Private Instagram account

Can making your Instagram account private get you more followers?

Back in July I read an article by The Atlantic where they explained why some big meme Instagram pages were making their accounts private and how that going private had made their follower growth explode. I found this strategy intriguing so out of curiosity, I thought I’d like to experiment with it myself.

What is a private Instagram account?

When you make an Instagram account private, the content is hidden from public view and only your followers can see it. You can control the visibility of your account in settings. Select account privacy and then toggle on Private Account. People will then have to send you a follow request if they want to see your posts.

If your account is private, when you add hashtags to a post – your post will only show up to the people who follow you.

Why switch to private?

There are some potential benefits to switching to private – but they are only really applicable to certain types of account. If you run a general photography account or a business trying to sell products, it’s probably not the right option for you. If however, you have certain types of desirable content, it’s could be a useful strategy for you to use.

  1. It can help you get more followers.

    If you offer information (such as that on my @kistogram page) people will want access to your information. If it is on public view, they can see it without having to follow you. By making the account private, you secure that content to only those who commit to follow you. Therefore, if people really want what you have to offer, they will follow you. This is why it has been such a successful strategy for the meme accounts – which work on people sharing their memes.

  2. Secure your content .

    By making your account private, people will not have such free access to the content you are sharing and in that respect your content is a bit more protected.

  3. Retaining your followers.

    You’re more likely to keep the followers you have if the account is private because if someone unfollows, they would need to send a follow request to you again if they changed their mind. This acts as a deterrent for people unfollowing.

Private Instagram account experiment results.

On 21st July I decided I would experiment with making my @kistogram account private to see if it made any difference to my account growth. Prior to switching to private, this account averaged about 30 new followers a month (or around 1 a day). At the time of switching to private I had 953 followers.

After two weeks the account had grown to 1066 followers

After six weeks the account now stands at 1112 followers. A growth of 156 followers.

That means I’ve gained an average of around 105 followers a month or 3.78 a day. Three times the previous growth. Obviously the account hasn’t sky rocketed but switching to private is the only strategy I have changed and used.

I didn’t carry out any other growth strategies during this time – so I wasn’t being particularly active from that account in the same way I would be for my @kistography. As the account is private, hashtags aren’t effective in growth either. The only strategy I used was to announce new posts on my @kistography account stories.

I’m still deciding whether I will continue to keep this account private or whether I will switch it back to public.


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Learn how to create great Instagram captions

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Create great instagram captions

Create great Instagram captions

How to create great Instagram captions

Although Instagram is an image led platform, it is still important to spend time creating great Instagram captions. Captions are also a great way to reach out to your audience and interact with them.

Tell a story – write something that leaves an impression (combine images with strong powerful words). This doesn’t have to be a long winded or protracted piece of elaborate prose. A few words or a short sentence can convey quite a lot. The captions are a great way to give your audience an insight into who you are. You can use humour, demonstrate your expertise, or even your lack of knowledge by asking for advice or feedback!

The Instagram Algorithm notices engagement on posts, so you could use your Instagram captions to encourage people to engage with your post – beyond just simply liking a post. Including questions or calls to action are a great way to elicit engagement through comments

Captions serve as another tool for creating your style or niche. Perhaps you like to share quotes, poems or song lyrics to accompany your images. This will be another way that followers can relate, connect and identify with you.

What creative ways do you find work for your Instagram captions?

 

You might also be interested in:

Instagram Hashtag selection

Instagram engagement – using hashtags

Add value to your Instagram posts

How to grow your instagram followers

How to grow your Instagram followers

One of the most commonly asked questions I receive is “how do I grow my instagram followers?”. Although there is not one straight answer to this – and a whole combination of factors come together for growth to take place, I have come up with a number of simplified strategies you can adopt for account growth. Some of these strategies are straightforward, legitimate and organic methods – others are more controversial, some frowned upon and some definitely NOT recommended. I figured I’d highlight them all, as it’s worthwhile knowing why you SHOULDN’T use them.

CORE

This is the fundamental entry level of growing your Instagram followers.

The first and most basic way to get followers is to connect with your own friends and family! Within your profile options you can see ​Follow People – there you can add friends using your other social media accounts such as Facebook or from your contacts. Hopefully, if you follow them, they will follow you back!

Then, for an optimised account you should be sharing the very best of your photos or videos. If someone clicks onto your profile the first thing they are likely to do is to browse through the first 6 – 10 of your most recent images. It is important that these photos give a great first impression or a representation of who you are and your account. You will be adding a well thought out caption and possibly a few hashtags too.

LEVEL UP

The next way that you can level up your follower growth, is to do everything you would do for ‘core‘ but then build on that. Once you have followers…and they are engaging with your account, engage with them. If you don’t interact, people will lose interest, get bored and unfollow. You can learn a lot about your audience by interacting with them. When you post photos, provided your content is good, you will likely receive comments from users who appreciate your work. You can reply to followers comments on your photos by thanking them or responding to the comments they have made. It is good insta-etiquette to respond to them too! I endeavour to acknowledge all comments made on my photos as I feel it it courteous to respond if someone has taken the time and effort to write something. It’s a great way to interact and build up your community. It shows people that you value their interest and contribution.

One basic but powerful way to interact with people, find inspiration and to gain new followers on Instagram, is to ‘like’ other users photos. Liking photos is really the fundamental interaction on Instagram. When you do like photos make sure that you are authentic with the likes you give out and avoid spamming accounts for the sake of it. Don’t like for likes sake, as you will just irritate people. Take it another step further, by commenting too!

Also, by this point you will be more focussed with your hashtags – using ones that are niche, selected for the relevancy and with the content you are posting in mind. See my Ultimate Hashtags list for photographers to up your hashtag game!

FISHING

Now, perhaps you’re wanting to speed up and encourage the follower growth on your feed a bit more. So, you will already be doing everything in ‘core‘ plus adopting the strategies in ‘level up‘ and now you will start adding a bit more targeted and focussed growth strategies. This is what I refer to as fishing – you will actively go out liking and comment on photos – but in an organised and strategic way, in order to try and reel people into your feed.  You need to got out and let people know that you (and your content) exists. This is the ‘knocking on doors’ of Instagram!

Pick one of the hashtags that you use (or the geotag) and go to its feed. Select ‘recent’ and begin scrolling through the feed, liking photos as you go (but ONLY photos that you do genuinely like). When you get to about 20 photos, on the next one, leave a comment as well as liking. Make sure that the comment is genuine, sincere and shows a real interest in the content. Go back to the hashtag/geotag feed and begin the process again…liking 20 photos, then commenting on one. Repeat this for however much time you have spare. This is what I call the 20:1 approach. You can tweak the ratio to suit your available time or what works for you. By balancing out the likes v’s comments it means you are less likely to get banned for liking/commenting too fast and it gives you a rhythm to strategy.

With this method, your ‘fishing‘ will reel in people to your feed, primarily from your comments, but also through the likes. If you do this regularly, you will see a steady growth on your feed.

PODS

After you have implemented ‘core‘, ‘level up‘ and ‘fishing‘, there are very few ‘organic’ ways for you to grow your Instagram following. Two years ago, these three methods alone would have been enough to generate rapid growth. This is how I managed to get my feed to around the 10-12k mark. Sadly, now that Instagram have introduced the algorithm, it is much more difficult to get the same levels of organic growth. This is where pods (engagement groups) can come in.

A pod (engagement group) is a way to ‘hack’ the instagram algorithm. It is a group of Instagrammers (preferably of the same niche) who will collaborate to ensure that as a member posts, their post is getting an influx of likes, comments, saves and even shares. They are usually set up in a messaging software (Whatsapp, Messenger, Slack, Telegram etc) or within Instagrams own direct messaging, where members will announce when they have uploaded a new post. The idea being, that all the members of that group will then go and visit the post to like & comment on it ASAP, after it’s first posted. The reason this is important, is because the algorithm looks at the response the post gets within the first hour – before deciding whether to push it to a broader audience.
Pods are frowned upon sometimes because they can be seen as manipulative, false and cheating. If a pod is well set up – built upon a community of like-minded, supportive and genuine members they can work well. Sadly, many pods are just a load of instagrammers thrown together. This means someone who is a portrait photographer, could be engaging with a dog groomer or cake baker. In a set up like this, over time the interest will fade (unless the portrait photographer happens to be a dog loving, cake eater)!

FOLLOW/UNFOLLOW

This is a controversial, often frowned upon and dubious strategy. The basic principle of this is that you bulk follow a load of Instagram accounts, then shortly (24 – 48hrs) after, you unfollow them. Hopefully within that time period some of those accounts would have followed you. So your followers growing, but your following doesn’t. There are many issues with this – firstly, you risk getting your account banned. There are limits on the amount of accounts you can follow in a day. If the bots pick up that you are a serial follower, you do risk your account being banned and locked out. Notwithstanding the fact, that it blooming well annoys people when they see that someone has follow/unfollowed them!

BIG SPENDER

This is a big no-no! I’m only adding it here as a word of caution and for readers to get an understanding of the lengths people will go to for the sake of ‘popularity’. ‘Big Spender‘ is when people buy followers. When you buy followers, you are often getting fake/spam accounts – they won’t be people that will engage on your feed. This will then become evident on your posts. I have seen accounts that have 50,000 followers, but only get 200 or so likes on a post. This is an obvious sign that they have bought followers. Also when followers are bought, the account growth will happen rapidly over a short space of time (a couple days), where as genuine growth is steady and gradual.

With all of the strategies you adopt, you are looking for QUALITY over QUANTITY. This is why Follow/Unfollow and Big Spender are not wise strategic moves in your growth plan!

A wise Instagrammer once said “Followers is vanity, engagement is sanity”!

 

VIEW MY IGTV CHANNEL WHERE I CHAT THROUGH INSTAGRAM GROWTH.

 

About me

You might also enjoy:

Instagram Algorithm Explained

Instagram aesthetics – Make your feed stand out

 

Photo Mural – North Devon District Hospital

Huge Westward Ho! photo mural installation

Back in June I was approached by the Engineering Manager of North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple, to see whether I was interested in having one of my photos used as a photo mural on the new A&E reception area – I was delighted to donate a photo for such a worthy project.

Finding a suitable photo for the space was much trickier than I had initially thought – it is a long, narrow space and the photo needed to represent the North Devon area. So I had to choose a photo that had something iconic, but could also be cropped to the necessary dimensions. The Engineering Manager, Architect, printers and I had a play around with a few images before settling on one featuring the wooden groynes and pebbles on Westward Ho! beach, at sunset.

 
This afternoon I had the opportunity to go up and see the photo mural for myself, now that it has been installed into the A&E waiting area. As A&E was in full operation, unfortunately it was too busy to get a photo myself, but here’s a photo the Engineering Manager took shortly after it was installed. 😍
 
This is something I’m really proud of – it’s quite incredible and overwhelming to see your work on this scale.
Hopefully it will brighten the wait for many patients during their time at A&E, for years to come.NDDH photo mural

Using Instagram Highlights

Discover how to effectively use Instagram Highlights to optimise your profile.

Instagram Highlights Instagram Highlights

Instagram’s highlights feature allows you to add any Instagram story to your profile page in the form of categorised ‘stories’ – including stories that you have previously posted (and are stored in your archive). You can customise your highlights with titles and images. It provides a perfect opportunity to add to the aesthetics of your profile and as an additional avenue to push content to your audience.

Instagram explain how to add a story to your highlights:

How do I add a story to my Highlights?

You can add stories to appear on your profile as highlights, even after they disappear. They appear below your profile photo and above your feed.

To add a story to a highlight:

  1. Go to your profile and tap Story Highights below your username and bio.
  2. Tap .
  3. Tap to select the story or stories you want to add to highlights, then tap Next.
  4. Choose a cover photo and enter a story name for your highlight, then tap Add (iPhone) or Done(Android). You can add more photos or videos to your highlight at any time by tapping Edit Highlight.

Note: Stories you add as highlights remain visible as highlights until you remove them, even after the original story has disappeared. Keep in mind that those you’ve allowed to see your story can also see your highlights.

Instagram Highlights Top Tips

  1. You can add multiple stories images and videos to your highlights. The maximum you can have is 100 (then the oldest one will be deleted).
  2. When you add a new story to the highlights, it will bump that highlight to the front.
  3. If you have an image as your highlights cover, you can drag, zoom and reposition the image so that it is central. Any videos as a cover will show the first frame.
  4. You can have up to 15 characters in the title of your highlight – but bear in mind only the first 10 will show.
  5. You can add emojis to the titles of your stories – these are included in the character count.
  6. If you would like to create some interesting icons/graphics for your story, apps like Easil have done most of the leg work for you with their pre-made templates!
  7. You can delete a post from a highlight by selecting the highlight – scroll through to the story you want to delete. Tap the three-dots at the bottom right of the story. From there you can choose ‘Remove from Highlight’ to delete it.
  8. Instagram only displays the first 4 highlights across your profile (users will have to scroll to see the rest, so keep your important ones at the front by adding fresh content.
  9. You can add a story to multiple highlights, which is useful if it fits more than one category.

How are you using Instagram highlights? Have you found another tool for creating icons? What categories do you have for your highlights?

You might enjoy these other articles:

Instagram stories design tools and apps

Instagram hacks – 5 hacks you should be using

How often should you post on Instagram?

How often should you post on Instagram?

How often should you post on Instagram?

There are lots of different recommendations available online for how often you should upload an Instagram post. They tend to vary between 1 to 3 posts a day, and surprisingly some experts even suggest up to 10 Instagram posts a day! According to Buffer, major brands will post 1.5 times per day on Instagram.

The truth of the matter is that there is no ‘correct’ answer to this but there has been some research carried out which will give you a rough guide.

Social Media Today notes that increasing how often you upload an Instagram post  (from 1 post a day to 3) can see a reduction in the overall engagement rates per post (but only by a few %).  However, they highlight that per day, there is a small increase overall in engagement if you post more than once.

Often the problem is that you may not have enough content to post more frequently that one post per day. Should you be in a position that you can deliver bunches of amazing pictures, or have access to really strong content to post, then it would seem that posting more frequently could have a small benefit on your overall engagement. As an example of when multiple posts per day works, many hubs will share several images per day. On @loveforsomerset we post once in the morning and once in the evening. By posting at two different intervals in the day you are potentially targeting different users who are active at different points in the day – but also reaching out to users in different time zones.

You could test out frequency of posts over a couple of weeks and see what happens. Look at your day by day engagement with multiple posts per day, versus only one post per day and see how it compares.

Have you tried this? What was the outcome?

Instagram Stories design tools & apps

Instagram stories design tools and apps.

USEFUL INSTAGRAM STORIES DESIGN TOOLS & APPS

Are you looking for some creative ways to take your Instagram Stories to  the next level? Whether you’re after typography, videos, collages, animations or layouts,  there is a whole array of apps and tools available to help you release your creative juices!

In this article you will discover a large selection of apps that you are useful for designing instagram stories in the 9:16 ratio.

HYPE TYPE

If you want to add typography and music to your Instagram stories then Hype Type is what you’re looking for. Hype Type is an IOS app that lets you Hype your Stories with automatically styled and designed motion typography.

TYPORAMA

Typorama is super easy to use even if you have zero design skills. Saves you tons of work by automatically creating complex design layouts“. This app enables you to quickly add attention-grabbing text to photos for your Instagram stories, with over 40 different typographic styles. Users can choose from professional photo filters, overlays and adjustment tools to polish your photo backgrounds.

DIPTIC

“Diptic for iPhone and iPad makes it fun and easy to create collages and slideshows. Use Diptic to create before and after sequences, juxtapose contrasting images or create a photographic series.

Start with one of 179 layouts and then select your photos. Position your photos and customize the inner frame lines using joints or the frame slider. You can apply a filter, add text, and adjust border color, texture, width and curvature.”

CANVA

Canva has a web platform as well as apps which allow you to easily create beautiful Instagram stories as well as other designs and documents

“Use Canva’s drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts to design consistently stunning graphics.”

STOREO

An iOS app for making Instagram Stories longer than 15 seconds.

Storeo slices a video into 15 sec slices for uploading to Instagram Stories. Viewers then see one long video.

Start the app and record. Once you’ve finished, you stop recording and Storeo will slice up the video into neat little 15-second clips ready for Instagram stories.

QUIK

Quik is a GoPro app that allows you to create videos for your Instagram stories with built in templates and music.

You can create beautiful videos with just a few taps.

OVER

This is an advanced IOS app for creating graphics with text – perfect for Instagram stories. “With Over, choose from millions of templates, graphics, and fonts to overlay, add and edit text and design photos to boost your social media profile.

SPARK

Adobe Spark is a free online and mobile graphic design app. Easily create beautiful images, videos, and web pages that make you stand out on social. You can add animated elements such as text which will make your Instagram stories stand out. Adobe Spark has lots of free templates and design layouts to choose from.

PICPLAYPOST

“Add multi collage transitions, personal watermark, branded logo and music to drive more engagement. Create perfect movies for Instagram stories using 9:16 frame ratio and speed up, slow down and reverse videos for entertaining videos. Don’t have time to edit? No worries, use the automated slideshow feature and create a movie in seconds!”

SNOW

Snow is an IOS and Android app that allows you to add cool effects to your videos for use on Instagram stories.

VIDEOLEAP

This is a video editing tool perfect for use on Instagram stories.
Discover how easy it is to get creative with video! Whether you want to make artistic Hollywood-level films or simply share memories and moments with friends, Videoleap is a breakthrough video editor just for you. Pros will take advantage of powerful high-end editing features while amateurs will have fun cutting and combining clips simply, intuitively and on-the-go.

UNFOLD

Create Instagram stories with multiple pages and a variety of layouts. Unfold is a toolkit for storytellers. Create beautiful and engaging stories with minimal and elegant templates. You can add videos and photos on the same layout.

 


Have you found a useful app for Instagram stories that I have not listed here? Let me know in the comments.

Other articles you may find useful:

Instagram engagement – optimise your hashtags

Top tips for getting Instagram hub features

INSTAGRAM HASHTAG SELECTION

Instagram hashtag selection formula

INSTAGRAM HASHTAG SELECTION

When you are deciding what hashtag selection to use on an Instagram post you should develop a strategy that uses the optimum hashtags for that post. Using a combination of hashtags of different popularity will help maximise your exposure. If you use too many popular hashtags, you risk your post being lost in a tidal wave of posts. Use hashtags that are too niche and you risk your post never being seen!

I recommend that you add ONLY two or three “generic” (popular) hashtags, then about 10 – 15 niche ones and 10 – 15 regional / hubs. You can add up to 30 hashtags. I usually use between 25-28 on my photography posts – less on posts on here.

You an discover more about picking the right type of hashtags in my previous post.

As an example for an astro photo post taken in Cornwall:

[Generic x3]

#Astro #stars #nightsky

[Niche x12]

#milkywaychaser #milkywaypics
#nightphotography_exclusive #ig_shutternights
#loves_night #pocket_nights #addicted_to_night
#gf_afterdark #super_night_channel #igworldclub_astrophotography #fantastic_universe #nightshooterz

[Regional x12]

#exploreCornwall #love_cornwall #lovecornwall #walkingcornwall #amazingcornwall #swisbest #bestukpics #excellent_britain #brilliantbritain #uk_greatshots #ig_united_kingdom #loves_britain

If you have built up a catalogue of hashtags in a notes file on your phone, then this means you always have a wide variation of hashtags to fall back on. The broader the variation of hashtags you use – the more opportunity you have of reaching different audiences. Just make sure that the hashtags you use are relevant to the content you are posting.

Optimise your instagram profile for business

Optimise your instagram profile for business

Optimise your instagram profile for business

When new Instagram followers visit your page, they need to quickly see what you’re about. Using a well written optimised Instagram bio can help quickly put across what it is you do.
It’s a perfect opportunity to highlight your interests, skills or area of expertise.

1 – Make sure your bio photo is ‘professional’ and reflects your brand.

If you’re an individual a headshot works well on your profile – or if your a business a simplified logo helps put across your brand image.

2 – Use keywords in your ‘name’

i.e. I have Kim – Instagram marketing’ as my name on this account and on @kistography I have ‘Photographer + Instagram Geek’

3 – Add multiple links on your bio website link by using a site such as ‘linktree

Linktree is a free tool for optimising your Instagram traffic – it provides you with one bio link to house all the content you’re driving followers to, which you copy and past into your bio profile.

4 – Create a brand hashtag and add it to your profile

Anyone can create their own hashtag – so why not create your own one to reflect your brand. It can either be your own brand name or a unique phrase/word combinations that reflects what you do. If you add it to your profile it’s not searchable but it is clickable for others to access the feed.

5 – Ensure you have a business account (by linking a business FB page)

Setting up an Instagram business profile is free – all that you need to do is link it to a Facebook business page (which is also free to set up). By having a business profile you get additional features in your bio such as contact options, directions to your location, insights and options for ads.

6 – Use the 150 bio characters cleverly to describe what you/your page is about

Give a concise description of what you do. From March 2018 you have been able to add clickable links to related accounts and hashtags in your bio. This is handy if you run more than one account or collaborate with others.

Want to up your Instagram game? You will like my other articles here:

Understand the Instagram Algorithm

Instagram aesthetics – Make your feed stand out

North Devon Photography and Instagram walks

I am pleased to be able to offer guided photo walks and Instagram Walk & Talk experiences in North Devon in partnership with Airbnb experiences and experience booking portal Tobooka.

North Devon Instagram walk and talk.

Instagram Walk and Talk
I love living in North Devon and I am passionate about the area. On my Instagram walk and talk, I’ll introduce you to some of my favourite ‘instagrammable’ spots in the area. Join me as we explore the beautiful buildings, nature and landscapes that North Devon has to offer. I will offer you expert advice to make your Instagram profile stand out based on my own personal experience and knowledge. Bring your camera or smartphone. Let’s have some fun! We will take a break at the end of our session to review your photos and I will give you advice on how to grow your following and create engaging content.

Photography walks

Westward Ho! photo walk
My Photo walk is aimed at beginners or intermediates, there is no experience necessary – just a camera or smartphone required. We’ll go for a walk and take photos along an area of the North Devon coastline. I will teach you the art of composing and creating awesome beach shots. As we explore I’ll offer hints, tips and advice, as well as answering any questions you may have. This is not just an opportunity for photography lovers but also for enthusiastic travellers and explorers. If you can’t see the date or time your want, please message.

If you can’t find the date you would like to book listed, then please get in touch. I am also able to offer alternative locations if you prefer.