30 Days ago, I set out to seriously grow my Instagram account, and I did. I posted an instagram photo once per day, followed the followers of similar accounts, interacted daily with other users and nearly doubled my follower number in 30 days. It has been an incredible learning experience, and if you asked me today what makes an Instagram photo stream great, I would say it is 3 things:

  1. Your story
  2. Consistency and liberal use of hashtags
  3. Your design strategy

1. Your Story

While Twitter is a way to have short to the point conversations and share great resources, and Facebook is a means of support and entertainment, the culture of Instagram is one of stories.

Instagram is for millennials, and millennials are drawn to causes and passions they can relate to, believe in and support whole-heartedly. Instagram is also very visual and artistic.

Followers are drawn in by your photos, and attracted to you through your stories. Yes, it is real life snapshots, but presented artfully with both images and words. Once your followers  know you, resonate with you, love you – then, they will be interested in what you are writing, selling, and doing in your other online spaces. So don’t just drop a pretty photo and run, take some time to open up, share your thoughts, feelings, dreams and questions with your Instagram followers.

And what about engagement? Every now and then, ask them to do something easy for you, visit a link, tag a friend to invite them to follow or participate in a giveaway, etc. They will do it if they love you and your story.

2. Consistency and liberal use of hashtags

Once you become relatable, and people follow you they will expect you to post. If you are inconsistent in timing and/or presentation, they may loose interest. The best accounts post on a regular schedule – at least once, often more than once per day. (And please, limit your selfies to once per week. We know what you look like, your photo is in your profile.)

3. Your photo design strategy

The greatest Instagram accounts are strategically pretty. The photos have the same color scheme, or use the same filters consistently, or alternate quotes with photos. You can tell they have a pattern, but it’s also not exactly predictable. People do still like surprises.

What you want to avoid are lots of collaged photos, selfies, or disjointed photos. When you look at a feed, each image should be art, and the group of images that make up your feed as a whole should be art. And as art, it should stir the viewer, move them in some way.

There is no requirement to take or create all of your own photos for Instagram. You can use others’ images (with the correct permissions and attributions) or repost someone else’s photo, just be sure to tag it (@username) and give credit to the original creator/poster of the image.

Practicing these 3 tips things along with the use of certain Instagram apps to research hashtags and follow similar people, and you can also grow your Instagram account tremendously. You can find a list of my favorite instagram apps here.

Come follow me on Instagram or read one of the following posts for more information on improving your Instagram presence.

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