Instagram is an ever-growing platform, with over 600 million monthly active users to-date, and it’s only going up from here. As an avid Instagram user and consumer, I have been working hard to grow my audience on Instagram this year. So, I decided to consult an expert to find out the secret to Instagram success!
I reached out to Lauren Bath, a chef turned photographer turned Instagrammer, who has an incredible 463k followers on Instagram. Her profile @laurenepbath is a stunning collection of colorful photographs from her travels around the world, including her adventures around her beautiful home country Australia.
I sent her over some questions about her story and how to grow on Instagram, and here’s what she had to say:
When and why did you start your Instagram account?
I started my Instagram account in August 2011 after reading a blog post saying that Instagram was more fun than Facebook. I was such a FB addict that I immediately jumped on the bandwagon and then realized after I had downloaded the app, that it was a photo-based platform. Out came my trusty iPhone 4 and the journey began.
Did it grow quickly or slowly? Did something suddenly spur your follower growth?
I gained my first 5,000 followers before the end of 2011, so in about 5 months. By this stage, I was really amped about photography and had just purchased my first DSLR camera. After switching from mobile to camera, I was highly engaged and one of only a handful of users actually shooting on a camera, so my work stood out. Then, the Android market came on board and Facebook purchased the app. It was a boom time for Instagram and I grew to 200,000 followers by the start of 2013. From here, I have continued the momentum, although slowed down a fair bit. I now have 463,000 followers as I approach my seven year anniversary on Instagram.
What Instagram tips would you recommend to up-and-coming Instagrammers?
• Don’t cheat! That’s right: no bots, no buying, no pods. Everyone knows you’re doing it and if you ever want to make money off your Instagram, like I do, you’re better off growing organically.
• Post great photography. It may seem obvious, but so many people underestimate this. Make people want to follow you by giving them something awesome.
• Engage with others like crazy! You don’t get if you don’t give on Instagram, consider it networking. Be generous with likes and comments and you’ll start to see people rewarding you back.
• Use the maximum 30 hashtags, but post them in a comment box underneath your caption.
• Make sure your profile page looks awesome. A wicked profile photo, great images, interesting info, and maybe some emojis too.
Any tools or apps you use regularly for Instagram?
I always give my images a little polish in Snapseed before they go online.
What have you tried that didn’t work?
Not engaging. Haha. Sometimes I feel burnt out and don’t want to spend as much time online, but I notice the drop in engagement immediately. If you want to get results you have to give and I am more than happy to support my community on Instagram.
What would you recommend as a first step to monetizing your profile/ getting brand deals?
The number one rule is to have the numbers (real numbers) and influence over your audience before you even think about making money. It takes years and years to grow influential on social media, so do that first.
Once you’re ready to start approaching brands, think about doing a course or some research on pricing and deliverables. I run a great event for up and coming influencers: www.thetravelbootcamp.com
What’s your favorite part about being an Instagrammer?
The travel and the people I meet. I work my butt off and I have bad days like anyone else, but I never regret making this my career when I’m away in a new destination or hanging around awesome people.
Well, there you have it! Some great tips on how to grow your Instagram from an amazing Instagrammer! A big thanks to Lauren for taking the time to answer my questions. Be sure to check out her profile and her event as well.