People love followers. Getting people to follow you on social media can be something of a sport in our celebrity obsessed world. So if you're looking to consciously get more Instagram followers, you've come to the right place, because I've been trawling the Internet looking for the best hacks and tips to help you build your Instagram following. Some of these are long burns, and revolve around having a quality Instagram account that accrues followers organically based on interests and your extended network. Others offer more instant gratification, and are for those who seek to see follows and likes on an immediate basis.
I'll admit, for the sake of disclosure, I've luckily been able to do almost nothing to grow my social media, other than work in digital publishing. I don't think I've ever thought of followers as something I have to "get", although it pays to have a big audience when you're writing for the internet. The only things I really do consistently from the below are probably #2 (I hope) and #3, but the others seem pretty chill too, and I tried out a few more hands-on tactics to be better able to advice on their effectiveness. Check out these six tips and hacks to try and build your Instagram following:
1. Have a theme
A great way to build an audience is to have a schtick or a "thing". Puppies and kittens are always good, but if you don't have those, think of what else you're interested in and focus on that. Fashion, humor, wellness and cooking are all pretty popular on Instagram, but whatever particular skill you have, gear your account towards that, and like-minded people will seek you out.
2. Don't be dull
For the love of all that is good and holy, please don't post your Starbucks order every morning. No one cares. Keep your Instagram fresh and fun with interesting photos. (I'm sure you can judge what's interesting in your life. Think about what you'd like to see from other people. Do you want to look at someone else's half eaten sandwich and their laptop computer hashtag, work lunch? Didn't think so.) It's a slow burn, but you'll find if you have interesting photos people who already follow you will like your posts, making them visible through the activity feed to their networks, giving a whole bunch of people the opportunity to check you out and follow.
3. Hashtag your photos
This is logical: People search hashtags to find things they're interested in. This is how your photos get found by people who are casually searching. And generally you'll find that if someone is seeking you out based on an interest, they'll end up following you once they see your photos offer them something they like—say, for instance, a #cutepuppy.
4. Post daily
I generally don't have enough interesting things in my day to day life to post daily, but if your Instagram focuses on something specific, like a pet, your job, food or design, be sure to update daily. You know how obsessively you refresh and scroll through Instagram. Yeah, everyone else is doing that too. Give them something to look at (but don't overdo it, one or two posts a day will suffice!). This also means that your photos will also be getting daily likes, putting you in the activity feed, and exposing you to a wider network.
Note: The next two options are more inorganic ways to get followers. I've been researching online, and found plenty of scams, but these two seem to be legitimate ways to get followers, if your sole aim is numbers rather than engaging people based on mutual interest or admiration.
5. Follow celebrities
This is more of an immediate approach to getting followers fast. I followed 30 celebrities. (I just went to Kim Kardashian, followed her, and then followed all the account suggestions that came up in succession, mostly Kardashians, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus etc. You get the picture.) From this process, I got 8 active followers, and it took all of 30 seconds. Whether they stick around or not is yet to be seen!
6. "Like4like" and "Like4follow"
This is another quick fix for picking up followers fast. The idea is you search "like4like" in hashtags, and just busy yourself liking every single post. I did this, and commented on a few cute outfit posts I came across. I did it for about ten minutes, got about 40 likes, and two new followers (apparently more followers will come in the next hour). The instructional video suggests doing this for up to 30 minutes to get the best results but I'VE GOT A JOB TO DO, YO. The only problem I can see with this is that everyone will be able to see the annoying posts you "liked" in the activity feed, so you might want to hold off on liking the shirtless dude mirror selfies. I tried "like4follow" for the same amount of time but only got 5 likes and zero followers. As above, it will be interesting to see if these followers stay or go.
Well, those are all the tips I've got. Now go and spread your little Instragamming wings and fly.