Today is a special day for me – it’s the one year anniversary of when I officially launched my Instagram page Style Miss Molly. I remember the day vividly, opening a package with a pair of white pointed toe pumps, inspired by how essential they are to my wardrobe. In that moment, I decided to start my fashion blog and post my first Instagram photo (no judgment). “I’m finally going to pursue my dream and just do it,” I thought. My following on Instagram has grown exponentially since then and I’ve learned a lot. In honor of celebrating how far I’ve come, I’m sharing with 10 tips for how I grew my Instagram following so fast. Let me start off by saying there is no magic formula. I wish I could give you a package that says, “Here, do this and you will be successful,” but every blog is different and will progress at its own pace. Honestly, I can only share with you what I have done and hope that it helps you or another blogger on their journey.
Identify what sets you apart.
With a largely saturated market of fashion bloggers I knew right from the beginning I had to do anything and everything to separate myself from the crowd. I didn’t want to be “just another fashion blogger.” I have done worksheets on what makes me unique so that I can develop a consistent brand (Fashion PR Girl has a great one here). Knowing what I do and why I do it has helped me determine a part of what makes me unique.
Define your brand.
Branding is a critical part of blogging. I have found ways to remain true to who I am and recommend you find what the unique thing is within yourself. Is it humor? Is it inspiring messages? Discover what most represents you and stick to it. Knowing your brand will ultimately strengthen who you are as a blogger.
Engage, engage, engage.
Comment in the community. Commenting on other IG posts (ALL the time) and replying to comments personally is always huge. It has drawn so much traffic to my IG and makes people want to stick around because they see that I reply…and not just saying thank you, but treating the visitors like my girlfriends and creating tailored replies for each friend. I have met a lot of blogging friends this way!
This was huge for me, especially when first starting out. Not only did I make sure my images associated with relevant hashtags, but I sought out other bloggers with the same hashtags and spent time engaging with them. I never used the follow-for-follow strategy as I find this technique to be completely ineffective and it does not build the authentic relationships I am ultimately seeking.
Showing my personality is huge to any “online persona”. Followers love seeing that I am more than just pretty pictures. Because everything is typed out, I have worked hard on developing my voice in writing. Telling a funny story, sharing a personal experience, being heartfelt wherever I can is an absolute must.
Appeal to your readers.
While still remaining true to my overall aesthetic and style, I fine tune things towards what I’ve noticed people wanting to see or read. If you look at my feed from the beginning, it was VERY dark and colorful. I started to soften the photos a bit, because that seemed to be what people were liking more. It’s still a balance, because I don’t want to wash out my feed, as I too like it remaining bright and cheery!
Visually design your feed.
I have worked hard to make the appearance of my Instagram aesthetically pleasing. Using same color tones or filters (if you use any – I try not to so that the colors of the high quality photo can still show) all across the board is really important for consistency. Also, be sure to pay attention to how your feed lines up. It’s amazing to think about, but if people see too many of one in a row, not enough variety, or a lack of balance in the feed itself, it can hold them back from clicking the follow button. People can be so fickle! I use Planoly to visual plan my feed and LOVE it!
Not only is it important to be consistent with your branding, but also how and when you post. Posting regularly shows followers that they can look forward to your posts. By analyzing the times when the engagement is highest for me, I can be successful at making the most out of what I post! Definitely post with an eye toward quality over quantity though. It is much better to post ONE great picture a day that people love to see in their feed, rather than photos that just fill a feed without a real purpose.
Networking and making connections in the blogging community is a huge part of success. We can’t do it without each other. Whether it be by doing a shoot with a local blogger or co-writing a post with a blogger further away, these connections will help build your following too!
To giveaway or not to giveaway?
In complete transparency I’ve done three giveaways. I don’t want to rely on them to grow my numbers so I’ve stopped doing them. The way I see it is that you will gain a lot of followers in a giveaway. After the giveaway, people will unfollow of course and to be honest, that’s exactly what I want if they don’t like what they see. In the end, it gives others the opportunity to find you. If they like what they see they will stick around, and that’s awesome!
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. I’d love to help answer them!
Lace Top: Shop Sosie (Use code “molly20” to get 20% off) | Purse: Kate Spade Elissa | Bar Necklace: Charming Charlie | Earrings: These beautiful Loren Hope earrings are on loan from my Rocksbox! Haven’t heard of them? It’s an amazing jewelry subscription service to get gorgeous gems like this! Use my code “stylemissmollyxoxo” to get your first month free.