how to grow an instagram following

Let’s talk Instagram, nicknamed IG.  We are insta-addicts!!

All about Instagram!

But unlike a lot of social media, I don’t think being addicted to this network is a bad thing.  Why?  Because it keeps family in touch with the goings-on from afar.  We’re twin sisters who run Lolly Jane, and we live 3 hours from each other.  *Insert sobbing here*  My 4 year old and Kristi’s 3 year old are best buddies.  When my Laney is feeling homesick for Kristi’s little Kase, she scrolls through Kristi’s feed and gets her fix.  Since Kristi takes unique pictures that really capture her boys’ personalities, it’s so fun for Laney and my other kids to see what they’re up to…like this cute shot!  (See Mariel’s post below on WHAT Instagram is and everything you need to know.)How to grow your IG following (:I’m going to preface this post by sending you to my good friend Andrea from Queen B and Me, she wrote an amazing article on how to grow an instagram following.

We want to add onto her 10 tips and elaborate how we’ve been using Instagram to grow organically.  We didn’t set out to have a ton of followers but here are tips that have worked for us.  And I don’t mean just big numbers, but more of a personal following where we have meaningful relationships which is what we prefer.  And check out the Crafting Chick’s post on 10 More Ideas for being a Successful IG’er!

Kristi and I have set up some personal rules of Instagram to not LOSE followers:

  • Instagram is a safe zone.  We don’t use it to push paid products on people.  We will, however, share attractive pictures about stores we’re shopping in, fun products we find, blog related projects we’re working on, fun giveaways, a yummy dessert, etc.  There is a difference and people can see right through paid pictures.  I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, we just try to avoid it.
  • Comment back!  We get that some people have thousands of followers but it really irks me when I see someone tag who they’re following with a simple request “Hey @lollyjaneblog, what’s that paint color?” and the follow-ee ignores them.  Good way to lose followers.
  • Over-posting. We’ve been known to stop following friends for posting six different pictures of the same activity or event within minutes of each other when it’s nearly identical to the first five. It clogs our feed and we want to see what the other several hundred peeps we follow are up to as well. Use your collage apps, people!
    • If you’re post-happy, consider having a second private account for more intimate pictures.  My hubby has a dangerous job where he was in the news a couple months ago.  It worried me that my kids’ names would get dragged into the media so I created a private account where I’m free to post a million pics of my kids everyday life.  And since I’m private, none of the above rules apply because I’m posting for ME, so feel free to not follow (;  I’m turning my private account into a book at the end of every year so I do go a little IG crazy, but I only have a couple hundred followers who are close friends and family and I wouldn’t be offended if they didn’t want to see a ton of pictures of mostly kids, low crafts since I save it for our @lollyjaneblog account.  I will say switching between 2 accounts is annoying, worth it, but annoying.
  • Watch your political stance.  We all have opinions, it’s the beauty that makes us different.  If you have an IG account to grow your blog (like us), be careful about what you post.  We often share our love for our Heavenly Father, we’ve very obviously Mormons, lol but when it comes to politics or controversial issues, we keep our big mouths shut so we don’t get in trouble with anyone (:

Tips we’ve done and gain followers:

  • Be real.  Don’t just post beautiful edited pictures of yourself and your flawless life, no one is perfect so you risk the chance as coming across as fake.  Show your silly self off, it’s fun to see the “unprofessional” side of people you only know online!  That being said, don’t be selfie-crazy, please…I will unfollow you (;

Tips for growing your IG following (:

  • Don’t just “like” picture after picture, comment!  And although I do use “so cute”, “love it!”, “darling” a lot, sincere comments mean more.  The more I comment on people’s pics, the more likely they are to click over to you and follow back!
  • Use your hash tags! Maybe it’s just me but I’m hash tag happy!  Sometimes they’re used to tease but really, I do love a good hashtag like #diy #paint #makeover #homedecor #distressed #vintage, etc.  I use 1-10 hashtags on my posts because I want to get my pictures out there amid millions of other IG users.  And in reality, I click on the hash tags I used because I like to see similar inspiration.  If I love their IG account, I’ll follow, “like” their pic and leave a fun comment telling them so “oh-em-gee, that chippy dresser is to.die.for, please send it my way, kthanks!” (; It grabs their attention and they’re more likely to click over and follow you back!
  • Take unique pictures~see below.  How cute is this baby? And how much cuter is it that he’s been decorated by his toddler brother in potato head paraphernalia.  And how stinkin cute is Kristi’s app abilities to dress up a simple picture?  (See Leigh Anne’s post on App Layering)

How to grow your IG following!

  • When you have downtime, click on people that comment’s account.  A lot of them are private so you can’t get to know them but a lot are public and it’s fun to see if you have any similar friends or style.  I’ve followed complete strangers because their style is stinkin cute and after commenting back and forth, I feel like we have a decent friendship.  Not a “hey, let’s exchange numbers” but I feel comfortable commenting on their acc and they obviously feel the same.  Hey, if you’re public, it’s not creepy, right??
  • Tag your friends!!  Instagram just came out with “Add People” which takes up less room on your post.  Instead of saying “Me and @awesomefriendsnameshere had a fun dinner date!” you can say “Tonight’s dinner was a blast, sure love AWESOME FRIEND’S FIRST NAME” then add her handle when you tag her. Nifty!

Tag friends to grow your Insta!

  • If you’re a blogger, make sure your IG account is linked on your homepage.  And if you run a contest and have “extra entries”, throw in ‘Follow on Instagram’ for more followers.  That person is on your blog for a reason, they dig your style!-they’ll dig your IG style as well and will most likely follow you there too!  That’s the fun of social networks, they’re all interlinked!  On our facebook page, we have an instagram link next to our ‘About Us’.
  • If you want to connect with brands, follow and tag them!! There are real people behind those accounts and the more you reference them, the more likely they are to comment back because they’ll keep seeing your name in their notifications! Check out the pic below, notice how I was at Home Depot? I spent a lot of money there that day for my monthly craft night so I snapped a shot and tagged them.  They commented back “We do love our crafty Home Depot ladies” Fun!

Tag a company's IG accounts to get their attention!

I think that’s it for now!  I hope these crazy tips have helped!  Awh, we love IG!  We rarely scroll Facebook anymore, IG is quick and easy and they even have a viiiiiiiiiideo feature now, wahoo!!

Here are the posts from my blog/IG buddies I was referring too:

Be sure and follow these cute gals on Instagram along with me!!

@lollyjaneblog

@orsoshesays

@craftingchicks

@yourhomebasedmom

@craftykirsten

Aaaaand..if you’re signed up on IG, you’ll be ready for the ‘Loving Life…’ Instagram project that will be announced on the blog this coming Monday! It will give you some mega motivation to post cute pics AND you’ll win some legit prizes. Stay tuned!

Do you have any Instagram tips??

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Discussion

  1. 2

    Interesting! I am still a bit reluctant to join. But I love how bloggers like you guys give sneak peaks into their new projects :-)

    • 3


      lollyjane

      I love to hear that, Anja!! A non-blogger’s point of view is so important since you’re our target market (;

  2. 4

    This is a great post Kelli!! I love all these tips! And of course I love following both you girls! :)

  3. 5

    Oh, my heck. This is awesome! I go and post about this on Instagram, referencing all of you, and then I come read this and see I should have just tagged! Hello. I’ve totally ignored that feature! What a dork. Great post, my friends!

    • 6


      lollyjane

      LOL! Both are totally fine, just lets your content shine through. Both are great though (: Your post ROCKED!

  4. 7

    Thanks for these great tips! My blog is still in her infancy stage and I’m working to get my previously personal IG to align more with my blog.

    • 8


      lollyjane

      Ahh, that is such a hard stage!! What’s your insta handle? We’ll follow ya (:

      • 9

        My IG handle is Sewbon – thanks so much!!! :) :)

        Also, I can’t wait to hear more about the Loving Life project!

        • 10


          lollyjane

          Done! Love your style!

  5. 11

    NOTE to SELF!!! Don’t post a gazzillion pictures of the same event.. Or the Lolly girls will Dump me like a Hot Potato LOL!!!
    Okay!! Seriously… Great post. I LOVE me some IG.. :)
    xoxo

    • 12


      lollyjane

      Bwah haha! We’d never unfollow you, Angelina, we {heart} you!! Your comments are our fav! XO

  6. 13

    Wow! Slightly overwhelming…Think I’ll have to take it one tip at a time…

    Although I’m an IG beginner, my tip is to have a good camera because I have such a hard time taking ‘pretty’ pics with my phone, but my hubby’s iPhone is a different story. I guess I’m going to have to bite that bullet one of these days. Thanks for the tips! Pinning…

  7. 14

    What a fabulous post! I LOVE IG! I am a junkie for sure!! ;) I have to admit…one of my pet peeves with IG is the picture after picture of basically the same thing some people post. I have one or two of those I follow that do that.
    I’m a fan of collages! They are fun and you can include a few pics in one, love that.
    Instagram is such a great way to stay in touch on an “instant” kind of basis which I love(my Type A personality loves it I should say! ;) )
    Thanks for sharing all the great tips!
    Nancy

    • 15


      lollyjane

      Glad we’re not the only “meanies” out there, LOL!

  8. 16

    Great post! Thanks for being so sweet in the blogosphere. I’m too am so new at this ‘stuff’ and appreciate some expert guidance!
    Blessings…

    • 17


      lollyjane

      Hey Susan! It’s so hard to keep up with everything, isn’t it!?

  9. 18

    Thanks for this series! I can’t believe that it has taken me so long to get on Instagram! Loving it though! ;)

    • 19


      lollyjane

      Yah Jenn, get with the times, girl! LOL! (;

  10. 20

    I have some questions about IG. If you use it personally, should you link to your business blog or only a personal blog? Or should you have a business type account? Im so confused over all this. Also do you have to be in instagram to post pictures or can you upload right from your photos like you do facebook. I can’t seem to be able to do that. I don’t have the time to sign in each time to post them. Thanks

    • 21


      lollyjane

      I have a personal account and in it I write, follow my crafts at @lollyjaneblog. The neat thing is my @lollyjaneblog links to my Lolly Jane facebook but my personal links to my personal FB so it’s easy to keep separate.

      You can upload pictures from your computer to IG when you’re logged into IG on your computer. When you’re on your phone, you can upload directly to IG from your pics in your phone. It’s really easy to use!

      I only sign into 2 accounts because I chose to keep personal and blog separate. Does that make sense??

      • 22

        How do you post pictures from your computer to Instagram? I’ve tried to figure it out.. Even Googled it and can’t seem to figure out how..

        Thanks!!

  11. 23

    Great post! I’m right with you on believing in all of these tips!! xoxo

  12. 24

    Thanks for the tips. I’m just starting out and IG is a little tough. I feel like I don’t ever get new followers. And, I feel a bit weird following strangers (it just feels different than other media platforms). After reading this I’m thinking I just need to hash tag more! :). Looking forward to the upcoming IG project!

  13. 25

    Jane,
    We have been on Instagram for 11 weeks and we have hit a lull is our new followers. We are only getting 50 or so new followers a day any suggestions?
    Brian
    Luv

    • 26


      lollyjane

      Only 11 weeks and you have over 12k followers? You need to teach US a few things!! (:

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