Instagram is the best social media platform to share photos, so having a great page is crucial to building a buzzing online presence. If you are looking to improve your own personal account, here are a few ways to make your Instagram stand out and grow your following.

1. Have a theme!
It’s easy, especially on a personal Instagram, to just give in and not care about what you are posting. “It’s my page, if they don’t like it, who cares?” While this is all fine and dandy, if really building a dedicated following is what you are looking for, having a theme for your photos will really help. People are more likely to follow accounts that have their own niche rather than an account where they have no idea what is going to be posted. If nature photography is your thing, post mostly nature photography, and people who follow you will be following you because they already know and like what you have and will be posting.

2. Color Coordination!
This doesn’t mean that you have to post images that have only a certain color palette (but you can do that too!), but as long as the colors from one photo coordinates with the next few (think like a set of 9 or 12 that will be seen together at the same time on your feed), then it is more pleasing to the eye. If you are sticking to a theme for your photos, this is even easier!

3. High Quality Photos!

Brutal honesty here, blurry, grainy, low quality photos aren’t gonna cut it for a great Instagram. Phones and tablets nowadays have amazing resolution, so if your photos are sub-par in quality, it will be noticeable. For great quality photos, it’s better to have a smartphone with a good camera, or a separate camera, like a DSLR. I use both my iPhone and my camera to take photos for my Instagram. I try to bring my camera with me wherever I go so that I can have the best quality photos as much as possible.

4. Post Consistency!
It is crucial to keeping followers to post on a consistent basis. This doesn’t mean posting on the dot every hour, every day, but if you find yourself with lots of photos to post, set up a schedule for yourself, and stick to it. If you post every day and then drop off the social media scene unexpectedly for even a week, you will lose followers. Unfortunately, Instagram does not allow a user to schedule posts, but setting up a folder or document of photos and captions for easy access is a great way to keep on top of things. Though, if you happen to be a Hootesuite user, the social media management program now has a tool for Instagram post scheduling! Jackpot!

5. Tags!
If you don’t tag your photos, the only people who are going to see your photos are the people who are already following you. By implementing hashtags, you can broaden your audience outside of your follower base and hopefully draw new people to your account. For example, if you upload a photo of a sunset, your tags can be as simple as #sunset and #sky. The more relevant things you can hashtag your photos with, the more people will be able to find your photo when they search hashtags. Avoid spamming your caption with too many hashtags though, because it’s annoying to have to scroll by a long list of hashtags that are twice as long as your caption. Also do not put irrelevant hashtags in your caption either, because you will quickly be labeled as a hashtag spammer, and that will hurt your ability to gain and keep followers.

6. Interaction with followers!
Social media is about being social, duh! And no matter how many followers you happen to have, a follower always wants to be more than just a number to you. So always try to reply to comments left on your photos, especially answering questions they have for you! This will encourage them to continue interacting with your account. A great way to prompt interaction is to ask questions in your captions, and if you have the means, to host giveaways or contests! Interaction with followers also means being a follower yourself, and interacting on other peoples’ accounts. The more places you put your words and your  name, the more people will see you and interact with you. Also take notice of the times you post as well as what kind of content draws in the most likes and comments, and use that to keep boosting your activity.

7. Filters and Editing!
Instagram has its own arsenal of filters to use for photos. However, you want your photos to stick out (and coordinate together!), so remember that if you use the filters provided by Instagram, everyone else is going to be using those too. Try to use other photo editing apps like VSCOcam, Enlight, and Afterlight to make custom edits for your high quality photos. VSCO is free, but Enlight and Afterlight cost $0.99-$1.99. I think they’re worth it though for how often I use them.  Along with my tip of having a theme, it’s also a good idea to stick to a certain filter or two for your photos so that your feed doesn’t look too cluttered.

Most importantly though, for your personal Instagram account, don’t get too stressed over your followers! No matter how great you make your feed look, there will always be people who follow you and unfollow you if you don’t follow them back. They are on Instagram for follower numbers instead of photo sharing, so pay them no mind. Post great photos and be active with your followers, and you’ll see your follower count grow and grow!

sunset orange 2

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