10 Tips to Grow Organically on Instagram

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A lot of you are writing to me on Instagram asking for tips. The most common questions are “How do I grow as a travel influencer?“, “How do I achieve a homogeneous Instagram feed?” and “How do I gain more followers?” I’ve already written about how to have a pretty Instagram feed so you can check that out.

Regarding growth, however, there is no perfect answer. Since the new algorithm, growing on Instagram has been increasingly difficult for a lot of influencers. In this article, I will give you my humble and personal tips on how to grow an organic following on Instagram that I learned along the way during my influencer’s journey.

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1 Understand Your Audience

Even if you create gorgeous Instagram content, if it doesn’t appeal to your audience you will never grow. You need to understand who follows you and why. You can know more about your audience by checking your Instagram insights. They include a lot of important information such as impressions, reach and the demographics, age, and gender of your followers. You only can access them with a Business Profile which I advise you to get right away! Also, if you notice people liking some types of photos more than others, maybe you should consider posting more of this type of content.

If you click on the menu on the top-right, you will be able to access your Instagram insights

2. Maintain Your Visual Identity

Your visual identity is what makes you stand out. That is why once you found your style, you should always edit your photos the same way (colors, style etc.) Of course, you can tweak your edits depending on the type of photo but as long as you maintain a similar visual vibe, your followers won’t get confused about what your brand is and will continue following you. Find my best tips about the subject here.

3 Only Post Your Best Work

You need to only post your best photos, the ones you are entirely happy with. Never settle for mediocrity! In a sea of content, only the best of the best stands out. People will follow you if they see beautiful and meaningful photos on their feed. So invest time and effort into your content. One more thing; do not underestimate captions. Captions are a great way to engage your audience and also give them interesting content on top of your beautiful photos! Personally, I started to add “photo tips” under all my posts and those definitely bring value to my followers!

If you are serious about your travel Instagram, you should also invest in good camera gear. It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive, but the quality of your photos needs to be great. You can check out the camera I use for all my photos here.

4 Post Regularly

If you don’t post, you don’t grow. That’s as simple as that. If you want new users to find you, you need to create fresh content often. From my personal experience, I tend to grow faster if I post at least once every two days. Once a day is the maximum for me. If I post twice a day, I don’t have higher engagement nor reach meaning that I don’t grow more. So once a day or every two days is the ultimate posting schedule that works for me.

You should also use your Instagram insights (see below) to find out when your audience is the most active on the platform. This will tell you the time you should post because you will get the most engagement from your current followers. You will also get more chances to hit the Explorer page and ultimately more chances to get discovered by new accounts.

Inside your Instagram insights, you can check when your audience
is the most active on the platform

5 Use Your Stories

Instagram Stories are an easy and effective way to keep your current followers engaged with your content. It can also help you get more followers since it opens up new opportunities to grow your account. You can increase your reach by creating interactive stories using hashtags, tagging your location or giving a shout-out to other content creators or even brands. This improves your chances of being discovered!

Posting a question or poll sticker is also a great way to get to know your audience and keep them engaged. Do not forget to use CTA (call-to-action) to encourage your audience to take action and check out your account!

Stories can also help you show your personality, funny stories and behind the scenes travel footage. With stories, you can show your followers and potential new followers who you are. They can get to know you better. If people can connect with you, they will more likely hit that follow button.

Do not forget to also save your stories in your highlights. When people go to your profile, those highlights offer new followers a way to see who you are and where you’ve been (if you are a travel account).

6 Dedicate Some Time to Engage with Your Community

Instagram is a social media. This means that you have to be social! Collective support and engagement are what makes this platform great. Like, comment and support other creators in your niche. Answer your DMs and comments from your followers. Creating a genuine network of like-minded people will help you build a solid community.

Also, keep in mind that the first hour after publishing a post is critical. Because, if it gets good engagement, the algorithm will determine that this photo is worth showing to all of your followers and not just to 10% of them. So when you post, do not ghost out. Stay and engage for one hour after the post is out and answer your comments right away! You will also have more chances to hit the Explorer page.

7 Use Hashtags

Another great way to reach a wide new audience is to use hashtags. Hashtags make your photos discoverable for more users because you can use them to categorize your content. If you are a girl who has a travel account and are posting about Milan in Italy you should use hashtags for traveling, girls’ travelers, Italy and Milan. Using several different hashtags that represent the photo you are posting will attract a wider audience. For example, if you are using a drone to take photos in Thailand, do not only use Thailand hashtags but drone ones as well! You are allowed to add 30 hashtags per post so I advise you to take advantage of it.

Example of some hashtags I used for my London photos

8 Try to Get Featured

Getting featured by big accounts in your niche can help you become more visible to your target audience. It is of course not that easy to be featured but if you use the right hashtags and tag them on your photo, you increase your chances!

9 Travel

This only applies to travel influencers but if your account’s field is traveling, you (of course!) need to travel. People are curious about where you are going next and it adds to your credibility as a travel influencer. You need to provide fresh content often. If you aren’t traveling and keep reposting old photos, this will make you lose engagement and, soon enough, interest. However, I personally incorporate old and new content because new followers might not have seen my previous travels so I like to mix it up. Having a chronological feed or not is entirely up to you. As long as you promise your followers fresh content soon, you will keep a momentum that is non-negligible.

10 Be Different & Love What You Do

This last point is often overlooked but it is the most important in my opinion. You need to love what you do! This means taking photos, editing, sharing them, writing about your trips and engaging with like-minded people on Instagram. If you are only doing this to get followers and freebies it will show, trust me. People tend to follow genuine people and if you don’t like what you are doing or if you are doing this out of interest, your followers won’t stick around.

One more thing is that Instagram is oversaturated with similar photos and similar editing styles. If you post content from Bali at all the famous locations you would probably get 5k easily. However, if those are only reproduction of similar photos seen over and over again and if you don’t add any value to those photos (different perspective, editing style, tips or stories in your captions) you will not grow.

Do not be afraid to be different and creative! People will follow you for YOU! Try different photography angles, go to less famous places, be engaging in your captions etc. Provide your own perspective on traveling and just be yourself!

I hope you find all of these tips helpful. If you have any questions or any tips to share, do not hesitate to leave a comment below!

Want to keep reading? You might like those articles as well…
Top Instagram Tips to Have the Perfect Feed / Best Apps to Create Beautiful Instagram Stories
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