Instagram. Some of us bloggers love it, some are over it, but all of us seem to be fighting an uphill battle lately. Instagram has been getting a bad rep for its less than perfect algorithm, and sometimes it seems like gaining a following on the platform is next to impossible. While it can be difficult, I’m here to tell you that it’s not as hard as you think it is. I’ve started to gain followers that stick around by doing (and not doing) several things.

Don’t Follow and Unfollow

This one really gets me. So often I’ll see accounts with 20K+ followers follow me, and I know that if I don’t follow them back, they’ll unfollow me soon. This is not a way to build an account full of people who genuinely like you and your posts. This method leads to distrust and the idea that you’re just in it for the big numbers. I’d rather have a few followers who engage with my posts rather than a large number of followers who couldn’t care less about my content.

Do Promote Other Accounts

Speaking of engaging with others, one of my favorite things to do on Instagram is to mention accounts on my story that I really love. I’m introducing my followers to other accounts they may not know about while simultaneously building a relationship with the owner of the account I’ve mentioned. More often than not a few bloggers I mention each time I do this will return the favor.

Related Reading: Why I Left My Instagram Comment Pods

How To Grow Your Instagram Following

Don’t Ignore Your Followers

The followers you do have right now are very important. Engage with them and build up your own little community. When they comment on a photo of yours, respond back! It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple “This is a great shot!” or them asking a question; take the time to respond. It lets your followers know that you’re actually active on the platform and willing to engage with people.

When you respond to comments it puts a person behind the account. So often on social media, we forget that there are real-life people running our favorite accounts. Let people get to know you and your personality outside of all of the pretty pictures you post. Which brings me to my next point…

Do Use Instagram Stories

I’m going to be honest, when Instagram stories first came out I was not convinced. It seemed way too similar to SnapChat (it still is, let’s be real) and I didn’t touch it for several months. I thought I had nothing interesting to share and no one would watch my story.

However, most people are nosy by nature and like to see what other people are doing, even if it’s just what they’re buying at the grocery store. Since all of my photos on Instagram are very styled I used Instagram stories to show the more personal and “real” side of my life. I share what makeup I’ve used that day, my #OOTD, and just fun things I’m doing on any particular day.

Again, it all comes back to being genuine and connecting with your followers.

Related Reading: 5 Ways To Boost Traffic To Your Blog

Do Follow Others Who Follow Others

Let me explain this one before you think I’m crazy and stop reading! Say you follow someone, say account X, and they’re in the same niche as you and you genuinely enjoy their photos. Well, chances are, people who follow account X would also like to follow your account. Maybe some already do, and maybe the others just haven’t seen your account before.

Go the profile of account X and tap on followers. Scroll through and find some accounts that you like, give them a follow and engage with some of their content. These actions on your end will most likely make those people check you out in return and hopefully follow you. It’s a win-win-win situation; you find new accounts you like, other people gain new followers, and you gain new followers as well!

See, It’s Really Not That Hard

I know we’re all frustrated with the algorithm and want to take Instagram by the shoulders and ask what the heck they’re thinking, but all hope hasn’t been lost! I still love Instagram and enjoy posting photos. Scrolling through and looking at the beautiful photos inspires me to up my own photography game as well.

Hopefully Instagram will hear our cries for change soon, but until then, just be as genuine as possible. Connect with people and follow accounts you really love. In return, you should receive some love back and see your community on Instagram grow.

While the Instagram algorithm is less than perfect, seeing growth on the platform isn't impossible. Follow these 5 dos and don'ts to start growing your following today!

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Audrey Knizek

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39 comments

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Great post!! Thanks so much for these tips!!

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These are such great tips! It can be so hard to grow on Instagram these days!

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I love insta-stories!! It took some time for me to get into them but I can’t stop watching them now! I need to just do more of then in the future myself!

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Instagram stories are a lot of fun! Sometimes during the work week it’s hard for me to post often on them, but it challenges me to think creatively!

xoxo A
http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

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I’m part of the fighting an uphill battle camp at the moment! I took a week long break so I’m getting back into the rhythm, I really want to start doing some shoutouts on my stories as well!

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i tooootally agree!!! especially the one with follow and unfollow… it really irks me, and starts making me distrust others, so now i’m really cautious of who i choose to follow 🙂

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It’s hard to keep up on instagram these days. I just try to do me and hope it’s enough. I also feel like a lot of people are buying likes and followers, which is frustrating.

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These are really great tips! It’s so upsetting to see the whole ‘unfollow/follow’ deal which is what my account struggles with the most. I tend to wait a couple days to follow someone back to ensure it’s genuine!

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I need to get better at using instagram stories!

xoxo, Piage

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Great post! I absolutely hate when people do the Follow/unfollow! You can always tell who’s going to do that too – they never like any of your photos, they just start randomly following you out of nowhere.

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Such great tips! Growing my Instagram following has been slow, but by doing these my followers have actually stuck around. So important to engage with them!

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I find engaging with the followers I do have to be the most beneficial thing for me. I have great relationships with a lot of my followers now!
-Nicholle
http://www.nichollesophia.com

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That’s so great to hear!

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These are great tips! Follow-unfollow is SO annoying, but I genuinely love finding other bloggers in my niche!

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I have such a love-hate relationship with Instagram! It’s a fun platform but it can be so frustrating sometimes. These are wonderful tips though!

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Glad there are people out there like yourself! IG has been quite a learning experience for me…and I agree with all the points you’ve made. Nothing beats genuine 😉 Thanks for the post!

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Thanks for sharing Audrey, Instagram is a powerful site right now. Some great tips !

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I love this post and am thrilled to find out I am not a complete doofus with Instagram and am already incorporating some of these things!

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You’re definitely not a doofus haha!

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I liked to see who is interacting with posts that are also of interest to me. These people are often great to connect with.

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Great post! Ignoring followers is never ok!

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Great tips! I am going to try these…fingers crossed 🙂

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So many great tips! Instagram has been a huge work in progress for me. It’s the #1 platform I want to grow this year 🙂

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I can’t stand the follow / unfollow behavior. I have an app to see who unfollows because I hate it so much. I recently started posting twice a day to Instagram, which has helped me to get more followers.

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I really needed some of these tips at the moment. Hoping to really start growing my Instagram within the next few months. Thank You!

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I agree that replying to your followers is very important! The follow/unfollowing annoys me as well.

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I love using Stories but I need to get better about posting to them more often. These are great tips.

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Thanks for sharing you insight! I’m always looking for new tips!

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Great post, I really hate it when people do the “follow and unfollow” thing, it’s seriously so annoying!

Ellen | http://www.zyrakuma.com

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I love these tips, especially the callout for the people who follow/unfollow! But I’ve adefinitely found that the more I engage with my community the more engagement I get in return!

Logan | Signed, Logan
signedlogan.com

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Love this post! Insta stories are my fav!

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some great insta tips here! The follow / unfollow is so annoying!

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Thanks for the tips. Following others followers is one I love!!

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Great tips! Just have to think about the end game when Instagram decides to switch up the algorithm on us.
xoxo http://www.mychicobsession.com

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These are such great tips to keep in mind. IG can certainly be tough these days.

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These are really helpful! I used to not use Instagram as a way to promote my blog and I only focused on Pinterest and Facebook. In the last month I started posting on Instagram as well so I could really use these tips to help me gain new followers.

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Great tips! I definitely need help building an *engaged* following.

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Thank you for this post! Instagram is kind of tricky! I didn’t start my account until a few months ago and there is a learning curve for sure! I will make sure to apply your tips.

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So glad you found my post helpful!

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