An introduction to Instagram and a look at how to grow your follower base

When you consider that Instagram is a mobile only platform, you quickly realize how successful it has been up against the big hitters of Twitter and Facebook.. Even though it was introduced less than eighteen months ago, this photo-sharing application has been able to gain some eighty million users and its popularity is expected to increase.

Even though using Instagram is easy, the age old social media question remains, just how do you get more followers?  Most users cannot be able to attract thousands of followers within a very short time. However, there are some handy tips that you can use to help you increase your followers significantly. They are as follows.

1. Upload the best photos gradually

The first step to succeeding with Instagram is to take beautiful photos. Attractive, well composed and interesting images receive strong responses on the service. Even though you may be tempted to snap photos of everyday happenings, they cannot grab much attention. This fact is supported by Nick Bilton, who is the New York Times Bits Blog's lead writer. His active Instagram account has more than 39,000 followers. He says that when he started using the application, he used it as a photo diary where he updated photos of his dog, drinks and fun outings. However, he came to realize that Instagram is better utilized as a place for placing beautiful, artistic photos as people respond better to such photos.

Bilton also advises that it is more appropriate to be selective as you post photos to Instagram. You should only publish the best photos that you have taken and this should be done in moderation. If you were to publish all the best photos you have at once, some followers may not be able to see them. Those who see them may feel that you are flooding their streams and get annoyed.

When you publish photos selectively, you also increase the chances of others following you. Upon seeing your name appear on Instagram, they will click though your profile and view your most recent photos. You will achieve the best results if your last few images are high quality instead of many low quality photos.

2. Consider what works

There are several tools that you can use to help you find out what works well on Instagram. The first thing that you should do is to regularly click on the 'Popular tab" on Instagram and look at the photos that make it to the tab. The common photos that make it to the popular tab include skylines, adorable pets, HDR shots and photos of attractive women. The qualities that most of the popular shots have are appealing use of content, unique angles and bright colors. Photos with subtle humor can also appear here and this could be Angry Birds Photoshop jobs and jokes related to Harry Potter.

However, you should not just copy the ideas of others. It is important to know about the kind of material that gets into the "Popular" destination and try to work the elements into your photos. You can also analyze your statistics to find out what works using Instagram analytic services such as This service allows you to place things into perspective by displaying to you your account's historical data. displays to you which photos have gained the highest number of likes and comments over time among others things. You should look for consistent trends in your most popular images and then move forward by capitalizing on those strengths.

3. Utilize popular hashtags

Just like Twitter users, people who have Instagram accounts utilize hash tags to categorize content. When you tag photos, you increase their chances of being found. For instance, if you take a photo of the skyline and tag it with the popular hash tag #sky, the photo will show up with thousands of other photos that have that tag.
You can find out about the top one hundred most used hash tags on Webstagram, a third party website. Instagram's current most popular hash tag is #iphoneography. You can use it liberally because it is broad enough. The other poplar hash tags are #sunset, #flower, #dog, #cat, and #sky. You can increase the chances of your photos being seen by other people when you tag them with these hash tags. Even if you have already published a photo, you can go back to it add the hash tags in the comments.

4. Follow others

In order to increase your chances of having followers on Instagram, you can follow other users. This has the effect of calling attention to your images. If they love your profile, they will follow it even though this is not guaranteed. If you follow new people routinely, you are very likely to get return followers. Ideally, you should not just follow people randomly. You should find profiles that contain the most attractive images and it is advisable to start looking for such profiles by clicking at the "Popular tab". It is also advisable to look at the profiles of users who have been followed by people you have already followed.

5. Geo tag your images

Geo tagging is similar to using hash tags to categorize and display content. Every defined location on Instagram has is own page including the photos taken there and a map of the location. Therefore, anybody who publishes an image from the location or looks at an image taken there and taps the name of the location will see your photo too. If the person taps through your profile and likes it, you will have another follower. Apart from the official iPhone app, a number of third party Instagram applications show photos by location.

6. Comment on and like other photos

You can easily gain the attention of other Instagram users by generously liking the photos you see even if they are outside your network. You should make a comment or compliment the photos you like since this can help you gain new followers. However, you should not get spammy. You just have to genuinely comment and like photos that you find to be aesthetically pleasing, funny or interesting. After doing this, there is a good chance that the people who took them and those following them will appreciate the images that you have posted.

This Guest Post was written by: Steven Stretton          

About the Author:
Steve writes for Buy Instagram Followers – a website designed to help boost your Instagram likes and Instagram profile artificially.

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