10 steps on how to grow your Instagram account.
Last year I managed to get over 2000 followers on Instagram.
Why would you need thousands of followers? The reason I want my account to grow regarding to number of followers is rather simple – I have a business and Instagram helps me to promote it, connect with people and reach out to more clients. This blog post is written from my perspective as an artist focusing on branding and lettering, but these 10 steps could apply for almost every industry and business.
Let me start by stating that this is not a general success formula – these 10 steps are just a sum up of the things I have picked up during the last year. And why do I share all this wisdom with you? It is my way of pay it forward. I am still surprised over how friendly and sharing everyone in the lettering community of Instagram has been. I figure it is only fair that I give something back in return. So, here are my 10 steps on how to grow your Instagram account:
1. Post quality stuff
Sorry if I start off by disappoint you – but without quality stuff that are intriguing to your audience – none of the following steps will work for you. I always strive for quality over quantity. Take your time to refine your work as much as possible. You could still share just a sketch, but let it be a good one (read more under steps 6 & 7).
2. Master your hashtags
This has been quite of a trial-and-error kind of a process for me. But eventually you will learn which hashtags that are most appropriate for your audience. Relevance is highly important. Try to narrow it down as much as possible. Imagine you are an logo designer. If you hashtag with a broad one like #design – you compete with 31 million other posts, and chances are your post will get unnoticed and very quickly fall so far down in the stream that no one finds it. If you instead use the hashtag #logodesign the number is about 200 000. By using a more specific hashtag that is more relevant to your post, your chances for finding the right audience increases. Also, be aware of that hashtags comes and goes, so be sure to stay up-to-date.
3. Stay active
To be successful regarding to followers growth you need to do more than just post great stuff. I believe that you need to be active in the Instagram community. How do you stay active? Be sure to answer the comments on your posts, follow fellow designers and give them feedback on their work or pick up on the latest trends in textures, for example. By being active you are not only getting more followers, you will eventually also gain new friends.
4. Get featured in other feeds
One way to boost your brand and account is to get other feeds to feature your work. As you start to get familiar with the community you will notice that there a lot of inspiration feeds out there. Besides following them for your own inspiration, you could try to get them to feature your work. How to apply for a feature varies a bit from feed to feed, but generally they have a feed-specific hashtag that you tag your post with. One thing to consider is the size of the inspiration feed – a small one could make it easier for you to get featured, but obviously their reach is also limited. On the other hand, a large one is harder to get featured in, but if you manage, then you will reach out to a many potential new followers.
5. Portion out your posts
Do not reveal all at once by sharing just the final result of your work. Try to portion out your posts by sharing the process. Each time you post is a chance to attract new followers. Maybe you could start with the rough sketch, then a refined sketch, later a a inked one, some shot from the vector process, and last a final version. By following this approach you will get a lot more publicity and, as a bonus, your followers will get to know you and your way of work on a deeper level. Instagram is truly a intimate social media platform were we want to get to know those we follow.
6. Take quality shots of your work
This could maybe vary from industry to industry, but I would say that high-quality pictures have a greater chance to attract viewers than pixelated images in bad lightning. Do your best to achieve highest quality as possible in your posts. Daylight is always a good idea when it comes to photography, especially if you use your mobile phone to shoot.
7. Make creative presentations
Instead of just post a flat picture of your latest artwork, think of the best way to present it. Plan your shoot and get creative – maybe you could use a mockup, put a texture on your lettering, or maybe add some interior design elements to your sketch to strengthen the message. Try out different compositions, angels and effects. Even though being restrained of Instagram´s square format, possibilities are endless.
8. Stay original
I have recently just told you the importance of being up-to-date with the latest trends etc, but it shall always be your top priority to do your own thing. Follow your instinct and create something unique. In the long run this will be important – nobody needs a copycat.
9. Alternate your posts
One thing I have focused on is the ordering of the posts in in my feed. I do not to post three hand-drawn sketches in a row. Instead I try to alternate between perhaps a hand-drawn sketch, then a colored vector piece, followed by a black-and-white inked lettering. By alternating my work, a potential visitor of my feed will see a dynamic and exciting content that hopefully gonna make him/her click that ‘follow’ button. Click here to have a look at my feed on Instagram.
10. Share your knowledge
Pay it forward. Everyone of us started out as a rookie. As stated in the beginning of my blog post this is one way of how I share my knowledge. Another way of sharing could be, for example, to show your latest vector tricks in Illustrator in a post. By doing so you are not only attract vector-newbies, it is also a statement that you are professional, confident and successful enough to share it to the community.
“10 steps on how to grow your Instagram account” was my first blog post. Let me know your thoughts of it! I plan to write once a month around subjects on the value of lettering, effective logo design and results-driven branding. Interested in further reading? Sometime soon there will be a newsletter. You can email me right now to make sure you do not miss any of my future blog posts /Björn Berglund, Creative Director and founder of Björn Berglund Creative Studio