Saturday, May 19, 2018

How to grow your Instagram audience and have a successful content?

Aloooha guys! So the number one question I get from people I meet for the first time from owners of local businesses, friends, family and even new friends is: How did I get 30K followers on Instagram???

Well, my answer is: It takes dedication, photography knowledge, creative content, algorithm analysis, hashtags, applications, etc, etc... Nobody gains 1000 followers from day to night unless they are doing it on the "not so honest way" which is buying followers lets get that straight!
I created my Instagram 5 years ago and it started as a fun photo album app until the moment I started traveling more often, I was also living in Hawaii, connecting with a lot of photographers, building up my fashion stylist portfolio, also working on Hawaii fashion week, then my audience started growing and companies started to contact me for collaborations in exchange for free merchandise, that I took blogging and Instagram more seriously.
Through that past 2 years, my audience started to grow more and I also took the time to be very consistent and made a post once a day especially when I was traveling abroad. There are a lot of tools you can learn from in order to have a larger audience and followers from all over the world, and techniques to have a creative "good looking" feed!

Before beginning with all the basics of Instagram, the tools, tactics, and apps I use daily to have riched the audience I have, I want you to have a clear sight, be true to yourself and be authentic.
So first of all, I encourage you to ask yourself this questions:
1: What is your purpose? to be more specific what are you looking to gain from Instagram?
2: What/who is your content for?
3: Are you looking to make a profit?
4: What do you want to gain from this social media platform?

Like in anything in Life, I am a true believer that to be successful and achieve your goals you must have a clear perspective of your goal, a plan with your strategies, and a firm mindset to conquer anything you want. So having answered those simple questions would set your mind and Instagram game in which direction you want to take this social media mogul!

Here it is a list of basics apps you need to know to obtain a successful creative content:
Let's start with the Basics:
- Own a good camera as simple as that sounds, I know you can still create an amazing image by just using your camera phone, but you can tell the difference (at least I do) when a photo has been taken with a nice professional camera. Also, the quality and resolution of a photo taken with a Canon or Nikon camera will make the photoshop use way easier and it will look stunning.
- Know your angles, I am a petite girl but I can assure you I can make myself look taller by putting my tripod and camera angled up. Practice your angles and what makes you look the best.
- Make sure your background and outfit are in sync, make your photo outlook cohesive and be creative. I suggest you that you define your style, define your objective and stick to your true authenticity.
Always remember that Instagram is a visual platform, designed for people to react to what they see so it makes sense that a beautiful photo would attract more likes and more engagement.

Apps you need to use:
1: Lightroom (like Photoshop for "intermediate" or advanced photographers and non-photographers) For me, this is my number one application and the one I have created my own preset/filter.

2: Facetune, you can enhance, retouch and edit your photo like an airbrush. I use it mostly to tune, smooth those wrinkle lines on my clothes, for face retouching and to enhance my features.

3: Snapseed, I use it to create a different perspective, to crop, tilt. It has plenty of tools to tune your photo.

4: VSCO, we all know vsco and 90% of influencers use their filters and presets from it. Like I mentioned before I created my own preset from Lightroom. It took me a whole month to figure out how I wanted my grid to look cohesive and to have my very own look. We all want to stand out, but there is a fine line between adding a filter to your photo and brand it as yours and filtering a photo until it looks nothing like reality. So I encourage you to find your very own filter, preset that you love, like and defines your style. By using the same filter/preset everytime you make a post it will gradually start looking familiar to people that they will recognize it as yours and your feed will start to look cohesive.

5: UNUM, this is the last app I use before posting a photo. It helps me create a cohesive feed, plan my next post and creates the story I want to represent on my Instagram layout by arranging and moving around my images for my grid before posting. For me this is essential!!! 

Next, how to grow your AUDIENCE, gain more FOLLOWERS tactics:

1: Post consistently this is the number one advice you must know and as simple as it sounds. The more often you post, the more likes and engagement you get, the more followers you rich! I should take my own advice I have not been consistent the past months and my audience rate is still at the same number. and my engagement had decreased but I must say I am at a comfortable follower number (30K), but in order to keep growing, you do have to post consistently. With Instagram algorithmic timeline, consistency is a key element to getting your posts seen and appearing at the top of the timeline. When your posts are shared on a daily basis and picking up a good engagement then Instagram's algorithm may place your post at the top of your follower's feed. 

2: Use quality hashtags, the right hashtags # can expose your image to a large, targeted audience. With the new "follow hashtags" tool on Instagram it is easier to rich likes and followers. Also, Instagram only allows you 30 hashtags per post but it has been found that 9 hashtags are the optimal amount for boosting engagement. (Hashtag Use) Hashtags do's and don't: 
- Do put your hashtags in the comments section, not directly on your post description.
- Do use hashtags with low competition, popular hashtags like #travel tend to have millions of post so the content you post might get buried while low competition hashtags might be a more specific version of those common options. For example, #travelEU (traveling in Europe) might be more specific, useful and will target an audience interested in traveling through Europe against the common #travel. See the difference?! 
- Do jump on trending topics, like a national day.
- Do determine your branded hashtags and community hashtags.
- Don't use hashtags that are too long.
- Don't have more hashtags than text in a caption.
- Don't hashtag every word.

3: Share User-generated content, this is when brands take the best of the best user content from all over the web and featuring it on their own social media platform while giving credit to their original creator (user). Yes, this is my photo on Nastygal with 15966 likes! 

4: Collaborate with others, another way to reach and grow your audience is collaborating with other Instagram users through partnership or sponsorships. Mostly clothing, jewelry, beauty brands among others will reach out to you for a collaboration, where both will be able to provide value to your own audience and reach a new audience.

5: Interact with your audience, interacting with your followers, replying to comments make you more reachable and creates more engagement. The more new people that follow you the more they want to see and know about you. 
Go live on Instagram, share on Instagram stories, add polls and questions for your audience. The average engagement from videos is growing faster than average engagement from images! 

6: Post at your best times, timeliness on a post is one of the major factors in the Instagram algorithm, so the best time for you to post is when your audience is most active and here it is how you can find that out: 
- On your Instagram app, tap on your profile photo, then tap on the Instagram Insights bar chart icon, scroll down to the follower's section and tap "see more". At the bottom of the page you will see on which day of the week and at which hours of the day your followers are most active:

7: Use Analytics, one of the keys to growing your audience is posting high-quality content that your followers will like and engage with.  Again Instagram insights provide the data for you to understand which posts your followers like the most. I also use this Website to check my analytics. This will also tell you the authenticity of any Instagram's user audience (if you know what I mean). 

8: Cross post, make sure your existing fans know that you are on Instagram through cross-posting. Instagram makes it easier to share your post on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr which is another great tactic to gain more exposure. 

Last Pay it forward, if someone's else post made me smile I like it, if something makes me stop scrolling down I will comment on it. My main goal with all my social media accounts is to spread kindness, support one another, empower one another and spread ALOHA. It does not matter if the other Instagram user has a huge audience or not, it does not matter at all, it is all about being genuine, kind, true to yourself and supporting one another. It is about empowering over competition!!! 

I am going to repeat myself again but stay true to yourself, make yourself stand out for who you are, share your values, and in anything you do, do it with passion, effort and look inside yourself. Do not compare yourself to others, that does not give you any strength other than more doubts and discourage. Instead, celebrate the other person for their success and learn from them. 

Hope you can start now gaining more followers and creating a beautiful, cohesive feed and please comment below if you have any questions!

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram 😉


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About Me

My photo
I am a Fashion Stylist, Fashion and Travel Blogger, a Voyageur. Born and raised in the Paris of Latin America: Buenos Aires, Argentina. From Maui, Hawaii, USA. Currently living in Seattle, WA. I am the fashion designer and buyer for Iorana: A RTW collection for the feminine, sophisticated, outstanding global woman. Follow me on Instagram: @pollyonvoyage Visit my website at: ♥
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