How To Grow An Instagram Following With Very Little Extra Effort Required

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but is an Instagram account worth a thousand blog posts? Social media used to provide a way to share moments or snippets of news – but as we become increasingly obsessed with scrolling through a feed rather than concentrating on digesting information, the uses of our favourite platforms have evolved. Digital influencers no longer necessarily have to have a blog or a YouTube channel, as their Instagram or Snapchat following reaches a significant proportion of the population in one hit. More and more bloggers are focusing on growing their social media following rather than creating blog content, while brands are seeking to collaborate in increasingly more visual ways. My main blog regret has always been not jumping on the Instagram bandwagon earlier, paying the price years down the line when it’s increasingly difficult to establish yourself and grow a significant following. This visual medium is a quick, fun and easy way to get across a message or provide insight into your life, so it’s no surprise it’s overtaking all other platforms in terms of popularity. Having really focused on improving my presence over the last six months, recently I hit a 25,000 follower milestone – so I thought I would take the opportunity to share what I’ve learned and let you in on my top tips for securing a great Instagram following, without having to dedicate hours every day to doing so.

One of the main debates within the Instagram community is whether or not you should stick to a ‘theme’. A set style, look, colour scheme or filter allows you to develop a cohesive feed that followers can instantly identify as you – but it’s incredibly difficult to stick to. It’s no surprise that bloggers are now spending as much time photographing their Insta-pics as they do their blog ones! Personally I find a ‘theme’ in the traditional sense too hard to not divert from, so as an alternative I keep my images bright, clear and shot in a similar style. I like to look at my ‘grid’ as a whole, rather than images individually (as this is what someone sees when they first click on your account and decide whether or not to press follow,) and ensure it provides an accurate representation of my interests. The key is to upload an edit of only your best images, rather than shoving up anything and everything, so every new picture garners a fabulous reaction.

Undoubtedly the easiest way to aid discovery is through the use of hashtags. With millions to choose from, it’s important to pick the ones that will work for you and generate a following that’s genuinely interested in the type of content you’ll be posting. Write down a list of the main things you feature on your feed and search for hashtags that exist to describe them; don’t forget to translate into different languages too (for example makeup into maquillage and kosmetica) as social media is global. Although adding huge paragraphs of hashtags is annoying for followers, adding ten to twenty under each post as an additional comment will keep it clean and allow new accounts to discover you. I honestly can accredit my growth to starting to use hashtags and introducing them religiously across practically every post.

I have to admit that I used to chuck anything up on my Instagram page in order to ensure there was always something new to look at. However, unlike Twitter (which moves so fast that there’s no harm in posting multiple tweets within an hour) Instagram holds onto images for a much longer period of time. I often get likes on pictures that are days, weeks and sometimes even months old, as people scroll back and spend time discovering content they may have missed. Since I’ve stopped putting up images just for the sake of keeping my account full, I’ve definitely noticed and uplift in engagement; focus on the quality of your pictures rather than the amount you put up over the course of a week. 

Uploading pictures of your favourite makeup brand, or visiting your favourite restaurant? Tag them in, add your location and use their name in the description. Not only does it let them know that you’ve written a blog post or featured them on your channels, but they may even regram your image. Over the last year I’ve been regrammed by everyone from Kardashian Beauty and Barry M, to Cheryl Cole-Versini-I’m-Just-Chezza-Now and Elizabeth Arden simply by tagging them into posts. Brands love sharing their fans content (not only because it means they don’t have to create as much themselves!) so make sure you’re increasing your chances of discovery. Even better – why not ask if you can host a channel takeover for the weekend and create content for your favourite brand? It’s a great way of generating new followers and cementing relationships with brands you love.

Social media is fundamentally about having a conversation, but so many brands and bloggers forget that. Engagement is built only when followers feel like they have a relationship with you, so responding to comments and reciprocating likes is just good manners. One of my main tips across all platforms, not just Instagram, is to check back regularly to answer any questions and say thank you to people who have left you a positive comment. Checking out the accounts of followers and liking some of their photos also ensures they know you appreciate their support. It’s also important to search relevant hashtags (i.e. #30plusblogs or #bbloggers) and like content that you think is fab; it helps other users discover you, but also makes you feel like you’re part of a community.

What are your top tips for growing an Instagram following? DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW ME HERE: @LBQblog 

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  




  1. Becky Smith
    July 10, 2016 / 11:46 am

    I haven't done as well as you but I have been focusing on growing my Instagram this year (I worked on Pinterest last year) and I'm pleased that so far I've managed to double my following. I've found actually remembering to like other people images is a good start (I used to just scroll through liking what I saw but forgetting to double tap!). I find one of the best things to do though is comment on other peoples pictures. Obviously valuable comments though, not things like 'nice' or 'cool', which I find really annoying as they're so insincere. And of course just generally improving on the quality of the images I post, mine are so much better quality now (if I do say so myself!) x Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty

  2. liza prideaux
    July 10, 2016 / 12:04 pm

    Great tips, I've found since the Instagram settings have changed on how they show accounts my account hasn't grown as much which is a bit frustrating. I shall have to take on some of these tips for sure, Liza Prideaux | Bloglovin | YouTube

    • Hayley Carr
      July 17, 2016 / 5:44 pm

      Since the update it's been a bit of a nightmare and my engagement (like most others) has definitely gone down. But I hope it sorts itself out and we can get back on track!

  3. Tiffany Legg
    July 10, 2016 / 4:58 pm

    Great post and totally agree with your tips. x Tiffany Tales – A British Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  4. Emily Carter
    July 10, 2016 / 5:19 pm

    Thanks for the tips and well done on reaching 25k such a big achievement!!

    • Hayley Carr
      July 17, 2016 / 5:44 pm

      Thanks Emily!

  5. Anonymous
    July 10, 2016 / 5:42 pm

    I really need more Instagram followers and this is such a helpful post! Thanks for the tips

  6. Amy Guest
    July 10, 2016 / 5:48 pm

    These are really helpful tips, I don't have many followers on Instagram and it's got to a certain number but just doesn't seem to increase anymore! Hopefully by following these tips I will get more followers and engagement on my Instagram.

  7. Katy Stephenson
    July 10, 2016 / 6:28 pm

    These are all such great tips, I started tagging brands in my posts about a month ago and I've already gained a number of followers just from doing that!Love Katy @ The Rawrdrobe x

  8. cheburashka
    July 10, 2016 / 8:52 pm

    As far as the conversation starter is conserned unfortunately i see that rarely do bloggers answer to their followers even if one question is asked by many of "where from is the top you are wearing"..Now i know they may not be able to answer every single one but most of them don't answer even if there is only one or two questions..

    • Hayley Carr
      July 17, 2016 / 5:45 pm

      That's a real shame. It is hard to keep track of conversation, but I try to go back over old photos every few days and answer as much as I can. I can only assume they have so many notifications they can't see most of the comments.

  9. Jess | The Indigo Hours
    July 10, 2016 / 11:41 pm

    Fab tips! I've definitely noticed a lot of growth since including more hashtags with my posts and engaging more with followers and people I follow :)Jess xo | The Indigo Hours

  10. Katina Lindaa
    July 10, 2016 / 11:54 pm

    A trick I use for hashtags is putting the 'main' few ones in the caption so if it's a maybelline post or something I'd just use all of the maybelline relevant hashtags. In the comments I then paste all of my 'general' beauty hashtags, and then do three quick comments containing a love heart each. If someone scrolls through and sees my post with three lovehearts underneath, that can be a little bit 'whats going on here, why's she talking to herself', but I'd much rather that then them see 8430948 hashtags which make me look a bit desperado haha! As soon as people start commenting I delete the love hearts & perfecto 🙂 xKatina Lindaa |

  11. Madeupgirl
    July 11, 2016 / 1:18 am

    Great info. I do most of this it took me a year to figure it all out on my own. I am just getting into the swing of it with 300+ followers. Deedee

  12. Sylvia
    July 11, 2016 / 3:57 am

    These are great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Amrita Singh
    July 11, 2016 / 5:47 am

    Very helpful ? Thank you for sharing!!

  14. Phaedra
    July 11, 2016 / 7:14 am

    great post! will try a few things new. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Pam Scalfi
    July 11, 2016 / 9:16 am

    yes to all of these tips! My rule is: outfit, selfie, location, food. Always rotating between these so the feed doesnt become overloaded with pictures of me only :pPam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

    • Hayley Carr
      July 17, 2016 / 5:45 pm

      A lot of people do that – have a trio of images to break it up. I'm not that forward planning 😉

  16. lily deal
    July 11, 2016 / 2:39 pm

    Instagram is a great base for blogging I think! I'm really trying to improve and grow my Instagram account and this post really helped me out

  17. Jenny D.
    July 11, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    Great tips! I've just recently started getting into Instagram again. I will put these into good use!JennyLovesBeauty♥

  18. Abril Ponce
    July 11, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    First of all congrats in your latest milestone , and thank you for your advice . I'm trying to grow my Instagram too and I went from 2000 to 5000 in a couple months . I'm trying to reach 10000 now . Wish me luck X,AbrilThe color palette

    • Hayley Carr
      July 17, 2016 / 5:46 pm

      Thank you! And good luck!

    July 12, 2016 / 10:38 am

    Love this! Cant go wrong with lots of hashtags, thats helped me the most!

  20. Leanne Marshall
    July 13, 2016 / 8:28 am

    I have been growing my instagram following. I have al my hashtags saved on a notes page and just copy and paste them into a comment below the image. Hashtags are the main reason for my increase in likes and comments! xxx

    • Hayley Carr
      July 17, 2016 / 5:42 pm

      Hashtags are definitely how I've increased my following too… I'm all over those ### !

  21. Irina Beautyholic
    July 18, 2016 / 10:11 pm

    As always great tips. I really like your posts because they always go in depth, not just scrapping the surface.

Leave a Reply


Looking for Something?