HOW TO: Grow your Instagram Following

Here’s how to grow your instagram following

how to grow your instagram following

Instagram- the single most effective tool at making life look slightly more awesome than it actually is.

Some might call it mild deception, but lets be honest, everyone would rather look at those sunset portraits you took at an infinity pools in Bali and that perfect flat lay of peonies, a decafe soy macchinato (that totally went cold during the photoshoot) and a sprig of lavender over your toilet-cleaning selfies. You can also stop feeling guilty for thinking you’ve fooled us to believe that your laughing-looking-off-in-to-the-distance-face was candid and that killer jumping shot was your first outtake, we ALL do it. In the end, getting great photos to put on Instagram does take planning, patience and persistence, and if you want people to follow your work on instagram, you’ve got to put your best shots forward. So, get your camera ready, start seeing the world through a 1×1 square and up your Instagram game with our handy guide on how to grow your instagram following!

1. Focus on quality over quantity

I’ve had my Instagram account (@polkadotpassport) for about a year now, and I never went about gaining a mass amount of followers in one go. Instead, I’ve worked to gradually built up my following over time, investing in the quality of my following and not the quantity. It is so important to know that the amount of followers you have really isn’t everything. You see plenty of bogus accounts these days with 10k+ followers. There is no loyalty or credibility, and it is so important for your Instagram account to have both of these things. Instead of having your eyes set on numbers, focus on interacting with your followers, asking and answering questions on your own page and commenting and liking photos on other people’s pages so you build up a sense of community. You may not see immediate results but over time you’ll see more and more people actively following your instagram account.


2. Don’t underestimate/ overestimate the #HASHTAG

The hashtag is a brilliant and a dangerous tool. It started off as a great way of grouping similar posts that were easily searchable by words. Somehow, this brilliant filing system got a little corrupted, like if a three-year-old ran a muck in a library and mixed up all the alphabetized fiction and non-fiction books. The result? Chaos. Now, when you search for #sunset, you’ll find a photo of a dog. You search for #dog, you get a photo of a lemon. So on so forth. Keeping this in mind, try and minimize the problem by hashtagging only terms that are relevant to the photo you are posting. That way, the people who find your photo via search will actually be interested in its content, and this will also eliminate a lot of spam likes & comments (@getonemillionfollowershere etc.).


Another thing to take in to consideration is #hashtagging for the purpose of getting featured on another Instagram page. These days, many Instagram accounts are run like an art gallery, curating photos from other people’s Instagram to display on their own. All you need to do is use the relevant #hashtag to be in with a chance of being featured. Make sure that your photo is actually suited to the Instagram you are ‘submitting’ to and matches the style of the other photos displayed on their feed. Getting featured is a really brilliant way of getting noticed and followed by more people so it is worth investing a little time in. Check out @dametraveler, @darlingescapes, @worlderlust, @our_world_places, @getlostmagazine just to name a couple of cool feature accounts.

3. Post only the BEST of the best


This is the most important part of all. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Instagram is all about posting the most aesthetically-pleasing, interesting moments in your day. Save the rest for snapchat. If you want people to follow you, like and comment on your photos and ENJOY your Instagram, you want to be filling their feeds with high-quality, awesome photographs. My advice would be DON’T post more than twice a day. Its important to remain active on our account and post regularly, but over-sharing can result in people unfollowing you.  Plus, if you are posting this much, you could be compromising the quality of your shots and favoring quantity. Or maybe you just have a ton of cool photos. In that case, play on. For more tips on getting awesome photos of yourself when travelling, check out this post.

4. Keep Consistent

In Instagram’s case, consistency is key. Consistent quality, consistent layout, consistent style. Consistency will seriously help you gain and keep followers. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but the minute someone clicks on your profile they are going to judge the heck out of your feed and deem whether or not it is worthy following, and the consistency of your Instagram will play a massive role in this.

Quality: It is really important to keep the quality of your photos to a high standard if you want people to be mirin’ your profile and then rolling in the likes. This isn’t to say you have to take all your photos with a $2000 DSLR. If you are going to use your iPhone camera, make sure the photo is well lit (those dark, grainy shots aren’t AS indie as you think, even if you did make them b&w), sharp (blurry photos are only okay when intoxicated) and of a high-resolution (be careful when exporting out of editing apps because they can scale the photo down).

Layout: Keeping the layout of your photos consistent is an easy way of making your page look more professional. When I started out on Instagram I would post my photos in all kinds of formats- with borders, without borders, square, rectangle, oblong. Okay maybe not oblong but you get the point. Now looking back on my older posts, I wish I had just stuck to one layout as it looks a lot neater when people are viewing your page. Don’t live in my regrets!

Style: Make your photos unique & stylized. It’s cool to have a theme running through photos, whether that is the type of content you post (ie food, landscapes) or the way you take and edit the photos. Too much variety in the style/ quality/ editing of your photos will detract people from following you because they won’t be able to grasp what you & your Instagram is all about. Oh and sidenote- edit your photos, but never ever over-edit. Those over-saturated, over-contrasty, over-HDRed photos are the definition of tacky and are sure to scare people off pressing that follow button! Try VSCO cam, Afterlight and Snapseed for some awesome, easy-to-use editing apps that will make your photos look fab.


Now go out there and get yourself a nice big serving of Instafame. Happy gramming!

PS. Do you have any tips on how to grow your instagram following? Comment below!

PPS.  I would love to connect with more of my lovely readers & see some of your best travel shots. Follow @polkadotpassport and hashtag #polkadotpassport for your chance to be featured on the Polkadot Passport Instagram!

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How to grow your instagram following

Nicola Easterby Bio Image

Hey, I'm Nicola!

I am a travel + food blogger on a mission to discover the best destinations & dishes in the world. Thanks for joining the adventure!


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