The following is a Guest Post from IFB Member Becky Freeman of FashionFoodFotos
Ahh Instagram, whether you love it or hate it (if you're on this site, then you probably love it), there's no denying that it is the top social media platform for the fashion industry and its bloggers. Having klout on Instagram can help you attract more views to your blog, land collaborations with brands, and even get paid $15,000 for sitting on your couch. That's right, we've all read the various stories about the huge paydays popular bloggers get for their Instagram followings. This press leads to more followers for the blogger, which leads to more press, which leads to more followers…It's a social media snowball turned avalanche.
This is obviously something small time bloggers like myself aspire to, but how do you start when you're essentially a snowflake on a mountain with multiple avalanches? It was just a few months ago that I decided I wanted to take my hobby, fashion blogging, to the next level and start to grow my audience. At the time I had about 250 followers on Instagram which consisted mostly of friends and family. After doing some research (and making my fair share of ‘what's on my table' collages) I've grown my account to have over 2,100 followers, more than 1,500 of which were acquired in the month of July. It took some testing and experimenting to figure out what works and what doesn't, so below I've compiled some of the things that work, and others that don't. Here's how to get noticed when there's no reason for anybody to notice you (yet).
- Interact with other users.
It is a social network after all! I got this idea after reading online that the easiest way to market your site for free is to try to interact with potential customers (aka followers) 100 times a day. When you apply this concept to Instagram, that means you should try liking, commenting, or following something or someone new 100 times every day. Hey, no one said this was easy. The key here is to not just go like or comment on a bunch of celebrities photos; they're famous and they don't have time to notice every single comment like normal users do. I chose to target people that follow my favorite inspirational accounts (can I be Tuula Vintage yet?) and also people that have recently posted a photo with the same hashtags as my most recent posts. Don't be shy! If their account is public, chances are they secretly want more likes, comments and followers just like you, so find users you like, support their efforts, and they may support you right back!
- Timing matters.
Instagram users are most active when you would expect them to be; before work/school, during their lunch break, right after work, and right before bed are all spikes in activity. These are great times of the day to work on your interactions and post photos! If you want more eyes to immediately be on your posts, ‘gramming during these times of the day is helpful. Also make sure you're not posting too much or too little! You don't want any of your followers saying “who is this?” after a two week hiatus, just like you don't want them saying the same thing in an annoyed tone after you post your fifth picture of the hour. Full time bloggers tend to post 3-4 times a day, but I try to post around once every day or so, and never two less than 2-3 hours apart.
- Content is king.
This should go without saying, but when people take a look at your profile, your most recent photos are what is going to sell them on whether or not to follow you. I can honestly say that I have noticed both spikes and drops in how many followers I get in a day based on whether my most recent photos are eye catching. I'll also add, that even though I love a good shot of shoes, brunch or hydrangeas (seriously, when did they get to be such a thing?), my followers are clearly more interested in photos of me. It kind of pains me to say it, but four out of the top five most liked photos on my profile are photos of me, and three of them are selfies. As someone who enjoys curating an image, simply taking a selfie doesn't feel like much of an artistic outlet, so I try to keep them to a minimum and I've been trying to get in the habit of posting more OOTD photos of me (I am trying to be a fashion blogger after all). Whether you choose to post them or not, just know that people have a stronger reaction to photos of other people than to the tomato food gradient you put together before eating your salad.
And that's it. Keep at it and watch your numbers rise. And don't get discouraged! Getting noticed is hard work. When I first started I was lucky to get 10 new followers in a day, but after a few weeks at my peak I was getting up to 100 new followers a day. You'll notice that I didn't say much about hashtags, and that's because so far I've seen that hashtags can help you get more likes, but not really that many followers. Maybe that changes once you start to snowball…only time will tell.
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