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Saturday, July 08, 2017

7 Tips To Gain Instagram Followers

This is a long overdue blog post on how I gain more Instagram followers on my personal Instagram account iamjolene which is currently at about 17k.

Anyone can use my strategy to gain followers if you hustle a little more. I won't call myself a "blogger"; I am just somebody who writes a blog. I don't quite like the term "influencer"; I'm not like those IG influencers who are mini celebrities commanding high rates. Of course, I'm not some actress, model or celebrity too. I'm just an ordinary person who has a personal Instagram account. And if an ordinary person like me could gain 17k followers, you can do it too! :D

When I experienced an exponential growth of Instagram followers and reached 10k followers 2 years back, people noticed and asked me how I did it. I readily shared my tips with close friends and some of them put them into practice and saw growth.

There are lots of articles on the Internet about how to get more Instagram followers. They have got really good tips there, from curating your account to holding contests to using the right hashtags.

I won't be repeating rich information which could readily be found in many articles so in this blog post, I will share with you MY WAY of gaining real Instagram followers ethically without buying fake followers or doing those annoying follow unfollow methods.

The key word here is GOOD ENGAGEMENT. Sincere ongoing engagement leads to organic followers and these are the followers who usually stick by you for a long time.

Tip 1:
Find IG accounts of similar niche as yours and like a few photos from them.

Liking a few photos would certainly get the IGer's attention. Some of them would return the likes back and might even follow. Depending on whether their account is to my taste, I'll follow back.

Tip 2:
Comment sincerely on photos that you have something to comment on.

Liking is easy but commenting takes more effort so it definitely catches the IGer's attention. This needs time and effort so I do it during commutes and pockets of free time. Everyone appreciates sincere engagement. I follow back IGers who have been engaging sincerely even though their feed may not be my liking coz I appreciate them. Such followers eventually become long time IG friends. Likewise, there are also IGers out there like me who would appreciate your sincere engagement and follow you back.

Tip 3:
Scroll through the likes, comments and followers of other IG accounts and engage in them.

After that, follow Tip 1 and 2.

Tip 4:
Leave sincere comments on famous accounts. 

Don't leave cursory ones or simply emojis. Cursory ones are done by insincere people only trying to gain attention. Emojis are usually done by bots.

Your comments with thoughts put in will definitely get their followers' attention who might visit your page back.

Take for example, when I comment on famous hairstylists' accounts, other hairstylists and funky hair pple would visit my feed and like all my purple hair photos. Some would follow too.

Another example would be when I comment on a few famous travel accounts, somehow other travel accounts would visit my feed and like my travel posts. Likewise, some followed too.

Even if you don't gain followers this way, you might have those famous account liking your photos. I had Guy Tang's mydentity account liking my purple hair posts and the official Lululemon account liking my yoga wear post. It really felt good to have famous accounts liking your posts.

Tip 5:
Reply to comments.

Because people appreciate you when you reciprocate and it definitely shows your sincerity!

Yes, I know. It is hard to reply to every single comment when we have a life going on outside of Instagram. Take a few minutes to reply as a way of saying thank you. I appreciate people taking the time to comment and I would visit their account and engage their posts too.

As you gain more followers, it becomes harder to reply to every comment and I don't reply to every single one now. Giving a heart to acknowledge would be the least you could do.

You should also note that one-word or few-words comments such as "great post" or "cool" or emojis are usually left by bots or insincere people in a rush to get attention. It's up to you if you want to reply to them to get their attention back, give a heart or just move on.

Tip 6: 
Like many photos of IGers who have a lot more following than followers.

If you simply want to grow followers without bothering if they are of your niche or theme, scroll through followers of famous accounts and do the above. IGers with a lot more following than followers are highly likely to follow you back. Remember not to spam too many likes though. I personally dislike it if people who visit like every single photo of mine.

Do note that this way of gaining followers would get you lots of "dead" or inactive followers. That means they only follow you without ever liking or commenting on your posts at all. Suddenly having lots of such accounts following you would generate more of such accounts following you. I don't understand this logic or how the IG algorithm works but I noticed this when I had my exponential growth.

You may not like such "dead" or inactive followers but they certainly add significantly to your followers count. When you have a good follower is to following ratio, people are more likely to follow you.

Tip 7:
Be bold to ask politely and sincerely. 

When I often have to and fro likes and comments from the same IGers, I would be open and ask if we could follow each other because I appreciate the connection. Most of the times, they would follow back. I built many real connection and IG friends in this way. Some of these IGers grew to be so popular in the high 5 digits follower range but they never ever unfollow coz there is a rapport built right from the start. However don't do a "Hey, I followed you. Follow me back." Nobody likes that. Of course, don't be discouraged if fellow IGers do not want to follow you back. You may think that they are a bitch but it is fine. It's just frivolous Instagram. Be gracious, move on and don't take offence.

I'm sharing what worked for me to get to where I am now before I started joining Instagram communities or more affectionately known as pods. To grow followers and engagement organically is super hard work when you don't do the follow unfollow method. People seldom have the time now but I really dislike people who do follow unfollow. It is downright insincere.

Many people are also turning to bots and Virtual Assistants (VA) that would do all these back-end work for them. That sure sounds great but for now, my IG is still a personal space and I would like to manage it myself. Moreover, bots and VA do the follow-unfollow method too so I personally would stay away from them until perhaps one day when I get famous, busy and insincere. ;P

With the introduction of the Instagram algorithm whereby posts are not shown in chronological order on news feed, my rate of followers gain and likes are seriously affected. While gaining a steady stream of followers, I realised that I'm losing followers by the few hundreds since the start of this year even though my engagement is more. I could gain a few followers every 3 days but I lose about 10 per day. I could never cross back to my 17.4k mark. I discover that many IGers also experienced the same problem and it could be an Instagram algorithm issue where our posts are not readily available to people who would follow and engage. Nevertheless, quality over quantity. It is a natural way to detox my account when these unfollowers are the inactive ones.

I will continue with sincere engagement because I believe that a little hustle and sincerity would perpetuate real growth in followers.

Image Credit: All the beautiful images on this post are used with permission from with_love_martha. Even though we just knew each other this year, I know she's such a sweet lady from our interaction on IG. Check out her Instagram page for loads of beautiful edibles made by herself and follow her while you're at it. 

Side rant: I know that parts of my blog look unsightly now because I hosted years of images (which include images on my main blog page like the blog buttons on top) on Photobucket. I'm mad pissed and completely upset that years of photos hosted with Photobucket are all replaced by their unsightly banner now. RAWR!!! If you haven't already known about the Photobucket saga, read more about it here.


  1. Lovely post dear! Have a great weekend! xx

  2. thank you so much for sharing this Jo! I am struggling to make my number of followers go up. Guess I just have to work harder on engaging. Anyway, since IG changed, I kind of don't care anymore of the number of followers and likes. I seriously don't like Instagram's algorithm now, to be honest. So I concentrate on curating my feed instead. :)

    xoxo, rae

    1. Hey Rae,

      Sorry I took so long to reply. I have been sick with Hyperemesis Gravidarum the past few months.

      Instagram algorithm has gotten to be such a bitch in the recent months. I gain a few followers every few days but then I lost a few hundreds during these few months. My likes for each post have also taken a nose dive. I thought it was because I was sick and unable to engage as often and hence affected my engagement rate, likes and followers. However, I'm in some Instagram communities whose members also shared their frustrations on the same experience I'm facing.

      It's true. Now I don't really care about keeping up the follower counts too. But I'm also too lazy to curate my feed. Lol... Maybe I'll start to have the motivation again when I'm fully recovered. =)

  3. Thank you for the tips, but I decided I don't want more followers. It gets to be too much work to keep up with a big circle of blog or Instagram friends, then I risk losing track of the people I really like. :D

    PS - Since I stopped blogging, my blog visits have reduced more and more over time. At first I did okay keeping up, but then things pop up and take attention away and next thing you know you haven't visited any blogs in many months. :(

    1. Oh dear, I can't believe that your comment was stuck in awaiting approval mode till a few months later coz I didn't receive any email notification for it.

      I feel you about blog visits. I hardly switch on my laptop at home now and everything is done via mobile phone. You could see how infrequent I update my blog now. It is also difficult to read blogs and leave comments via mobile whereas updates on Instagram and Facebook could easily be done through mobile.

  4. Agree with you totally! I don't really have big IG account or something, but I've also noticed much more engagement around my account, when I've been using IG actively :D
    I haven't check your entire timeline there, but you should defenitely put photos from this post on your IG, co they're just so cool! The food looks totaly amazing :D

    Have an awsome day and a lot more fun with social media and blogging!
    xo, Danny



    1. Oh dear, I can't believe that your comment was stuck in awaiting approval mode till a few months later coz I didn't receive any email notification for it.

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment. These photos do not belong to me so I didn't upload them onto my IG. =)

  5. I like that you featured someone else's Instagram photos (they are gorgeous!). What a sweet gesture. Great tips for someone looking for ways to increase her Instagram following.

    1. Oh dear, I can't believe that your comment was stuck in awaiting approval mode till a few months later coz I didn't receive any email notification for it.

      Thank you so much for your comment! xo

  6. Great post dear! I'm a new follower.. follow me back please?

  7. Looks great and the kids will definitely love them!

    1. Thank you. I wish I knew how to make them myself. Hehe...

  8. Great post my dear
    I follow you, hope you will follow me back

    Blog: MagdalenaŠ.


I love reading sincere comments and hearing your voice. While blatant self promotion of blogs and follow for follow requests are not advisable, I would love if you leave a mark here with a trackback link so that I could connect with you. I reply to comments here or on your blog so don't forget to check back on replies! =)


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