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Friday, July 29, 2016

How I Reached Over 100k Instagram Followers + 7 Actionable Tips To Help Grow Your Page


I waited forever to finally add my entertainment blog on Instagram because I didn't understand how posting a bunch of pictures on an app would benefit my website in terms of gaining more web traffic. 

In October 2014, I finally made a page and didn't think much of it. Now, a little over a year and a half later, I have more than 100,000 followers and counting. Plus, I make extra blog money off of my IG page alone AND this is the No.1 social media site that helps drive a significant amount of traffic back to my website.


So, How Did I Get All Of These Followers? 

I put in some serious WORK! 





To be clear, I never bought followers and I never paid for any shout outs. ZERO money went into increasing my followers, all it took was a little time, consistency and interaction. 



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Buying followers is a huge NO in my book. Don't do this because you're giving off a fake illusion. Buying social media followers is like buying those fake designer purses. From the outside, everything looks good and it all seems legit, but in reality you're stuntin' because you know it's fake. Others may even pick up on the fraudulence. 

I want real, loyal and engaging followers. I've seen a couple of those blog accounts gain a large following out of nowhere, but then they'll have like 10 likes on one photo and zero comments ... well, something isn't adding up. 

Why pay for shout outs when you can get them for free. 

Building up my following (with no team, just me alone) took a lot of dedication and posting. I would wake up and go to bed checking my IG, I was Instagramming while at work, at a red light, stuck in traffic, while I'm eating, while on the toilet ... okay, TMI, but you get the point. I was on a mission when I first started to build a legit audience and an interactive page. 

I wasn't obsessed with the numbers or trying to have more followers than other gossip blogs or wondering why my page wasn't growing as fast as others. Instagram is not a competition, it's a wonderful place to market your blog content, bring it back to your site and gain loyal readers.

So, instead of focusing so much on my follower count, I focused on:


- Posting consistently everyday throughout the day.

- Figuring out my core audience and entertaining them.

- Being different and standing out in my niche. 

- Building my relationships with my followers.

- Connecting with other celebrity gossip bloggers, 
monitored what they posted + like/share their posts + shout outs.

- Establishing myself as not just a celebrity gossip blogger, 
but also bringing my personality out and being real 

- Writing unique captions and posting relevant hashtags



Establishing Yourself On Instagram

The key thing in increasing your following on any social media platform is posting engaging content consistently

What do you blog about and why should people care enough to hit that follow button? What are you providing them? How are you entertaining them as opposed to the very next IG blog page that is similar to yours?

If you can't answer these questions then don't expect thousands of people to come flocking to your page. Give those new visitors a reason to not just look at your page but follow it and stay around! 

For me, people love gossip and entertainment and that's what I mostly provide for them on my blog page in addition to: TV recaps, funny videos and some of my unique segments that I sprinkle in every now and then. I've been told I'm like an internet bestie and that's because I not only post gossip, but I talk about real things happening in my life or things I've gone through. People see me and feel like they know me. 

Another thing, write how you talk. 

I'm not trying to sound all fancy on social media or put on an act. My spelling and grammar are on point as I write in a way that seems like I'm just having a conversation with one of my besties. I know I'm addressing thousands of people, but no matter how big my IG account gets, I still feel like I'm talking to a small community of cool peeps. 



Post Everyday (Yup, Even On Weekends)

How many times a day you should post really depends on your niche. 

For me, I've had crazy busy days when I've posted around 30 photos to IG alone in one day. I know this sounds crazy and I'm pretty sure I've clogged up a number of newsfeeds and have gotten some unfollows from this. But, celebrity gossip never sleeps and to stay on top of the game I always kept posting the freshest news and content as it happened. 

Now, this is not for every blogger. You don't have to go crazy posting 30 photos a day, everyday, but do post consistently so your audience doesn't forget about you. 

As a lifestyle or food blogger, you can probably get away with updating your Instragram just once or twice a day (but they better be awesome photos with content in the caption that your readers care about). 

I also used to post at random hours, like at 4 a.m. (I have a sleeping problem so this worked for me). In doing this, I gained a slight advantage over the other bloggers who were sleeping. I took that opportunity to entertain those who were awake like me. 

*Note: I slowed down with posting on @OooLaLaBlog lately and I rarely post late at night anymore since I'm currently building up Blog Like A Boss. 

Another thing people like from me are my IG captions and my personality. Right from the get-go, I wasn't afraid of stating my opinion, writing out lengthy captions and later, I started vlogging and posting videos of myself. 

Share something unique: an exclusive interview, a Q&A, funny commentary, a personal story, a blog series or video segment, turn widely shared news and trends into your own by inserting your opinion. 


I've also posted newer stories that weren't circulating yet on Instagram and this led to a number of bigger blogs reposting and crediting my blog name. I also use a watermark on some of my photos and videos. If I'm not credited, people can still see my blog name and know where it came from. 


Building Relationships With Other Bloggers

The first people I followed were obviously people I knew: my friends, some family members, those people on Facebook who I went to high school with, etc. Then I chose to follow a bunch of other celebrity blogs like mine. 

Start connecting more with your fellow bloggers:  start a DM chat with them, bounce ideas off each other, check out their websites ... whatever you can think of to build that genuine connection. 

Instagram suggest pages that are like yours, follow them! This is not to copy their style. You have to find your own style and originality. But, monitor how these other bloggers post, what they post, when they post, how their readers are engaging with them in the comments. Also take note on what they need to improve. 

Start leaving comments on their posts and "liking" their photos. Just don't be all spammy and leave a bunch of random comments like you're trying to get noticed. Ugh, I hate when bloggers do that. Leave genuine comments. 



You have to promote others to promote yourself, pay it forward! 


Also, if you really like something, repost the blogger and credit them by sharing their Instagram name, @ them! When you do this, most bloggers will take notice and follow you back or return the favor and share something of yours. 

At one point I was reading other blogs and sharing other content more than my own. 

Trust me, supporting and networking with others is a HUGE plus. I've gotten plenty of free shout outs from so many awesome bloggers during my time on Instagram and it has helped increase my following tremendously. 






Building Relationships With Your IG Followers

Are you getting your content into the hands of the right people?

One thing that separated me from the bigger blogs who have a massive following is the fact that I engage with my followers. I know many bloggers who don't comment back, ever and until this day, I'm still monitoring as many comments as I can and replying back to people. Whether I have 10 followers or 1 million, I pop into the comments when I have a moment, read as many as I can and sometimes, I respond. 

Responding as a blogger is a HUGE plus, like I've mentioned previously in my Turn Instagram Into Your Side Hustle post. Interacting draws people in more and if they haven't followed you yet, they just might after a response.

I don't even like calling my readers "followers." I label my audience the 'OooLaLaFam' and I hashtag that, everywhere. I even used to shout out certain followers who I notice commenting and liking my photos the most. 

Ask your readers questions, get to know them, learn their patterns and see which type of photos get the most likes/comments. I've posted a photo once asking people to name the state they're from and I received hundreds of responses under that post. This helped me realize not only do I have local followers, but people following me from all over the world!






Luckily for us bloggers, Instagram has made it easier to monitor stats thanks to their new Insights analytics, but before, it wasn't that easy. I downloaded (and still use) the InstaFollow app where I could monitor certain analytics and also see who followed and unfollowed me. 

Also, don't be afraid to follow some of your followers back. Some bloggers like to look "cool" and they only follow like one person. Not me, I followed a lot of people who I've built somewhat of an Instragram friendship with, people who I noticed liking, sharing and commenting on my photos regularly. Take notice of these people. These are your loyal readers and they ride for you. 




Don't Forget #Hashtags!

This is stating the obvious, but your IG page needs to be public to grow your following and for hashtags to be relevant when people search for them. You are allowed to use up to 30 hashtags on each photo on Instagram. I've personally never used that many, but a couple of key hashtags related to your photo will do. 

I notice some bloggers post a lot of their hashtags in their comment sections as to not take away from the photo by using so many hashtags in the caption. 

Hashtags allow people who aren't following you to find your photos on Instagram and this can lead to new followers. I noticed after about of month of being consistent with updates and hashtagging correctly, I started gaining a small following. It also helps when your photo shows up in the 'Top Posts' section. This section shows off nine of the popular photos under a specific hashtag. 

I've gotten thousands and thousands of likes on some photos thanks to it being in the 'Top Post' section where more eyeballs spot it. 


Also, personalize your hashtags and start a new, unique one. Search the hashtag first to make sure no one else is using it, claim it and then use it on every photo. 

For me, I hashtag #OooLaLaBlog which is my IG blog name. Now, when people go to repost a photo/video and my caption with it, this is getting reposted under the #OooLaLaBlog hashtag which now has more than 14,000 posts under it. 

I've also created other hashtags related to different topics I cover: #OooLaLaTVChats, #OooLaLaThrowback, #OooLaLaChats (where I post a question for my followers and chat back).

A small group of us gossip and entertainment bloggers started the #bloghive hashtag which eventually started attracting others outside of group who use it and now that hashtag has over 10,000 photos under it. We then created another #bloghive hashtag with a lipstick emoji after the name. Once again, a bunch of other bloggers picked up on our movement and started including the hashtag with their photos and now it has over 25,000 photos under it. 



Don't Forget To Promote Yourself!

I constantly promote my Instagram page on all of my other social media accounts, plus I have a link to all of my accounts at the bottom of each blog post and visible follow widgets on my website.  


That Token Shout Out

Sometimes I tag celebrities and reality stars in hopes that they actually see my post (and some may even follow back!) This has also worked and turned out great for me. Many Instagram famous people with huge followings have also reposted my picture which included my watermark.

My first big break on Instagram came from singer/actress Christina Milian when she reposted my picture and my @ handle! I must have gotten almost a thousand followers alone from that. 

My blog pictures and my blog name are all over the internet. Like here and here or that time Chrissy Teigen took a screenshot of another blogger's post who reposted my photo and credited me. That moment was talked about and shown on a lot of major celebrity gossip outlets, like People magazine

You just never know where your IG posts will end up or who will see them.  

Another thing, even when celebrities just "like" your photo, it attracts even more people to "like" the same photo as followers can see who is liking what under the 'Following' tab. 


So, remember, social media works both ways. You have to take the time to "like" and comment on other people's photos and videos. 

Be proactive!

Once you start building up your account and attracting a following, your photos will be reposted more and circulating around more on the internet. 

What matters is gaining loyal followers who will be interested in your other social media accounts, subscribing to your email list and reading your posts on your website. 

I hope these tips can help you grow your Instagram accounts as they have helped me!

What steps are you taking now to increase your following?



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2:07:00 AM / by / 8 Comments

8 comments:

  1. My #1 is the interaction. I am breaking out of my shell and commenting on other people's posts with genuine comments as you stated above. I feel like that has helped and now I'm more comfortable doing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! People love when bloggers act human, lol sounds funny but it's true. The connection they feel with you is key

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  2. Am very glad that you posted an article about that! I recognised myself when you said that some bloggers use a bunch a hashtag! Lol ! But I started to restrain that lmao! Because I found that exhausting! 😂😂😂
    By the way, I started my Instagram page before starting blogging! I think that I do everything backwards!
    Right now am putting my personality forwards on each posts I make ! Because I noticed that people comment a lot when I expose my opinion!
    Thank you Lala for these tips!! They are really helpful! 😊💋

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    1. You're very welcome! And, nothing is wrong with starting your Instagram page first, it's good that you secured all your social media pages. Just don't forget to branch out with your own website and divert the social media traffic back to your website :)

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  3. I am not sure if I missed it, but what is your instagram name I would love to connect. I am really interested in establishing relationships!!

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    1. Hello, Dom! My blog Instagram for this page is: @BossBloggingTips ... and for my entertainment blog, it's: @OooLaLaBlog

      What's your Instagram page? I would love to follow back :)

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  4. I finally found a post that gives great details and tips on how to grow your audience for your blog. Thanks for your personal insight, after reading about your experience as a blogger, I feel encouraged to be consistent with my inspirational blog. I try not to worry too much about how many followers I have on Instagram, but of course I am constantly bombarded with people leaving comments about purchasing followers. I'm definitely looking for loyal followers, and I am guilty about posting a bunch of hashtags. However, reaching out to the right people is important. I usually don't comment, but your post is very helpful. I'll be following you on instagram and joining your fb network. Keep up the great work. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and I'm glad my post was helpful and encouraging! Yes, networking with bloggers in your niche is very important and also liking, reading and sharing other people's work. Thank you for commenting and joining my other networks! :)

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