So this is not an inherently travel based post, but as a lot of you guys ask me about how to build up your following etc on Instagram I thought it would be a good idea to put a post up on here with my top tips (and to save myself from repeating this over and over haha).
1. It's not all about numbers!
I know what you're thinking, surely building up more followers means focusing on your number of followers? Actually, what you should focus on instead is the engagement rate of the amount of followers you have. Your engagement rate is based on the average amount of interactions (likes, comments and saves) on each post in relation to the number of followers you have. It's much better to have a smaller following that is very engaged with your posts than to have a huge following that does not. To give you an idea what you should be aiming for, the average engagement rate on Instagram is about 3%, you can find out what yours is here.
that brings me onto my next point: DO NOT BUY FAKE FOLLOWERS! You may occasionally come across an account that has hundreds of thousands of followers, but then on their posts there will only be a couple of hundred likes. It is most likely that these people have paid for fake followers, which looks very impressive to start with, however these accounts aren't actually active and don't like or even look at your pictures. Furthermore as Instagram is based on algorithms and the higher your engagement, the more your posts get seen, so a load of inactive followers will only get you seen less.
2. So How do I build up engagement?
My first tip would be to set your account as a business profile, this way you can see stats about how your posts are performing, where your followers are from and what time they are most active. With this information you can then see what kind of posts are more popular with your audience, and what time you should be posting to get maximum exposure.
Now you also want to get seen by new accounts of course! So one of Instagram's oldest and simplest features is the hashtag. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, and generally I use all 30, although it is up to you if you want to use less. Try to use hashtags that are relevant to your image and page and use the more popular hashtags as these are the ones that tend to get more views. If you can't think of many yourself there are loads of great apps that will give you relevant hashtags you can copy and paste into your caption.
UPDATE: Since some of Instagram's algorithms have changed I would suggest only using 10-20 hashtags max per post, as using 30 each time can get flagged as spam and result in you getting a much poorer reach on your posts.
Captions are also a really important tool! Try to write something interesting and engaging, even if its short, as people are more likely to spend time reading what you've said and perhaps comment in return.
3. Instagram is SOCIAL media
You can put out fantastic images every day, but the simple fact is that if you're not engaging with other accounts then they probably aren't engaging with yours. Try looking up the hashtags and locations you are posting from, then like, comment and follow people who are posting similar things to you. Accounts with similar themes and interests tend to make the best followers. It's also a lot of fun getting to know people who like the same things as you, so enjoy making friends and learning from each other. Scroll through your timeline and share some love.
4. Keep it Quality!
As a photographer I take 100's of photographs, but of course they don't all make the cut. If an image isn't the best it can be I wont use it, as I only want to put good quality images out there. It's much better to post one great image a day than several that are a little blurry or just OK. Experiment with editing also, try to find your 'style', this may take some time to develop, but once you've developed a style that you use consistently it becomes easier to recognise an image as being yours.
There are always hundreds of competitions and pages that will repost your images to their audiences too, which helps get you even more exposure. Most of the time you just have to use a specific hashtag or tag that page, but for fellow travel photographers I recommend pages such as @Interraileu and official tourism pages of the places you are photographing. But remember great quality images are more likely to be chosen for reposts!
5. Have Fun!
Your page should be a showcase of your talents and interests! Enjoy sharing them with others and watching your own skills develop along the way. The more people are engaged with your posts the more followers you will naturally get, it wont be instant but hopefully my tips can help you reach your Instagram goals! Give this post a like if you found it useful and feel free to leave any comments below!