follow the tags #shepaintstruth and #calligrabasics for daily lettering inspiration. If you use hashtags when you post, your pictures are more likely to make their way to the eyes of people who are interested in whatever you’re posting. Here are some of the tags I use, depending on the type of photo I’m posting. They may not all be relevant to you, but they’ll give you some good ideas of things to use when you share your own photos.

COFFEE-RELATED: #coffee #coffeelover #coffeetime #coffeeoclock #caffeine #coffeeotd #dailycoffee #podcult #starbucks #starbuckscoffee #coffeeart #starbuckscupart #coffeecup #coffeemug #mug #cupart

LETTERING: #handlettering #handlettered #handletteredabcs #lettering #letteringdaily #letteringpractice #letterer #letteredart #brushcalligraphy #brushpen #brushscript #brushtype #typography #doodleoftheday #doodlesofinstagram #handwriting #writing #handwritten #letterallthethings #moderncalligraphy #calligraphy #calligrabasics #calligratype #calligraphyart #calligratherapy #creatives #doodle #tombow #tombowusa #tombowpen #fudenosuke

First I Drink Coffee | Instagram Secrets: tips for growing your Instagram following

GENERAL CRAFTS: #creatives #ontheblog #craftiness #paint #art #artist #blogger #DIY #DIYBlogger #ilovetocreate #cre8time #handmade

FOOD: #food #foodie #dessert #chocolate #cake #cakesofinstagram #caramel #nomnomnom #yummly #eat #recipe #meal #tasty

Engage With Others

One of the best ways to grow a group of committed Instagram followers is to engage with them. Social media is, after all, social. If someone leaves a comment, write back and don’t forget to tag them! If you’re scrolling through a hashtag or just your feed in general, don’t be stingy with your own likes and comments.

Reach out, connect. It’s a great way to stand out from the crowd and to establish yourself as someone who relates to your followers. Don’t forget to do the same thing when it comes to brands! Tag them, comment on their posts, and always reply if a brand comments on your photos. It’s an easy way to network and make connections.

Create A Pattern

If you click on my Instagram profile, you’ll see that my feed has a very intentional pattern. My posts form a checkerboard that alternates between black and white hand lettered quotes and colored project & lifestyle photos.

Instagram Grid Pattern

It’s an easy pattern to maintain, and I like that it always looks “right.” Previously, I attempted to do two lettered pieces to every one photo, but then my feed only looked balanced every third post.

You certainly don’t have to copy the pattern I use, there are lots of ways to create your own aesthetic, based on the types of things you like to share. Maybe you want to alternate black and white photos with color ones. Or perhaps instead of a specific pattern, you might unify your photos by sticking to a similar color palette in all your photos.

Whatever you choose to unify your account, the key is to have a feed that’s visually appealing. Although your followers don’t necessarily view your whole feed on a daily basis, it’s a great way to make your account as attractive as possible to folks who are just finding you and make them choose to follow along.

What do you think? Are you already using some of these tips as you post to your Instagram account? What are your favorite Instagram secrets?

About Amy Latta

Amy, aka One Artsy Mama, is passionate about inspiring her online community by sharing honest inspiration for everyday life. On her blog you can find quick, affordable, and "do-able" projects including hand lettering, home decor, kids' crafts, jewelry, and more. Amy is the recipient of The Craftys’ 2015 “Best Craft Blogger” award, as well as being voted the top Crafty Blogger of 2015 in the SwayyEm community. Recently, she released her third e-book, A Hand Lettered New Year. Amy is a perfectionist, a recovering English teacher, a ballroom dancer, and a Starbucks addict.