5 Secret Tips to Grow your Instagram Following that Nobody Shares


Photo Credit: CamilleovertheRainbow

After having read, experimented, signed up to free and paid courses , spent two years researching the changing algorithm and secrets behind the success of millions on Instagram, I am finally in a place where I feel I can share with you the top secrets I have learnt, for FREE!

Are you ready?

How Instagram Works

Unlike social sharing platforms like Twitter and Pinterest, Instagram isn’t the most efficient place to drive traffic to your blog, but it’s the place to convert sales and expose millions of targeted individuals to your brand. It is a visual platform, so use it as a place to sell your brand story.

Ensure that your blog has the best visuals by taking high-quality imagery, or getting free stock photos from websites like Unsplash. It’s the best if you don’t have time to curate your own content!


We’re starting off with the basics. This section includes your profile picture, bio, and brand identity.

Instagram is the place to drive potential customers to your account through your feed. It is the one place to tell your brand story, and so it is important to keep this brand identity consistent across all social media.

To optimize your Instagram for blog traffic, this is what you need to do:

  Use an appealing logo. Preferably one that is consistent across all your social media channels. The best logos are either a) one that shows your face, so that people can connect with you easily or b) your brand logo.

  Your Bio: fill in all the details Instagram allows you to put in. Make it personable, add some emojis, and Instagram gives you one space for a link – use it wisely!

  Keep your feed consistent and congruent. You can always post a messy, random feed, on your personal Instagram. However, for your business Instagram do not post anything outside of your niche – as this will only confuse your audience.

* If you have not yet figured out your brand identity (this involves the mood of your brand: color, theme, topics, font etc. I would advise you spend some time figuring this out before you start posting on Instagram.) As well as this, make sure you have figured out your target audience.

The most important tip you will learn in this article is the importance of hashtags. I’m sure you’ve heard the conflicting views on whether to use hashtags or not. Many say that they look spammy, messy, unprofessional, and many people have this superior attitude over hashtags. Well to tell you the honest truth, that advice is great….for people with an established brand.

You see, those people on Instagram you see not using any hashtags, or using one or two per post? You’ll find that most (if not all of them) are already getting thousands of likes and followers, and the algorithm is always boosting their posts because of this. They do not need hashtags. You do.

I cannot stress just how important targeted hashtags are to growing your Instagram. If you are already using Instagram and not seeing growth, this is likely down to the lack of targeted hashtags you are using.

You may have noticed that I didn’t just say hashtags. I said ‘targeted hashtags’ as on this whole hashtag game goes a lot deeper than just using random hashtags to explain your image.

Getting your photo to the top of a hashtag (the most popular section) is based on how quickly your photo gains traction after posting. The system I use is simple, yet highly effective.

Here are the golden tips:

  Find hashtags with photos ranging between the 1,000-300,000 posts. This means that the hashtag is not over saturated and gives you a better chance at making it to the top of the feed because it won’t get drowned out in seconds.

You can play around with this number, but anything less than 1,000 usually doesn’t have enough engaged users and anything more than 300,000 is usually over saturated.

  Look at the quality of the content on a particular hashtag. Whatever your niche is – ask yourself: Are these the people I am trying to target? Will my images resonate with them? Finding hashtags relating to a collective is usually the best way forward. Some examples include:  #collectivelycreate #graphicgang #visualcoop #phculture

If you are serious about using hashtags to catapult your Instagram business ahead of everyone else, there is only one Instagram course I would wholeheartedly recommend and that is Hashtag Hero for $99 or Infamous to Influential for $329. Alex Tooby is the Instagrammer who built her Instagram @menandcoffee (it’s the one you’ve seen with the hot, usually shirtless men, with coffee mugs) and now teaches Instagram courses that actually provide value. It’s one of the few (or only) Instagram course you will ever see me promote on this blog. You really get more bang for your buck than any other Instagram course I’ve joined.

Image result for menandcoffee instagram screenshot

Marketing fads to get you quick followers are useless in the long term. Instead, engage authentically with your audience.

If you use unsavory techniques like follow/unfollow or anything similar, like buying followers, it will immediately discredit your brand by making you seem phony or hungry for followers.

Engagement is more important than numbers, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. It is more important to establish good relationships with your readers so that engagement is authentic since those are the people that will buy your products and invest in you, compared to the followers you only have because you followed them back.

To grow your audience, communicate with them. Ask them questions, reply back to comments, and only follow your target audience. The Instagram algorithm favours comments over likes, so to make it to the top of people’s feeds, spark conversation! Ask questions on the caption of your image.

Rumour has it that Instagram only counts comments as engagement if they are longer than three words. Therefore, don’t just leave a meaningless emoji comment, but reply back to comments in an open-ended way to create a thread of conversation.

An easy task to grow your followers is to identify five competitor accounts. When that brand posts a photo, go through the likes on that image and engage with those Instagram accounts. Since they are active, they are more likely to check out your content and follow!

Timing is everything. With the smart feed now being used by Instagram, it may not seem as important, but you still need to know when your audience is most engaged. Using a spreadsheet to see what days and times give you optimum likes and follow is the best way to track growth.

Although there is plenty of information provided by Instagram on the best timings: Wednesday 5.pm e.s.t is typically the best time to post, this is constantly changing. The audience you have will always determine the best times to post. If you post quotes on your Instagram, mornings might be the best time to post as people are looking for inspiration at the start of their day. However, if you’re a fashion blogger, you have to think about when someone might be looking for style inspiration, like on a Friday night.

Testing timings through a process of trial and error is the best way to establish this. You can also use Instagram tools like Tailwind  or Iconosquare to track engagement at the time you posted.

Look, I get it. Consistency as a concept sounds easy enough. Most bloggers recommend posting between one to three times a day, depending on what you see fit for your brand. However, consistency can be a lot harder than it looks, especially if your blog/business is not your full-time job. Life gets in the way, and suddenly it’s been a week since you last updated your Instagram profile.

However, not only will posting sporadically make your audience lose interest, but the algorithm rewards consistency. Posting every day in conjunction with targeted hashtags is the fastest, most effective way to grow you Instagram. Although Instagram does not allow any third-party apps or websites to post for you, Later and Planoly are extremely helpful time saving, apps to plan your posts in advance so that you have your content scheduled and ready to go.

Keep Going!

With the number of Instagram users growing daily, it is important to remember that although Instagram is an app oversaturated with accounts, if you are innovative and spend a certain amount of time on Instagram daily, growing your Instagram audience will become easier. Remember, it’s not about how many followers you have, but how engaged they are with your content! It is better to have fewer followers who trust you, than thousands who are not interested in your brand.

In the next few months, I’m also going to be going more in-depth about each of these 5 tips, so if you want to keep up to date with that, make sure you follow me on social media!

Did you find this blog post helpful? Comment below any strategies you plan to implement on your Instagram.

  1. Aug 20, 2017 9:09 pm

    This is such an interesting read I’ll definitely be trying out some of these tips. Great post, thank you for sharing lovely 💕



    • Aug 20, 2017 11:24 pm


      Thanks for reading! I’m glad it helped you out, and good luck with growing your Instagram. 🙂 x

  2. Aug 22, 2017 3:55 am

    Very helpful advice, thank you!

    • Aug 22, 2017 6:47 pm


      You’re most welcome! x

  3. Aug 22, 2017 9:27 am

    These are some great tips! Thank you for sharing them

    • Aug 22, 2017 6:49 pm

      @Hayley Beth

      Thank you for reading it! 🙂 x

  4. Aug 22, 2017 5:58 pm

    Ooo yah. I’m going to re-evaluate my hashtags within that 1k-300k range. Thanks.

    • Aug 23, 2017 1:51 pm


      No problem! Hope your change in Instagram strategy brings you success! x

  5. Aug 22, 2017 5:59 pm

    Wow these are excellent tips. I definitely need to work on my logo and branding. And I never even thought to check how many posts were in each hashtag but it makes total sense! You don’t want to overuse ones that are too popular or use ones that no one is looking at. I’m going to dig into my Instagram this week… thank you!

    • Aug 23, 2017 1:52 pm


      Yes! It’s amazing how few people mention oversaturation of hashtags when it is so important. Good luck with your new logo/branding strategy.

  6. Aug 22, 2017 6:07 pm

    Wow, this is all great info. Thank you so much!!

    • Aug 23, 2017 1:53 pm


      Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂 x

  7. Aug 22, 2017 6:08 pm

    This was so informative!

    • Aug 23, 2017 1:53 pm


      That was the plan! Thank you. x

  8. Aug 22, 2017 6:28 pm

    I have a similar post! These are all great tips and will work wonders for your engagement!

  9. Aug 22, 2017 6:36 pm

    Thanks for sharing these tips! I have s pretty large follower base on instagram but not too many people engage or like my pictures. I’ll be using these tips!

  10. Aug 22, 2017 6:36 pm

    Wow, what a great post! I’m fairly new on Instagram and need every tip I can get! I especially like the tip about the hashtag saturation, serious food for thought, thank you!

    • Aug 22, 2017 6:46 pm

      @Elizabeth le Roux

      Ikr!? It’s crazy how little oversaturation of hashtags is talked about when it is so important! Good luck with growing your Instagram, Elizabeth. x

  11. Aug 22, 2017 6:38 pm

    Fabulous, fabulous tips! I hadn’t thought about oversaturation of the hashtag. That makes an awful lot of sense. And frankly, I didn’t consider branding on the feed. I make sure I have good relevant content though. My perfect client doesn’t seem to hang out on Instagram though since my age demographic is about 15 years older than Instagram users.

    • Aug 22, 2017 6:43 pm

      @Tiffany M. Bastedo

      Thank you, Tiffany! What is your age demographic? Instagram spans a massive age range, I’m sure there is a lot of use for you hidden away on Instagram. x

  12. Aug 22, 2017 6:39 pm

    I love these tips! I’m just getting started. 🙂

    • Aug 22, 2017 6:45 pm


      Good luck! 🙂 x

  13. Aug 22, 2017 6:54 pm

    Really need to try these out. My Instagram hast stopped Tongan new followers a few days ago and I definitely want my gram and blog to grow!

    • Sep 6, 2017 3:13 pm


      Yes, the changing Instagram algorithm isn’t the best for growth, but don’t be discouraged since so many Instagrammers have seen their engagement go stagnant or decrease. I’m sure your blog/social media is going to grow huge, Rebecca 🙂 x

  14. Aug 22, 2017 7:02 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing – I will definately come back to this pist and adwise again and again

  15. Aug 22, 2017 7:07 pm

    I’m always looking for new ways to grow my Instagram following–I feel like the algorithm has been so impossible lately! I love you how pointed out that the hashtag market may be saturated after 300K.

  16. Aug 22, 2017 7:14 pm

    This post is so insightful! Thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to implement these strategies.

  17. Aug 22, 2017 7:43 pm

    Thank’s so much for sharing your tips! I absolutely love the use of the right hashtags – they help A LOT.

  18. Aug 22, 2017 7:59 pm

    So helpful! I’m bookmarking this. I had no idea (well about a lot of it), but esp about hashtag saturation. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Aug 22, 2017 8:47 pm

    Thanks! I am now trying to grow my Instagram audience and this is super helpful.

    • Sep 25, 2017 1:25 am

      @Ursula Herrera

      Glad you liked the post! If you implement the tips I gave, let me know how it goes 🙂 x

  20. Aug 22, 2017 8:50 pm

    I changed the color scheme of my instagram and see if that will bring me more followers. I was all over the place with the pics and it didn’t see well with me or my brand.

  21. Aug 22, 2017 9:09 pm

    This is a brilliant post, I have been making it my mission to learn more about instagram and how it can benefit my blog. Thanks so much

  22. Aug 22, 2017 10:07 pm

    These are really helpful, thanks for recommending apps to track engagement.

  23. Aug 22, 2017 11:42 pm

    Thank you so much for putting this article together! I’ve known for awhile that I needed to work on hashtags but I didn’t think there was a specific range to choose from that would best benefit me.

  24. Aug 23, 2017 4:47 am

    Wow this was so helpful! I didn’t know ANY of this for Instagram! I will start implementing right away!

  25. Aug 23, 2017 5:05 am

    I need these tips! I’ll definately be applying them. Especially the hashtags I alway go for the big oneS 😫

  26. Aug 23, 2017 9:22 am

    Wow those are some great tips! I had no idea about which hashtags to use. I use some of the most popular ones, but I will definitely look for those under 300k. Sometimes instagram feels like a job. I constantly gain followers then lose them the next day. And I’m on there everyday…ugh :/

  27. Aug 23, 2017 1:40 pm

    Some really useful tips, thanks so much! I definitely want to work on my branding some more to make my content more recognisable x

  28. Aug 23, 2017 3:09 pm

    Great blost post! I think the biggest one for me is consistency. When I’m in “growth” mode, I try to post twice a day for most days. Then I see a real spike in followers. Engage is a good one too that we often forget.

  29. Aug 23, 2017 3:50 pm

    I always say hashtags are golden! This post inspired me to take a second look at the hashtags I have been using. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  30. Aug 23, 2017 5:14 pm

    Very helpful! I love using instagram and I’ve been finally building up a little following, will use these tips to grow it even more!

    • Sep 6, 2017 3:11 pm


      Good luck! I believe you’re going to do great with growing your following. Let me know how it goes, darling. x

  31. Aug 23, 2017 8:27 pm

    These are great tips and I definitely agree!
    Hashtags and engagement help to build your following 🙂

    Dani x

    • Sep 6, 2017 3:10 pm


      Thank you, Dani. x

  32. Aug 23, 2017 8:35 pm

    Such a great post! I really need to look into the hashtags I am using! Also find it so hard to post consistently but will try my best to grow my insta

    Lily | Covet Luxe

    • Sep 6, 2017 3:10 pm


      I love your blog, Lily! I understand what you mean about posting consistently, it takes a bit of work. Good luck 🙂 x

  33. Aug 24, 2017 7:06 pm

    I am so glad I read this post! It is very insightful and has so many good tips!

    • Sep 6, 2017 3:08 pm


      Thank you, lovely. x

  34. Aug 24, 2017 7:31 pm

    Timing is the most difficult thing for me to keep track of! Great tips here; thanks for sharing!

    • Sep 6, 2017 3:08 pm

      @Mary Leigh

      You can use apps that schedule posts and keep track of timings for you! Timing was something I originally struggled with as well since it’s not the most exciting analytic to focus on, but it gets easier 🙂 x

  35. Sep 7, 2017 2:04 pm

    Love love LOVE this! So useful for smaller /new instagrammers!!
    Stelle Xx

  36. Sep 7, 2017 4:33 pm

    As a new Instagram user, I found this very helpful! Thanks for all of the insight. 🙂

  37. Sep 7, 2017 5:04 pm

    Thanks for your tips
    useful post <3

    • Sep 13, 2017 5:39 pm


      Thanks for reading!

  38. Sep 10, 2017 11:25 am

    There is some great tips here! For me to engage and comment on others content is important! x
    Lola Mia // http://www.lolitabonita.co.uk

  39. Sep 10, 2017 11:52 am

    Great advice! Thank you very much

  40. Sep 10, 2017 5:39 pm

    I am blogging about Instagram tomorrow. I never thought about timing. I still struggle to get blog traffic from Instagram, maybe that’s why, LOL! Thanks for the tips. Tweeted!

  41. Sep 10, 2017 10:24 pm

    I keep a ‘notes’ on my phone where I have hashtags for each category to make it easier when I prepare my captions!


  42. Sep 11, 2017 11:36 pm

    Honestly I don’t think some people get Instagram. They tell me I post pictures and use the right tags. I asked them do you go to other peoples accounts and like their pictures and comment on them? They look at me like I’m being ridiculous. I think some people forget it’s not just about being followed it’s about making sure that you’re responding to other people. If you just keep posting pictures and not interacting with other accounts you’re never going to get anywhere.

  43. Sep 12, 2017 12:39 pm

    I love Instagram, but sometimes you may feel a bit dissapointed in there … Your post & tips are great!! 🙂

  44. Sep 12, 2017 4:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing such helpful tips! I can’t wait to put these to use with my travel accounts. Thanks again

  45. Sep 18, 2017 11:29 pm

    I was making right strides in the beginning but I fall of recently. Thank you for reminding me the tricks to gain followers!

  46. Sep 19, 2017 2:19 am

    Great info! I definitely save all my messy posts for my personal IG and love coming up with posts for my “business” one to fit in with my theme.

    • Sep 25, 2017 1:23 am


      I know right, Sarah! It is so fun putting together a cohesive feed (but also a little stressful, I get a little carried away sometimes…)

  47. Sep 19, 2017 3:36 am

    Great tips! I’m also adding this to my favorites for later. Thank you!!

    • Sep 25, 2017 1:22 am


      Thank you, Amy. x

  48. Sep 21, 2017 9:44 pm

    Such a relief to find a helpful post about Instagram that DOESN’T promote follow/unfollow! haha. I will be using some of these tips

    • Sep 25, 2017 1:21 am


      Thank you! I know, it literally doesn’t matter if it takes you a little longer to grow a large following, as long as you’re not saying ‘I grew x amount of followers in 6 months’ and the entire technique is just annoyingly unfollowing people when they don’t follow you back. Anyway, if you implement these tips, I hope they work out for you! x

  49. Oct 14, 2018 5:16 am

    I have saved this for later – I really want to utilise your tips and build my instagram more. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

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