Well welcome to my blog. You picked a really good day to do it because today I am gonna be teaching you how to grow on Instagram. And obviously I'm not the biggest Instagramer out there but I do this full-time. But before we get started there is one thing that I need to ask and that is if - and only if - you enjoy this article then please don't forget to subscribe to my blog and also comment below letting me know that this was useful. Because without that I literally have no way of knowing that you guys enjoyed it or that you found the article useful and helpful. 

Alright I'm gonna kick this off with a little bit of a pep talk, because I know all of us on Instagram could probably really use one. And here goes: if your likes are lower than ever, if your engagement is dropping and decreasing it's probably not your fault. You're probably not doing anything that is wrong at all. And the reason for it is that back in June 2016 Instagram rolled out a new feature - the non chronological feed. And what that did is it jumbled old and new photos together and their mysterious algorithm now determines which photos show up first on your feed. And that can be really bad for us little fish just swimming around, saying "Please please notice us!" And another important reason why everybody is facing problem on Instagram is the insane popularity of instagram. 

Every day there are new people coming to Instagram, posting pictures some of which are really stunning. So it's becoming harder and harder to stand out. And according to recent studies the average user of Instagram follows 822 other users so you're competing with 821 users for space in that newsfeed that is now non chronological. So if you're not getting many likes obviously it's very difficult for you to succeed and to show up there at all. But as you've guessed by now my 25 tricks - are they're not tricks they're genuine you know useful tips - are going to help you beat the algorithm. 

Tip number one - and this is probably the most important one - is do not try to cheat the system. I know this makes me sound like a bit of a downer but I promise you that if you like, sorry, if you buy followers, if you buy likes, if you play the whole follow unfollow game, it will bite you in the butt. And Instagram is really cracking down on shady activity right now, so if you get caught in that web you might have your account disabled or deleted. And it's just really not worth it. And even if you do succeed somehow by, you know, buying likes and buying followers you will not feel good about yourself at the end of the day. And other instagramers know their stuff and they will know that you did that and nobody in the industry will respect you. So it's just really not worth that at all. 

Tip number two - improve your photography. And I know this is probably not a very popular tip because it sounds so obvious. But Instagram is such a visual platform that if your photos aren't beautiful then you're probably never going to succeed. You really don't need a bulky DSLR to succeed on Instagram, even though that will help. You just need a smartphone and a bit of understanding of how light works, how image composition works and then just a little bit of knowledge about editing. And that's really it. And by the way for a lot of niches it's really useful to include yourself in the photo. So if you're comfortable doing that, that will probably help you if you're a travel Instagramer like me for example. 

Tip number three - develop a consistent editing style. And this goes back to what we just discussed - you need to learn more about image editing if you want to succeed on Instagram. And it's very very simple actually, you can do this in Light room if you have that software on your computer but you can just do it on your smartphone. So you can get these apps like VSCO cam or my favorite, A Color Story. And in these apps you can save different presets so then you have this filter that feels very you and you can just apply it to whatever image you put into that app. So that way you'll get a very cohesive look that's gonna look like a real gallery. And that's what people on Instagram really enjoy - it needs to have your mark on it, your style. So you can decide whether that's black and white images or if that's like soft and dreamy or if it's very HDR. Which I personally don't like very much but some people really enjoy. So just decide what your aesthetic is and then you'll grow into this. Don't be you know afraid of experimenting at the beginning. 

Tip number four - be an active Instagramer and what i mean by that is not just, you know, post everyday. What I really mean is comment on other people's pictures and interact with them. And you shouldn't just comment in a spammy fashion, just saying "lol great image" or whatever, seven hearts or my favourite the poop emoji. Like what do you think I'm gonna do with that? Seriously. So yeah, leave well thought out, meaningful comments on other people's images and it will really help kick-start your progress on Instagram. And I mean if you don't enjoy using the platform then why even bother trying to grow on there you know? 

Tip number five - interact with the right people and what i mean by that is find people that are most likely to be interested in the topics you're interested in and that you're posting about. So for example for me I will target hashtags like #boysvsglobe which is actually a hashtag I created or something else. These are hashtags that a lot of male travelers are using and they are the kind of people that will be interested in my content. So figure out what those hashtags are for you and then interact with people that are posting on those hashtags. 


Tip number six - change your profile picture. Now obviously this will not apply to everyone, some of you I'm sure have amazing profile pictures. But if your picture doesn't look great in this size - like seriously Instagram why can't we click on profile pictures? It's very frustrating. But you need to pick an image that represents who you are? what your Instagram is about? that looks very enticing so people want to click on your profile and, yes, that looks great in this size. That's it. 

Tip number seven - optimize your bio. Your bio is the first thing that everyone see when they come to your profile, aside from your images of course. And you really need it to represent who you are and what you post on Instagram. So make it fun, make it memorable, make it snappy. You know think of something creative but just really make sure that it represents who you are and what you post about. 

Tip number eight - use all the hashtags. If somebody handed you 30 lottery tickets today what would you do? Would you play three or four or would you use all of them? Exactly. Now I'm not encouraging you to gamble but when it comes to Instagram why would you shoot yourself in the foot and not give yourself every opportunity to succeed? So use all thirty. And by the way there are tips there are tricks and tips on how you can use 60 but don't do that because if you do that it will just render all of your hashtags invalid. 

Tip number nine - use the right hashtags. Now this is where a little bit of research comes into play but trust me the time spent doing that is really worth it. Because using the right hashtags is one of the best ways right now to grow an Instagram. So I really highly recommend you do research. 

Tip number ten - geotag your images, because it will really help you grow. Studies show that images with location included can perform up to 79% better. So just do it. 

Tip number eleven - experiment with captions. so what I mean by that is don't be afraid to make your captions longer or shorter than usual. Just don't be afraid to experiment a little bit. There are no stats really about how caption length impacts your engagement levels but from my personal experience if I write a really good caption that really connects with people, if I ask them a great question, then I will get so many more comments. And people really engage with me on like a personal level - not just "engagement on the Internet", but real engagement. They really, you know, share their stories and it's very very rewarding as well. So think about your captions, don't just like pop three emojis down - especially the poop emoji. 

Tip number twelve - include a call to action. So we just touched on it now, but basically don't be afraid to ask questions in your captions. Even if you're a small Instagrammer and you're kind of worried about not getting a response - just do it. And another way to include a call to action is asking people to tag a friend or to... what else could they do... I don't know, you figure it out. 

Tip number thirteen - tag other people in your images. Now you really don't want to overdo this because it will become very very annoying. But if there's a feature account that your photo is relevant to - for example you're traveling through, I don't know, Italy and you're in Venice. So you are gonna tag the Tourism Board of Italy and a Venice. That's totally fine and they will probably appreciate it and they might repost your image so in that case it can be very useful. But I for example get a lot of people tagging me and I don't share other people's images, so that can get a little bit annoying. So don't tag other Instagramers but do tag feature counts. 

Tip number fourteen - stay on topic. I know this can be difficult for a lot of people because as humans we are very multifaceted. We have very many different varied interests. But on Instagram you really want to narrow it down to two to three interests that you're gonna be covering on your account. And if there's like one that's completely incompatible with those just make a different account. Honestly I know it can feel a little bit limiting but it's definitely worth it. Because if you suddenly start posting photos of like your puppy... well no, puppies are fine. Puppies are fine but if you suddenly start sharing photos of sports cars but up until then you've been sharing photos of your food and your puppy, then people are gonna be really confused. And they might unfollow you. So it's just not worth doing. 


Tip number fifteen - work in big trending topics, because it can really help other people discover your account. So for example, March 8th Women's Day can work that into your gallery. Or December 10th, Human Rights Day. Or my personal favorite August 15th, Independence Day. I will wait while you google that. 

Tip number sixteen - this getting difficult now - keep a consistent schedule. So you can post once or twice or three times - three times should probably be the cutoff - that's totally fine. But post at similar times every day so that your followers know what to expect and when to expect your photos. So that they can already look forward to it and maybe go to your account. So personally I only post once a day and I post around 9 pm UK time which I have found to be my optimal time. 

Tip number seventeen - post at the right times. When it comes to determining the right time to post you can just use logic. You know when do people use Instagram? They use it in the morning, at work maybe around lunchtime and before going to bed. That's my personal experience anyway. But you can also get a little more scientific about it and you can use data from services like Iconosquare or the Instagram business profile. 

Tip number eighteen - switch to a business account. And I know this is a little bit controversial - a lot of people think or, you know, assume that their engagement is gonna drop and some people have experienced that. Basically it is very very very useful. So I would highly recommend doing it. And also a new feature is that in your Instagram Stories you can now include a link so people can swipe up and go directly to that link, which has really helped me grow traffic to my blog.

Tip number nineteen - 20 minus 1 - is listen to those analytics. I have lots of blogger friends and Instagrammer friends who have business accounts, they've paid for Iconosquare and then they just end up doing whatever they want anyway. You need a little bit of discipline to succeed on Instagram typically. Especially when you're starting out. 

Tip number twenty - reply to your comments. At the beginning this should be fairly easy but as you begin to grow it'll become more and more difficult. Like one-word comments I don't bother with but if somebody took the time to leave a thoughtful comment on your account then I think it's only fair that you reply. Because that's what it's about that's, you know, the engagement and having a conversation. So social media - keep it social. 

Tip number twenty one - use Instagram stories. So Instagram has rolled out loads of different features over the years and they really really want you to use them. So by using Instagram stories you'll benefit in several ways and here are two that I think are most important. So number one you will get more recognition from your existing followers. They're gonna see your face as the first thing when they log into Instagram and the reason for that is when you go to your feed up top there's a whole row of different people's Stories. And if you keep yours recent then you might just be one of those first, I think it's five people, that they're gonna see. So that's really really useful. And number two I think - I don't have direct proof for this but I think -- the algorithm secretly favors people who are really active on Instagram and who use all of its features. So by using Instagram Stories you're sending a signal to the algorithm that you should be ranking higher in the newsfeed, in the feed whatever it's called. So that's something that's worked for me. Again I don't know this is all hearsay because we don't have access to the exact data about the algorithm. But that's something that's worked for me. 


Tip number twenty two - even better than Instagram Stories is Instagram live. So the reason it's better a) it's because you know you're having that direct conversation with your followers. So that really helps them feel like they know you and that really makes them invested in your account. But number two - and this is really really cool - if you save your Instagram live and you show it for 24 hours, kind of in your Story, so you get two tabs so they can click Stories or Live, you will I can guarantee that you'll be one of the first people on anyone's homepage. Because that's how it's arranged - first the lives and then everybody else. So I really really highly recommend you start doing Instagrams Live. I know it can be a little bit daunting but it's worth it. 

Tip number twenty three - post more videos. I don't really do this enough myself but I think it's another feature that Instagram wants you to be using. So posting videos can be a really good way to get to the top of that feed and videos for a lot of people get more views than they would normally get likes. yeah definitely give this whole video thing a try and see how it goes. And let me know if it worked for you! 

Tip number twenty four - we're just one away from finishing this article - is promote your Instagram on other social media networks. It's very self-explanatory, you know, drop a comment about your Instagram on Facebook or on Twitter or... what else do people use? Vine? Not! Sorry that was mean. Too soon? But yeah if you already have followers on another network then let them know that you're also on Instagram and that should bring a few of them over. Don't expect hundreds you know or thousands of people to come over. Because I had a really big following on Facebook and on my blog and it was still a slow trickle. But every little bit helps so I definitely recommend you do that.  

Tip number twenty five - the final point that I want to make, is partner with your fellow creators. I know people do this a lot here but on Instagram people aren't really doing that very much and it's a real shame because that is a really really great way to grow. Not just by being featured by feature accounts but by directly one-on-one working with other Instagrammers that you like and that you know, whose work you're passionate about. I think this works really well and I wish that more people did this. You can even do something very simple like giving them a shout out in your Stories or whatever. It doesn't have to be a lot of work and it can be very effective. 

So I definitely recommend you know getting in touch with other Instagrammers that are about the same size as you or, you know, if you know someone who has a bigger following and you're already friends. Obviously don't mooch off someone but if you know someone then, you know, try and talk to them and make it worth their while somehow. I don't know, do their laundry. Whatever, you know, whatever it takes because we all want to be famous on the Internet. Which brings me to the very end of this article. Please please subscribe to my blog if you enjoyed this one and I would really appreciate it if you also commented below letting me know if this was helpful. Bye everyone! Bye bye bye bye bye bye!