8 ways to successfully grow your Instagram

  • 8 ways to successfully grow your Instagram by April Nienhuis

Whether you’re running a full time business or just wanting to get your work out there to others, Instagram is a great and underutilized tool.

Instagram is by far my favorite social media outlet. I started using it personally just over 4 years ago (my first photo there was of my almost 5 year old toddling across the living room) and part of my focus at Clickin Moms has been curating the CM Instagram account for about 2 years now. I’ve learned a few things along the way and I’m excited to share them with you today!

1. Add your Instagram feed to Facebook

Adding your Instagram feed to your Facebook fan page is rather simple and a great way for people who already like you on FB, to also find you on Instagram. I followed some easy steps from Breanna Rose when I set this up for my page (see it in action here). In addition to adding a streaming feed to your page, periodically remind your fans in a status update that you’re on Instagram and invite them to come follow you.

Read Breanna Rose’s steps for installing a Facebook app here.

Instagram feed on a Facebook business page by April Nienhuis

2. Add your Instagram feed to your website

Not only can you add your feed to your Facebook, but you can also add a scrolling widget to your blog or website. This could be added to your sidebar, footer, or as a special page like Julia Tulley did below. There are many options out there like websta.me. Good ‘ole Google will give you tons of options and you can choose from the many styles.

integrating Instagram on your website by Julia Tulley

3. Blog about it

Some people read your blog, others ‘like’ you on Facebook, and there are different folks following you on Instagram. When you post the same thing in all 3 places, I know it feels like you’re being spammy but you’re not, I promise. Not everyone follows you in every way possible (some do but not all). If you want to change it up some, make a commitment to post one time a month on your blog about your Instagram photos. For example, I love how at the end of each month Beth Deschamp of {beth} a-dilly blogs a recap of what she’s posted on Instagram (below).

caldendar month of Instagram photos by Beth Deschamp

4. Don’t forget to hashtag

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake may have joked about the hashtag craze but there’s validity there. Hashtags are a great way for other users and businesses to see your photos so use them! Personally, I love clicking on a random hashtag I see someone using and perusing all the photos. Often times, I’ll run across someone’s work that I really love and start following them as well. And companies love sharing the work of their clients and fans which can turn into good exposure for you.

West Elm mug photo on Instagram by April Nienhuis

One tip when hashtagging, it can look cluttered when you use a bunch of hashtags in the caption of your photo. What I like to do (a tip picked up by Courtney of Click It Up A Notch) is post my caption with the photo but put all my hashtags in a following comment so that it eventually disappears from initial sight when others comment on a photo. Don’t worry though, those hashtags will still show up in the hashtag feed.

how to hide your hashtags on Instagram

5. Post frequently

Sitting around and posting once a month isn’t going to give your feed much recognition so make it a goal to post photos more frequently. I’m not suggesting you post every day or even multiple times a day, but try to post a few times a week if you’re really trying to grow your audience.

6. Comment on others photos

Instagram is a great business tool but what I love about it is that it’s a giant community. I’m very much an introvert but I have met so many amazing people on Instagram by commenting on photos. It’s easy to double tap to show some love, and I do that quite often, but there’s something special about putting that extra energy into typing a few words of love.

Learn how to create art with your iPhone.

7. The mullet effect

Business in the front and party in the back. The mullet may not have been the most stylish example of mixing business with pleasure, but don’t rule it out as something to learn from. Personally, I love the casual tone of Instagram. A little business on Instagram is nice but I love seeing the personal side of those I follow. I love hearing about a new recipe someone tried, a new purchase they love, following their road trip, or even hearing about that corny joke their kids just told them. Also, don’t be scared to mix your phone photos with your DSLR images – I love seeing both!

80's costume party by Allison McSorleyAwesome photo by Allison McSorley.

8. Participate in group projects

Again, the community aspect of Instagram is what makes it so fun and what better way to dig into a community than to participate in a project! There are too many projects on Instagram to count and they vary in their purposes. Clickin Moms has CMglimpse which provides a list of prompts, one for each day of the year. Take a picture based on that prompt and post it on your Instagram along with the hashtag #cmglimpse. I have come across so many incredible photographers by following along with this project even if I don’t participate every day. Just remember, if your account is set to private, nobody can see your photos in the hashtag feed.

CMglimpse Instagram project photos

Those are just a few ideas to get you going or revitalize your Instagram presence. What are you favorite IG tips and tricks? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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About the Author:

With a fondness for capturing the details in life and nature, April has been taking photographs for more than a decade. She has an extensive background in blogging, SEO, social media management and second shooting and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. Her days are spent remodeling her home in rural Oklahoma, caring for her hobby farm with her firefighter/EMT husband and homeschooling their three kids.

13 Comments

  1. Stephanie Jan 07 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Great tips, April. The only one I’ve yet to instill is the blogging part. I’ll give it a try this year.

  2. Celeste Pavlik Jan 07 2015 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Great tips April!!

    • April Nienhuis Jan 08 2015 at 1:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Celeste!

  3. Tara Jan 08 2015 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Great tips! I like the idea of using a separate comment for hashtags. I’ve been trying to take more artistic photos more often, as I’m loving the Instagram community.
    http://absolutelytara.com

    • April Nienhuis Jan 08 2015 at 1:36 pm - Reply

      Glad you enjoyed the tips, Tara!

  4. Kirsty Jan 08 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Great tips April – I love the mixing business and pleasure aspect – that’s got me clients too as people often say they get a real feel for the type of mum I am, and therefore whether we’re on the same wavelength 😀

  5. Those are some great ideas for Instagram promotion. I’m checking into a couple of them myself. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Kimberly Jan 12 2015 at 9:07 am - Reply

    I agree with them all! I found that sincerely commenting on other people’s post really works. I love the idea of doing a monthly recap of what was on Instagram on my blog.

  7. These are great ideas and well written. I’ve shared it on Twitter. 🙂

  8. Angie Vincent Jan 12 2015 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    A really helpful post. I’m just getting to grips with Instagram and found these tips really helpful, especially the reminder to blog about it. I’ve just scheduled a monthly ‘best of my instagram pics’ post!

  9. Lisa Benemelis Jan 16 2015 at 1:17 am - Reply

    All your tips are very helpful! Thank you, April.

  10. Audrey Ann Photography Feb 09 2015 at 6:19 am - Reply

    I’m brand new to Instagram so this was really helpful! I just added my Instagram feed to my Facebook page and blog – it was really quick – will work on the others later!

  11. Katie Brumberg Aug 28 2015 at 11:57 pm - Reply

    Love the tips! I do, however, wish that I could post to Instagram from my computer. Sending my DSLR photos from my computer to my phone can be cumbersome and time-consuming. I do love the idea of linking my Instagram account to my Facebook business page!

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