UPDATED: Growing Instagram Organically – 3 Simple Steps

I created my latest Instagram account called Cody’s Pix last spring in the vain attempts of gaining an audience to share my nature photos with. I already had my main account that debuted nearly 4 years ago. I wanted to have one separated strictly for photography and the older one to be more of a personal/current event profile.

Since I created the new Instagram account I hovered around 30 followers and struggled to gain more. Slowly I meandered my way up to 50 followers before I decided to take this Instagram account seriously. I gained nearly 30 followers in 7 days just by putting these 3 steps into action. Here are my 3 steps to grow your Instagram organically:

1. Engagement

This is an obvious one but in reality it is highly overlooked. I have a habit when I put up a new post: Every single like that it receives I take a peak at their profile. Whether it is 10 likes or 40. If the profile has great content I will find a few photos that I particularly like and will “like” them. If the profile is strictly personal or uninteresting then I will pass it on.

When I find a photo that I really love, I will comment on it with something like “I really love this photo” or “Wow” what an amazing shot”.

Last but not least: When an account has amazing photos and lowish followers I will give it a “follow”. The new accounts like myself and others are more apt to like follow each other. Don’t be pressured to have 3,000 followers and not be following anyone yourself. This is ignorance. I enjoy being able to scroll through my story to see what other people are taking photos of.

2. Hashtags

Every post needs to have relevant hashtags. The keyword here is relevant. If they are not relevant then it will reflect negatively on your profile. Hashtags will link you with many others that are scrolling through. People will “like” high quality content that fits in with the hashtags that they were just viewing. Hashtags are the backbone of Instagram as they provide nearly free advertising even in the midst of all of the thousands upon thousands of photos.

Some examples of popular hashtags include:

#LastSummer #Alberta #Landscape #Rustic #justgoshoot #instaphoto #picoftheday #photooftheday #photography #pictureoftheday #camera #photoshop #instadaily #hdr #instafocus #visuals #aesthetics #travellingthroughtheworld #TouringCanada etc…

Positive points if you can tag locations with hashtags for example #Missoula, #Alberta, etc.

3. Content

Have you ever heard the phrase “location, location, location?” Just as location is the key in real estate, content is the key in growing an online presence with Instagram. Instagram is not a place to house your portfolio. Instagram is a social place. I post 1 photo of the day out of my personal collection of photos and I will also try to post one later in the day that is more spontaneous and social in nature. This one is usually of my roommate’s dog, or something else more adventurous. This is a happy medium between strictly portfolio shots and social photos.

Your content should meet some criteria before posting:

  • Eye catching! Colors that pop are always great!
  • Pleasant. Landscape is always safe bet. Pets are also another great subject!
  • Tasteful. It should be obvious that Instagram is no place for crude photos that hold no artistic value.

Using a service like Hootsuite can be a lifesaver as you can schedule out your posts, track analytics and keep and eye on your followers. I currently have my daily posts scheduled out for the rest of this month and will start looking at next month here in the next week.

The Results of Growing Instagram Organically

The results of growing Instagram organically.
Analytics via Hootsuite

I have gained nearly 30 additional followers and will be hitting 100 by the end of next week assuming that I keep this up. The results nearly speak for themselves.

I hope that you have found my method to be helpful. Please feel free to follow me on Instagram or Twitter to catch my latest updates.

UPDATE: 03/01

On February 11th when I originally posted this article I had 72 followers. After 17 days I am now up to 111 followers on Instagram.

Growing Instagram Organically
The results speak for themselves.


Have a great day!