I thought I would take a side step from writing about our trip this week and talk about how to get more followers on Instagram. I’ve been using Instagram as my business/photography account exclusively for the last six months. Before that I was just using it as my personal account and hovered around 100 followers in about 2 years. Do you use Instagram for personal or business?
Anyway, with the decline of Facebook due to businesses having to pay to promote their posts so that more than 5% of their followers actually see them, Instagram is like a breath of fresh air. Big companies like Nike, Victoria Secret and most celebrities know what an awesome marketing tool it is and if you are a photographer it is an awesome free way to promote your work. Free for now, that is! Hopefully the owners of Facebook won’t ruin it like they did Facebook as I have noticed in the last two weeks sponsored McDonalds ads popping up every now and then and its really funny to read the comments that people are writing on there. Clearly people aren’t happy about this so hopefully they will get the message! So lets begin:
1. The Square Crop
If you’re a photographer, its important that you go for the square crop. I know its difficult and some photos just don’t fit into a square crop but trust me you need to do it. After recently being added as a moderator over @amazing_australia_ I have realised how important this is because they won’t feature any photos on there page that aren’t a square crop. So get cropping.
2. Photography Hubs
While we are on the subject of hubs, you may be wondering what is a hub?. Hubs are photography groups that will share your picture if they think it is good enough. There are hundreds of hubs in instagram land. Some of the big ones are @wonderful_places with 2.7 million followers, @beautifuldestinations with 2.6 millions followers and @bestvacations with 2.4 million followers and another good one is @seeaustralia with 953K followers. Of course you have to be pretty lucky to get featured on those big ones but there are tonnes of smaller ones that will feature you like my group @amazing_australia_ , @worldshotz, @earth_expo, @jaw_dropping_shots etc. All you need to do is hashtag those hubs when you upload your pic for a chance to be featured.
And of course the all important #hashtag. This really confused me for a long time I embarrassed to say! You are allowed to put 30 hashtags on each pic. Hash tags are like a search engine. If I hasthag my pic #brisbane and someone is searching for pictures of brisbane then my picture along with with every other picture that has been hash tagged with #brisbane will come up. The other side of hashtags is so you can be featured as i talked about above. Photography hubs have there own hashtag that people can use which give these hubs permission to feature your picture which is what we all want! So make sure you use up all your hashtags. Another sneaky way for more people/hubs to see your work is to delete your hashtags after a week or two and add new ones but I am too lazy to do that! 🙂
4. Regular posts
Instagram is a very interactive social media application and I have noticed that if you go quiet on there, then you will lose followers. Its different to Facebook in that way. So you have to be consistent with posting content and being an active member of the instagram community. I post a picture 6 days a week whereas I only post twice a week on Facebook. I know some people post twice a day everyday but Im too busy for that and once a day seems to work fine for me! Consistency is the key!
5. Be nice
Instragram is a really nice community. There are so many lovely people and they aren’t shy to like and comment on your work. So its important to give back by following other photographers or people of whatever interests you and interact with them. Like their pictures and leave a comment and most likely they will do the same to you! Kindness is free, sprinkle that shit everywhere!
6. Quality over Quanity
This is a big one. Only put up your best work. No one is going to like or comment on a crappy picture. Sorry to be blunt but its true. If you take 20 picture of an amazing sunset overlooking a tropical beach, only pick the best one and post it. Leave the rest for another day and only then choose your second best and post it. People get bored seeing the same thing over and over again.
7. Timing is Everything
Timing is key with Instagram just like it is for Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter. Work out the best time for you by experimenting. Usually early in the morning between 6am and 7am or after work from 6pm onwards I have found best for me but its different for everyone so take notice if you get more likes at different times of the day.
8. The popular page
So Im not sure if you have noticed the Explore or “Popular Page”. Well if you get your picture onto the popular page it creates a viral effect and you end up getting a tonne of likes all of a sudden. It used to be that if you could get 100 like in 20 minutes or something that you would make it but Instagram has changed the algorithm and it is now showing stuff more tailored to who you interact with along with the popular stuff. Its impossible to know what the formula is unless your married to Mark Zuckerberg but if you are putting up quality pictures and are active in the community it may happen one day! 🙂
And thats about it. Thats is the formula I follow which I am happy with. Do you use Instagram for personal or business use? Are there any cool things that you do that seems to get you more followers? Let me know in the comments below and until next time happy instagramming!
14 thoughts on “How to get more followers on Instagram”
Awesome – thanks for the tips!
My pleasure Ella! 🙂
Thanks so much Andrew! 🙂
Thanks for the article, and for your pics on IG.
Can you tell me why people have these “Hubs”, meaning how are they making money? Not that I want to start one but I’ve had a number of request from different ones asking for me to tag them to share. That’s actually how I found your post, trying to find out more info about the different Hubs and if there’s a down side to tagging them. I’ve had several images re-posted but not sure if it’s the reason for new followers.
Also, I keep reading about, “Timing your post”. Sometimes, as with your article, best times are given but since this is a worldwide platform what time zone is being refereed to?
Thanks again! David
Hi David, Glad you enjoyed the article. Getting featured on a “hub” is an awesome thing. It means you are getting exposed to a whole audience that otherwise probably wouldn’t have known about you and yes that is probably why you are getting new followers! There is no down side at all to tagging a hub. As I am a moderator for a few hubs I know the time and work that goes into running a hub and we do it all to showcase the talented photographers that we come across. 99% of hubs and moderators do this all in there own free time so if you get featured its a good idea to thank the person and the hub that featured you!
Some of the massive hubs that have over a million followers actually have people paying them to get a feature with them because they have such a massive audience. That is how hubs make money but it takes a long time and a lot of hard work to get a hub to that size if you start one!
Timing your posts depends on what country you live in but most people often are checking there instagram account between 6am and 8am in the morning and 6pm and 8pm at night in your country and the majority of followers will most likely be from your country. 🙂
Hello Larissa! Sorry for not replying sooner to say thanks for your reply. I had a feeling the Hubs, at least the larger ones must be making some $’s somehow and no problem with that. One grip is the size of the logo a few of them place on a photo but… NO intention of starting a Hub. I’ll stick with taking the photos and trying to keep up with the social postings!
Happy New Year!
Great information Larissa.
Thanks Jason! 🙂
Hey Larissa, I notice this post was written in 2014. Does the “square crop” still apply for getting featured on different hubs? Just wondering if it’s changed over the last couple of years. I’ve had a few features on some hubs, however none of the large hubs as yet, and some of my photos are not cropped square.
Hi Kym, yes this still applies. Moderators tend to like square or vertical shaped pics as the look better on the feed and give more impact rather than the landscape cropped pics. 🙂
Thanks so much for that. 🙂 I’ll need to adjust my photos to a square crop.
Just one more question if I can, do you crop on the Instagram app or in Lightroom?
I crop in Photoshop as I have a preset setup that quickly crops and sharpens and then I put my watermark on. But you can crop in Lightroom or the IG. It doesn’t really matter. I crop to 1080 x 1080 for Instagram. 🙂