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We wanted to help, so we put together 30 tips, broken down into Hashtags, Captions, and Geotags, Content, and Engagement, than any photographer can use to gain more followers on Instagram.
Include hashtags that are relevant to your channel and content: depending on what kind of photographer you are, you’re going to want to target different hashtags. To find popular hashtags related to what you do, all you truly need is the search function on Instagram. As illustrated in the photo below, you can simply go to the Instagram app on your phone, search for a keyword related to your industry, choose a relevant hashtag, and then note any related hashtags with large followings.
As a photographer, you would replace the above example of “marketing” with “photography”. Read more about finding and using the right hashtags here.
Use at least 11 and at most 30 hashtags: research shows that engagement goes up after the use of 11 hashtags.
Put hashtags in your comments: placing your hashtags in a comment not only looks cleaner, but it also contributes to your post’s engagement rate. The more engagement your posts get, the more likely you are to rank as a Top Post for your hashtags. Ranking as a top post for #travelphotographer, for example, means way more visibility from people who are interested in what you do. Obviously one comment is not going to get there, but every little bit helps.
Include as many popular hashtags (greater than 100,000) as possible: hashtags are your main form of distribution to potential new Instagram followers – the larger and more populated the hashtag, the more people can theoretically see your content. You can use tools like AiGrow to find popular hashtags in your niche.
Include smaller, more specialized hashtags: smaller, more niche hashtags contain less competition, which makes it easier for your own content to rank higher in the search results. This increases your chances of appearing in the “Top 9” grid results of a particular hashtag. If you were a photographer, for example, you may have better luck ranking as a Top Post for #travelphotography than a more general hashtag like #photography.
Geotag your posts: when you geotag your posts, other people who post photos in your region will see your posts on the location’s page which increases content visibility. As a photographer, this can help you connect with other local photographers, and it allows other local photographers to more easily discover your work.
Create a branded hashtag: branded hashtags are an easy way for other people to share your work, build brand recognition, and get your name on as many different feeds as possible.
Include CTAs in your caption: do you have a website (Shutterstock, personal website, etc.) where people can see more of your photography (and maybe even purchase some)? Include a link in your bio and direct people to it in your captions.
Take time out of every day to interact with other photographers in your community: make yourself known and familiar throughout your community. Neil Patel found that for every 100 likes, he received roughly 6 followers. If you’re strapped for time, you can use tools like AiGrow to organically automate the process.
Develop a foundation of content (5-10 posts) before you begin seriously engaging with the community: you don’t want to convince someone to make the effort to check out your channel only to find out you don’t have any content to show. An empty profile isn’t attracting a potential new follower. Whether it’s normal people or potential sponsors checking out your channel, a developed gallery of work is far more convincing that 1-2 sporadic posts or, worse, an empty page.
Comment, like, and follow people who are interacting with your competitor’s channels and posts: it makes sense that if people are already interested in a niche, as indicated by their interaction with another photographer in your community, and your channel provides similar content, these people are more likely to interact (and hopefully follow) your channel as well.
Leave smart comments: writing something more than a spammy “Nice pic!” that conveys genuine interest in somebody’s post is more likely to make the owner of that post check out your channel. For example, if you are commenting on another photographer’s photo, compliment something specific about the post (color grading, structure, the expression of a face, etc..) Not only does this reflect well on you in the eyes of the poster and open up room for conversation, but other people in the community may also see your genuine comment and explore your channel, as well.
Hold contests where people have to like, follow, comment or tag someone to enter: if you are an photographer, holding contests are a very effective way to quickly gain engaged followers. A simple contest may be to offer the chance to win a signed print of one of your photos as a giveaway to people who comment and tag five friends.
Promote your Instagram on other platforms: if you have established audiences on other platforms (subscribers, email lists, other social media platforms, etc.), these people are essentially already following you. Alert them to the presence of your Instagram and bring them over.
Tag people when relevant: tagging people in your posts, such as a photo taken during a collaborative photo trip, for example, increases your visibility by making your content show up in the feeds of the people you tag.
Use paid Instagram/Facebook advertising: it costs you, but paid advertisements are a sure way how to get more Instagram followers for photographers. You are much more likely to draw the exact type of followers you want to your channel. Target by key demographic information: gender, age, and location. As people begin to roll in, you can understand who your audience really is, where they’re coming from, and what they like content-wise. You can then adjust accordingly using a tool like AiGrow.
Make your profile public (at least at the beginning): if you’re a smaller channel, potential new Instagram followers are less likely to make the effort to follow you just to see your content. At least wait until you have established yourself as an influential photographer in the community before making your channel private.
Use Instagram engagement pods: Instagram engagement pods (or Instagram engagement groups) are groups of people on Instagram, typically with similarly-sized pages and followings, who help each out by commenting, Liking, and generally engaging with each other’s content. These pods are also a great way to connect with more experienced photographers on Instagram and learn more ways how to get more Instagram followers for photographers. They are especially popular among smaller photographers and are easy to find. Read more about the benefits of using engagement pods, as well as how to find the right one for your Instagram niche, here.
Be active: post 1-2 times a day. Posting daily grows followers four times faster than posting less than once a week according to Tailwind.
Post portrait over landscape: with photography, sometimes it makes more stylistic sense to post landscape. Having said that, it’s worth knowing portrait images appear bigger in feeds, drawing more attention and potentially leading to more engagement.
Don’t post low-resolution photos: there are way too many incredible photos on Instagram for you to be posting grainy, low-resolution photos. Even if your photo does show up on someone’s feed, if it’s surrounded by higher quality content, then your content is simply going to be ignored. As a photographer, you are doing yourself no justice by posting poor quality images or videos of your work
Use partnerships and/or collaborations: creating content with another person/channel not only forces you to go outside of your own creative perspective, but partnerships also provide the opportunity to introduce your channel to another channel’s audience. When people see that a photographer they are already following collaborated with another photographer (you), these people can trust that you also must be worth checking out and potentially following.
Ditch the phone: phones have certainly come a long way, but they’re still nowhere near the quality of professional cameras. If you are a photographer, the benefit is obvious – higher quality images. If you’re worried about the hassle of having to transfer files to your phone to upload them to Instagram, make your life easier with a desktop scheduler like AiGrow instead.
Use videos: even if they’re just GIFs, 52% of marketing professionals rank video as the type of content with the best ROI. To you, that means more Instagram followers.
Combine multiple images into a collage: instead of uploading multiple photos into a single post, requiring the viewer to open up the post and scroll through them all individually, when possible combine all your images into one using tools like Photoshop or Canva. This way, potential followers can view all images with ease while scrolling your feed. This is particularly beneficial for photographers wanting all of their photos to receive equal exposure.
Post behind-the-scenes photos: people want to see your creative process. Posting behind-the-scenes content is also a great way to produce daily content between posts of the actual finished product. As a photographer, this could include on-location behind-the-scenes photos/footage, in-the-studio editing, new gear updates, etc..
Make sure your images have a minimum dimension of 1080×1080: a minimum dimension of 1080×1080 helps to avoid pixelation and unwanted cropping/scaling. Anything that improves the overall quality of your photos is worth considering.
Use Instagram Stories: Stories are a great place to tease your fans about new projects you’re working on. It also doesn’t hurt that nearly one in five stories results in a direct message.
Use split images: don’t want to confine your beautiful work to a single post? Use “split” images to create a unified picture on your Instagram grid. This is especially useful if you want to direct the attention of potential followers to one piece of content in particular. This can help with wide-spanning panoramic shots, for example. Use tools like Planoly to make a split image of your own.
Adapt or die: Instagram is constantly rolling out updates affecting everything from content relevancy, to feed visibility to post-editing features. Stay up-to-date on the Instagram landscape to ensure that your content is the best possible content it can be that it is being seen by as many people as possible. Adspresso has a great blog explaining new Instagram updates on a rolling basis.
So there you have it! Know how to get more Instagram followers for photographers in a way not explored above? Please share in the comments below!
Creating attractive, engaging content is by far the most influential factor in gaining more Instagram followers as an artist. Consistently creating incredible art however takes a lot of time and energy. Taking away from this time are supporting factors such as engaging in the community, responding to DMs, and tracking down potential new followers.
This is why we created AiGrow – to allow you to hand off the hard work of Instagram networking so that you can devote more time to the production of engaging content. Many of the most effective methods mentioned above, namely creating an editorial calendar, scheduling your posts, and genuinely engaging with your community, can be completely handed off to AiGrow.
Gain more followers, connect with more photographers in your community, and get your name out there as a photographer by signing for AiGrow for free today.