To say I got caught up in Instagram is an understatement. I was obsessed with social media in those early days when Will was a newborn, I spent hours on my phone while breastfeeding and holding him to sleep. I had some success promoting my blog on Facebook and Twitter but Instagram was the social network I hadn’t cracked yet. I wanted in and I wanted in BIG so what did I do? Well I tried everything and nothing really worked, I’ve only ever had 472 views of my blog through Instagram, probably just from checking the link worked. To put that in perspective, I had 10,243 views in ONE day from twitter so that shows just how unsuccessful Instagram has been for my blog. So I guess the hours and HOURS of pointless self promotion on Instagram qualifies me enough to bring you: How NOT to grow your Instagram.
I would love to say that I bought followers in the process of researching an exposé on fake accounts but I’m going to have to cringe and bear this one. I bought followers. I was stuck on 170 and no matter what I did I could not get those numbers up. I liked and commented and interacted with so many similar accounts but no-one was interested. So I really only saw one option, I bought myself some credibility – 2000 of them for $14.99 and it worked, well at first. I managed to organically grow my numbers from there but got stuck at 4,200. I continued to keep getting new REAL followers but the fake followers kept dropping off so my numbers just didn’t continue growing. I hate that I bought followers so I’ve been blocking fake accounts to get my numbers down to a real level. I think I have about 500 to go but I can only block a certain amount per day. If anyone wants to buy followers in the hope of getting noticed then good on you. If you can grow from there on your own, well done but remember, it doesn’t take much for people to click on your followers list and work out that most of the followers are fake.
BUY ALL THE THINGS
After my account had some credibility behind it I thought the more exposure the better so decided to buy items from Instagram in the hope that small businesses would re-post my pictures to their thousands of followers. This definitely worked as I got quite a few pictures re-posted but it didn’t bring in that many followers. It was actually anti productive because the point of my blog was to make money and I was spending money on stuff I didn’t need that I would never be able to make back. Idiot.
FORM A FACEBOOK GROUP & DO NOTHING WITH IT
I belong to a few blogging groups on Facebook and decided it would be a good idea to start an Instagram one. The issue was that I had no idea how to run one so it fell flat, I neglected it and now there’s 40 members in a pointless group. One good thing came from this though – I managed to find an Instagram growth group that is actually really well run.
JOIN AN INSTAGRAM GROWTH GROUP
I’ve been told that in order to get your pics to show under recommended accounts or into your followers feeds you need a high amount of interaction in a short period of time. Enter Instagram growth groups – this is where you can post a pic for likes or comments and in return you like and comment on other people’s photos. This is great if you have PR products to promote and you need people to make it look like the product you’re promoting is reaching an actual audience. It’s also great if you have fake followers that don’t like or comment on your posts. Problem is, it’s really not that different to buying likes or comments, you’re just trading them and they aren’t genuine. If you have a feed that people want to follow then it works but if you don’t, it’s a lot of work for not much return.
DON’T HAVE A THEME OR A ‘HOOK’
I think a theme is pretty important when you are wanting to grow your Instagram. The most amount of growth I had was when I was posting quotes down the middle of my feed, people must have clicked on my profile and thought it was aesthetically pleasing to the eye or maybe they just liked quotes. I couldn’t keep it up though, it was pretty exhausting thinking about what to post next so I changed it for a while, then gave up and my followers started dropping too. If you aren’t into a theme then you need to have a ‘hook’ – by that I mean you need to give something of value to your followers – maybe you post recipes or maybe you do yoga on a hilltop at sunset in the snow. Sometimes your ‘hook’ is just you, people like you and want to follow you, so they do.
TAKE CRAP PHOTOS
In the end my Instagram growth halted because it all came down to my crap photos. It was alright when Will was a newborn and couldn’t move. I learnt quite quickly that natural light, a white background and a little baby is a photo win. Now that I’ve outed myself as an Instagram growth failure I feel like the pressure is off. I can continue posting crap photos and not worry about whether it looks good or if there’s shadows or underwear in the background. I’m kidding I would NEVER.
Luckily one thing I have never been is fake, well except those few photos that are facetuned to hell making me look weird AF (If I ever go missing please do NOT use them on milk cartons). I was always honest in my captions and I was genuine with every comment or like I made. I never did the follow/unfollow method (how annoying is that BTW!) although I did unfollow some people that had unfollowed me in an immature brain glitch then regretted it. #howembarassing.
So if I had the chance to go back and change things? I wouldn’t. I love Instagram and the friendships I’ve made. I feel relieved that I don’t have to try anymore and I don’t need to worry about how many likes or follows I get. I can just be me.