How I’ve Grown My Instagram by 500% – Beating The Algorithm

21st July 2017


Instagram is a bit of a brutal game these days. I can’t go on Twitter without seeing all us bloggers moaning endlessly about it, and rightly so. Our beloved chronological feed has been whipped from under our feet, we don’t even get to see the pictures of half the people we follow and when we do, you can bet your ass that it was from 4 days ago and you look like a right Creepy McCreepster for liking it now. Ahhh the struggles.

That being said, and lord knows which flying pig allowed this to happen, but I have actually been getting on quite well with Instagram since starting this blog in March. At that point, I had 138 followers and now after 4 months of love and labour (and I really mean that) I have just hit 900. Now I’m definitely not an expert (it took me like a year to get the first 138…) and let’s be real, the way Instagram is at the moment I could wake up tomorrow and have lost 300 of them.

Right now though, I’m relishing it and I thought I would talk you guys through how I have been using and growing my account.

1. I improved the quality of my pictures.

It is said about blogging and the same is true for Instagram that content really is king. Now I haven’t gone out and spent an arm and a leg on a DSLR (although I really hope I can soon) but I have been doing my best to really utilise what I do have. I’ve read 101 posts on iPhone photography and have been doing my best to put into practice what I’ve read.

Here are a few of my favourite iPhone photography tips that I have been using: 

  • Bright, natural lighting is your best friend for taking top quality iPhone pictures.
  • I switched the ‘grid’ on in my photo settings so I can place things in photos better, ie I can make sure the main subject of a photo is right in the centre.
  • Get comfortable playing around with a few different editing apps – my favourites are Photoshop Express, VSCO and Colorstory.

2. I chose a dreaded ‘theme’.

I got pretty lucky and went into Primark one day and they had one roll of this 90p marble wallpaper left – it was a total blogger dream moment and I nearly squealed. I’ve been using it as the background for all my flat lays and product pictures as well as editing all my pictures the exact same way to make sure my feed looks as seamless as possible. I use an app called Colourstory where you can save editing steps after finishing with a photo so I just add the same ‘steps’ on to every photo. It also means that if I post any outfit pics or photos that don’t have the marble background then they will look in place on my feed.

I think people think ‘theme’ and think it’s going to be limiting and make things harder but I think you can find a consistent look that will still allow you flexibility, even if it’s always adding the same filter to your photos or even just having a colour that is consistently in every single picture.

3. I started interacting more with other accounts.

Even when I was posting photos before I wasn’t spending any time reaching out to other accounts and liking and commenting on their photos.

Now, I check my feed regularly and make sure I’m engaging on the photos I like. Primarily because it’s always good to support other bloggers, secondly because it means the accounts I actually really like will come up in my feed and thirdly, they’re likely to give you a bit of love in return.

4. I joined blogger comment pods.

I know not everyone likes the idea of these but I’ve found that pods work really well for me and I’m a member of 5 or 6 of them. A pod is basically an Instagram group that people with similar accounts join and everyone likes and comments on each other’s photos. They rose in popularity after the algorithm changed because having lot’s of people engage with your photo means it’s more likely to come up in your followers feeds.

SO, not only do you get additional engagement from the actual members but it also means your existing followers are more likely to see your pictures. Now I have fallen behind a couple of times and generally the girls in the pods have been totally okay but some of them are really strict and may have rules to follow so if you are going to get involved in pods then do make sure you’re aware of any catch-up rules!

5. I started using Instagram stories every day.

I don’t know if this has made an overall difference but it’s a part of Instagram I’ve really come to love. Also, I have this theory that if people are constantly seeing your face and what you’re up to then they will be less likely to unfollow. There’s probably some really smart psychology there somewhere. It’s also a great place to promote blog posts, chat about what’s going on with your blog and share content that isn’t quite ‘blog post’ polished like you can talk people through your skin care routine, give an instant reaction to a product etc.

6. I made my captions as engaging as possible.

Use your photo captions as best as you can to chat to your followers and encourage them to interact with you on it. Give your opinion on something, ask questions, tell everyone about your day, anything, just use it!

7. I used Twitter to help my Instagram.

I put out a tweet every other day or so just giving people the link to my Instagram account, and asking fellow bloggers to give me a follow and I also usually include a screenshot of my feed at that time. I’ve found this to be really effective and is a great way to engage with your Twitter followers even more on another platform. Even share your Instagram post to Twitter every time you post a picture to give your Twitter followers a chance to see your profile.

I really hope some of the things I’ve talked about here will help you out a bit, Instagram is a total labour of love these days but I really do think if you try not to become to bunged down with it and just take a fresh look, and start to actually use and enjoy the app again then you should see results!

I would love to hear in the comments how you are getting on with Instagram at the moment – maybe we can help each other out!

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Allanah xxx

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  • Loved this!! Definitely going to take all your tips on board, Instagram feels like such a losing battle sometimes😌x

  • Michelle Gil Santini

    Lately, I have fallen bit behind on some few blogger chat mainly time zone or I just don’t have the energy to interact but I should definitely go back and start liking and commenting people Instagram.

    Michelle| http://www.brokebutflawless.com

    • Allanah Methven

      It can be hard, blogging is non-stop! I hope these tips help a bit xxx

  • Lauren

    This tips are great! I am really not doing well with instagram but I don’t have a specific theme for my pictures, I don’t do a lot of flat lays and it is pretty much what I’m doing with my life (also why I don’t have that many pictures…) I think I am definitely going to start interacting more with people’s accounts though!

    Lauren 🙂 x

  • Agnese Hadebe

    These are great tips <3

  • Naomi

    These tips are so good. I don’t interact with people enough so this has definitely given me the kick up the back side to do so. I have started using instagram stories a bit more but i need to start talking about my blog on it.

    https://aditzybrunette.com/

  • You’re a babe for sharing this!! Thank you, so helpful <3 xx

    Alice // The Rose Glow

  • Great post! I definitely need to start doing more of these, especially making captions engaging! I love your theme, your pictures are great xx

    Hannah | luxuryblush

  • MissBeautyEmily

    These tips are really helpful! IG has been so hard to grow lately.. it’s really unmotivating

    • Allanah Methven

      totally! I think we would all just rather give up on it right now haha

  • This is such a helpful post as I’ve been trying to grow my Instagram recently too! x

    https://emmaboughtwhat.blogspot.co.uk

  • This is really helpful! I’ve been interacting with people far more than I used to and it’s really helping me connect with other people!

    Kerry xo | http://nekokezbeauty.wordpress.com

    • Allanah Methven

      I totally used to forget that I had to actually interact with other accounts to get my name out there and let people see my photos – I hope it goes well for you! xxx

  • This is so helpful as all of my photos are taken on my iPhone too! I’m definitely going to try all of these as I’m really trying to grow my instagram at the moment. Great post xx

    Beesytimes.blogspot.co.uk

    • Allanah Methven

      Hope it helps Julia!

      Thanks for reading and commenting xxx

  • Laura 🐰

    This was really helpful, thanks! I LOVE your feed tho!! x
    Lauraconteur ♥

    • Allanah Methven

      Hope some of the tips help you out girl! x

  • Chloe Abigail

    Great read and really simple advice to follow! I’ve found Instagram to be a real PAIN IN THE BUTT to grow. I seem to be stuck at around the 400 mark which is so frustrating. I definitely could be doing a few more of these things though so thanks for posting. Oh and I love your blog design! x

    http://www.chloeabigail.co.uk

    • Allanah Methven

      It is a MASSIVE pain in the butt lol! I got stuck at so many points, I was at 932 for weeks! I hope you start to get somewhere with it, I will have a look and make sure I’m following you! Thanks so much lovely! xxx

  • Liv

    Hiya! I’ve come across your blog recently through Twitter and I really love this post, My Instagram seems stuck around 1300 and nothing I’m doing seems to be changing it. I’m definitely going to be using some of you’re tips and I’m downloading some of the apps you reccomended with your other blog post too! Thank you Allanah!

    Liv x

    • Allanah Methven

      Hey girl! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment! Really hope some of the tips here help you out, it’s so hard on Instagram these days, it makes it so hard to enjoy it xx

  • Thanks for the tips! I’ve been sticking to a particular ratio for my photos, and I think that has helped my feed look more consistent, especially as I share a lot of different kinds of photos (some blog-related, some not). I use PhotoGrid for layouts, and I’ve tried Lightroom (basically Photoshop for your phone) and VSCO and ColorStory for effects; though, really, I think the consistency of my layout works well enough that I don’t have to use the same filters. xx

    • Also, I just went to follow you, and you’ve broken 1k! Congrats! 🙂 xx

      • Allanah Methven

        I will follow you back lovely, my phone is actually broken at the moment so I am insta-less but expect a follow back on Friday!

        I’m really curious to see your feed now and see how you go about it, sounds like it’s working really well for you! x

  • Sarah Mullaney

    Thank you for the tips, this has been so helpful 🙂 can’t believe your marble background is wallpaper from primark, that’s brilliant – it looks so, so good! Glad I found this post as I’ve been stressing about my instagram lately haha, thanks again for the help!

    Sarah xx
    http://www.shesawriter.co.uk

    • Allanah Methven

      was a total lucky buy, spotted it when I was standing in the queue! Hope some of the tips helped, Instagram is so tough these days! x

  • Caitlin Houston

    brilliant tips, hopefully it’ll benefit my Instagram!
    http://www.lifeascaitlin.co.uk/

    • Allanah Methven

      Hope they helped girlie! x

  • Good tips. I’ve had my Instagram for 3 years now, and I’ve only just surpassed 400 followers. For some reason, Instagram is the one social network that I just really have trouble growing. Just as quickly as I gain followers, I end up losing some, so my follower count doesn’t budge very fast.

    http://surrealistique.wordpress.com

  • I really want to start using instagram pods more, I’m part of 2 so far, but definitely want to join more!
    Aleeha xXx
    http://www.halesaaw.co.uk/

  • Keziah

    Great tips and only 90 p for a marble wall paper is a great deal. Your pics look great 😊

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