How to get more followers on Instagram
It’s all about giving your profile a theme and sticking to it
Instagram is a popularity contest. A way to express yourself and build up an army of followers.
To the uninitiated it can be a mystery what hashtags to use, what time of day to post, getting the right pose and how to keep all of your followers happy.
We asked successful fashion bloggers, models and photographers with thousands of fans about how they built up their profiles and how you can do the same.
Ellie Rees – Fashion blogger. 13,000 followers
Ellie Rees has nearly 13,000 Instagram followers, so she knows what she’s talking about. The UCLan third year has even been listed as one of Lucy Watson’s favourite fashion bloggers.
Her advice is to control the overall aesthetic of your profile, post three to four times a day and keep things consistent with your photos.
Ellie said: “It depends on the season. During the summer I tend to have a lot of bright colourful images. In winter it’s quite Christmassy with pops of greens and reds. Then for autumn I try and match my Instagram with oranges, browns and beiges.
“I always make sure there is a consistency with my images with at least the first 13 images as that is what another Instagram user sees for the first time going on your page. At the moment I’m going for a minimalistic theme so I’ve got a lot of white in my images.”
Some people overuse them, but they’re often neglected too. Ellie’s advice is to embrace the hashtags but always be cautious.
“Personally I think they are a must, but it does depend what you’re sharing. As a lot of my posts are fashion related I use #fashionblogger #fblogger #ootd (outfit of the day) #wiwt (what I’m wearing today) #FWIS (from where I stand).”
She added: “Hash tagging brands and tagging brands in images is also important as it means they are more likely to see it and regram – getting you a wider audience.”
Ellie’s golden advice is to make sure you post something early in the morning to catch people waking up and checking their feed.
She added: “The middle of the day is a no go for myself unless it’s a weekend as people are always out doing something. Any time between six and ten tends to be peak time for myself. Sundays are also a winner, especially if the weather isn’t so good- social media activity is always heavy.”
“Keeping my following number up is the most frustrating thing when it comes to Instagram. If you post something people don’t like they’ll hit the unfollow button straight away.
“I tend to loose 10-15 followers a day but then a gain a lot more so its just trying to keep a steady balance and not getting annoyed by it.”
Amelia Perrin – Journalist. 7,000 followers
Amelia Perrin has over 7,000 followers and usually gets a few hundreds likes on each photo she posts.
Her first piece of advice is to connect your Instagram to other social media accounts so photos come up there too. But unusually, Amelia doesn’t use hashtags on her photos and describes her overall Instagram style as “girl doing things”.
She said: “I don’t use hashtags they’re embarrassing. When people are like #tagsforlikes I’m like, are you literally doing this to get 8 likes on a blurry photo of a doughnut. They probably do help, it’s if you want absolute randomers all over the world do like your photos I guess.
“Some people say you should post about 9pm or evenings on the weekends, but I just post whenever I take it. It’s weird to post what you had for lunch at night time.”
Like most people, Amelia’s followers fluctuate up and down all the time.
She said: “I can gain 20 followers and still have the same number of followers. About 20-50 people unfollow me overnight usually. Rude.
“I go for quality over quantity. If people really like what I post and want to follow me they can wait until I next post something.”
Stephi LaReine – Fashion blogger. 30,000 followers
Top fashion blogger Stephi LeReine has got over 30,000 Instagram followers and keeps her profile fresh by using lots of colour and never posting the same photo twice.
She said: “Each Instagram account has its own theme, and sometimes you may not even notice it.
“I personally adore colour, but thats part of my identity and something I enjoy working with from an artistic perspective, so all my images are always brimming with colour and atmosphere. No two photos generally look the same but I think it keeps it fresh.”
Stephi says there’s no right or wrong answer for when you should post photos, but early morning when people are getting up is a peak time.
“Hashtags are highly underrated, it’s frequently frowned upon and can look a little cheesey but they’re amazing at helping you spread your wings on Instagram and be discovered.”
She added: “Instagram have just minimised their text with a button to ‘read more’ so if you really want to go to town with hashtags theyre nicely tucked away instead of looking spammy.
“Also as a blogger I frequently use #fblogger to keep others in the loop but also to scroll through Hashtag images to their relevance and also get involved in brands own hashtags to be featured in their regrams.
“Sometimes you can gain a hundred or lose a hundred, it totally baffles me why it does that. You do sometimes feel the pressure to keep improving but thats a wonderful trait to have as someone that believes in endless possibilities.
“I literally spend in total less than 20 minutes per day on my Instagram that would include posting a photo, tagging, hashtagging, liking others and exploring I don’t waste time and work quickly.”
Sam Hudson – Photographer. 30,000 followers
Taking photos from his year abroad in Italy, nature photographer Sam Hudson appeared on Instagram’s feature page – who only pick the very best pictures.
Sam said: “You’ve got to be active. It’s essential to know what type of photos you want to post, whether that be landscapes, selfies, lifestyle shots or fashion.
“Having a consistent aesthetic on Instagram is one of the most important factors. The first nine shots you have are the first things people see when they look at your account, so it’s essential that these nine photos are able to sum up your aesthetic and the type of photos you take.
“If, for example, like me you post only nature shots and then one day you stick in a photo of your name spelled wrong on a Starbucks coffee, the consistency of your feed is damaged.”
Sam added: “Some people swear by only posting at 6pm, but I believe if it’s a good photo you can post it at any time and it can have success.
“As a nature photographer, I’m always looking for great natural light or dynamic weather like fog, storms or impressive sunsets with lots of colours.
“I always try to post a photo that draws the audience in, whether that be with leading lines, a interestingly placed object or simply a landscape of outstanding beauty.
“I use hashtags to try and get my photos featured on feature pages, as this only increases my follower count and my interaction with the community.
“I would say I spend maybe 2 hours a day on Instagram. Most of this time I spend replying to comments and new followers, and commenting on other peoples’ shots. The more you comment on other peoples’ photos offering advice or praise, the more success you will receive for your own work. Instagram rewards active members on the app.”
Lexi Harvey – Lifestyle blogger. 10,000 followers
Lexi Harvey used to have 600 followers, but this shot up to more than 10,000 when she started giving her photos brutally honest captions.
She admitted: “I don’t really do hashtags, although if you post a bikini photo and tag it #bikini you’ll definitely get a few more likes. I’d say never use more than three, and the #like4like type things are super desperate so avoid them like the plague.
“I tend to only post photos with myself in them – although recently I’ve been promoting my blog a little too – so I guess that’s my aesthetic.
“Some people post food, some DIY, some makeup – I just post me, on nights out, with friends.
“My only rules is that I’m in most of the photos and that I post at least once a week. I should probably up that now I have so many followers though.”