Ok, so I could write 30 pages on how to grow your Instagram but instead I’m going to put it in it’s most simple form. First and foremost I want to share that growing your Instagram does not happen over night. I get this question over and over and over- “how did you get so many followers?” and it took 14 months to be even edging closer to 60k. It was a daily commitment. Whether that was to post, engage, and even take the photos. My screen time doubled and I felt very distracted from other actives in my life. So you need to be aware of the commitment it takes to engage! For me, it was worth it. I felt joy taking photos, I enjoyed researching puns and becoming more proficient in my copy. I was able to take gifts/passions from childhood to the forefront. I use to take a million photos of my friends- I was the girl with the camera. Taking 250 photos a weekend. No joke. In high school photos covered my bedroom wall from the floor to the ceiling. I made slideshows of photos while using photoshop for fun. I invented a cartoon strip and developed a character. @paxthedood is that character for me now. Obviously, I love this outlet so much it has become a full time gig. It’s not always easy, fun, or exciting. It can be frustrating, annoying, & time sucking. But that’s any job right?
So here we go:
Pick your subject.
Is it you? Is it your pet? Who is your character?
This can be challenging when you have multiple animals. But it’s absolutely not a deal breaker- actually having multiple personalities can truly enhance the uniqueness of your account. Ok so now that you have your subject(s) what do you want to post about?
Are you a human voice or an animal voice? Are you a mix of both? Are you cutesy or sarcastic? What is the tone of your subject. The way you caption your photos will tell your followers who you are. This is super important. The audience following MUST connect with you/your content.
Creating themes of your photo can help the layout and aesthetics - it also provides consistency with your audience and they know what to expect
Being OK with some people not connecting.
So you have your voice, your shelling out content and perfecting captions but you aren’t gaining followers…I know it’s frustrating. Sometimes it just takes time and sometimes that audience just doesn’t connect with you. That’s A- O KAY. I believe you have two ways of looking at that. One, you change your content to match what your market wants or you don’t get a flying fluff what your market wants and post whatever you want.
Who is your market? Turn on a business account and review your analytics. This will help you determine who you are writing to. Is it 18 year old females who will not get a movie quote from 1988? What time are people online? Testing optimal posting times can help boost your photo to be seen.
What is your why?
Understanding what your why is behind your account will truly help you with picking your subject, identifying your voice and being ok with not everything going to plan. So why did you start your account? Did you really just want to get insta famous? Even so, what were you looking for? Brand promotions? Worldwide friendships? A place for you to showcase your photography? Once you get clear on your intention of the account it will help lay out the next steps.
What are the steps to growing your account?
First, just start. Create an account.
Come up with a unique bio- who are you? Who is your subject? Why should someone follow you?
Start following accounts that bring you JOY and that you connect with
Create content and post it to Instagram
Learn how to take photos in good lighting and capture your audience
Download editing apps so that your pictures are at their highest quality
Research trending hashtags
Identify larger accounts that you can tag to get featured
Create an engagement pod to boost your engagement
Be more consistent with Instagram stories
Use hashtags/tags in your Instagram stories
Try something new- have you ever thought of doing an IG live or a giveaway!
Be consistent with posting- in the beginning I recommend every single day.
Geotagging can help people find you or local people in the area see your photos
So you’ve tried all that but it’s still not growing.
Remember that in a sea of about 111 million users your account has a “competition”. Competition in my world is positive. It’s a term where we can learn about others and take what we like and what we don’t and improve ourselves. The instagram algorithm may not always favor your photo being seen amongst the rest of the millions of pet accounts. Don’t stress- come back to your why. Why did you start? Was it for fun? So keep having fun. You can enjoy the process with 5 likes and/or 5,000 likes.
Use less popular hashtags- try using ones that relate to how many followers you have like if your account is small don’t target hashtags that are so much bigger than yours. Do a range of them. Example if you have 3,000 followers try has tags that are in the 50-5,000 range and then the 5,000-10,000 range and so forth. You’re photo will have a better chance to be seen than in a 1,00,000,000 used hashtag.
Not all brands or larger accounts will repost you. Learn their style. Do they want direct messages? Do they post if you email them? It should say in their bio how to get featured (hashtags, tags, DM’s are typically the most popular).
Beating yourself up for not getting 5,000 likes?
But seriously- WHY DOES IT MATTER? Ask yourself what the likes do for you? How do they make you feel when you get them or you don’t? How does it change who you are if a photo did well or it didn’t. Once you come up with that answer you’ll feel more content with posting freely.
Growing your Instagram takes time. It also takes guts and tough skin. You’re literally putting yourself out there everyday. So remember to use your support system of both friends online & offline. Do things outside of Instagram to keep it light and fun.
These have been some of the successful ways my account has grown. I’d love to hear more from you on what has helped your account grow! Please email me at Nikki@leaderofthepax.com if you are looking to connect, collaborate, or get coaching on how to make these things happen in your own account! Xo
Some people may know this and others may not but I am getting my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and I’m set to graduate in September. I am currently writing my dissertation and I can almost see the finish line. I am writing my dissertation on social media and the impact it has on women’s self-esteem, body image, and overall mental health because when I started his dissertation project in January 2017 my experience with Instagram wasn’t a positive one. Flash forward to a year later I have a completely different perspective of Instagram and it’s capabilities.
One of the biggest differences is that I stopped taking it so seriously. I do still struggle on my personal Instagram and I am fully aware of that but while on Pax’s I feel that I’m in this super happy, super safe, and ultra positive environment. I’ve had my moments of self-doubt of course and comparison and frustration comes with that as well- but I’m able to get over it within minutes and turn it around. I find myself judging my own artistic vision less and enjoying the process so much more.
But why? Because I’m not taking it so seriously anymore. It’s fun and light. I’m competitive which keeps me going but I’m playing Instagram like a game. I shut it off when I want to and I play super hard when I’m feeling the vibe. I’m able to leave it at the door and put down the phone.
And you know what? Just like Instagram life is a game and you have to engage in it in order for it grow. Through my research of understanding how accounts grow I’ve learned that Instagram has manual just like any video game. It has rules, secret codes, other players, and even rewards! The algorithm is such that the more active you are (commenting on photos, liking pictures, posting stories etc…) the higher percentage other people will start to follow you and see you “trending”. The whole thing is a game. So why are we taking it SO seriously!? Why do we compare to other people’s accounts? Is it because we are competitive and we are trying to do a modern age keeping up with Jones’s? Is it because when we get likes or comments we automatically feel liked and and accepted? I encourage you to try looking at your Instagram like a game this week- engage when you want to, don’t judge yourself when you’re “slacking”, catch up when you’re ready. Allow yourself to follow the ebb and flow of life and you’ll have so much more fun playing the game.