1. Get a Theme
Start with a strong foundation by making sure your Instagram account follows a consistent theme. That doesn’t mean your posts should all look the same, but that some form of content streamlining needs to happen. Can your followers expect posts all about shoes, doughnuts, or humorous observations? It’s all about targeting a specific audience to ensure your followers stay loyal.
2. Take Good (Great) Photos
This one seems obvious, but phone cameras are getting better and nearly everyone is taking high-quality photos nowadays, so you need to make a point of difference for your shots and develop a good eye for aesthetics. You don’t need a big fancy camera, just make sure the subject is in focus and well-lit. Filters will help you out with colour adjustments later.
3. Make a Schedule
Getting followers is great, but keeping them is better. Your posts should be planned so that you’re posting often and at a steady rate, not in sporadic bursts of ten at a time and then none at all. Make a schedule so it becomes almost systematic. A good rule is to post one during peak time in the northern hemisphere to get your hands into the large American audience, and then another during the peak time of your friends Down Under.
4. Use Hashtags
But please, don’t overdo it. People can smell the desperation of the thirty-hashtag post a mile off, and tend to stay away. If it’s followers you’re looking for, make sure the hashtags are generic enough that it’s likely someone will actually search for it. It’s a good idea to get in on trending hashtags, but only if it’s relevant to your post. Please don’t put #cheapeats under a picture of your shoes.
5. ‘Photo Phlirt’
Photo flirting (definitely a made-up name) is an important one to get your follow numbers up, and works exactly as it sounds. Search for pages that have similar content to your own, follow them, and comment on their pictures. If you target smaller users first, you’re more likely to get a returned follow. Don’t play hard to get, though, please. This kind of flirting should be compliments only.
6. Create a Community
This is similar to photo flirting, but with a smaller amount of users, and at a higher level of interaction. If you find pages that are similar to your own in terms of follow numbers and content, you should arrange to shout each other out in your posts. If you want followers, there are no competitors in the Instagram community, only potential friends.
If all else fails, or you just need something to give you a kickstart in desperate times, try using #follow4follow or #f4f. Although this gives you quantity over quality when looking for a loyal fan-base, it’s a good way to show visitors to your account that you’re worthy of a follow. Also, when using this hashtag it’s a good idea to install a third-party app that lets you know who may have quickly unfollowed you after an f4f. It’s all about that follower:following ratio.