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Hi my name is Jess (a.k.a. Cappuccino Master). I both market on Instagram and sometimes share random things that happen throughout my day. I have been using Instagram since it first launched and have amassed a nice amount of followers. I have even been an “influencer” for a small Korean makeup line. Here are some lessons and tricks that I learned along the way to help you grow you follower base faster than I did (will update with things that I am still continuously learning):

Let’s get started.

Instagram is the biggest social network in the world (at least by user engagement metrics). Although it may not have the most members out of any social platform, in terms of user dedication and time on the app/website, Instagram is the platform to be on for very many reasons. Many people on Instagram like to have their accounts small and private, following their friends and a few things that interest them the most.

Many users however (like myself), are looking to boost their following on Instagram on a daily basis. However, what are the benefits to getting more visitors and followers on Instagram? Well, there are very many. Are you looking to show off your photo and video skills? Well, Instagram is a great way to show off to a huge community. Many people will follow you on Instagram if you know how to share great content throughout your day.

We do not recommend re-posting things that many others are sharing however. Unique content is always king on Instagram. Sure, you can create your own content that isn’t your own photography or videos, such as memes with your own unique twist, but content like this is over-saturated. It is always best to share your own unique personalty and the world around you with clever images and videos – which will help boost your presence very quickly.

Below, I list my top three favorite ideas for photo and video types that you can take throughout your day, that will get you a ton of likes and reposts. You can start taking any of these LITERALLY today. Like right now, stop reading and go take a picture and post it (and then come back to finish reading please!). I believe it’s important to base your Instagram profile around things that are pretty prevalent throughout your day. Because I’m such a makeup addict, I decided to center my Instagram all around makeup. This is extra beneficial, as you will rarely be out of content share with your fan-base, because it is generally your hobby. If you ever decide to turn your hobby into a business or brand, you will already have a solid pool of people that are familiar with you, making it that much easier to start something up and get it off the ground down the road.

1. Nature

This is an example of someone that takes astonishing shots of nature. You don’t have to be a well-known professional with a $10,000 camera to get some great images though. Do you jog and have a great view every morning, or perhaps you go long-boarding out by the beach board-walk? Well take photos and post them to Instagram. These types of pictures are actually more authentic and will start getting you traction if you are consistent.

Even if you live in a congested mess of a city like Los Angeles, you can still find serene places like parks and a few hills to traverse, that will allow you to take shots of nature. And if I can find nature in Los Angeles (the concrete jungle), I’m sure you won’t have any trouble.

You can even mix this in with other niches. When I go hiking or camping, I share makeup tips that are great for the gym and outdoor activities. So light, water-resistant makeup that will not slide off and make you look like a freak after an outing of outdoor activity. So you can easily incorporate nature and the outdoors along with most interests out there. Just be creative.

2. “Stuff”

breakfast tartines.

A post shared by Thomas Joseph (@tojo827) on

Are you going out for a juicy steak tonight? Or a perhaps an amazingly fresh salad? Well take a shot. Sure, there is a stigma out there that everyone takes food shots. So? Put your own twist to it and add a caption describing it. Food is a very hard topic to amass a big following without being unique, but if you start building a following with good content, they will be pretty dedicated to what you share.

But this is just one example and why I was so broad with “stuff”. Stuff can be anything your interests encompass. This can be your closet and all of the interesting things you find at the thrift store, or all of the gadgets you may be into. Whatever your “stuff” is, incorporate it within your your profile.

3. You

Date night ⚾ @zackkalter

A post shared by Helen Owen (@helenowen) on

Now, just share you. The problem with many “professional” Instagram profiles and why new accounts are blowing up every day is some accounts become just too professional looking and lack that “relatability” and authenticity. Share you throughout your day. Below, we added some tips and ideas on how to make your selfies stand out, which are still the most popular photo and video type on Instagram…and most likely always will be.

This wraps up a few examples of things you can post throughout day. You have access to these LITERALLY anywhere throughout your day. See some great flowers? Well, take a selfie in front of them. It’s not that complicated.

One big thing that you can’t ignore when posting on Instagram no matter what interest you are posting about…is consistency. Make sure you have a posting schedule that you follow to continuously remind your growing following of why they are following you.

Tricks to start taking better selfies.

Selfies are always great, because it makes your profile and you in general more RELATABLE and gives some personality, which is key to make people care about you and follow your content. No, you don’t have to be a supermodel or singer to take selfies that attract a lot of likes – just be unique, be you. Take a selfie next time you are somewhere interesting like at the ocean or quirky somewhere serious like the McDonald’s Play Pen and tag the location with a geo-tag.

Now how do you take a good selfie to get more followers on Instagram? Well, it’s all about several important elements. Lighting, location and context..

A. Lighting

Lighting is critical to take a selfie you are proud of and gets the most positive response. Professional photographers should really be renamed to “lighting experts”. Lighting plays one of the most critical roles in taking great selfies. You have to test different angles of the light to look your best. Sometimes you have to twist around and turn, and most people will wonder why you are moving around like a twister, but it will be totally worth it if you get that perfect lighting angle, as the color of your eyes come out oh-so-perfectly because of the proper lighting (i.e. sunlight) position.

B. Location

Where are you? Are you at the beach, in the mountains, or at Coachella? Location is super important. Make sure people know your location and why you are there. They want to see not only you, but EXPERIENCE what you are currently experiencing. So make sure to take your selfie in a way that shows this off at its finest. If you travel, travel selfies are especially popular. Especially if you utilize tagging to the full extent.

C. Context

Instagram offers so many filters and text options. Make sure you utilize this, but also keep it minimal. You do want to add some awesome filters if it fits and maybe some clever text that will make someone giggle, but you don’t want to go overboard. For example, do not cover the entire selfie in text font overlay, which ruins the entire point of a selfie. Don’t go overboard on the filters either.

Be consistent with your posting schedule.

As mentioned earlier, being consistent is so important. It might sometimes be a little tedious to stay on track and be organized, but keep an agenda of your planned future posts. When I have some great photo and video ideas, I jot them down and get back to them later when I have more time. You can’t do everything the same day, and sometimes, you get some great ideas for photos that you can snap down the road.

There are some great post scheduling tools that you can use to make sure your consistency is on-point. Your followers will expect to see your pretty face every Saturday in the morning at the gym, and perhaps at a club that night. If one weekend you just feel like staying in and doing absolutely nothing (like I most often do), then you can use a scheduler to post some older photos with a different description. It’s not as significant or beneficial as posting fresh content, but it is all in the name of being consistent with posting content your followers may grow to expect. Simply Google “Instagram Post Scheduler” and a plethora of solid options will come up for to try. Some are free with limited features, while some are paid for and are used by people and brands with bigger accounts.

Tag. Tag. Tag.

Properly tagging all of your posts IS THE SECRET SAUCE to Instagram growth. You can and must properly tag each photo and video. Tagging is extremely important as it helps you be found by a community that is interested in your content. Think of Instagram as a giant search engine for people to find photos and videos of topics they are into. So if you go out to amazon restaurants often and take a lot of “foodie” type of shots, then people that are looking for foodie content will find you. But they won’t find you if you are not putting in the extra minute or two of time and properly tagging your content to help it be discovered by others.

Additionally, you can tag your profile in your bio. Simply go to “edit profile” and add in hashtags into the bio of your profile. This will give your profile a general topic to let people know what you post about most often. This is a great way to have your profile discovered and found. This relatively new feature was huge when introduced as it helped categorize profiles better. Over the years, Instagram has been getting smarter in helping good photos and videos get discovered. This makes it great for you if you are properly tagging your content and profile, as it will put you and the things you are sharing in front of relevant people, making it that more likely to be liked and your profile gaining followers faster.

Tagging brands may also have a huge benefit to your following growth. You should tag brands that you find share similar content to you. For example, if you drive a Porsche and take a selfie in front of a Porsche, then why not add #Porsche to it. Porsche as just one simple example that came to my mind, is known to share community photos that tag them on their page that has millions of followers, that may now find your profile, which is an opportunity for you to get a substantial follower boost. I utilized this method in tagging several makeup brands until I actually began collaborating with a fairly well-known Korean makeup eyeliner brand, that I now help promote.

Geo-tagging is its own category because it is so critical. 

I never realized how awesome geo-tagging or adding a location tag to your posts is. I notice the posts that posts that are geo-tagged are viewed significantly more, simply because people in that location are finding your posts and browsing through your content.

Tag.Tag.Tag, I cannot repeat this enough. Put in the extra 30 seconds and it will make a world of difference when it comes to building your follower base over time.

How does the rest of your bio look?

As mentioned above, you can tag your interests within your biography. You should have at least two, but no more than three relevant hashtags to what your profile is about. The rest of your bio should be relatively simply, to the point, and if at all possible, clever. Because remember, when you get someone to visit your profile, the hardest part is done – all you have to do now is simply convince them why they should follow you. Having a neat biography is a great introduction to yourself that others usually read before following you, due to its in-your-face placement. Put in some time to make your bio sincere and tell people what you do on Instagram, and perhaps what your goals on Instagram and life in general are.

Are you linking to something?

Linking to your Instagram related blog (which I will discuss in depth further down) is a great feature to cross promote your website or blog. If your Instagram gets big enough, you can share promotional products that you can earn significant income on by introducing people to it. For example, I have a custom link that promotes makeup products that share income with me whenever someone that discovers them through my profile purchases.

Comments on or off?

Comments are a great way to engage with your follower base. You can get some great comments and really get to know people by replying and sometimes having a full conversation within the comment section. This however can also be time consuming and a hindrance that many people don’t consider. For my makeup based profile, where I do reviews of new makeup products and give tutorials, I actually turn the commenting off. This makes it easier for me just to put all of my energy and focus on new content. Instagram’s algorithm can see you engagement with comments, and I believe it can be detrimental if you do not follow up with comments.

For this reason, I believe it may be a good idea to turn off comments off completely as you focus on growing your account. Many large brands and accounts actually pay others or have a team that replies to comments and keeps the community engaged. However, this may be out of the question for you and may be difficult to continuously follow up with comments. So consider simply turning them off when posting new content and simply letting people enjoy it without having to have a written discussion.

Find influencers in your field. 

As your Instagram journey continues, you will meet (or may already know) influencers in the interest of what you are sharing content about. If your Instagram sharing is predominantly about your favorite summer dresses, find big names or companies on Instagram and send them a quick message about sharing your content and giving you a shout out. It’s not as hard or tedious as it sounds. Just once a day, find a big name on Instagram that is using a similar # as you, and slide into their DM with a quick request for them to share your top photo or video that week. For the huge amount of potential payoff this has, spending a minute or so doing this every day is TOTALLY WORTH IT. #Trust.

The trick to influencers is NOT reaching out to huge accounts. Most of those accounts aren’t even managed by the person, but a paid team. Most huge accounts are totally unauthentic. Reach out to small accounts that you can tell are genuinely managed by that person. They are usually much more responsive, especially if they like the content you are sharing. If you are posting about yoga for example, reach profile with between 10,000 to 35,000 followers. They will be much more responsive with you and likely to share some of your content. The best thing to do is to make a list of users within that range of followers that are in your interest, and reach out to one or two per week. You want to send a meaningful message and not something short/spammy. Let them know 1. why you like their content, 2. how you found them, and perhaps 3. why they should share some of your content.

There are even some great tools online that can help you find influencers in your field. However it’s pretty simple to find influencers for FREE, without having to spend money on high-tech platforms. This is because Instagram wants people to easily find people in their field on Instagram. This is why they introduced features like profile tagging. Now you can find profiles with a high following, in your interest very easily, which makes most platforms that find influencers for you pretty obsolete in my opinion.

Start featuring your best stories. 

Featured stories is an amazing feature to make your top photos and videos shine. Use your featured stories to show visitors exactly what you are about. @helenowen for example, is known for traveling to some awesome places around the world. So her featured stories are all about showing the recent places that she has visited and wants people to see. You don’t have to show anything that crazy, but show some of your best moments about the things your photos and videos are about in genegral. You can add BOTH photos and videos to your featured stories.

Think of your main profile page as a resume. When people visit your profile page, they may not have the time to go through your 100+ photos and videos. That’s why featured stories work out so great. They show your best stuff without much delay. You can have a limited amount of featured stories, so you have to pick your most interesting grams to feature. If you have great featured stories, your follower numbers will skyrocket. However, I do want to add that your featured stories should be as relevant as possible to your OVERALL profile. You may have some random photos and videos (for example I do makeup, but i’ll have a bunch of pictures of my dog and hiking), but the featured stories should be related to your overall interest that you are trying to build a following for.

With Instagram Business (further explained below), you can see various metrics to how effective your stories are. This lets you track and adjust them as needed. Utilize featured stories to the fullest, I cannot advocate this enough.

Share the love and be social. 

Sharing the love with other members is so important. When someone likes your photo or follows you, see if you can return the favor. Either like some of their photos and/or videos, or if you really like their content, then give them a follow as well. Instagram is called a SOCIAL platform for a reason, and that’s to be social. When you get love, give some warm lovin’ back.

You can also be proactive and find several profiles on a daily basis and like their photos. Users on Instagram get notified when you like or comment on their photos, so going out and finding a profile you like to and liking their stuff is a great way for them to do the same to you. Just make sure to be authentic when commenting, you don’t want to come off as a spam bot that comments “nice pic” on every photo, which will not bring you much of a positive return.

As you like and communicate with others in your community, you will slowly build long-term bonds that can continuously help you bring more followers to your Instagram profile.

Following up with people you have communicated with before is also important. At least once a month, follow up with other accounts similar to yours that you have talked to in the past, to keep or build that relationship further. This pays off, because those other accounts will often share your new posts and content with their audience, which is a great way to grow your follower base even further.

Segment into a blog.

Segmenting into a simple blog that has more information about you and what you are sharing about is a simple and great way to further grow your following. This allows you to not only harness Instagram search, but also Google search. Just like how you found this article, utilize the power of Google and other search engines to help others discover the things you share about, even if it’s just your face (which is awesome by the way).

Segmenting your Instagram into a blog can be done very easily. You can even set up an auto-updating log of all of your Instagram photos directly on your blog, without having do to do any work to upkeep them on a regular basis. Simply mention what your Instagram profile is about, show your latest posts, and watch as you get more followers from people simply searching for related terms on search engines and discovering your Instagram in the process.

One great tool to use is the WordPress-based Instagram Journal plugin, which will automatically siphon in your Instagram photos and videos into your blog. It is super easy to add into your WordPress site, and fill it up with the content from your Instagram profile.

Below are some layouts on how you can setup your blog using Instagram Journal.

The collage format as shown below is great to fill up your blog with colorful content. You can then include additional pages about you and your story.

The slider format below is more minimal and great with more text content supplementing the images. The great thing is, as you add new images to your Instagram profile, they will automatically appear hear. So you don’t have to waste your time posting content to both spots. Because Instagram is limited in the text department, you can leverage the blog as a way to further explain the photos/videos and the stories behind them.

If you are really serious about something, having a blog is a game-changer. You can build your blog and Instagram account side by side, which will increase the growth of both simultaneously. Once I hit my 5,000 follower milestone on sharing about makeup, I created a makeup blog that run to this day. I link between the two, which is a great way to build additional traction on both. People that discovered your Instagram profile through Instagram can now discover your blog, and people that found your blog via search engines, can now discover your Instagram, which they are much more likely to follow because they are familiar with you and your content, and are most likely interested in it if they landed on your blog page in the first place. Both work together like two arms lifting a heavier weight.

Additionally, don’t forget to use the Instagram link feature to link to your blog or website in order to send your following over. This will help your blog or website rank further, thus letting it be discovered on search engines more often, which will then in-turn yield to more viewers funneling over to your Instagram. At this point, you can probably see the significant compounding effects of having an Instagram and a related blog working in-sync.

Leverage Instagram Business to the fullest.

Instagram loves business accounts and gives you a lot of additional tools and engagement metrics to help  you understand what is working and what you should be doing to continue growing. Why does Instagram like business accounts? Because they pay the bills with advertising, duh! Well, now you can sign up for Instagram business and take advantage of these tools.

How?

1. Go to the settings tab (little gear icon).

2. Press “switch to business account”.

3. Enjoy all the perks the big boy accounts have, which will help you eventually become a big boy account.

Since I started to use Instagram business, I have been able to see what content works and what doesn’t. I can see how others engage with my content on a regular basis, which has given me ideas on what content I should focus on the most. Instagram business is extremely essential for you, no question about it (and it’s completely free).

Below is a video I first watched when shifting my personal Instagram profile into a business profile. It helped me understand the numerous bells and whistles that come with it. Fast forward to about mid video to see an explanation of the features.

Some additional aspects of Instagram Business include being able to “Promote” your post. This gives your account and post a lot more visibility. Generally, you won’t need to do this unless you are trying to really start a brand of some sort, as using this option costs money and has mixed results. It works for brands that have a lot of money, to get their post in front of more people, but is generally worthless for general personal posts. I just wanted to throw it in and tell you about it increase you were wondering what the “Promote” button on your shiny new business account does.

Instagram Business also has some more features in relation to scheduling posts, which helps you keeps your profile consistent (I mentioned earlier why this was so important). You can also link your Facebook Page to your Instagram Business profile. It may be a good idea to start one up if you haven’t. This way you can have Instagram and Facebook working side-by-side, and even your blog if you decide to go that route, as you can also promote and share your Instagram/Blog on your Facebook Page as well. So all three can be working together simultaneously, ever growing your presence and follower base.

Find your Purple Cow.

Moooo….where’s your purple cow? In official marketing terminology, a purple cow is an element that sets you apart from the rest…of the cows? Find something unique you can post about you or your interest, like your cute dimples or super green eyes for example? Now mix in that purple cow element with whatever normal posting you do to give them that extra “wow factor”.

This is in my opinion the most important factor to having a successful presence on Instagram or any social media platform for that matter. What sets you apart? What is your unique skill? What are you into that others are not? Everyone has something, even if you can’t think of it right now. If you are trying to build your follower base, you have to sit down for an hour with a sketchpad and pen and brainstorm some ideas on what you can do that’s a bit unique. It doesn’t have to blow everyone out of the water, but something to give it a just a little edge. What you have to realize is, you may have to modify your purple cow or expand on it over time, as your following grows.

I love giving 30 second makeup tutorials on my makeup-based Instagram profile. They aren’t super detailed, but everyone has time for a 30 second video. That’s my purple cow and what sets me apart and makes people come back for more. When I miss a 30 second makeup tutorial, people actually DM me angry messages requesting one to be made ASAP.

Get slightly automated to reduce the workload and focus on adding great content. 

You can also automate some parts of your Instagram building journey. Automation tools range in type and some I simply don’t recommend, as they are too spammy and can place your account into hot water. I avoid using follow/unfollow scripts which follow people and unfollow them if that person does not not follow you back within a certain period of time. Instagram is owned by Facebook, which is one of the most tech-smart company on the planet, and they have algorithmic tools that automatically flush out profiles that the algorithm thinks is being too automated and spammy. So I avoid these tools.

However, there are some tools that I have used and still use that are pretty handy to gradually grow your account. These include auto-liker tools. They are less spammy and are used to like content similar to your content. This way, those people will see you liked them, will sometimes check out your content, and if they really like it, will follow you for more of the good stuff.

Everliker is probably, no most definitely, my favorite of the auto-likers. It makes it so much easier to automate the liking process. The thing about Everliker and other automated tools for liking is that you cannot rely on them entirely, you won’t get any results if you are not adding great content and then engaging with the people that like and comment on your content.

As you can see above, Everliker is a Google Chrome extension and works in the background of your browser.

It’s very easy to set up. Once you install the free plugin and log in via your Instagram account, you can set it to run tasks to start liking other profiles within your interest. It’s a generally slow process, but a good way to find others interested in your topic. I use it as more of a tool for seeing who engages back with my profile, and then I personally engage with them afterwards.

Should you have multiple accounts?

For most people trying to build their Instagram with a solid following, I recommend to simply focus on one account. However, it is good to keep in mind that Instagram lets you log into multiple Instagram accounts and even it makes it super easy to swap between whichever profile you want to add to, without having to log out/log in over and over again.

This is great if you have a solid profile with followers and want to segment off into something entirely different. Just make sure you don’t neglect your first profile’s following, as once again, consistency is key. If you lose that consistency, you will start to alienate your following and may start dropping followers.

Adding additional profiles is a great feature however for when you are ready to expand into more things. Now that my makeup profile is set with scheduled posts, and I have a solid grasp on my content and following, I may consider branching off into a new account about longboarding, as I recently started long boarding out in Huntington and Venice Beach in Southern California. I’m thinking about journalling my longboard adventures.

Get a boost.

Sometimes it is hard to get that initial following to get going. And sometimes, after growing your following, as you think of new interests and formats to segment into, your account growth may stall. We are here to help you with this. Boostergram promotes your account and gets you followers on the fly.

Starting with a boost, or a follower base may significantly help your profile grow over time. We find that having an intial following will actually make more people follow you after seeing your profile. This is called “social confirmation” which acts as an additional piece of proof that “hey! others like his/her content, I should as well”.

We offer a variety of options for a boost.

1. Fixed 1000 Follower Boost

This is a great starter option to get things kickin’. Boostergram offers cheap Instagram followers at ultra-affordable prices that help your account get going with a bang. The problem with many sellers of cheap Instagram followers is that they drop off quickly. We do our best to offer organic followers that stick with you and make your account blossom genuinely. You can buy

2. Fixed 2500 Follower Boost

Also a solid starter option, but also a way to get that extra rocket fuel if your profile stalls. You can buy Instagram followers to jump over those times when your account is not seeing much growth. While you reconstruct your general posting strategy, buy Instagram followers cheap that can keep your account generally moving up.

3. Automated Follower Boost

Now this is really cool. The Automated Plan is a subscription-based plan that you can start or cancel at any time, no questions asked. However, you put it to autopilot, and the crafty team of chimps at Boostergram makes your account grow on a monthly basis. Think of it as your own personal marketing manager, but for your Instagram account.

4. Automated Likes Boost

Our automated likes boost gives you flexibility on adding more likes to your existing or new content. You can decide how many pieces of content we should give a likes boost to.

Don’t believe it? 

Sure, if you are adding great images, your following will expand. However I tested two similar profiles with the exact same posting schedule and content. One account started with 5k followers, the other started with…2 followers. Both accounts were liking similar content the same amount of times per day, with the same amount of comments. After two months, the account with 2 followers was up to almost 300. The account with 5k followers hit the 9k milestone. That’s a difference of almost 4,000 followers. Why? Humans are built on SOCIAL CONFIRMATION (Google it). Don’t pretend like you didn’t want to hang out with the cool kids at school (unless you were the cool kid, then props to you!).

So results definitely do show that starting out with more followers gives you a higher growth curve. This is of course different once you hit those higher 50k to 100k follower milestones, but early on, our data does show a significant increase in growth when starting out with a higher following.

 

The sky is the limit.

When you combine all of the above elements (or at least some of them) together, you will see huge difference in your following growth. Additionally, you will notice that massive organic growth starts to foster once you hit certain milestones. When I hit 10,000 followers, my engagement and following started to skyrocket. You have to think, the term “viral” came from social networks. The more people you have that enjoy your content, the more they will be willing to share. Think of each follower as a sales person. Who gets more sales, a sales team with 10 people or 10,000? This is the same for followers. As your account grows, you will notice a spike as more and more people are you personal sales team reps, getting value and at the same time promoting your content.

Once you grow your account and have a decent following, you can do almost infinite things with your account. You can meet great friends that are interested in the things you are. You can even monetize your account and make money off of posts. This is called promotional or affiliate marketing. If your following is big enough, you can earn tens of thousands of dollars promoting targeted products to your audience of followers on periodic basis.

Many people that have ambitions on Instagram have the misconception that they need a million followers to make any money off of Instagram. This is false. Many make more than their day job with a couple thousand of engaged followers that closely follow and trust their opinion. Are you a sports freak, a fashion freak, or an outdoor freak? Well if you can show and prove it, then people will know it and respect your opinion. You will start building a dedicated following.

You can now add additional VALUE for your followers by sharing great products/services. Are you into the outdoors and found the perfect tent to use? Well why not make your followers have a better camping experience and share about this product, while also getting a commission for your effort of providing value to your follower base. There are near infinite ways you can monetize your Instagram in this regard.


We spent a lot of time putting this guide together, give it a share!