“How to you get more followers on Instagram?”
“How to you land sponsored posts for your insta?”
“I need a more engaged following”
These are all common (and totally legitimate) questions surrounding the worlds #1 social media platform for bloggers.
These are all questions I asked myself as a new instagrammer
#1 Buying followers
These “5,000 followers for $29.99” scams will never bring anything of value to your profile. It will lead to an extremely low engagement rate and brands will NOTICE! Those brands you are pitching will see you have 1 Million followers and 15 likes on the picture you posted a week ago… and they are going to be less than impressed.
If you stay consistent and implement a few keys strategies from the get go, the followers will come. Patience is a must, but it will be worth it in the long turn. Short cuts like buying followers never pays back.
#2 Instagram Comment Pods
Now don’t get me wrong, there is something to be said for bloggers supporting other bloggers. And I know that these comments can help you “beat the algorithm”… I was even part of a pod for about a month when I first started my Instagram account. I was “removed” from the group for not holding up my end of the bargain and it was honestly a RELIEF for me. Being part of a large pod took up SO much time and had little return. It was not a wise use of my time. I would much rather spend that time commenting with the new followers I had recently connected with.
Secondly, the concept of these pods has really come to light and brands are aware that they exists. It isn’t difficult to spot them: if your last 5 photos all have 17 comments from the SAME 17 people, they’re onto you. Forbes.com has a wonderful article in regards to comment pods. One of my favorite quotes from it:
“Instapod’s are a sign of a much larger issue – a money-for-nothing online dystopia where everything is a little bit tainted from the get-go. True influence isn’t gaming a system, it’s being authentic and having people follow you because they trust and admire what makes you, you. “
So big lesson, be genuine and do things right for the get go. If you truly want to build something of value that will have brands banging on your door will take time and effort. More on how to encourage REAL comments below.
#3 Low Quality Photos
Having dark, out of focus or just overall poor content will really decrease your chances of engagement and growth.
The great news is, you don’t need to spend a boat load of money to take high quality photos. Your iPhone is perfectly capable of taking AMAZING photos. I have a full blog post on Swaddles n’ Bottles on how I take and edit my pictures. You can view the whole post here, but here’s some cliff notes:
- Natural light is the base of all wonderful looking photos. Get outside, open your windows and let in that light! Avoid flash and artificial light if possible.
- If you need to edit to increase your lighting, I recommend Snapseed by Google. It is a free app that has a boat load of wonderful features to increase the quality of your photos.
I would also suggest taking an afternoon to read up on some general photography techniques. There are so many wonderful photographers out there willing to share their tips and tricks for free!
#4 Posting too much, or too little
Another burning question among the influencer world… how many times a day should I be posting?
My rule of thumb is once during your profiles peak hours.
So, If you don’t have anything nice to post, don’t post anything at all.
Meaning you should not post lower quality content just to meet a once a day minimum. It’s ok to skip a day. 5-7 posts per week is ideal.
But it can hurt you if you post too little. Instagram rewards those who are most active on their site by making sure their photos show up on followers feed (and get some love!).
Avoid over posting too. With the way the new algorithm works (and is making all of our heads spin), you want to give your audience time to engage with your posts. Loading up their feed with post after post will definitely not encourage conversation. Which brings me to my final point.
#5 Not Encouraging Engagement
Organic Engagement is the goal on so many influencers minds. How do you get your followers to be your friend and interact with you?
Encourage them with your caption. Ask a question. Ask for advice. Ask them to share something about themselves so you can get to know them better.
And when they do interact with you, always respond!
BONUS REASON #6 Watering down your account with sponsored content and off-topic content
I’m going to hop on my soap box for a quick minute and share a little pet peeve. Once you have a good following, please don’t go crazy with the sponsored content. There are so many apps out there that offer you free products in exchange for posting. And while this may be exciting to you and make you feel like you are officially an influencer, it isn’t going to make your followers feel good.
Now don’t get me wrong; I do sponsored posts on my Instagram page, but I am very selective with who I pitch and what offers I accept.
I run a blog catered towards motherhood and babies. But I’ve been contacted by mattress companies, teeth whitening kits, skinny teas (cringe) and the subscription box that everyone and their mom seems to be promoting (Sorry, I’m fab and fun, but I ain’t fit). I knew what kind of message this would send to my readers: I’ll put anything in front of my followers for a payout. I knew it would lead to lower engagement and potentially even losing followers. It wasn’t worth it.
So I stick to just the brands and products that align with my niche. It may be hard to pass up a paid post, but when you look back after a a few months and see how in line your promoted products are with your people, it will really give you account more value.
Alright, so there you have it! What are your thoughts? Have you personally seen a trend on Instagram that you dislike and makes you want to unfollow someone? Share below!
Once you have a strong Instagram presence with high engagement, it’s time to start thinking about monetizing your profile! Here’s a few posts to help you accomplish this: