Instagram do’s and don’ts for organic growth part 1

This is not a post about quick fix growth hacks for Instagram without putting in too much effort, this is all about real engagement and organic growth!

There are several agencies, apps and websites that can help you grow your account either by paying for it, or with free trial periods using computers to automate your comments, follows and other activities. Let me be clear about these things, I don’t use them, I don’t like them, and they will put your precious account at risk of being hacked or even blocked and banned from Instagram for good, as this is not the meaning of Instagram at all!

It’s been 14 months since I started my @authenticchica account and currently I have almost 25,000 followers. This is not little and also not a whole lot, but I am happy with it and proud to have reached so many like minded people without using any paid tricks or apps. Just with real engagement and effort, next to running this blog and having a day job.

 

The first few months I worked my ass off to get my first 1,000 followers and it was harder than I thought. It took me a little less than 3 months, and happily got easier. But for real organic growth you have to stay active and put in quite some effort.

After that I learnt that a few basics are very important to set up your account well and make it grow steadily…In the following 3 months my followers amount accelerated to 5K and then to 20K after being on IG little over a year. So in the past 6 months my account has grown with 15K, which is 2,500 followers per month on average.

This is steady growth with good engagement, many comments (93 per post on average lately) and loyal followers, which is the most important thing to me! Engagement is becoming more important to companies working with influencers and bloggers as well, as follower amounts can be bought and don’t say enough about your followers value.

Therefore I hope you can benefit from my tips, grow organically on Instagram, take it to the next level and more importantly, have lots of fun with your account.

Here are my learnings:

DO

  1. SET UP YOUR ACCOUNT CORRECTLY: 

AuthenticChica bio

  • Choose a nice profile pic, which is clear, appealing and makes you and the style of your account recognizable
  • Preferably choose the same name as you have on other social media channels
  • Use key words in your title description, like mine: AUTHENTIC CHIC TRAVELER
  • Create a complete bio: describe who you are and what your account is about
  • Post at least 6-9 pictures before you start following, liking and inviting friends from Facebook, so they don’t see a blank account at first sight
  • Connect your other social media accounts so you can post pictures from IG also to Twitter, FB or other accounts at the same time for efficiency.

DON’T

  • Make your account private
  • Choose a blurry or impersonal profile pic
  • Forget to connect your account to Facebook/Twitter
  • Forget to add a link in your bio if you have a blog or website, otherwise add the link to your Facebook page/account

 

DO

2. BECOME A STORY TELLER:

AuthenticChica story telling

  • Think about the story you want to tell on IG in general and stick to that. If you want to post pics of landscapes, sunsets and nature, that’s great, but party pictures in between that can look out of place and unprofessional. This can cause unfollows or not gaining followers at all..
  • Start a 2nd account for personal or different style pics, to keep both accounts clearer
  • Create your own style and something people can recognize your pictures with, more about this in my next Instagram tips post part 2 post, coming soon
  • Use the text space (caption) well, add value by sharing useful information, use a quote, showcase your character by telling a funny or personal story, engage with your followers by asking questions or promote your latest blog.

 DON’T

  • Post boring pictures and too many of the same kind. People want to be inspired and there is already so much competition on IG!
  • Make it too impersonal. In the beginning I didn’t want to post too many pics with me in it, but studies and my own experiences have shown that pictures with people in it generate 40% more likes…

 

DO

3. POST QUALITY PICTURES:

 

  • Use a good (up to date) telephone camera or preferable a DSLR camera to ensure better quality
  • Enhance pictures with Instagram filters and standard editing tools to make them look even better. Adjust if necessary in Photoshop, PicMonkey or Lightroom first, or use some of the editing phone apps available, but more about that later…
  • Make your editing consistent. To create a unity in your gallery try to use a few of the same filters or enhancement tweaks and tools on all the pics.

DON’T

  • Post for the sake of posting, be picky and post only the best of the best if you want your pics to attract more likes and followers
  • Post unclear or even blurry pics! Be aware that sending pictures to each other via What’s app or adjusting the size and editing them first on the computer can cause them to lose quality and become blurry on Instagram. If so, delete it and post another one instead, as this bad one will ruin your gallery!
  • Overdo it with the filters and editing. In general people like fresh looking and life like pictures, not unreal colored pictures. This usually happens when you get over enthusiastic with the saturation button:)

 

DO

4. LOOK AT YOUR GALLERY OVERVIEW:

AuthenticChica gallery overview

  • Look at your last 9 pics, do they look nice together in color, style and theme? Be critical and delete pictures once in a while if it helps the total overview. If people like your picture and go to your account and see a cluttered gallery they will not likely follow you.

DON’T

  • Post randomly, of course you can just post nice things directly when you see them, but if you want to build an appealing gallery as a whole, plan your pictures in advance. You can do this for the whole week or just pick a few at the end of the day and think about the order of posting first
  • Post too many similar pics directly after each other, try to variate. Example: instead of posting pictures of sunset, sunset, sunset, beach, landscape, landscape, it will be more interesting as a whole to post: sunset, landscape, beach, sunset, landscape, sunset.

 

DO

5. BE CONSISTENT:

  • Post every day or even twice a day on set times. Instagram is a computer system and people in general like to have structure. If you set up a rhythm in your posting schedule Instagram and your followers will know that you are active, reward you for it and hopefully even look forward to your daily pics
  • You can post once a day or just a few per week, but as the world has different time zones I choose to reach the whole world while they are awake either in the morning or evening, or both. This gives me more exposure and therefore more followers per day in general.

DON’T

  • Post more than 3 times a day or directly after each other! This can come off spammy and will cause unfollows
  • Post a few pictures each day and then nothing for a longer period.

 

DO

6. USE MANY AND THE RIGHT HASHTAGS:

AuthenticChica hashtag overview

  • Hashtags are a marketing tool and should be used that way, so use many, and the right ones! You can have the best pics in the world, but if no-one found them they would get no response and likes at all! Therefore especially in the beginning this is essential to grow. You can use maximum 30 # or even more if you add some extra in your caption after posting
  • The right # should be a mix of specific but also more popular ones. They should be relevant to the picture but also used enough for better exposure, so at least 50,000 times, but not more than a few million times
  • Use hashtags of big accounts to get your picture featured for more exposure, more about this, finding the right accounts and # for this, and tagging in my next post!
  • TIP: put your 25 best general #in your phone’s note pad, copy and paste them in your post’s comment, while adding 5 more relevant ones for the specific picture.

DON’T

  • Use popular hashtags with several million postings, they will get buried and will generate no exposure at all
  • Post too many # directly in your caption, this looks cluttered and can cause people not to read your caption at all. Post them in your comment instead, this way they’ll get hidden after 3 comments, but will stay active.

 

DO

7. ENGAGE AND BE ACTIVE:

  • Like, comment and follow, this is where the work part kicks in! Especially in the beginning you have to be really active to get people to notice you and visit your account, so comment and like your ass off!
  • Follow more people in your niche / theme, this is good for inspiration and they are more likely to follow you back
  • Keep your comments and replies personal and try to reply to every comment
  • Collaborate with others in a contest or do shout outs for each other’s accounts
  • Keep track of your likes and follower growth with an app, for example Instafollow or Instatrack, so you can follow back active followers or unfollow people that are trying to use you with the follow/unfollow method
  • More engagement tips in my earlier post The Positive Power of Instagram.

DON’T

  • Spam or stalk others by being too active or randomly follow other accounts
  • Like single pictures, always like about 3-5 pics (or more) of new accounts you like, and leave 1 or 2 genuine comments. Especially bigger and more successful accounts will not notice otherwise
  • Post a picture and put away your phone immediately after. You have to attract people to your post, so be active for at least 30 minutes after posting. Like other pictures in your timeline and reply on all comments under your post immediately, this will help to get the top position in the IG # overview as well
  • Follow and unfollow just to get followers, you don’t like being used either, do you?
  • Unfollow all the (bigger) accounts that unfollow you, they may have nice pictures that are good for inspiration!

 

DO

8. ADD A (GEO) LOCATION:

  • This can help people find your account, as this tool is often used to find trip- and destination inspiration
  • Studies have shown that pics with location generate 79% more engagement!

 

DO

9. ANALYZE AND APPLY:

  • Look at your amount of likes and comments per picture and learn from it
  • A lower amount of likes doesn’t mean your picture is not good, it just shows you what your target audience prefers
  • You can analyze many more IG aspects on websites like Iconosquare. It’s a very good tool, just make sure to apply your learnings to your account as well to improve your results.

DON’T

  • Overanalyze and lose fun..
  • Compare too much, every account is different and not everyone may play it fair…Always keep that in mind!

 

Are we Insta friends already? If not check out my account here below, press follow if you like what you see and make sure to leave a comment, I am always happy to connect!

 

You can also find me on:

Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Bloglovin and Stumbleupon.

 

What did you think about my IG tips, did you do all these things already or are you missing anything? In a following blog post I will share more tips and go deeper into some of these, but in the meanwhile I would love to hear your thoughts!

Just leave a reply below…

About Authentic Chica

Traveler, wanderer and explorer from the Netherlands, with a special love for authenticity, while keeping it chic. With a passion for traveling, lust for exploring, heart for holidays and an eye for beautiful things. Find out about my tips on how to find the perfect traveling combination of authentic chicness.
Gallery | This entry was posted in blogposts, personal, social media & travel tips and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to Instagram do’s and don’ts for organic growth part 1

  1. Sigrid Hoek says:

    Great article. It wil help a lot of IG users 💕💖 Thanks.

    Like

  2. lottevdw says:

    Very nice tips Chica! 🙂 You have a lovely IG-account, so let’s learn from the best shall we?!

    Like

  3. Lisanne says:

    Lekker bezig Naoom!! Ik ben het overal mee eens :).

    Like

  4. Great blog with IG ideas!
    Thanks for sharing! I try everything and I grow a little!
    It’s ok!
    So i’m happy for you that they work and that your account is still growing!
    You did a good job and love your account.

    Like

    • Haha thnx Daph, I know you are doing your best and you are doing well, but I do think that all these things combined can make the difference. I hope you can use the tips in this blog as a checklist and accelerate your growth! You really deserve it, xxx Naomi

      Like

  5. Great ideas. I definitely needed these☺

    Like

  6. lily kate says:

    This has been the first ‘tips’ post that I’ve read in months and months that genuinely has original and useful advice in it! Interesting about the geotagging. Sadly it’s true that so many people just don’t play fair. Thanks so much for sharing these. Followed your account, your pics are beaut! I’m at around 2500 on Insta atm and trying my best to grow, so I’ll definitely try following your advice 🙂
    lily x
    jolihouse.com

    Like

  7. Stefan says:

    Great post. It helped a lot. Thank you for that.
    Greetings from Abu Dhabi 😀

    Like

  8. Leann says:

    Really great post Naomi.. You work so hard and I’m so inspired how you have been having quick and fast increasing growth.. Excited to see your dreams come true. Bisous xoxo – Leanne ( tipsyontravel)

    Like

  9. Lisa obers says:

    Thanks for all the tips!!! Mostly my IG is for fun, but still it is nice if Tour followers grow and you get more likes on your pictures! 😊
    About the hashtags, I have the feeling if I already put 30 # in the caption, that i cant add any more in the comments? Or is this because I do zomerhit wrong? 😁
    Keep on posting Chica! 😘

    Like

    • Hi Lisa, happy to hear u like the blog and it started for fun with me too, but just liked to grow and make my ig look as pretty as possible and experiment with it! Hope you can benefit from my tips. If you paste all the # in your caption you can not put more in the comment. But if you put them in the comment, then you can go back to the caption and add 30 more there as well… I wouldn’t do too much in the caption though…just looks so cluttered, ore use same spaces in between the text and the #:) Good luck and have fun with it! xx Naomi

      Like

  10. rovingjo says:

    Great tips Naomi I already do many of these but have a few more I need to implement. I need to get better at planning out my posts. Now that I have been on IG for a few months I can see more trends and start learning from them. Like you I prefer real engagement and I do not use any of those apps to like or comment or to gain followers. What is the point? I came to Instagram because I am a visual person and this is quickly becoming my preferred social media platform I like the engagement and meeting new people and learning and getting inspiration. Thanks for always being helpful.

    Like

    • Thanx girl, really happy to hear you like my post, and hope you can use it as a checklist, allthough your pics are already great! Also in a follow up post I will go deeper into some of these tips and mention good big accounts to follow for features but also for inspiration..So stay tuned:)
      Thanx for the support as always!! xx

      Like

  11. Hannah T. says:

    Thanks for sharing! The don’t tips are also very useful :).

    Like

  12. These are some very useful tips and so easy to implement if one is serious about growing the Instagram account.. Already looking forward to more of these….. thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thnx so much Desi, happy to connect here as well!! I really hope u can benefit from my tips and will try to post more blogs like these once a month!
      Thnx for your wonderful comment!
      X Naomi

      Like

  13. Great job. Honestly want to appreciate for to be humble to share your true experience about Instagram. in the beginning i receive many links from unknown website that to earn Likes, Followers (hope you also receive this things in the beginning). but i didn’t back down, at same time i realize the reality of the Instagram it was harder than I thought. which means need to work harder to keep account organic. Thanks for your guidance.

    Like

    • Hi Rasoon, thanx so much for your nice feedback, I know the feeling and had those things in the beginning as well…good that you stayed honest and kept working on it! If you have a clear strategy with nice picture, if you are consistent and stay social and honest you should be able to grow naturally, hope you can use the tips in this blog as a checklist and hope you have fun with it!
      Thanx for your kind feedback!
      xxx Naomi

      Like

  14. Rahmi says:

    I’m so glad that I came across on how to grow followers on ig. I’ve been looking for the tips in doing so. Thanks for sharing this.

    Like

  15. Fijn artikel Naomi, wat ben je toch ook een held op Instagram! Met name aan het totaalplaatje van mijn galerij moet ik denk ik nog werken, misschien wat meer op kleur selecteren, bijvoorbeeld per 3? Ik vind overigens foto’s met mensen erin ook erg leuk om te zien, ik denk dat jij wel een goede balans hebt gevonden daarin! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Nathalie says:

    Thank you for your insight! These tips will be useful and help me use Instagram more effectively – something I really needed help with!

    Like

  17. marina van maanen says:

    Hi Naomi,

    Leuk om te lezen, ik ben je vandaag tegen gekomen via ambitieuze meisjes. Ik kan me helemaal vinden in je verhaal en ik houd me al een tijdje aan deze regels en ja, het is de moeite waard! (ook ik krijg nu ongeveer 1200 nieuwe volgers per maand). Maar aangezien jij de pro bent nog een aanvullende vraag: Hoe ga je om met het ‘nieuwe’ instagram. Ik heb het nog niet helemaal ontcijferd maar ik zie bij collega instagrammers dat likes sterk terug lopen en ook het aantal volgers neemt niet meer zo snel toe. Heb je nog aanvullende tips? Groet, Marina van Maanen – Veel Woongeluk

    Like

    • Hi Marina, thnx voor je leuke reactie en goeie vraag! Ook ik zag dat mn volgers aantal en likes wat terug liepen een aantal weken geleden, maar door toch weer op strategische tijden 2x per dag te gaan posten en regelmatiger actief te zijn is dat weer enorm verbeterd en zelfs verdubbeld. Wat ook erg belangrijk is merk is om actief te zijn naar nw gebruikers wat ik nog wel ns vergeet, omdat ik mijn huidige volgers graag allemaal wil bijhouden en antwoorden, wat veel werk is…maar ik geniet ook heel erg van t vinden van leuke nieuwe accounts en wat meer nieuwe mensen volgen voor inspi helpt echt…hoop dat je hier wat aan hebt! Succes en keep up the good work👍 x Naomi

      Like

  18. yoany says:

    Inspirerend artikel! heb je er bewust voor gekozen om alles in het engels te doen op insta?

    Groetjes
    Yoany

    Like

    • Hey Yoany, thanx, fijn om te horen! Jazeker, mijn website is ook in het Engels dus ik vind dat je alle social media platformen daar dan op aan moet laten sluiten. En zo hoop ik natuurlijk ook veel meer mensen te kunnen bereiken:)
      Succes! x Naomi

      Like

  19. Diana Chen says:

    This is super helpful! Can’t wait to implement some of your tips and tricks!

    Like

    • Great Diana, thnx so much, love to hear if it worked for you, what’s your ig profile name? Xx Naomi

      Liked by 1 person

      • Diana Chen says:

        I will try it for a few months and let you know! I’m currently at around 500 followers. Here’s the link to my IG: instagram.com/seastarpics (:

        Like

      • Diana Chen says:

        Naomi – also would love to hear if you have any specific comments/feedback/things I could do better for my IG! Thanks!!

        Like

        • Hey Diana,

          Beautiful gallery and account, just followed you, really like yr pics! I do think you can work on your story telling, maybe personalize yr bio a bit more and use way more hashtags! Nice to connect and good luck!

          Find me anytime if you need more help, xxx Naomi

          Liked by 1 person

          • Diana Chen says:

            Thanks so much for your feedback, Naomi! I will work on having some better story telling captions and using more hashtags. I took your advice of saving a list of hashtags in my Notes app on my phone so I can easily copy/paste those hashtags to each post. Thank you!!

            Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you so much for these tips, especially the one about telling a story with your pics. I haven’t really given much thought to that before, but I’ll definitely work on it now! Thanks again!

    Emma | http://www.creativexplorations.com

    Like

  21. Conor L says:

    Very interesting and helpful post, really makes sense when it’s layed out like this! I’ll definitely be using a few of these tips, thank you!

    Like

  22. patihon says:

    HI!!! I’m already friends with you on Instagram and I really appreciate the fact that despite of being so popular and having so many followers, you always leave some likes and even comments on my account, unlike other “BIG” accounts… Thanks for these tips, I follow the majority of them, but there are also some “don’ts” that I was implementing. Now I know what I should improve! 🙂 Thanks again!

    http://www.travelekspert.com

    Like

    • Hey girl! Thanx for the great comment! I will always comment and like any account I like, I started out small too and remember how it felt to have ”only a few hundred” followers…It does get harder though to maintain all yr followers and reply on all comments, but I still like to do it and happy u appreciate it!
      So great to hear u like my tips, hope you can implement them and grow even more!
      XX Naomi

      Like

  23. Claudekes says:

    Super gaaf artikel met hele toffe tips ! Ik ga het artikel denk ik nog wel tig keer lezen en mezelf vervolgens moed in praten om ook wat meer foto’s met mezelf erop te posten hihi.

    Ik vind je IG feed super ! Echt een inspiratie !!

    Like

    • Thanx girl, fijn om te horen, hoop dat je er wat aan hebt! Ik blijf je zeker volgen maar zou t ook super vinden om wat meer foto’s met jou erop te zien, en hoeven natuurlijk geen selfies of frontaal te zijn…Ik zelf vind van achter/zijkant/silhouet sfeer foto’s meestal t leukst:) Succes! x

      Like

  24. marketing65info says:

    I have been thinking of using Instagram. This post and tips have been extremely helpful. There is a lot involved. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

    • Hi Roy, there certainly is much involved, but Instagram can be a very good medium to promote your business and bond with your customers…don’t wait too long and let me know if u ever need more help👍 good luck and have fun with it! X Naomi

      Like

  25. Jessica Lam says:

    This was a really informative and helpful post – thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Like

  26. Svet Dimitrov says:

    This is a marvellous post, you chica authentica :))) Thanks so much. I learnt several things which I am going to incorporate.

    Have a great day and may success shine even brighter on your street!

    Like

    • Aww such a wonderful comment, thnx so much for that Svet! I am so happy to hear that and really hope my tips can help you grow even faster. Will be following u along the way and let me know whenever you need more help😘👍
      Xxx Naomi

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Hey Chica 🙂

    I really enjoyed reading this article, it was very specific in your advice and very helpfull to me as I am new in the blogging world. So thank you very much!

    Like

    • Happy to help and hope u can benefit from my tips!! Part 2 is following next week so stay posted! Btw can I ask how you found this article or are you following my blog already for a while?
      Xxx Naomi

      Like

  28. coco kliks says:

    Great post Naomi! I read all three articles about Instagram and discovered some very interesting tips. I look forward to putting them to use. You have quality information and are so generous to share your insights. I’ll be sure to explore more of your site and leave a comment for you along the way. Hope you and your love had some honeymoon moments in Paris.

    Like

    • Thnx so much Coco, so happy you liked them and reall all👌really hope the tips will help and you can benefit from it! Njoying our last day in Paris and def had some great moments!! 💕You can see all of it in my ig stories if yr curious😘✌xxx

      Like

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