I have shared with WOMEN ADV RIDERS some of the tips and tricks that worked for Linas and me for growing our following and making Instagram a very nice "place" to play around and most importantly, make many new friends all over the world. Here's what it was:
So you love bikes, adventure, and photography? Instagram is the place to be!
Having a big Instagram following can increase your chances to get sponsored, get invited to meet and stay with local people when you travel, or simply be an inspiration to show your adventures off to the world.
But what if despite your best efforts, your Instagram tribe just isn’t growing as fast as you’d imagined? Here’s what you can do to give it a boost.
Choose Your Theme
Have a clear topic in your account. Unless you already are a famous public figure, only a small circle of your friends and relatives will be interested in the details of your everyday life (a pic of your food, a selfie in a new dress, a random shot through your window). You have to choose one thing what your account is about and maintain that direction. It can be your motorcycle adventures, your amazing cakes and their recipes, your journey to a healthier you, life of your pet, etc. But make sure you choose one theme, and then stick to it!
As for me, it’s obvious that I’m being followed as a girl on a motorcycle and people like to see something motorcycle-related in every picture I post. That’s the reason I sometimes drag my bike into some strange location only for that one Instagram shot! Pictures which are unrelated to motorcycling get much less attention. Check out the number of likes below:
Photo Quality and Editing
Picture quality. Make sure you post only the best quality pictures. If you are taking photos with a phone rather than a camera, at least avoid zooming in too much, make a few pics of the same setup to be able to choose the best shot for posting, avoid taking pictures against the sunlight, and try to make them as bright as possible.
The background. Always think about the background of the object you are photographing. If it’s an outdoor shot of your motorcycle, make sure there is no pile of your friends’ motorcycles behind you (unless you have a story to tell about them). Your picture should be clear and look interesting on Instagram even when it’s in the size of a thumbnail.
Editing. Instagram has a set of handy tools to edit your pics before posting. Use them! More light is always better than too little, so always add brightness where possible (but don’t lose the details of the pictures), try the shadows tool to make the dark parts of the picture more visible, add warmth if the day wasn’t too sunny or some contrast to make it look bright and colorful.
Tell A Story
Always leave a comment under your picture. Most people want to know what is happening in the picture. Add an honest little story about each photo, or at least write some thoughts about why you are sharing it with your followers. This way your feed will be more interesting to your followers, they will be more likely to comment on your pics and you will achieve a much better reach (your photos will be shown to more people).
Make Sure You Stand Out
Be creative. Think about what is unique about you (or your cakes, your pet, your motorcycle riding) and put it into your pictures. Don’t be afraid to experiment. And don’t be ashamed to post your fails, too!
Here’s an example: a girl on a motorcycle is interesting, and such a photo automatically attracts attention. If that girl on a motorcycle can perform stunts or ride real hard, this attracts even more attention. I can’t perform stunts and try to avoid situations where I have to dive into deep mud with my bike, but I compensate by finding some unusual ideas – I switch positions with a park ranger who gladly gives me his horse and gets on my bike for the picture, I chase a camel down the road and make my partner ride behind me to get that perfect shot, or I get my bike into a room or a hotel lobby (with the permission from the staff, of course), or get as many kids as possible to sit on my motorcycle for a funny picture.
The Hashtag and Location Algorithm
Use these to reach people who are interested in your theme or location. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags in each comment, so go ahead and use them! This way people who are not following you, but are interested in the topic of your posts may find you. For ideas on strong, widely used hashtags check other people’s accounts to see what hashtags they use. Also, if you travel, or take pictures in different locations, add location information to your pics so that even more people would find your account.
Be part of the community. Instagram is not only about posting your pictures and getting attention. It’s about the community! So go ahead and take part in discussions, respond to the comments people leave under your pictures, like and comment other people’s posts. This is a great way to find like-minded people, get ideas or information about something and sometimes even make new friends!
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