How to grow your Instagram Following

I wrote this Blog Post for all the people who are interested in my Instagram growing and for those people who follow me and supported me at any time. I also wrote it for people how like to grow with their own Instagram account and for those people who wants to start one.

I recently reached 100.000 Followers on Instagram and I’m overwhelmed about the heartwarming nice words and congratulations from all of you.

To be honest I wasn’t a social media fan in the past because I don’t want to see others regularly daily routine or boring videos. But when I started Instagram I recognized the otherness on this platform. The difference for me is that I can follow only people who are interested in my niche and who are follow the same passion. The passion of a vegetarian, vegan and healthy diet and living. So I don’t have the feeling to get spammed with input I don’t like to see. Sure Instagram changed a lot but I know my favorite accounts and I can decided who I
give a visit. This and other points are reasons I felt in love with this social media platform. As you can see in my social media activities I focused myself on Instagram. Why? The simply answer is: Because I really love it!

I’m lucky to choose this platform because Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform. Instagram announced a new milestones: 500 million users per month, of which 300 million use it daily. Eighty percent of the total users live outside the US. Instagram was established in 2010 with 1 million user. So if you like to decide to invest time in social media you should use Instagram.

Back to me. When I started with Instagram one year ago I never expected to grow in that way I grew. When I uploaded my first food pictures I don’t had the idea to collect lots of follower. I only want to share my first food pictures to see what others think about it and to learn how to take better food pictures. I already read two food photography books and thought my pictures wasn’t that bad. I quickly got a response from others and I was so proud when I got 30 clicks on my picture.

I like to share some tips which helped me to grow in that way I grew on Istagram.

1. Helpful and creative content

Instagram is a photo community and special platform. Your first intention should be to produce good, helpful and creative content to give others an idea. As you can see in my feed I pay attention to vegetarian and vegan food. I found my personal niche. It’s so much easier to focus yourself on only 1-2 topics in your Instagram feed as well its easier for your follower. Content means not only the picture you show. It’s even more. It’s the caption you choose, it’s the context you choose and it’s your personal style. Don’t confuse your follower by changing your style or context too often. To produce helpful and creative content is the best way to promote followers loyalty. For me is isn’t difficult
to publish helpful content because I mostly publish all the things I learned new by myself. LOL. Don’t be afraid to be creative and try out new things. It’s often new for others as well.

2. Photography and Videos

In the last year I met lots of Instagramer who produce really good and high quality content. Because Instagram is a photo community it IS necessary to upload mostly the best pictures you have. Please be realistic! Don’t match you with high professional photographer or Instagramer who are already have a big experience. In the beginning I matched myself often with the wrong people and was really frustrated. In the meantime I focus myself more on me and the possibilities I have. Keep in mind to use the best content you can produce with your own possibilities. I recognized videos are watched 10% more often than pictures. I tried out if I have fun with producing my own videos and it works good. But I’m sure if I won’t have fun by producing them I wouldn’t do it only to get more likes or follower.

3. Have fun and be authentic

One of the most successful way to grow your follower is to be YOU! This is the difference between you and others! Don’t be someone else. You will only have success when you are authentic. I can’t be some else who is more successful or who have other possibilities like me. Instagram is a place you will invest a lot of time. So it’s is really important to have fun with what you are doing there. If you don’t have fun don’t start with Instagram.

4. Be social and interactive

Instagram is a social platform. Means you need to be interactive with follower. In the beginning you need to learn from others. I was and I’m still interested in other feeds. When I see a picture I love I like it, when I stop to looks at a picture and think “Wow, what a great shot!” I give a comment with a compliment. I notice that I’m really interested in other feeds so I give an authentic comment. I often see short comments from others. It seems the people try to be active on more feeds to get the possibility to “collect” follower. That’s not the way it works. You will have more success by comment less pictures but more extensive. If you have some experience or knowledge don’t share it only on your feed. Share it with others in other feeds as well. Because others can learn from you and maybe they think you are interesting enough to visit your feed as well. Be nice. Be kind. Be real.

5. Find others in your niche and engage with them

One of the best I did on Instagram is to connect with others in my niche. I already have a close relationship to some of my first Instagram friends and we support each other as best as we can because we respect each other’s work so much. We sometimes send us DMs (direct messanges) or e-mails with questions we don’t want to share official. Here you find a list from my favorite Instagram
accounts and friends:

Janine from @nutsandblueberries (my account)
Kathi from @blackwhitevivid
Ellen from @ellencharlottemarie
Karin from @theofficialkalista
Niki from @rebelrecipes
Dee from @greensmoothiegourmet
Marisa from @missmarzipancom
Traci from @vanillaandbean
Klara from @klaraslife
Bo from @boskitchen
Marie from @8thandlake
Maya from @delicious_and_healthy_by_maya
Bettina from @Bettinas_kitchen
Heike from @tastyashek
Lynn from @heavenlynnhealthy
Tiina from @myberryforest
Amy from @amylecreations

6. Real Follower

Your Goal should be to have REAL loyal followers who are really interested in what you are posting and not those ones who follow you to speculate in a follow back from you. And don’t buy follower. Please don’t! I never bought follower because it wasn’t my intention to have thousands of follower. In my opinion it’s wrong to buy follower. Instagram isn’t collecting follower. Instagram is more than that. Instagram is a place where you can share your love, your passion. A place where you can learn so many things from others.

7. Contests and celebrating’s

In the beginning of your Instagram journey it’s a good way to share your pictures as well in contests to find connections to others in your niche. This one is tricky, sometimes difficult to manage and time investing, but it works. If you can get yourself featured by bigger profiles, it will get you a lot of followers quickly sometimes. You can arrange an own one or join others. When you publish a picture in a contest and the organizer like it, he / she will give you a feature on his / her page. When you are lucky you find more follower with this way. You can also organize an own contest with your own idea. I run one contest alone and one with other Instagramer. The topic was #healthytoppings and
#nabhealthysummersnacks. I featured some people with the best ideas on my feed. Some people are also celebration their milestones on Instagram to share their happiness and to “give something back”. Your Follower can share a picture from you and if you like it you will share it on your account. I only celebrated two times. When I reached my 20.000 and when I reached my 60.000. I’m not a fan of it because you have lots of other content on your feed.

8. Don’t spam others

On the downside of contents and celebrating’s is that you will have many other pictures on your feed which can confuse your follower. It is a nice way to grow a little bit faster and I often see people who are celebrate a lot. But in my opinion it isn’t the right way to build up a stable Follower base.

I really often implement nice words about other people and Instagram feeds in my page because I really love their work and love to share it with others and I love to support them. It’s a great way to spread some love and support others without having other pictures in your feed. To make sure the people will see your comment tag them in your picture.

9. Please do not follow by follow

As I said it is tricky, sometimes difficult to manage and time investing to get featured by bigger profiles. I get ask so often if I can feature someone on my feed (because it’s big now) or if we can do a follow by follow. To be honest I did it two times without thinking about it. After thinking about it I stopped it because I DON’T want to feature someone I don’t “know”. Call me vintage but I only want to feature or recommend people I really like. I’m sure it hasn’t a real authentic character to make follow by follow.

10. Analyzing

A high professional way is to leant when you can publish your post as best. I read about a program called Iconosquare. You can analyse your Instagram posts and see what works good and what not. I’m sure it’s a great idea to fill Instagram more professional. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to use it at the moment. I listen to my body and work with regularly publishing times.

11. Regularity

At the moment I publish one picture regularly in the morning (Central European Time) because it’s MY BEST TIME. It’s my morning ritual I really love. Sitting in my blue chair, enjoying my espresso and write my post. Sure, I could reach more people if I would make another post on the United States Time Zone. But this would stress myself to much and that’s the reason I don’t do it.

12. At least something about the Instagram Changing

I’m sure if you are already working with Instagram you heard or feel about the changing. The posts are no longer in chronological order of newest posts first. Instead you will see posts in the order that Instagram deems the most important to you. It’s how much Instagram thinks you care about that particular Instagram user. For example, a photo with 5 likes and no comments from two hours ago from
someone you occasionally engage with is several posts ahead of a photo with 140k likes and 420 comments from an hour ago from a celebrity with a verified profile whom you rarely engage with. If you want to ensure that you see specific people’s posts more often, you have 2 options. First, visit their posts out and get active with them, means like and comment. You can do it on my account if you like to see more from me. Or simply give a regularly visit. The other way is to click on the triple dots at the top right of their photo or their profile and select Turn On Post Notifications. I don’t want to tell my follower to clock on the triple dots because I’m sure they already read about it and when they like
to see my posts they will do it.

Instagram published a new function calls

“Tell your story”

a few days ago. You can show your follower what you are doing in time and it will be online the next 24 hours. I tried it out and think it’s a nice way to tell your follower more about you without posting it on your feed. It is similar to snapchat. But unlike Snapchat, you can tap on the left-hand side of the screen to rewind the feedback to an earlier post.

If you like to know more read this article: Instagram Tell your Story

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30 Gedanken zu „How to grow your Instagram Following“

  1. Hey Janine,

    I just wanted to say that this is a really lovely post! I think it’s great that you’re sharing your insights with other Instagram users and your following. It’s very kind of you to take the time and write down your findings. I suppose many people will appreciate your insights. I particularly like that you listed your favourite IG accounts. I do follow some of them but also found a few new gems who have beautiful accounts. So, thank you! x Zoe aka Wildblend

  2. What a great article Janine. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas on your experience with Instagram. You have an amazing account, and I love learning from all that you share. I’m so lucky to have met you through Instagram 🙂

  3. Hi Janine,
    I love this post! It’s so honest and sends the best message: be yourself and things will come your way. It’s never been my intention to grow such a large follower base, it just happened naturally. I am not sure about Instagram anymore these days, and I don’t think that blogs should be rated on their IG followers number but on quality content on their blogs. We’ll see what the future brings.

    • Hi Lynn, so right. Organic and naturally growing the most authentic way on our journey. I really love to be in contact with all of you. No matter if I have 2.000 or 200.000 Follower. Have a great day sunshine. xoxo Janine

  4. Thank you Janine for your wonderful tips and suggestions. I think the key is really to have fun and engage with like minded people. You keep learning new, interesting things and are surrounded by positivity, which is so important.
    Glad I connected with you! 🙂

    • Hi Natasha, thank you so much. You are so right. It is such a pleasure to give some ideas back and to be connected with all These wonderful People. Fun is the key. I totally agree with you. xoxo Janine

  5. Hi, I guess I was hoping for a little more. The advice seems a little generic and not very useful. It makes it sound as if anyone can just do it, when I know way more goes into creating a good instagram account. I’m more interested in the detail. Such as how do you take take great photos, what apps do you use, how do specifically connect with others to help grow your feed, hashtag research, etc. There has to be way more to it in my opinion.

    • Hi Todd, thank you so much for you nice feedback. Such a great idea. I will take care of your tips and use it in my next Blog Post with this Topic. I see there is a big interest in it and in my next post I can write more in detail. Have a great evening. xoxo Janine

  6. Thank you for sharing your insight on IG, Janine! I had no idea 80% of users are from outside of US… what do people living in the US use? Snapchat? Facebook? I’m not a fan of either, but I’ve not tried Snapchat, and now I wont with IG Stories (of which I have no clue how to use!). I post around twice per week. That’s about all I can manage for now due to other projects… but I hope to step it up in the Fall! I saw a peek of your post on Insta Stories… and your blue chair 😀 . You’re a sweetheart and I’m so happy to get to know you Janine! Thank you for the link love… the feeling is mutual! xo

    • Hi Traci, you didn’t know what it mean to me to read a comment from you on my Blog. You know I am a BIG FAN of your work. I totally understand you Need to split your time carefully and Focus on effective Projects as well because it’s a full time Business for you. I can’t wait to share your great recipes on my Blog as well. But as I wrote. Don’t stress you. It doesen’t matter if I publish it next week or in 3 months. Lots of Love back to you. xoxo Janine

  7. Hey lovely
    Wonderful, honest and helpful post my friend!
    Perfect tips for authentic growth ie there is no quick fix! Sharing your content and passion comes through in the end.
    Love as always honey
    Niki ???

    • Hi Niki, awww thank you so much for your nice words. I am sure we will stay in contact until the rest of our life. Call me romantic LOL. But I really adore your work. Your official Business will start next week? Amazing!! xoxo Janine

  8. Janine I admire your talent, creativity and individuality here on Instagram – this is why I love your account. Thank you for all your insights, I hope too that someday I can grow my account and share my awareness for organic living too. Lots of love to you
    Arzu Dogan
    Vitalityandmore xx

  9. This post was a great and helpful read! I struggle with food photography and would love tips on how to achieve great food pics as well. But everything you mentioned above was helpful and informative. I’m still working on creating a platform (blog) that will give me the space to write and interact with my followers. I can’t wait to get to work and start using your helpful tips! Thank you! 🙂

    • Hi Shannon, I would be so happy to see your own Blog! Everybody Need dreams which can come true. And this is one idea. My idea to learn Food Photography is to read a book about it. I read too and it really helped me to understand the Basics. xoxo Janine

  10. Hey Janine….love this honest and simple post…really agree with you that being honest, helpful and staying try to yourself is important…I felt happy to know that I am doing similar things as you advise..?? love this post!

  11. Hi lovely (again!)!! Thank you for writing such an informative post. I wish I had read this when I first noticed my account getting more followers. I loved all the tips but especially the one about authenticity. I think with so many (food) IG accounts it’s so important to stay true to yourself and post whatever you feel is right for you. I also like IG stories now because I really don’t think that much what i post there..hehe. It’s really a spontaneous thing 🙂 Kind of like what basic IG posting was to me in the very beginning! Now IG posting requires much more work – it is fun work, though. And to think what we all have learned during one year – so much about photography, cooking etc. LOVE IT!! Lots of love 🙂 Tiina

    • Hi Tiina, so true. I can remember my start time on IG when Maya show me how IG really worked. I was so happy to have somebody who helped me in the beginning. As I read a lot of blogger and other people join this community and they feel lonely in the beginning. Maybe I can help some souls out there to understand how it works. But to be honest IG changed a lot and it is not the same as in the beginning. But I still love it. But i focus myself a bit more on my blog. xoxo Janine


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