I just checked my personal Instagram account: 2 posts, 5 followers and 8 following. What am I doing wrong? I just want to get more Instagram followers. I want to be popular!

Is it even possible to quickly grow Instagram followers?

Read more, especially if you want to see the bikini shot…

How to Grow Instagram Followers

Step 1: Make your Instagram profile look interesting

For detailed instructions on how to create the perfect Instagram profile, read our post on The Ultimate Checklist for a Winning Instagram Profile.

Here’s a quick recap from the post:

1. Use a unique but real Username

2. Create an interesting Bio

3. Include a profile photo

4. Include a URL link to your website or social accounts

5. Include a clever #hashtag

6. Set your profile to Public (not Private).

***Important: Keep your profile private until you’ve completed step #2 below. Not sure? Follow the 3-step tutorial at the end of this post on how to make your Instagram private.

Annie’s Homegrown has done an excellent job following the five steps listed above in creating an interesting Instagram profile.

Annies Home Grown doing Instagram right to get more Instagram followers

Step 2: Build a portfolio of really good photos

Would you open your store if the shelves were empty? Before you start doing anything else, you want your Instagram profile to look great. Nobody is going to follow an empty profile.

  • If you want other people to follow you, the first thing you should do is upload about 15 – 20 really good photos. Having the right photos positively impacts the growth rate of Instagram followers.

Keep in mind that certain types of photos do particularly well on Instagram.

I ran across a fascinating white paper in an article published on elle.com on What Makes an Image Popular by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, eBay Research Labs, and DigitalGlobe. Using a dataset of about 2.3 million images from Flickr, they considered the photos’ colors, textures, gradients, objects present, tags, and more, then measured what gets the most reach.


Grow Instagram Followers: Most popular colors on Instagram___

From the study referenced above, here are the impact results on popularity from a wide variety of objects:

Find anything surprising?

Grow Instagram Followers: Objects with different impacts on popularty

Need a visual…

Grow Instagram Followers: Instagram - Strong Impact

What’s more popular?

Some of it is pretty obvious: Scantily clad ladies = Likes (duh!)
Some of it seems like it only makes sense in certain situations: A gun-holding, miniskirt-wearing woman drinking tea and looking at maillots would probably just be…weird!

Popularity Tool

Yes, this is real! Led by MIT doctoral candidate Aditya Khosla, they wrote an algorithm to help predict how popular photos will be on social media—before you even post them.

  • All you have to do to test it yourself is upload your own photo and press the “Run” button to see its “popularity API.”

I’ve been testing a few of my photos to determine their popularity score. My “Hey Ladies” image scored a 4.013. Apparently, that means I can expect to receive, roughly, 2^4.013 = 16.15 views of my image per day. You’ll have to test your own bikini shot to see the results.

Grow Instagram Followers: Instagram Popularity Demo

Step 3: Get yourself noticed

If the bikini shot didn’t get you enough traction, once you’ve uploaded some really good photos and made your profile look interesting, it’s time to attract everyone’s attention.

***Make sure to set your profile to Public. Reverse the steps from the infographic in Step #1 on how to make your Instagram private.

  1. Reach out to friends and customers: Reach out to your existing friends and followers from other social networks. Since those people already know you, they’re far more likely to become a follower
  2. Cross-post on Twitter and Facebook: Cross-post your Instagram photos to other social networks especially ones where you have a larger audience. You’ll be building your Instagram following while sharing interesting photos with people who want to see them!
  3. Leverage hashtags: One of the quickest ways to build a following on Instagram is to monitor and engage with different hashtags. Use 1-2 relevant hashtags when posting photos on Instagram. Research which hashtags other industry influencers or competitors are using, and then spend time each day monitoring the content of each tag.

Step 4: Engage with your followers

Grow Instagram Followers: Sunset at Doran BeachWhile everyone is obsessed with their number of followers, keeping your followers happy and engaged is equally important if you want to build a relationship and get the most out of your Instagram experience.

  • Post regularly so that people don’t forget who you are, but don’t upload a bunch of photos at once (except when setting up your profile in private mode).

***If somebody doesn’t like one of your photos, the chances are that they’ll still keep following you, but when you post three unpopular photos in a row, you’re far more likely to lose a follower.

  • Engage your followers with hashtags that you wouldn’t normally use. Everyone loves a sunset because everyone can relate to a sunset. There are thousands of users who want to find photos of #sunsets, and one might become your customer.

Bonus: How to create the perfect Instagram post

It’s easy to create the perfect Instagram post. Just follow the tips in the infographic below from our post on how to Create the Perfect LinkedIn, Blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr Posts.

Grow Instagram Followers: How to create the perfect Instagram post

How to Make your Instagram Private

Until you are ready to open up your Instagram “doors” for business, follow this 3-step infographic on how to make your Instagram private:

How To Make Your Instagram Private before you are ready to engage your Instagram followers___
I’m all set with my action list to increase Instagram followers. I’ll get back to you soon with the results.

Please share any of your tips on becoming popular on Instagram but hold off on the bikini shots!