Monday, August 1, 2016

How to Grow an Instagram Account

This is a repost of a post I did on my wordpress account. Just trying to organize my content. 

I've been running my Instagram account @megoosta for about 3 years and I often get questions or requests for tips on how to start a fashion account and get more followers. So, I've compiled some of my ideas here, which may or may not work for you but it's never a bad thing to try. Do bear in mind that 3 years is a lot of time and back then, Instagram was only starting to gain popularity so it was easier to break into the market. There are many other successful accounts out there and I would never say that I am the best. I am always learning and trying out new things for myself. Anyway, I think some of the new accounts I've seen have way better photos than I did when I first started out my account. My fashion sense was all over the place and I did not really put much effort into my photos. 

Type of content 

First, you're going to have to decide what kind of content you are going to be posting. Try to be consistent with what you post because your followers are probably following you for that particular content. For example, my account is focused on outfit ideas in terms of flat lays or ootds worn on. If I were to post an image of a quote, I most definitely would witness a drastic drop in likes and engagement in that post. People follow me for my flat lays and outfits. However, I have the flexibility of choosing the kind of photos I take as long as it focuses on my outfit. I have been doing mirror styled shots but sometimes, I do have different backgrounds to my outfit shots. I have also noticed on most fashion accounts that selfies or shots that include the face do not get as many likes as shots focused on the outfit. I'm not too sure why this is the case so I like to keep my outfits as the main focus of my photos. All in all, it's a good way to experiment with your photos and posting to see what your followers like. It's a learning process because every account is different. 

Quality of photos 

This is one of the most important aspects to get right! No one likes pixelated or blurry pictures. You definitely do not need a DSLR standard camera but make sure that your phone camera is good enough to capture the colors and details of your photograph. Most smartphones in the market are good enough to produce quality pictures. Natural lighting is the best kind of lighting you are going to get. However, if you can't get a hold of the sun or outdoors, making do with house lighting is also an option. Try to find a nicely lit area to take your pictures unless your camera is good under low light or if your feed is catered towards dark pictures. Filters are an easy way of editing your photos to make them more visually appealing. Do not be afraid to use apps like Photoshop because it is far more accurate and gives more options in editing. My current favorite filter app is Afterlight which is only 99c on the App Store. It is worth all your money because I've been using it for over a year and I love the results I get with it. Other apps to try are Filtergram and VSCO, which are free to download. Hashtags Honestly, I've always found hashtags to be very annoying. People misuse it all the time. For people focused on growing their Instagram account, you'd know that hashtags are sort of a way to store a collection of photos. Accounts that feature and repost photos usually have a hashtag where users tag their photos to so that these accounts are able to view their photos and possibly make a repost. This is a good way to gain followers and grow your account. We always love getting noticed by bigger accounts because we know our work is being appreciated. I was lucky enough to have a few of my photos reposted by Forever 21. They had about 1 million followers back then and I got more than 1k followers after they featured my photo on their page.

Unfortunately, hashtags are plagued with spam accounts now. Tagging your photos with hashtags nets you fake followers and accounts that post spam comments on your photos. So, choose your hashtags wisely to avoid these accounts. 

Community interaction 

Everyone likes someone who is down to earth so make it a point to interact with your followers. It's also good to make a few Instagram friends by following similar accounts and interacting with them on their photos. They will have your back if you have theirs. Plus, they are also a good source of inspiration and they help you stay in trend (not limited to fashion - could be a photography/editing trend). Hosting giveaways also helps to spread the word about your account. You get to set the rules whether it is to repost a photo or to tag a friend. Just don't make it too hard to participate unless it is a huge prize. 

Frequency of posts 

Don't spam but don't stay quiet for too long. It is best to post daily but not more than 2-3 times per day. Also, make sure that some time has passed between your previous post or one of them might be overlooked by your followers. You don't want to be regarded as a spam account and risk losing followers because of that. However, you need to stay committed once you've started. I've seen many accounts gain tens of thousands of followers but lose all the interaction once they take a hiatus. It is honestly such a waste. 

Time of posting 

Get to know where your audience is from and post at a time when they are awake and most likely to be on social media. 

Once you've become big, you can disregard everything and post whatever you want, whenever. LOL.