A lot of people have asked me recently, Jemma how did you manage to grow your account so quickly?
I only started my travel Instagram back in April 2020 when the pandemic hit, I wanted something to keep my mind occupied from the fact that I had moved back to the UK, with no idea when I would be travelling again, no job or income and my boyfriend at the time was still in Malta. So I needed to do something that I loved that would distract me from all those things.
Whenever I go away, like most people, I take photos, like hundreds of them. I come home and my phone/camera memory and google drive are almost completely full. I mean, how else are you supposed to remember every single little thing, right? And I’m very much the kind of person who likes to share things and help people, so I thought what better way than to share my travel photos, experiences, advice and stories with a little community that would benefit from them in some way, whether that be inspiration, new destination ideas or just something nice to look at.
I have been following some big travel influencers/bloggers on my personal page for a few years so i decided to have a little mooch through their profiles to see how to get started, how my content should best be displayed etc. Then I booked onto a free ‘become an instagram influencer’ webinar run by Christina Galbato, this gave me loads of good ideas and taught me such simple things that i didn’t know before!
From there I set up a brand new Instagram page, completely separate from my personal one, so already I had a bit of a challenge as I didn’t have any existing followers.
Here are some of the things I learnt from the free webinar and helped me a lot the first month of setting up my page:
- Find a ‘look’ – buy a preset pack from somewhere like Etsy or create your own.
- Follow people’s accounts that you like and are in your niche.
- Engage with your followers, comment and like their posts – give some love! <3
- Write an interesting caption, not just an ‘inspirational quote’.
- Be active, don’t just post and then go offline for 4 hours.
- Post to your stories as well as your feed.
The growth of my page in the first month seemed quite slow, this is normal though, a brand new account, not a lot of content, minimal followers, but as soon as I started implementing some of these ideas I started to see a big increase in my following and engagement. After 2 months I hit 1000 followers, not a big achievement, but for me it was, as I had been working hard to give my followers good content, both pictures and captions.
I then decided to enroll on a course about Instagram, crazy ey, but there is so much to learn about this platform that it really helps if you have some additional help from someone who studies it. Again I signed onto a free webinar about ‘how to be successful on Instagram’ this time by an influencer called Carla Biesinger and from there I enrolled onto her course. She’s a super nice lady that helps you with any queries and doubts you have, she gets back to you within a day usually and is super active on her account. I am still slowly working my way through the course, but the brilliant thing about it, is that you can access it for the rest of your life, go back and watch videos and see tips again, and on top of that each time she updates the course with new information that she has discovered you get to access that too, so you are always being kept up to date.
Now I’m not saying that you have to enroll on a course to grow your page, this was my personal choice as I wanted something to do, but implementing all these strategies you learn on a course do really help, they are so simple, but they are things that you probably wouldn’t know unless you have learnt them.
A few things that I have learnt from Carla’s course are … something a lot of people do is join engagement groups where you leave a message each time you post and they go to your post, comment and like it. This is a great idea and of course helps with your engagement, but there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the algorithm knows you’re doing this, for this reason I am in a couple of groups but I don’t use them too much, mainly just for chatting and getting to know people.
A type of group that does work well and one that I implemented is a ‘shout out group’ where you find some accounts that have a similar following to you, are within the same niche and of course ones that you love (make sure that you ask them if they want to be part of a group, don’t just make a group and add them). How it works: each week you give them a shout out on your story and tag them, this has worked really well because not only you grow but everyone else in the group grows too, plus we have become a little community, some of us have met up and plan to meet up in the future. So it’s not just about Instagram, it’s also about forming friendships with like minded people, having a little Instagram family.
But I would say the one thing that has helped me the most has been engaging and interacting with my followers! There’s nothing better than opening Instagram and seeing people have taken the time to read your long ass captions and comment with a meaningful message on them!
So if you only have a couple of takeaways from this blog post let it be ‘engagement and an instagram family’, growth will happen naturally once you start doing this. Sometimes I am inactive for longish time periods (a day or so when I’m having a break or am busy) and I open the app and I’ve gained a lot of new followers.
Be yourself, post content you would like to see and captions you would engage with and really the rest will happen on it’s own! <3