Dear Friend, be wary of that which appears free. So Instagram is big. I admit having been a fan of Instagram, being active on my account (ben.island). I posted three photos per week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the morning. There was the odd upload on a Sunday. I “liked” each received comment, half the time I replied directly to a comment. I think I even did well with #hashtagging.
How I Got More Followers
- Spend time on Instagram
- like other people photos
- write strange comments in accounts with lots of users and comments (for instance, in a fierce hate comment debate on Donald Trump’s account, you could comment “Do you like photography?” Simple and not intrusive
- a constant upload schedule (see above)
- upload good photos
How I Could Have Doubled Follower Numbers?
One thing I didn’t do is start randomly following others. The highest I ever followed were 180 users. I’m sure that had I followed most users who started following me, I would have ended up with a much higher retention rate.
In terms of #hashtagging, I used less than a dozen and only relevant ones. However, I used some that gave me a good chance to appear on the top 9 list for a time. The rationale being that if users really searched for specific hashtags (they don’t), they would very likely be exposed to my photo. To appear in the top 9 photos of a certain hashtag is very easy. It all depends on your number of followers and the amount of photos with this hashtag. Here’s an example:
- most of my Instagram photos were made in #newzealand and #greatbarrierisland.
- there have been 8.6 mio photos uploaded with #newzealand and 7.8 k for #greatbarrierisland
While it was a given to be ranked temporarily in the top 9 for #greatbarrierisland, I never got a photo in #newzealand featured at the top. A couple months ago, I started also using #neuseeland (has 78 k photos) for all the Germans. You catch my drift, there are ways to have your photos be available/viewable to users.
My New Rule for Instagram
For Most Users Instagram is a Waste of Time
Time you could use making photos, or planning a photo shoot or reading about how to make better photos. I come to the conclusion that Instagram is a waste of my time. What would I rather have 10k followers?, lots of likes, or selling my prints on a market? If you are female, young, good looking, and like to show photos of you in your bikini and doing sexy poses etc., yeah, you’ll get plenty of followers. You do that for a while and then you’ll get a bunch of nothing for endorsing a bullshit product. Wow.
Instagram depresses me, and I’m pretty easy-going. I don’t have to explain, but I just feel bad and feel that I am wasting my time when I’m “active” on Instagram. Let’s see how it pans out with the new rule. What would you do if you had 25k followers, you’d receive an ad for every 3 photos you viewed and the amount of money you made through your photography business linked through Instagram was negligible? You gotta keep those follower numbers up, don’t you? So you keep posting, invariably spending lots of time on Instagram or for Instagram.
Premium Instagram Membership
The next step could be a premium membership account. You pay a certain fee and never get ads. BTW, I reply with my standard comment “Do you like photography?” to any ad. The replies I get can be hilarious. I suppose if you are in a position where your Instagram account generates real income for you, you’d be happy to pay a fee to not see ads any more.
Have it your way, go for those follower numbers, for those likes and reply formally to good comments. Read about social media strategies and go hard. Sell your body, sell your soul, make great photos that people love, whatever it is, go hard. I think, however, you are catching my drift. The moment you feel you are wasting your time, the moment you ask yourself what and who these followers are and what a like means to you. When you realise that Instagram is part of your regular work schedule. “Oh shit, tomorrow is Wednesday, which photo will I upload?” When you are somewhere remote on a mountain and take a great shot early in the morning, and your thoughts are: “That’ll give me plenty of likes and new followers.” Those are signs!, believe me.
Start your own blog, put work into something that belongs to you. Don’t be a slave to Instagram or any social media platform. Why would you want to be tied down to a private company that uses your content and their strategies to make money and get you to spend time on their app?