Let’s talk about what the best way to get Instagram followers is. I won’t go over hashtag strategies or tagging relevant brands in your posts. And I know you’ve been working hard to get your feed looking cohesive. In fact, I bet you have been doing “exactly” what everyone says is the best way to get Instagram followers and increase your engagement. And don’t get me wrong- there is no doubt that all of these things help to some degree and are important.
But have you ever thought what people who actually work at Instagram think is the most efficient and sustainable strategy in the long run (because – say it with me – it’s a marathon, not a sprint)? I’m talking about the people behind the algorithm; the ones who are privy to any social logic before the rest of us are forced to adapt to their updates. In other words, what is the game plan to outlast any Instagram algorithm or app update? Do you follow anyone who actually works there?
Eva Chen knows a thing or two about excelling at Instagram. She’s the social media platform’s Director of Fashion Partnerships with over one million followers (and counting). So safe to say she knows a thing or two about the secret sauce to the million-dollar question: what is the best way to get Instagram followers?
The Best Way To Get Instagram Followers Is Simpler Than You Think
While celebrities and models do make an occasional appearance on her feed, people insist the glamorous parts are not why they follow her. In fact, her audience isn’t only comprised of lifestyle bloggers, fashion editors, or others that hail from the luxury fashion space. And you won’t find many fancy camera pictures or a specific color theme on her feed (both of which require a lot of time and effort by the way). No- instead, Chen puts her resources and efforts behind one thing and it’s a simple concept that works well. And I mean really well – to the tune of 1MM+ followers.
In a masterclass at the London HQ of Facebook, she shared valuable insight into what you should be focusing on above all else to grow your account and attract the right kinds of followers.
If you want to get real Instagram followers, Eva says have a voice, tell your story, and focus on creating more posts. Because 99.9% of your followers are consuming what your content is about in grid view (or what she refers to as the thumb-swiping feed – the view that someone sees when they initially click on your profile) vs the individual feed view (swiping through your feed post by post). So the more you create, the more they’ll relate. That is why, according to her, putting your resources and efforts behind creating more posts versus time spent on editing single posts will move the needle further with your following.
Focus On Storytelling In Your Feed and Stories
Before we continue, I do want to point out that quality still matters. With all things considered, there will still be people who will land on your feed and decide in two seconds if you’re worth following or not. If you want to share your message and tell your story clearly, then a series of blurry, low-quality images on your feed won’t help you reach those goals. It’s important to remember that what you put out there to share with the world is still a reflection of you and what you can offer.
But having a quality feed should be a given nowadays, especially with how far social media and tech have come. Anyone can take a nice picture now; it’s pretty much expected. And anyone can learn how to edit that photo to look a certain way. There are literally millions upon millions of nice photos and edited feeds out there. So the question then becomes, what is making yours standout from all of the other like-minded accounts on Instagram?
You have lived a life that no one else has lived. We can all take a picture of the Statue of Liberty. But what have you done, been through, lived, seen, not seen…that you could perhaps put into your content so it actually reflects your unique perspective? If you can figure out how to put you into your photos and videos, that tactic will outlast any other strategy you read about when it comes to increasing your followers and engagement.
Of course, like most things, this is easier said than done. Finding your voice on social media can be incredibly frustrating – it’s something a lot of people get stuck on. But before you start to feel overwhelmed about creating more posts, let’s break it down.
How To Infuse Your Personality Into Your Content
- Choose 5 facets of your life that you can share with your audience right now. List them out and rotate through these 5 categories each week so that your feed is undeniably you and interesting. Not only will it help your audience connect, but it will also help you stay aligned so your feed doesn’t feel like it’s all over the place. Some examples could be pictures of your city, your kids, your creation process, your workspace. Choose a few that easily work into your current messaging and start sharing those. You don’t have to share all aspects of your life for people to start connecting with you.
- What kind of context are you giving your content? Making sure your voice is consistent across your feed and Stories matters. You don’t have to try and make people laugh all the time. But your captions or text in your Stories should resonate with you in some way. That sense of connection is important whether you have a business brand or a personal brand. If you’re promoting an offer, instead of being salesy or generic, write as though you’re talking to a friend. The more your captions “sound” like you, the more your followers will trust whatever it is you have to say. If this is something you’re struggling with, try this: record yourself giving context to your photo or video on your phone. Then transcribe it, edit for grammar, and add to your post. When we speak about something, it tends to be a bit more natural than figuring out what to write. This is an easy method that will help you capture that natural realness.
- Screw analysis paralysis. Don’t overthink it. Set your own boundaries – whatever you feel comfortable with sharing that aligns with your goals is what you should do. If you take an adorable photo of your kids and family is a big part of what you want your followers to know about you, then go for it. The next time you take an amazing picture of a palm tree and want to post it to your Stories, do it and share why. Posting your exact viewpoint of where you are is a big part of sharing your unique perspective. People love seeing things through your eyes.
Next steps: Infuse your unique perspective into your content and keep posting. No need to make lofty, ambitious goals right now – start with something manageable and grow from there. Try posting once a day to your regular Instagram feed, and three times a day on your Stories.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed right now, that’s okay! I’m sharing my weekly content planner to organize your Instagram posts and Stories at a glance. Fill it out for this week and then use an app like Planoly, Plann, or Later to automate your efforts and schedule everything ahead of time.
Also, one more thing to note- not everything you create every day will be good. Just trust the process. The underlying practice of putting stuff out there and making stuff every day will really refine your personal style. This, in turn, will make you and your content super memorable.