This is in continuation of the basics article that I wrote some time back on this theme. Do check this out first, if you still haven’t – Learning to Instagram
I am one of the late entrants to Instagram society. What started as a peer pressure based step is now, more or less, a way to showcase some of my photographs. Though, I personally still consider it a waste of time, but then there it is! I am an Instagram user and if you are reading this, then hello friend!, you too are most probably a user.
(School Girls – a photograph that I clicked while on an assignment. I loved the expression on that girl’s face. An intelligent and confident look!)
How to get Instagram Followers?
This is the first question that most Instagrammers ask, after they have opened an account or are starting to reuse an old dormant account. In fact, let’s just state this in a simple statement – Every Instagrammer user longs for more and more followers. Though, the appetite varies from individuals to individuals.
Here are three quick short-cuts to gaining insta-followers (ha ha ‘Insta’ or ‘Instant’…)-
- Be a female who uploads her own selfies, preferably with lots of skin showing. (No, I am not stereotyping, but just stating things as I have seen in my short experience)
- Be a celebrity. Be someone who is well known. Maybe an actor, an author, a model, anyone whom people happen to know.
- Have an already existing strong network of people you know.
The best option, if all the above three coexist.
If you fall into and of the above categories, you can skip this section. For all others, getting followers takes hard work. Here are some quick things that you can do to ensure good numbers –
- Great content is understood. I am not going to discuss that but remember that in today’s age ‘content is the king’. The better the photographs, the more views they will garner, and as a result, some followers will add up too.
- Share your nametag, everywhere you can. Send it by messaging apps to all your existing contacts, share on your social media, even get a sticker printed and paste it on your backpack! Make your nametag visible everywhere. My nametag is maini.live. (See, I mentioned it once again here also). Add links to your instagram in your email signature too!
- Optimize your profile. Add a great display image. Add your branded hashtags. Add your Call to Actions (CTAs like website, phone etc).
- Engage your viewers. Apart from engaging photographs, running campaigns, asking questions, hosting a contest, etc. are high grossers.
- Post comments, double click on images you like, follow others. This may help you get more followers. Sometimes, a good idea is to scroll the list of followers of a nametag or hashtag that seems related to your field of interest. These followers may have content that might interest you and also they might become your future followers. Also, remember to repost posts that tag you. In nutshell, become a more social and interactive person.
- Have an upload plan. Be regular in posting content but do not be too overwhelming. Use third-party services if you have to. A quick search on the internet will give you many good options. All the good ones are paid and I don’t use any.
- Use the right hashtags. Again, there are tools to find the right mix of hashtags to use. I prefer typing out my own hashtags. Some people say that 7-9 hashtags is usually the sweet spot but I have seen many users using many many more hashtags (which to me seems like spamming, and here I am without too many followers. Maybe they are doing it right).
- Tag the brands and famous persons if any. They should be related to your photograph. If you have used a particular camera and lens for a photograph, tag those brands too.
- Add the location. Sometimes it helps people photographing in the same location like your images and become your followers.
- Use an analytics app if you are seriously thinking of using Instagram to its full potential. Analytics will help you chalk out a plan for Instagram.
- Instagram advertising. This is the very last step in my opinion. Paid promotions are a great way to reach your intended viewers.
Let me set things straight here. I don’t have too many followers. The reason for my account was peer-pressure. I personally have not done much of the things that I have written above. Some of them are on my to-do list. The ideas for getting followers are based on what other photographers have been telling me from time to time. Let’s move on from followers to some other interesting things.
This is the life-line of Instagram. People search and find images based on hashtags. I follow the hashtags that interest me. If you post a photograph that has any of these hashtags, it will show up in my Instagram too.
Experts recommend about 7-9 good hashtags and maybe a handful of other hashtags that interest you. Here is an example –
This photograph of Nanda Devi peak has the following hashtags, apart from a few others- #uttarakhand #uttarakhandtourism #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotography #nandadevi #himalayanpeaks #sigma150500 #mountains
Here is yet another one –
(Yellow Peaks, photographed from Natadol village. The leftmost peak is the Trishul peak.)
The hashtags that I used – #himalayas #landscapephotography #landscape #snowpeak #snowpeaks #trishulpeak #uttarakhand #india #landscapelovers #affinityphoto #hillstation #indianhimalayas #nikondf #гималаи #пейзаж #пейзажнаяфотография #индия @affinitybyserif #madeinaffinity
Notice three things here. I have used some hashtags in another language too. There are hashtags related to brands like Nikon Df (the camera used), Affinity Photo (post-processing software used). Also, I have directly tagged affinitybyserif which is followed even by the company that makes the Affinity Photo software.
Though I mentioned it earlier, I feel that it needs a little more stress. As the name says, it just means posting content from Instagram across other platforms and if possible sharing content and posts from other Instagram accounts as well. Instagram is presently owned by Facebook and so cross-posting to facebook is fairly simple. Just choose the option to post to facebook while uploading your photograph to Instagram and it will show up in your linked Facebook account too.
For even better results, you can try posting to other social media too- like Twitter, LinkedIn or even sharing the posts by messaging services like Whatsapp with your friends.
There are social media managing solutions available, that do all the hard work for you. All you have to do is click great photographs. They handle all the rest, but obviously for a charge. A couple of companies have approached me also for this. Let me know if you need their help, I’ll forward you their contact information.
(Cloudy Day in Valley – Just something that I spotted while driving on the hills. Captured on Nikon Df and post-processed in Affinity Photo)
Still more to come… (I’ll keep adding more to this article. So, do remember to visit this one again after a few days!)