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How to Grow Your Instagram Following

by Pei Ketron
featured, money & life, photo & video

Virtually everyone is on Instagram these days, and while we often try to tell ourselves that numbers don’t matter, they actually can matter a lot depending on the kind of work we do. For photographers and small business owners, especially, having a respectable following on Instagram can be vital to success.

While there’s no surefire way to grow a large following, there are some steps you can take to ensure you’re on the right path to Instagram growth:


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Spruce up your profile page

Each piece of your profile conveys something important about you. Make sure your username, display name, avatar, and bio are representative of who you are and what you want to put out in the world. This is especially important for people running small businesses. Consider showing your face in your profile photo and carefully craft your profile so that people can tell at a glance who you are, what it is that you do, and whether or not you’re worth following, hiring, buying from, etc.

Follow and engage with the right people

Social media is meant to be social. To get the most out of it, make sure you follow the movers and shakers in your industry, people you find interesting, and even your competition. Don’t just follow them — actually look at and interact with their posts in a genuine way. Show your support for the work they’re doing and it will likely be returned in kind. Leave comments and contribute to the conversation as a whole. Doing this helps you keep tabs on the pulse of scene and can help you decide your next strategic business move.


Want to learn more Instagram tricks from photographer and well-known Instagrammer Pei Ketron? Join her as she teaches you how to stand out from the crowd and create powerful visual content.

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Learn to maximize all of Instagram’s features

Built into the Instagram platform are numerous ways to help your photo get “discovered” (seen, and hopefully liked) by more people. Using features like geotagging, people tagging, hashtagging, Instagram Stories, and Live streaming all serve as ways to get your posts in front of more eyes, so don’t shy away from using them.

A few additional comments on hashtagging: hashtags can be a great way to get your photos seen by more people. The function of hashtags is to essentially add your photo into a stream of related photos. Avoid hashtag abuse (or “hashcrashing”) by only using tags that are relevant to your photo and be careful not to use too many in a single post. Using “middle of the road” hashtags is recommended, meaning hashtags that are used often enough, but not too often, so that your photo actually gets seen in the stream of related photos. You want that stream to be moving, but not so fast that your photo gets washed downstream before anyone can even see it.

Share quality content

More important than what hashtags you use, what your bio says, and how much you engage with the community is the quality of the content that you’re sharing. Be sure your content adds value to the lives of those who are following you. You should aim to be the type of person you yourself would like to follow.


Learn how to create the best images on your phone and get them noticed on social media from acclaimed mobile photographer Pei Ketron. Learn more.

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Pei Ketron

Pei Ketron is a photographer, educator, and traveler based in San Francisco. She was featured in an American Express Travel commercial series and is known not only for her DSLR and medium format commercial travel work, but her mobile photography career.