How do I get more followers? It’s the question on just about every IGer’s lips. Let me tell you how I increased my followers by almost fifty percent (50%) in one weekend.
My Instagram account was stalled at about 800 followers for a couple months. I’d get a few new followers here and there. Maybe several in a day. But usually in single digits. Then I found a way to grow my IG account by leaps and bounds, gaining nearly 400 new followers in one December weekend.
Did I buy followers? Install an auto-follow app? No and no. I grew my followers organically by joining supportive communities of like-minded individuals with similar passions and interests. I found and followed them individually, one by one. It’s called an author follow loop.
A little back story:
Find A Supportive On-Line Community
I joined Instagram last February. As an IG newbie, I knew I could use all the help I could get. So in June I joined an interactive, supportive community of Instagram Over 50. We communicate via Facebook and follow and support each other on Instagram. I learned tons! My followers grew. But it was still more or less a trickle.
Do Your Homework
I also did my homework. I studied up on the most effective hashtag in my areas of interest. Read tons of articles on how to navigate IG and get noticed. Researched the best times to post, etc.
It suddenly struck me one day – duh – that I had all my eggs in the proverbial one basket. I spent so much time focusing on the “Over 50” IG demographic that I’d forgotten or neglected my other interests. I also found that trying to come up with interesting pics of myself was getting harder and harder.
Well. After six months of consistent participation in daily threads promoting likes and comments in our Over 50 group, I still had around 800 followers. My account was growing, but with the alacrity of a three-toed sloth. The group is vibrant, but small. It’s reach just isn’t broad enough. Unless I wanted to wait until the 12th of Never to grow my account substantially, I had to sail into other seas.
Follow Your Heart
I’ve been a professional writer since the 1980s. I’ve published more than two dozen books and countless articles, essays, commentaries, travelogues and short stories. Writing and reading are two lifelong passions. But when it came to IG, I kind of got lost in #ootd and #fashionista and #over50. Mildly interesting. But not really my primary passion.
So I re-tooled. Plugged back into my heart: Writing and reading.
I joined an author follow loop on a Saturday night. I was expecting a handful of followers. By Sunday morning, however, my feed had exploded with new followers!
Join a Community
My account, which had been stalled at around 800 followers, blew past 1,000 followers in a matter of hours. And kept growing. I connected with so many new friends, I could barely keep up! By focusing on my passion – writing – and connecting with fellow authors, I gained more followers in one weekend than I had in the last two months combined!
Here’s what worked for me in getting new followers:
- Find and focus on your passion.
- Post interesting content.
- It’s Not. About. You. It’s about your audience. What are they interested in? How can you provide content that ‘fills the bill’?
- Clean up your profile. Make it simple and to-the-point.
- Search out like-minded individuals and research related hash tags.
- Like and Comment often. As in, every day.
- Try to post when you have time to respond to comments immediately.
- Be patient.
- Unfollow people who haven’t followed you back after a reasonable length of time.
- Engage, engage, engage.
What I Learned Along the Way:
- The two main ingredients needed to gain authentic IG followers? 1) Time and 2) Effort. It’s not automatic. Growing your account takes work.
- Be yourself, not a carbon copy of some uber account.
- Don’t do knee-jerk follow backs. I look at every single new follower. Read their profile. View their feed before deciding whether or not to follow back.
- Dump creepy dudes who think IG is a dating site. Most of them bail when I don’t follow back or respond to their DMs. Those who can’t or won’t take a hint get blocked.
- Lose the #over50 hashtag. It’s a creepy dude magnet. See above.
- Following is a privilege, not a right. I chose not to let someone plaster my feed with objectionable or offensive content. When that happens it’s hasta la vista, baby!
- I don’t have the teensiest interest in following accounts whose sole focus is the latest party dress or wrap, lip color or eye cream. Another topic I find tiresome and tedious are endless calls to “self care.” And yoga. Ditto those accounts that are always trying to sell me something.
- Accounts whose sole focus is health/fitness/nutrition seem the most likely to follow to boost their numbers and then unfollow shortly thereafter.
- Don’t obsess about numbers. Followers may be an indicator of… something. But they’re not the be all and end all. Building community and relationships are.
Find and Focus on Smaller Accounts
I also found that mega accounts with thousands of followers often ignore smaller accounts that are struggling to find an audience and grow. Huge accounts typically could care less if you follow them or not. So instead of following the megas, I concentrated on seeking out and following smaller accounts with 2,000 followers or less. They were much more likely to reciprocate than the mega uber accounts.
- Resist the temptation to see followers as mere stats or graphs on a bar chart. They’re Real People with goals, dreams, and aspirations. Treat them with respect and dignity.
- Following just to boost your numbers only to unfollow later is really lame. It also makes you look like a self-centered clod. Don’t go there.
- Be kind to your IG community. The Golden Rule applies.
That’s pretty much how I grew my account by nearly 50% in one weekend and finally leapt into four digit territory. What’s worked for you?