It’s no longer a secret that being social can earn you money and one of the top social channels is Instagram. Launched in October 2010, Instagram has definitely proven itself as one of the top social networks. Over the last couple of years, several Instagramers such as thebodycoach and kayla_itsines have risen to fame by building a huge following, and they are earning good money from this.

Social media is a key tool to utilise in your marketing efforts. If you have a blog, building a strong social following is a great way to market your blog and provides a good source of traffic. As I have recently started blogging myself, I’ve been delving into the world of Instagram and doing a lot of my own research into how to get more Instagram followers. Here are some of the most useful tips I’ve discovered that have helped me – I hope they will help you grow your Instagram followers too!

1. Take care of the account basics

Choose a theme for your Instagram account and stick with it. For example, food, fashion and beauty, health and fitness, etc. A clear theme will make it a lot easier for you to attract new followers than if your account is a mashup of random images that are completely unrelated to each other. If you have a blog, your Instagram account should obviously match the theme of your blog.

Make sure your username and profile picture matches the theme you have chosen. And be sure to fill in your Bio section. This is where you will advertise your Instagram account to potential followers, so make it as interesting, unique and enticing as you can.

Don’t forget to link your Instagram account with your other social accounts. This will help your followers on other networks to follow you on instagram too. Plus, it will save you time syncing content.

2. Use #hashtags…

To reach out to the right audience, you need to use hashtags with each image you post. For example, #fitness, #bodybuilding. This will help people who are looking for images related to those specific tags or interests to find your photos.

Make sure your hashtags are specific and relevant to your photo or product, and keep in mind that generic keywords can be useful in generating likes, but you’ll need to use much more specific keywords if you want to attract followers and potential buyers for your reviewed products.

Keep it mixed up and balanced, and avoid gimmick hashtags such as #followme and #likeforlike.

3. But not too many #hashtags

There is a 30 hashtag limit on Instagram, but that doesn’t mean you should fill every caption with 30 hashtags. You want to be noticed, but you don’t want to look desperate. Surveys have shown that 3-7 hashtags is a good number to use, but keep it relevant to your post and don’t go overboard if you want to leave a good impression.

4. Stick to a schedule

As you start to grow your followers, your followers will be waiting for your pictures. So don’t forget to post new images regularly. But be careful not to bore your followers with images that are too similar, or annoy them by filling up their feeds with too many posts in a day or week. Spread your posts out across a regular schedule.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on when there seems to be the highest activity, For example, you’ll find that certain times and days are more likely to generate more interaction with your account that at other times. Figure out when these times are and you can make sure you adapt your schedule to them.

5. Interact with your competitors

Instagram is a highly interactive community and Instagram users tend to engage and comment a lot more with people’s images and accounts than on other social networks like Facebook. By engaging with other people, liking and commenting on their accounts, you are much more likely to find they follow you back

This tactic can work very well with your competitors. Follow, like and comment on as many of your competitors as you can. It’s easy, but time consuming. Think of it as building a relationship. You have to keep working at it and interact with them regularly for it to work. But you’ll find many of them will follow you back or at least like or comment on your post. Give it a try and you’ll see how many will actually follow you back.

But the key to this strategy is to be genuine with it. People can spot a mile away when someone is just trying to get a #follow4follow.

I hope these simple steps will help you grow your Instagram followers like they did for me. With a good strategy in place, in time you’ll be able to build a strong, targeted audience which will help you earn good money.