Instagram Beginner’s Guide to Getting Noticed

Instagram Beginner’s Guide to Getting Noticed

Organic follower growth. What does that even mean? Okay, let me explain. It’s simple really. There are so many ways to gain followers on Instagram, the internet is loaded with cheat tools and tricks to boost your Instagram followers. They include going through some rather ridiculous tactics to get followers!

One video I watched had a kid showing people to follow celebrities’ pages, then unfollow, then follow, then unfollow again. He suggested doing this as many times a day as possible, in order to expose yourself to the celebrities’ followers in hopes that the same Instagrammers will also follow you.

Instagram frowns at this type of behavior, and they will not hesitate to ban you! Who even has time for that? I know I don’t! I doubt you do either, and this is where the organic growth part comes into play.

I’m here to help you create an Instagram account that naturally produces a plethora of followers! Schemes and tricks on Instagram are not necessary when you use your account to present yourself as fresh, personable and interesting.

So, let’s get started.

Your Bio

Getting started with your Instagram account you will need to set up your biography. The biography is important. It serves as a chance to introduce yourself and tell what your Instagram is all about(I will talk about defining your focus point in just a minute!).

We will begin with your name. It sounds simple enough, and that is the idea, to keep it simple. You don’t want to use strange spellings or symbols. Keep it professional, whether it is a business account or a personal account you need to keep it clean and easy to read. It is a good idea to include your focus point in your name. As an example, if you are a musician and your name is John Johnson your name should be listed as, John Johnson *musician*. If it is your business account it would look something like this, Abstract Designs *painter*. The reason that having a descriptive name is important is because of the fact that your name and username is what Instagram will use in the search inquiry. Key words will not show up, and hashtags(we will get to those later as well) in your biography will not appear in the search engine. As a side note, hashtags are not clickable in your bio either.

Select a profile photo that is high quality and impressive! This is especially important if your Instagram is representing your business! You need to send a clear message that you are a business, not a spammer! Use your profile picture to show that you are legitimate!

Tell your potential followers who you are. What are your talents and passions? Stand out from the crowd! Engage yourself with your fellow Instagram users! Mentioning where you are from is a way to break the ice so to speak, but as with an social media account, always err on the side of caution. Don’t give away too much personal information! Simply stating what country and state you are from is fine.

This is also the ideal place to add any link that you may have to a website, any of your other social media pages, or a youtube channel. The bio is the only place on Instagram where you can include a clickable link, so take advantage! Your biography will be the first impression of yourself that you give to other Instagrammers and the first impression is what people will always judge you on!
Your Focus Point

Now, I promised that we would talk about defining your Instagram focus point, so here we go!

You need to decide what you want to portray about yourself through your Instagram account. Once you have developed a focus point, stick to it! You shouldn’t be all over the place with your postings. For example, if your focus point is art keep your account focused on art. There is nothing wrong with occasionally adding post that are off beat from your focus point, just try keep it at a minimum.

If your Instagram is for your business, then your focus point would be whatever your business is.

If your account is about your life in general, places you go and things you do, be sure to keep it as creative as you can for your followers! Your focus point should really reflect your personality.

What to Post

Regardless of your focus point you want to be sure to post pictures that are unique and eye catching! This is the part where you will want to get real creative! Keeping up a good fan base will require you to keep your Instagram fresh and original. The best way to do that is through amazing photographs!

These days we are able to create some top of the line photos with nothing more than a simple cell phone or tablet camera. Well, I should add, nothing more than a simple camera and a great photo editing app! You shouldn’t just stick with the basic Instagram photo editor that comes with the Instagram application. Why? Because there are so many more apps that are available to download for free! I mean, it’s FREE, so why not? Some of the apps you can download for an Iphone are FotoRus, Aviary, Papelook, and Picsart.

The reason I like to recommend having multiple editing apps on your device is because that they are all diverse in their abilities! One of the top photo editing apps, Snapspeed is known for its ability to improve coloring and exposure. VSCO Cam is a great app that is easy to use. It has some beautiful filters that give a classic feel to your picture. Adjustfocus is an app that is amazing for blurring out the background, and focusing on the subject of the photo. I could go on and on, but I’m pretty sure you get the idea!

Now, those were just a list of some apps for the Iphone, but regardless of what type of device that you have, there are free apps available. Also, if you are willing to invest, say .99 or even $3.00 you can purchase photo editing apps as well. Personally, I say stick to the free stuff!

Keep an eye out for unique shots. People want to see pictures that excite the senses! Vibrant colors, dreamy landscapes, new perspectives on some daily routine. How you angle your camera can be essential on capturing the perfect shot! Learning about coloring and lighting are also so important to taking a good photo!

If you’re a not a photography wiz I suggest spending some time watching in depth tutorials on youtube on how to take a good picture and how to use the picture editing apps. You really need to learn how to use your photo apps, to achieve the best quality photos possible. I really can’t stress this enough! If you are posting amazing content, you will have no problem gaining and pleasing your followers! Instagram is after all, a picture sharing social media service.

What NOT to Post

You don’t want to overload your account with too many shots of your lunch! Generally it can be best to avoid posting pictures of food, unless you feel that it is really something deserving of a Instagram post. Of course this rule does not apply to you if your focus point is the culinary arts! In that case, post as many pictures of tiramisu and lobster bisque as you please(that is after all what your followers are there for!). You just want to make sure that they are, as with any other picture posted, high quality shots! I know I sound like I am on repeat, but good pictures are so important, it bears repeating! So case in point, nobody wants to see your line of hot pockets!

Family throwback photos are fun occasionally, but let’s not go overboard with it!

Posting a picture of a body injury is a major turn off, and I never recommend it! I mean really, who wants to see that?

As far as selfies go I am going to repeat the rule about family throwbacks,

they are okay on occasion, but never in excess! After all, you don’t want to create a narcissistic image of yourself, right? Right. Oh, and while we are on the subject of selfies, lets lay down an important rule. Never and I do mean never post nude or semi-nude photos! Seriously, that is just so tacky! Keep it classy!

Speaking of keeping it classy, you should go ahead forgo any inappropriate memes. Most people find vulgar images and language to be distasteful and disturbing! (As a side note, a meme here and a meme there can add a light and humorous feel to your Instagram, but don’t over do it!)

Don’t share photos that you did not take! This is probably one of the most important rules, because it is in fact illegal! It infringes on so many rights and laws that I could probably write a whole short article about the subject, but we are not here for that. So, moving on…

This should go without saying, but I’m going to say it just in case. Don’t post drunk pics of you or your friends! Same goes for any drug activity! Just, no…

Hashtags

What I am about discuss could be the single most vital tool for growing your fan base. Hashtags my friends, hashtags!

A hashtag is a symbol (this symbol to be precise, #) put in front of a word or a phrase. When you put a hashtag before a word or a phrase that word or phrase will automatically appear on an international live feed page of everyone in the world using the same hashtag. So, basically hashtags are keywords that are searchable through social media sites.

Hashtags allow you to interact with people who have similar interest as you. It is a smart idea to frequently use the most popular hashtags. What is relevant can change weekly, so put google to work and look up what hashtags are trending at the moment!

Here is an example, if you post a picture of a puppy and hashtag it #puppies everyone in the world using Instagram can potentially see it. The thing to be aware of here though, is that because this is a live feed and puppies are so popular it may go down the list fast. So I will refer back to what I said earlier about what kind of pictures to post, you need to take unique and eye-catching photos if you are going to stand apart! I know, I know, repeat mode here…

You can add as many hashtags as you like, although some people may tell you not to over hashtag, others may tell you that you can’t have enough hashtags. I say, hashtag at your own discretion! Some fear that it seems too desperate to add too many hashtags to your post, but honestly hashtags are very useful to gain followers.

As another example(I like to give examples if you haven’t noticed!), let’s go back to our puppy post and in addition to #puppies you can add #socute #pets #myfurbabies #pinkcollars. This way you open your post up to more opportunities to grab attention!

Make sure that you keep your hashtags relevant to your post. Hashtagging words or phrases that have nothing to do with your post is a sure way to get on your followers’ nerves!

Oh, and by the way, the hashtags #followforfollow and #likeforlike, those are a surefire way to sound like spam, be annoying, and get yourself UNfollowed by your current followers! Don’t go begging for followers, likes, or comments guys! You will come across as needy attention seekers. People are not on Instagram for you to solicit them, but rather for you to entertain them!

Speaking of…

Interaction

Interacting with your fellow Instagram users can be key to Instagram success. Instagram is a community, and as in any community you have to put yourself out there to make connections.

Do a search of hashtags that relate to your interest, comment and like other people’s post. This lets people know that you are there, and highly increases the likelihood of them following you. You also need to like and comment your current followers’ postings! Keeping in touch is so important!

Be consistent with your postings! Sticking to a posting schedule is a good way to keep you from over posting or under posting. While over posting will come off as obnoxious, under posting will get you pushed to the sidelines and forgotten. You shouldn’t go a long amount of time without posting something, then add 6 post in the same day! Balance is important here, I suggest about 3 postings a day, 4 max( just make sure that you space them out a few hours at a time!). This includes pictures, videos and memes. Just get a feel for what works for you and stick to it!

Asking questions in your post’s caption is an excellent way to encourage comments! When you do have people comment or like your content, follow them back! Oh, and don’t forget to comment back as much as possible! Whether you are replying to a question or thanking them for a complement, its an important way to show that you appreciate your followers! Nobody likes to feel unimportant, not even on Instagram!

Photo Contest

A really effective way to engage your followers, as well as reach out to more followers is to host an Instagram photo contest! It sounds fun, because it is!

Your contest should have a theme related to your focus point. You should also incorporate your focus point into the prize of the contest!

If your Instagram is a business account, this is such a great opportunity for you to promote your business without making your followers feel like you are spamming them!

I’ll give an example of a contest. Let’s say that you have a business, and your business is called Julie’s Art Supplies. The challenge of your contest could be to post the most creative picture of paintings or sculptures. The prize is a set of paint brushes. You would encourage your followers to post their picture with the hashtags #juliesart #contest. The hashtag #contest will help when people are searching for a contest to join. The hashtag #juliesart is the way that you will keep up with the entries. However many additional hashtags you add is up you! As a side note, keeping the subject of the photo rather simple encourages more participants!

Getting started you will need to announce your rules and the prize! Promote your contest through other social media sites, send out e-mails, and encourage your followers to do the same! The way that you choose the winner is up to you. I recommend to choose the winner based on the voting system(the pic with the most comments wins). Voting encourages more people to get involved in the contest! Or, maybe you prefer personally selecting the winner, like I said it is up to you!

As one last thought, socializing on Instagram, or on any social media for that matter, is not all that different than socializing in real life. Don’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t do or say in person! Now, go have fun creating your Instagram account!

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