Secrets to Increasing your Instagram Following


In college, I mostly used Instagram as a social app to share photos of my weekend escapades. Little did I know that Instagram is actually a huge tool for businesses to help grow their audience. Instagram can offer a visual aspect to your brand, build a more personal relationship with followers, and allows you to engage with your demographic. I’ve gained 1000+ Instagram followers in six months since starting The Carly Collective. If you haven’t yet, You’ll want to take full advantage of all Instagram has to offer.

Do you feel like you’ve been taking all the right steps to build an Instagram following but still aren’t seeing any results? Be aware that building a following takes time, as well as a lot of effort. However, If used effectively Instagram can help take your brand to the next level. 

Now, If you’re wondering how to use Instagram most effectively and want to increase engagement AND grow a massive following… continue reading:


A Compelling Caption

Although Instagram focuses on photos, your caption offers compelling insight into your brand as well. Your Instagram caption is a chance to pull followers in, engage with them, and eventually lead readers back to your blog.

In the beginning, I didn’t put much thought into my captions. I typically ran off whatever quote or popular lyrics were in my head at the time. Instead, use your Instagram caption to tell a story –a place to give followers the inside scoop. The perfect caption is typically around 3-4 sentences.


Formula for a great Instagram caption

Emotion (I feel… I am… etc.) + inside scoop + question = ✓

Posting schedule

There are certain days and times that your photo will have more reach than others. According to research, the best days to post are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. While the best time to post is 7-9pm.

But because every audience is different, your account may have a unique ‘peak’ time.

You can use an app, like Crowdfire, to find the perfect time for you to post.



You don’t need to be on Instagram 24/7 to have great engagement. I spend about 10 minutes a day liking photos, commenting on posts, and responding to comments. A little bit of your time can go a long way.

By being an active member of the Instagram community, people will want to connect with you and see what you have to offer. It also gives you a personality and helps define your brand more so.

I’ve also found success in Instagram pods. Instagram pods are a way to help other bloggers, as well as yourself, gain more attention. Every time a member posts a new picture, you like and comment on their post. This will increase their likes while bringing you attention too. Additionally, I’ve connected with so many awesome people through Instagram pods.

If you’d like to be a part of my newest Instagram pod, Blogger Babes, please follow me on Instagram and leave a comment on this post for me to add you!

Quality content

This one is a no-brainer! If you have quality content, more people will want to follow so they can see more! Make sure your photos are clear, bright, and consistent.

Most photos I post go through multiple stages before making it to my Instagram page. A single photo can be edited multiple times, thoroughly checked that it fits with the theme of my page, and then strategically placed into a posting schedule.

If you don’t have a theme to your page, you can easily pick one out by typing “Instagram Themes” into the Pinterest search bar.

Use hashtags
One of the biggest mistakes I made when first starting out was never using hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to reach new viewers and make your page more searchable. However, there is a right way and wrong way to use hashtags!

You don’t want to go overboard and end up pushing people away. While the maximum amount of hashtags Instagram lets you use is 30, aim for 8 to 15 hashtags. You should also use relevant and specific hashtags rather than trying to be too clever or vague.


Some of my favorite hashtags include

#pursuepretty #welltraveled #visualcrush #theeverygirl #photosinbetween #thatsdarling #thecollective


As of 2016, there are over 600 million monthly users on Instagram. Meaning… you have a large amount of users to market to and interest! Instagram is a great business tool and an honest way to gain a following, promote products, and become a successful influencer. Whether you’re at 100, 1,000, or 10,000 you too can use your Instagram to grow your business.

What Instagram objective do you hope to accomplish in the next month?



Like this post? Then don’t forget to share it! You may also want to take some time to look around and check out some of my other posts as well. You can discover more at The Carly Collective. Do you have a bloglovin’? Follow me.


  1. Shell

    Loved all of these tips and couldn’t agree more! Going to share this to a friend who just asked me last night for extra tips on how to grow.
    xo, Shell

    03 . Apr . 2017
  2. Brooke at Silver Lining

    These are great tips! Lately I have been loving the “microblogging” trend – using a mix of short and long-form captions to really pull your audience in.

    03 . Apr . 2017
  3. Sheila Joy

    Great post! I’m trying to get more followers without losing. I’ve been stagnant for a little while and it’s frustrating!

    03 . Apr . 2017
  4. Kim Airhart

    I am obsessed with Instagram!! I will use some of your tips. Thank you!

    03 . Apr . 2017
  5. Ashley

    These are great tips for increasing your instagram following!! I definitely use a few of these, like using relevant hashtags! What a helpful post!

    03 . Apr . 2017
  6. Quaintrelle Georgiana

    When I started Instagraming I tokk one photo that went semi-viral, it got a ton of likes and I got quite a lot of followers. Since then I wasn´t able to replicate this success, I did not even find out what caused it, if it was posted somewhere or what, although I did try to investigate.
    Using hashtags is a neccessity to be able to reach an audience. I started to put most of my hashtags in a comment because they will work as usual but won´t clutter the caption of the picture.

    Simple lifehack to prevent runny nose: link.

    03 . Apr . 2017
  7. Sam @ The Haunted Housewife

    Using hashtags is something I’ve always struggled with! It’s so simple but I try not to be “annoying” I guess; and I need to figure out which hashtags are best. You’ve reminded me to work on that!

    03 . Apr . 2017
  8. Allison at Brainy Business Babe

    Great tips, thanks! I had no idea about Instagram themes!

    03 . Apr . 2017
  9. Jamie

    Great tips! Engagement is definitely key!

    Treats and Trends

    03 . Apr . 2017
  10. Sue Tanya Mchorgh

    I have been struggling with my Instagram. I will try this tips and see what happens.

    03 . Apr . 2017
  11. Courtney

    Loved the caption formula! That’s something I consistently struggle with creating and that formula is so helpful!

    03 . Apr . 2017
  12. Beth

    Instagram is my absolute favorite app! These are all great suggestions, I learned about hashtags about a year ago and it has really made a huge difference in my posts!

    03 . Apr . 2017
  13. marvina

    I really loved this. I will be bookmarking this and checking out the rest of your content, and adding you on instagram. Thank you for this post 🙂

    03 . Apr . 2017
  14. Krysten

    These are fantastic tips! I do a load of research on my hashtags so that I can take full advantage of them!

    03 . Apr . 2017
  15. Kristen Kavan

    I am always looking for more instagram secrets! These are great! Thanks!

    03 . Apr . 2017
  16. San

    Those are great tips. Thanks for taking the time 🙂

    P.S. Came here through the Peaceful Posse 🙂

    03 . Apr . 2017
  17. Sarah Althouse

    Ooh I post at 7am so I guess I should switch it up and see if PM works better!

    03 . Apr . 2017
  18. Logan

    I feel like my instagram has been growing very slowly, but I have been pretty consistent with all of these. I guess it really does just take time.

    03 . Apr . 2017
  19. kirsten

    Love all these tips! I think I get so carried away with posting sometimes, I forget to check the peak times! And the algorithm’s messed a lot of my peak times up! I need to get better about it!
    Kirsten |

    03 . Apr . 2017
  20. Jamie Fray @ The Skinny Soul

    Great tips here! I have found that engaging my followers is key–through genuine comments on their photos as well as replying to comments on my own.

    03 . Apr . 2017
  21. Jenny

    These are such great tips! I always love learning more about Instagram.

    03 . Apr . 2017
  22. Lauren Becker

    Great post! I really do want to build up my Instagram following. I always visit people’s Instas and like things when they like mine. It might take a little time, but I try to get back to someone within 24 hours. I’m mostly building up Twitter at the moment because I’m almost to 3k there and I really want to get 5k. As for Insta, I’m just slowly growing, but I’ll have to keep some of these tips in mind!


    04 . Apr . 2017
  23. April K

    At first, I used IG for personal use. But after using hashtags and strategically posting, I have gotten a spike in followers and engagement.

    04 . Apr . 2017
  24. hanna

    These are great tips! Hashtags, good content and posting time are what really helped me grow!

    04 . Apr . 2017
  25. Sheryl

    I have connected with so many via Instagram and by visiting hashtags. I’m still playing with the right times to post for myself as it changes reguarly. A great post.

    04 . Apr . 2017
  26. Jenna Urben

    These are great tips, thank you!! I’ve definitely been experimenting with hashtags and scheduling time.

    04 . Apr . 2017
  27. Nicole Kleiss

    I have been trying so hard to grow. I am slowly getting there. My gold for April is to meet 500 followers. I would love to join your pod @nicoleeliseblog. Heading to insta to follow you right now.

    04 . Apr . 2017
  28. Alix Maza

    Hashtags are my bread and butter lol.

    Alix |

    04 . Apr . 2017
  29. kristina

    Thanks for the tips! I’m on the slow and ready grind right now with Instagram! Its a lot of work! Love your blog theme 🙂

    04 . Apr . 2017
  30. shan

    600 million??? Wow. I loved all of this IG insider info. Thank you so much!

    04 . Apr . 2017
  31. Peta Ramia

    I have been using similar strategies and it really does work! I have 6k followers on Instagram but my goal for the end of the year is 10k. Sometimes you forget things but it’s great to learn about them again- so thanks for your tips! x

    04 . Apr . 2017
  32. Nicole Parise

    This is a great started kit to instagram! quality content is everything 🙂

    xx nicole

    04 . Apr . 2017
  33. jessica

    like most i’m trying to grow my little following and these are great tips. hashtags are huge and i have to work more on my captioning. thanks for sharing!

    04 . Apr . 2017
  34. Charlotte

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m definitely try to grow my Instagram following and Instagram pods are something I’d like to focus a bit more attention on in the coming months. Great tips! Also I keep forgetting to check the peak times–thanks for the reminder 🙂

    04 . Apr . 2017
  35. Kimberly @ Berly's Kitchen

    Thanks for sharing your tips on how to grow Instagram. That’s one of the social media areas that I need to work on. I’ll take any little bit of info I can get.

    04 . Apr . 2017
  36. Katie

    Hey Carly! This is such a great post, so insightful! I’d love to be added to your newest pod if there is any room – my IG is @chicbutpsycho (I followed you) 🙂

    05 . Apr . 2017
  37. Ashley @ Armadillo Bulldog

    I’ve just started making public Instagram posts this week and it already astounds me how well it works as a content discovery tool. I’ve already found several dozen accounts that are right up my alley. I’d love to join your pod, since you’re one of those that piqued my interest. My Instagram account is @armadillobulldog (one of your new followers).

    05 . Apr . 2017

    Great tips I have been using some of them and they do really work. 🙂

    05 . Apr . 2017
  39. Alissa

    I have been using these tips and it really has increased my following!

    06 . Apr . 2017
  40. Kamara

    Glad you mentioned the caption – so many articles on this don’t emphasise how important a piece of the puzzle it really is! Great tips 🙂

    06 . Apr . 2017
  41. Nikki-ann

    I haven’t yet actively tried to build my Instagram following… Maybe I should! 🙂 Thanks for sharing these tips though, very helpful!

    07 . Apr . 2017
  42. April Kusewicz

    These are great tips, I truly agree to all of these

    13 . Apr . 2017

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