How to Grow Your Following on Instagram

Five tips to increase followers & engagement on Instagram
Mimi Holloway, orlando based lifestyle blogger

If you’ve spent any time trying to build an Instagram following, you know that there’s a LOT of conflicting advice out there.  So I sat down with my college roommate and fellow boss-babe Mimi to get some tips.  She’s created a strong following in just a few short months by being authentic, vulnerable, and consistent.  Here are some of her best strategies, in her own words:

Identify your niche!

Choose three things you’re most interested and knowledgeable about. I love fashion, and was intent on becoming a fashion influencer. When I started my page however, most people were following me because they were my friends or interested in my job as an animal trainer. I had some difficulty growing my page initially, because I tried to make a 180 in a very short period of time. I still include affordable fashion in my posts, but I don’t make it a priority. For me, my three talking points are animals, sustainability and mental health. 

So often we think that by narrowing our focus, we’re limiting our growth potential. This is sometimes true, but not when it comes to Instagram content. How many generic “lifestyle influencers” have you seen? How many fashion posts have really resonated with you?  With so many accounts fighting for your attention on the ‘gram these days, it’s important to differentiate yourself. Another important takeaway here is that it’s okay to change paths! We are all on a journey, and you can take your followers along for the ride. 

DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE VULNERABLE.

Followers have a difficult time connecting with someone that seems perfect or untouchable. Share your insecurities, and tell your story! The more personal your page is, the easier it is for followers to identify with you. That doesn’t mean spill your guts every day, but sharing your experience with others leads to dedicated and engaged followers. 

Your struggle is your superpower.  What have you overcome?  What solutions to common problems have you found?  Some people argue that social media alienates us from our fellow humans, but I feel that accounts like Mimi’s make us realize that we are not alone.  Be more than just another highlight reel; you’d be surprised at how many people appreciate open and honest content!

Engage with other users who share your goals and interests.

Be a presence on social media! Let other accounts know who you are – much of your success depends on the strength of your network. Other pages can make or break your following, and having a core 5 “like” accounts that you can recommend or promote really helps your individual page grow.

At first, I thought the trick was to spend a ton of time on the app engaging with any other accounts. It’s true that spending more time can have a positive impact on your visibility, but who wants to spend time looking at posts that don’t truly interest them? Your time is better spent engaging with meaningful creators that you actually enjoy. Picking five accounts as your “influencer besties” is great advice.  It’s the digital equivalent of networking with some of your peers. 

Consistency is key.

Give your followers something to expect and look forward to. For me, it’s #trainertuesday. Every Tuesday, I share facts or a tidbit about my relationship with the animals I work with. After Trainer Tuesday was established, I built off of it and included other posts. Now, I post every weekday except for Thursdays.

The amount of times that you post obviously depends on how much time you have, but this advice applies whether you’re posting once a day or once a week.  For me personally, Instagram is just one piece of my marketing strategy, and I wish I had time to post every day but it’s just not realistic right now.  But, I do try and consistently post a few times a week.  Coming up with fresh ideas for content can be difficult, so I keep a section in my notebook for ideas.  It can be something simple, like a tip or cool trick I’ve figured out, or a motivational post or quote.  Keeping to a semi-regular schedule is key to position yourself as an industry leader and create trust in your brand.

Plan your posts

Blogging and influencing is meant to be fun! Don’t overwhelm yourself. Create content and a realistic schedule that you can maintain. I try to have content up to 2 weeks in advance, so that if I don’t have time one week or another, I’m not struggling to find content to post. 

Similar to meal prepping, creating a content schedule is something that can save you so much time. If you just schedule an hour once a week to come up with all of your posts for the next seven days, voila!  And as I mentioned earlier, keeping a notebook and jotting down an idea when it pops into your head is a great way to keep track of all your content ideas.

Mimi Holloway is the blogger behind Anything But Basic, a down-to-earth lifestyle blog covering sustainability & mental health.

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