This article will not be about buying followers. It won’t be about ‘shoutout for shoutout’ tactics. Both of these methods don’t get you a genuine following of people interested in your creative curation. What we all want is real followers, people that share your passion and wait in anticipation for your next posts.

How do you get there? I’d like to tell you it’s an easy route with a few tricks you can implement to acquire more followers and spread the word about your account. There is no magic formula, there is only hard work. Today we’ll look at some of the things you can do and perfect to get more followers on Instagram. You will also find 12 successful Instagram accounts under each tip for inspiration.

Tip #1: Edit bio, contact info, link

Start with your bio. You have to keep it short and sweet. Make it appealing to people that will land on your page. This is your chance to make a good impression and reveal a little bit about yourself, something your photos don’t communicate. This includes your name, what’s on your page, how to contact you and 1 very important link.

The link that you choose to feature in  your bio should lead the visitors to a website, blog or other online publication where they can learn more about your business or you as a person.

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Tip #2: Organize your feed

What you’re going to have to do next is clean up your feed. Organize it in a way that is coherent so that people know right away what it is that you do and specialize in. Some of the most successful accounts are thematic. Remember this as you edit your gallery. Remember, that Instagram now has the option of archiving your photographs so you can get rid of photographs on your page without losing them.

How you go about choosing the theme is up to you. It can be organized based on a specific style of photography you’re going for, be coherent in the filters that you use and even color schemes. Edit first, then scroll through your gallery and see if all the images look coherent. If they don’t – archive them. Aim for a gallery that is soothing to the eyes.

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Tip #3: Say ‘no’ to low res images

Next, what you’ll want to do as you’re editing is do a little bit of quality control. Blurred and pixelated images throw people off. You want to have a very clean and crisp gallery of images. This does not mean that you need advanced equipment and the best cameras on the market. Quite the contrary, you need your phone and an editing app.

If you haven’t yet, the best investment you can make is a smartphone with a good camera. The reason for this is that you need something that you can have on you at all times. It’s also going to go a long way to helping you achieve those crisp images.

Clean up your feed even further for any photographs that fall short of these standards. Keep only high quality shots with good lighting. And don’t worry if you’re getting rid of too many photos! You’re working towards improving your feed so you can woo new visitors.

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Tip #4: Invest in a good editing app

You’ve seen accounts with flawless images. Rest assured, everyone uses editing apps. It does not compromise the authenticity of your photography. Editing pictures will become second nature to you. You can use editing apps to tweak the lighting, sharpness and work with shadows.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our article on the top 10 photo editing apps. Personally, I use VSCO and I never feel the need to switch over to anything else. VSCO offers all the features the other editing apps do, it’s easy to learn and even easier to work with as you get used to it.

Editing your photos will edge you closer to a more coherent gallery. You will develop a system and eventually have the eye for the style of photography you’re going for. Remember that editing is an actual skill that you develop with time. Editing apps are also so much fun! You can play around with your photographs and express your artistic self and your vision.

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Tip #5: Find your niche and stick to it

One of the most important factors you have to consider is what niche you will fall under. There are Instagram accounts for anything and everything – photography, beauty, interiors, fashion – you name it. You have your edited gallery, now find out where you fit in in Instagram’s network. This will become important as we talk about branching out.

When visitors come to your page, they should be able to tell right away who you are, what you do and what you specialize in. This gives followers a sense of who you are and they will choose to follow you based on how coherent you are and how different you are from other people in your niche.

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Tip #6: Be your true self

Some people go to great extends to make themselves presentable on Instagram. Trust me when I say that your job of acquiring real Instagram followers will be so much harder if you’re curating a collection you don’t care about.

With Instagram, you have to post on a regular basis. Coming up with ideas will be so much easier if you just stay true to yourself, who you are and your personal artistic vision. People are hungry for raw, relatable feeds. They are looking for someone they can connect to so don’t waste your time being someone you’re not.

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Tip #7: Think big

Be ambitious! You might think there’s a trick to how many times a day you post. Whether it’s 5 times a day or just 3 times a week, Instagram followers don’t pay attention to these things. If you have a coherent, relatable and eye catching gallery, people will want to follow you and see where you take them next.

To think big is to consider how you can a) analyze the market and b) how you can stand out. Knowledge is power so do invest your time into research. Look at people that are posting similar things to you. The themes people work with will give you a sense of direction. See what other people in your niche are doing and think of how you can perfect your gallery.

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Tip #8: Be consistent

Opinions on how many times a week you should post varies. The truth is, it’s entirely up to you. As previously mentioned, it’s the quality and coherence that is prized above all else. You can post daily, or a few times a week but do not go overboard.

If you want to get your message to the world, you have to be active. This means posting on a somewhat regular basis according to your time. It must be evident, however, that you are living and breathing this account.

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Tip #9: Be interactive

The next phase of gaining more followers on Instagram is interaction. You need to branch out, and make an effort to connect with others. Instagram is a social media after all! You have to be interactive with the followers you already have. Reply to your messages, reach out to people that interest you.

Don’t post generic comments. Give your thoughts out like you care about your account. Take the time to like photos, comment and share. People really appreciate encouragement and positivity. In return, they will do the same for you. Thus, you will begin to slowly grow.

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Tip #10: Let’s talk about hashtags

Hashtags on Instagram are your best friend. Instagram is a very intricate web where hashtags can make a big difference. This is a topic that requires more in-depth explanations but we’ll try to keep it brief. When you post pictures, use somewhat obvious hashtags. This is because likely, they are popular tags with thousands of photos.

As you’re thinking of hashtags, think about the message you’re sending out. Get those hashtags right. Likely, many people will be searching for the more obvious tags. Take advantage of this.

If you check out the ‘explore’ page on Instagram, you’ll find that it’s full of photos, videos and stories. If you make it to any of these 3 categories on the explore feed, you will notice an immediate spike in followers. This is also valuable knowledge, so explore with different mediums and try to make it to the explore page.

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Tip #11: Give back to your followers

You need to get to know other Instagrammers. Collaborate, send messages, work with people and don’t be afraid of rejections. You need to reach out to influencers and see if there is potentially something you can collaborate on. This can result in shoutouts which is another great way of getting discovered.

You’ve probably heard about competitions. It’s great to participate in them and even better to host them. This is a chance to give back to your followers and build a community and a following in the process. Focus on integrating yourself into bigger communities and it starts with giving back and reaching out to other Instagrammers.

Another important aspect is branching out to other websites. Promote your content on other channels to tie in your followers and lead them back to your account. Think about branching out which will result in more activity and exposure and ultimately bring everyone together.

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Tip #12: Ads, exposure, promotion

Paying for Instagram advertisements shouldn’t be perceived as selling out. I don’t know how many followers you have, but you have to take action if you want to grow your following. You might already have really great content and a well curated page, but you need to add some fuel to your account. This can be done with Instagram ads.

Collaborate with people in the same market as you to reap the benefits. Target a specific audience that has a genuine interest in what you do. You won’t get thousands of followers from a tagged photo of someone quite popular, but it’s a start. You want to advertise to accounts with lots of followers and activity that correlates to yours.

You can also tag brands and products. It’s a shot in the dark but brands do like to feature UGC. For example, if your niche is beauty and you tag Maybelline they might repost your photo! A reposted photo on an account like Maybelline reaches out to exactly the type of audience you want. It would result in activity and bring you new followers.

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Tip #13: Have fun and be creative

Every post is an opportunity to push boundaries. Think of your account as a project or an actual gallery. There is also a reason why we didn’t start this article with ‘set goals’. In reality, you will fall short if you aspire to unrealistic goals. Don’t focus on a set number of followers for they won’t come to you overnight.

Be you, go out there and photograph what’s important to you personally. Instagram is great for artistic expression. As long as you love what you do, are inspired and being your most creative self, people will find you and they will follow the person they so relate to.

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With Instagram, what you get is what you put in. It will take up your time and efforts but if you’re passionate about what you do and take some of these tips into consideration, you’re off to a good start! See our previous post on how to market yourself on Instagram. Good luck, and share your tips to help out other Instagrammers!

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