How to get followers on instagram

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“How to get more likes and followers on Instagram” By Matt Glastonbury, accomplished Mobile Photographer, providing great tutorials and App reviews. Matt is an independent blogger who acts as a Contributing Editor to Ink361. (Add Matt on Google Plus)

Four words: Create, engage, challenge, tag.

If you want people to see your work, you need to engage with others, come up with creative ideas, challenge yourself by entering into photo competitions or learning new things, and connect your work to streams where lots of people are already focusing. How do you do that?

I use hashtags that describe the photo, myself, and link me to communities that I appreciate. That way, when those communities see a photo of mine, in their own hashtag stream, they could potentially re-post it, and feature it, or even start following me for a regular supply of good content. Another great way to increase your chances of being featured on popular profiles, is to get active in photo challenges. In doing that, not only do you end up challenging yourself, you improve, you have fun, you could get featured, and maybe even win prizes. All this, inevitably ends up helping you to have more fun with photography, and improve your skill-set.

Photography can change your life. Allow the new desires for interesting perspectives to change your view on the world around you. Let your life be an exciting foundation for finding new ideas, and creative insights, to share. Engaging with others, and challenging yourself daily, can have a wonderfully positive affect on your life, and overall outlook. This is where I prefer to focus, rather than how many followers I can get; and I find, with that order of preference, the likes keep increasing anyway.

In the past twelve months, I’ve probably engaged in over fifty different challenges and have won a range of prizes from a @Blurb_Books voucher, on @ink361, enabling me to print my own awesome photo book, through to a holiday on @hamiltonisland where I was a part of an Ultimate Instameet. I did all that by following the guidelines I’ve outlined for you here.

So, I’ve put together a small list of dos and don’ts that might be helpful to those that are particularly new to Instagram:

Do:

* Engage with people

* Enter challenges

* Join communities

* Follow inspiring Instagramers

* Go on Instameets

* Do your own creative thing

* Focus on improving your creative skills (apps, editing, enhancing, photography, communication)

* Be patient, and have fun

* Link your profile to other social media and websites so you can be easily found

* Think about what communities are looking for when they search their hashtag to feature a photo.

* Take advantage of the share settings section of the Instagram app, and share each post with various media platforms.

* Pick some themes you enjoy and keep trying to improve and develop your own style

* Try different subjects and see how it improves your skill level.

* Add location data to your photos when posting so other users can see your photos when they press on the location.

* Comment on other people’s photos

* Ask how people managed to achieve the photos you like so you’re always learning
* Keep your profile public

Don’t:

* Worry about followers or likes, they will come when you focus on your own creativity in a positive way

* Avoid using generic hashtags to reduce the chances of spammers finding you.
* Don’t follow people just to expect them to follow you

* Never try to buy followers or likes. It’s a scam

* Be careful not to post too frequently. Find what’s best for you. I suggest between once and six times a day with no less than four hours between each post.

* Never post other peoples photos without permission or crediting them
* Avoid doing the same thing as everyone else

* Avoid posting screen-shots of things for sale or snippets from websites

* Never spread rumors. They’re hardly ever true

* Never re-post false advertising. Always check if a free give-away is on the supposed companies official Instagram channel.

* Avoid posting the same thing over, and over, unless it’s different versions of the same thing done for creative reasons. Ask yourself if your audience could be finding your repetitiveness boring.

* Avoid using a large watermarks across all your photos

* Try not to comment on other people’s photos asking them to look at your work unless you have a rapport with them.

* Avoid using generic hashtags like love, follow, me, cute. These tags have over 300-million photos in them, how will anyone ever find you? Not to mention, this is where spammers focus most of their attention.

* Never copy and paste other people’s hashtags without understanding what they are. It’s really annoying when people copy your own personal hashtags and start using them. Remember, a hashtag is meant to be searched and pressed, displaying a subject, please understand what tags you are using and make sure they are relevant to you. Some people create their own tags to filter and display their own work, if you’re not careful, you could be putting your photos into their personal work streams, by using their tags.

Honestly, the best way to engage, and have fun on Instagram, is to get involved in it’s community. There are so many other people out there who are all connecting with similar tastes to you, and these communities, and their challenges, are such a rewarding way of connecting with them and learning. You’re never too knowledgeable to learn something from anyone! Don’t forget that.

Get inspiration, and be inspirational. When you’re trying out for a photo contest, try checking out what others are submitting, (or have submitted in older, similar, challenges) and be careful not to just copy what everyone else is doing, but try to get inspiration, and come up with your own concepts.

What challenge operators, and communities, look for when choosing a photo to feature or win: Composition, originality, clarity, emotion, story, creativity, technical ability (correct exposure and focus), and of-course, whether or not you were able to follow the theme. Try to ask yourself what would make someone stop searching through the small thumbnails and click on your photo for a closer look? Shapes and composition, relevance, colour, and story.

@ink361 has a lot of great challenges running, with cool prizes and features too. Why don’t you give their tags a try, and watch out for the next challenge. Tag your photos with #ink361 #ink361_mobile and follow along if you’re up for the challenge.

(top right photo of me jumping is thanks to @markseabury)

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