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Note from the Editor: This blog post was written by one of our fantastic summer interns, Chi Tran. Originally from Vietnam, Chi is now a sophomore at Colgate University. When not hard at work, she's scouring New York City for a tasty popsicle.
Welcome to Chicory’s Instagram 101! Being newbies ourselves (we started our Instagram about six months ago—follow us @Chicoryco!), we stormed through a ton of articles on how to create a successful Instagram account as we were getting started. After some trial and error, @Chicoryco managed to gather a fanbase of more than 2,000 followers in just a few months, making Instagram our fastest growing, most engaging social channel yet. Since we were able to figure out which strategies worked and which didn’t, we thought it would be helpful to share these insights with all of our beloved bloggers and readers to help you gain more Instagram followers.
First Impressions Count!
No, we’re not talking about that face-to-face conversation skills. We're talking about the first thing a potential follower sees when they load your profile. Starting an Instagram account can be exciting, but we recommend holding back on that initial follow spree until you’ve filled up those first 9 blocks of your Instagram page. A good profile motivates people to follow you, or at least give you a few double taps along the way.
Worried about how to get your first 9 posts together? Remember that not all of those posts need to be your own content, but remember to always give credit where appropriate!
Look No Further...
Once you’ve got that profile looking gorgeous, it’s time to gain some followers. This might sound intuitive to many, but the best place to gain followers when you're first getting started is within your tight-knit circle of friends and family. Getting your acquaintances to follow you on Instagram is a low-cost, low-maintenance and high-performance business! Just drop them a message on one of their Instagram posts, or tag them in a Facebook post announcing the glorious “debut” of your insta-baby.
Here’s a basic Instagram principle to memorize: #f4f (follow-for-follow). The best way to gain new followers on Instagram is simply following other people. Unless your handle shows up in their notification board, it’s nearly impossible for a newly created account to gain stranger followers. Of course, we’re not taking into account your strong fanbase on other social networks (;D) but the follow 4 follow rule is so universally efficient that it works for everyone. Be selective in this following spree to increase your success rate. A small account with 100 followers and 20 likes per post average is more likely to notice you than, say… Bon Appétit or Food52.
If you haven’t already realized what the next tip will be, here are #a #few #hints. Yes, we’re talking about those occasionally annoying but invariably useful HASHTAGS. Including hashtags in your posts is a great way to increase your searchability on Instagram, which in turn will drive more traffic to your photos and account. We experienced a 200% increase in post likes after employing hashtags, and a 50% increase on top of that after using the "right" hashtags! Popular insta tags like #babies and #cute are useful for some, but definitely not a growing food company like Chicory (at least not the #babies). Keep an eye on what your favorite accounts are using and hop on those tags! Some of our favorites are #f52grams, #eeeeeats, #tastespotting, #foodgawker and #foodbaby, to name a few.
At the end of the day, Instagram is just another social network with the aim of getting people to "socialize." Just as in daily life, a friendly and fun-loving attitude guarantees to bring you new friends. From our personal experience, every account has a great photo to offer. Give genuine compliments to others, and they’ll give them back to you.
Photo via Foodies 100