I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how I grew my Instagram. While I wish I could take credit, it’s pretty much all Kai (& now Row Boat).

It’s ok.

No hard feelings.

I realize how adorable those little ol’ faces are.

Nevertheless, being on Instagram for a few years now and growing a lot over this past year (thank you for making me feel special Instagram) I do have a few tips to give out.

  • Seek out & find large accounts that re-post and share photos. If your Instagram is mostly photos of your babies, find a handful of baby accounts to tag in your photos. If your Instagram is fashion-based, find a few large fashion accounts that re-post photos. If you tag a large account and your photo is re-posted, giving your account credit, others will be directed to your page & it will grow your following. (examples @just.baby for baby photos & @fashionzine for fashion photos)
  • Hashtags can be your friend. I like to use hashtags every so often, but I usually don’t use them in the caption, as it can make it look too busy & messy. Instead, I will be the first to comment on my photo & will add in hashtags in the comment section. If you have an account that revolves around your baby, popular hashtags are “baby” “babyboy” or “babygirl”, “love” “family” “toddler”. If you have a fashion account, some popular tags are “ootd” (<which stands for outfit of the day) or “ootn” (<outfit of the night) “fashion” “style” “inspiration”. To get a better list that specifically caters to your account, you can google “Best hashtags for ____”. (i.e if you have a fitness account “Best hastags for fitness”, cooking = “Best hashtags for cooking/recipes”)
  • Don’t be afraid to follow more accounts that you genuinely like. A lot of people are “scared” to raise the number of accounts they follow. This is a little silly. I’m not saying start following thousands of new accounts, but if you come across an account you like, follow them. The more people you follow & comment or like, the more exposure you will receive.
  • Captions matter. Your caption is the story behind your photo. People are following you for a reason, give them a reason to keep following you by being genuine with your captions. People love raw honesty. Let them get to know you a little better with your words. Spend a little time with your captions before posting. If the boys do or say something funny, I try to write it down in my notepad on my phone so I can always remember it & this also provides endless ideas for captions when my mind occasionally goes blank posting a photo.
  • Give your photos some love before posting. I LOVE the photo app VSCO. I use very subtle filters like A5, C1, Q4, & S2. These filters either make the colors pop out, or give the photo a little more contrast and brightness. They give you a range of intensity to use with each filter that goes from 0-12 and I usually stick to 2 so it doesn’t look overly filtered. (Refer down on how not to “enhance” your photos)
  • Be real. Be honest. Be you. This includes your photos & captions. There’s a good chance you have followers that you’re friends with in “real life”. They know you & they know when you aren’t being true to yourself. Like I mentioned before, people love honesty. They love knowing it took 100 photos to get a good one. They like knowing everything in your life isn’t always perfect. Don’t try to be perfect. Perfect is boring. Be the unique individual you are. It’s SO much more interesting. (& a sense of humor never hurts!)

 

How not to grow your following –

Warning: These tips are a bit harsh & not for the faint of heart. If I offend thee; I apologize in advance but if you are looking on what’s a no-no, these rules are pretty straightforward.

  • Do not follow just to get a follow. I cannot tell you how many accounts (including some big bloggers that would surprise you) that follow me and if I don’t follow them back within 24 hours, they unfollow me. Follow someone because you genuinely are interested in their accounts/life & photos. I will not follow you just because you followed me. I WILL follow you if I like you/your photos or your words. You don’t need thousands of followers for me to follow you. For me, it’s about the person, not the number. The whole follow/unfollow game is basic. Don’t be basic. #toughlove

  • Don’t alienate with your captions. Saying “You don’t understand how hard life is until you have kids” is pretty much guaranteed to alienate anyone who doesn’t have kids, and that’s a very large percentage of people. Is life hard with kids? OH YEAH, but that doesn’t mean you can (or should) make a statement that life is “harder” compared to everyone who doesn’t have a child. Instead say something like “For everything that I’ve given up to be a mama, I’ve gained a whole lotta love in return & wouldn’t trade it for the world” or “Life with babies can be incredibly difficult, but what they’ve given me in return makes life seem more manageable” even “It’s 9 am and I’ve already been thrown-up on & pooped on but now my baby is smiling & snuggling on me, so the painful memories of this morning are now disappearing…slowly…but they are disappearing”. I’ve seen a few “Taking a break from social media because my family/real life is more important”. Ok, I understand what your trying to say, but that’s definitely not the way to say it. Obviously, everyone’s real life is more precious to them vs. what they post on social media, but that’s a horrible way to say it. You’re pretty much saying, “You internet people aren’t important to me. Please unfollow me now.” There are a hundred of ways to say something wrong, or have it come across in a way you didn’t mean. Always double check your caption to make sure you aren’t coming across in a way that doesn’t translate well via text, or could be taken out of context.

  • Photo retouching – Don’t do it. Ok… that’s a bit harsh. Don’t OVERdo it. If your baby has droll or boogies on their face, by all means – take it out of the photo. If you want to smooth out your child’s skin to look like a porcelain doll, it’s pretty obvious that you just messed with your kids face, and people don’t like that. Same goes for girls who skin smooth the crap out of their faces, it’s SO painfully obvious. If you know how to do it very subtly, great. But from what I’ve seen with the face smoothing apps, it’s screaming “I do not look like this normally”.

  • Do not flood my Instagram page with your politics. Once in a while…maybe (but not really), but once a day or a handful a week? Save that for facebook. Instagram is for pretty photos, funny memes & videos, not for pushing your politics. I’ve seen so many hateful photos/memes and captions about this election and it makes me feel icky & immediately puts me in a bad mood. I’m sure many others feel the same way, & not to get all sappy/unicorn on you but don’t fight hate with hate.

  • Don’t overly flaunt your wealth. It makes you seem un-relatable, unapproachable and to some just plain unlikable. If you have money, I’m not saying you should be ashamed or conceal it, just be subtle & don’t throw it in everyone’s face. Nobody likes a big ol’ bragger.

  • Do not buy followers. I know immediately when an account has bought their followers. 30k followers but only 30 likes per photo. Busted. You sir are one dirrrrty birdy!

Now go get those followers!