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  • Writer's pictureBreanna Aponte

Grow Your Instagram Following With These 4 Tips:

Updated: Mar 13

As a social media and brand coach, the number one question I get is “how can I grow my Instagram following?”. The answer to this question can be broken down into so many different parts but today I am going to break down 4 of them!

The 4 things that I’m going to break down to you are realistic things that you can change TODAY to get better results with your social media!

Now keep in mind, everyone's brand is different and everyone’s target audience is different. This means there is no 1 size fits all solution. However, with over 5 years of experience, I can assure that these 4 things truly matter and make a difference!

1. Profile image Tips for Growing Your Instagram Following

Profile Image Example

Grow Your Instagram Following by making this one simple adjustment...Update your profile image!

Regardless of having a private or public account, your profile image is the ONLY thing someone pays attention to when they see you in a lineup of comments or followers and you want to make sure you stick out in a good way!

So here are my tips for making sure you have a great profile image:

Solid Background

In order to keep the focus on you and that beautiful face, you want to get rid of distractions like busy backgrounds. The easiest thing to do is take a photo against a solid background like a white wall. This way, the photo appears high quality simply because it resembles a professional headshot. Having a solid white background will also make editing the photo easier. You can play around with the lighting without distorting the background and overall image.

Good Lighting

Lighting is everything! You don’t need expensive lights or a fancy studio, natural lighting is just fine and... IT”S FREE! Just make sure you take the photo during the day time and facing a window preferably against a white wall. Photos taken in natural daylight are easy to edit as well and ultimately look better than photos with harsh lighting.

Close up Image

You want people to actually see your face in your profile image. You want them to know exactly who you are, clear and close up! Your profile image should be a great representation of you at your best. Since it’s a close up image, take the time to do your makeup, style your hair and throw on a nice top. Be intentional about creating 1 photo that highlights your best and impresses the type of people who you want to follow your page.


Your profile image should be warm and inviting. Forget being cute or sexy, keep it simple and smile! You can never go wrong with a smile. Remember, people are judging your profile image. They are making assumptions of you within seconds of seeing your photo. Give the best first impression by showing off that beautiful smile.

No Snapchat Filters

Please, please, please keep snapchat on snapchat. Like I mentioned in previous tips, you want people to be able to clearly see who you are from your profile image. How can they do that when your face is covered by a cheesy snapchat filter? You are beautiful, lose the filter and present your real self to the world. You are more than enough!

Now these tips are great for personal pages but if you are trying to build a business page, you can skip the headache of creating a profile image and just use your logo. Just make sure you have a professional looking logo and that it’s high quality. Also make sure to center your logo and zoom in on it so that it’s clearly visible.

2. Bio Tips for Growing Your Instagram Following

Example of a professional Instagram Bio

Your bio is the best way for someone to quickly learn who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and how they can get involved. If you make the best first impression you'll definitely grow your Instagram following. There are 2 main problems I see with peoples bios:

Too simplistic. Stop trying to be cute with the basic bios, acting like you're too cool to put yourself in a category or box! If you have a brand or business, you should WANT to be put into a category and box. That’s the number one way someone who needs what you have can find you and identify you.

Too extra. Stop lying! Don’t list things in your bio that don’t align with your page and content. If you have high profile labels like CEO, Entrepreneur, Model, Business Owner, Creator, etc. people are going to be expecting content that shows you not just talking the talk, but walking the walk! So be real!

Your bolded name matters! Do you know what your bolded name is? You have an instagram handle which is your @name, for example @breannaaponte. Then you have a bolded name, which acts as your title or as I said before, your category or box. For example, my bolded name is “Social Media & Brand Coach”. Your bolded name is important because it’s searchable, just like your username. So you want to think about HOW will people search and find your page. The rule of thumb is, have either your username or bolded name be your full name or the name that you go by and people know you by. Then have the other one be a name that describes what you do.

Now, for the bio, I use this strategy and method for all of my clients. I break a bio into 3 parts and or lines. The first line should be dedicated to stating your mission, motto or what you do. Don’t feel pressured to need a separate business page if you own a business. Simply state your role and name your business as normal. Some examples are:

Co-Owner of SalonStyle “Where Style Is Our Mission”
Founder of IMPACT “Helping young Scholars”
Creator of Shameless “Create a Life You Love”

Get it? You state your role, the company or brand and simple call to action or motto that gives details of what the brand or business does.

If you don’t have a business or brand you want to mention outside of the page you’re creating the bio for, it’s simple. List the things people can expect from your page. Example, “lifestyle, fashion & fitness”. This gives your viewer details of what your brand represents and what they can expect to see from you and your content.

The last part is your call to action. This is where you get your viewer to get even more details about what you do by sending them to your website, getting them to join your email list, download your freebie, subscribe to youtube, tune in to your podcast, read your blog, etc. And if you don’t have a call to action yet, it’s totally fine to skip this and just have fun with it. The first 2 lines are most important because it’s the first thing your potential follower will see.

3. Content Tips for Growing Your Instagram Following

Neutral Instagram Aesthetic

People will not follow you just to be nice. People want to be inspired, motivated, encouraged, empowered and impacted in a positive way by what you post. It’s not just about WHAT you post either. It’s about the quality of your posts and how your posts look aesthetically from a grid perspective. There is a difference between good content and good social media content. You want your page to have a balanced flow and pretty aesthetic that makes your potential follower feel welcomed and eager to see more of your content.

Here are my tips for content:

Find a balance, you shouldn’t be posting too much of anything! Instead, a combination of things. For example, selfies, videos, quotes, lifestyle images and studio images. This provides a nice balance and also gives you more options for content creation.
You also have to test your page and content to see what your followers like most from you and adapt to that. For example, my followers don’t like when I post graphics or influencer posts. My engagement is always lower than normal whenever I make those posts. But they love lifestyle images with intentional and valuable content and how to or DIY videos that provide useful tools and tips.

Find out what your audience likes best by trying it all and comparing your engagement!

To create quality content, you need to be resourceful! You do not need to invest thousands of dollars into a professional camera or photographer (unless you’re wanting to be a full time influencer or content creator). If you’re looking to build your personal brand, LEARN HOW TO USE YOUR CAMERA PHONE. I repeat. Learn how to use the camera that comes with the updated version of your phone. Had to add the updated part because I don’t want to confuse you. If you still have a iphone 6….baby!!!! I’ma need you to upgrade! Same goes for androids. The quality of the new camera phones is great! It’s just about using them correctly. So here’s what you do:

  • Clean the lens of your camera using windex and a napkin

  • Find natural light, example; a space with big windows

  • Pay attention to your scenery. Set the stage for a good photo (I posted a video about this on my page)

  • DO NOT use snapchat filters and crazy presets. What I do is, I edit the photo in FaceTune (for small blemishes, patching out unwanted clutter and whitening my whites (also have videos of this on my page) and then I simply add the “dramatic” filter on 50% to make my photos really pop. The dramatic filter makes whites, whiter and blacks blacker. The iphone specifically comes with pre-created filters. Just go to a photo, click edit and walah. You will see the filter options at the bottom.

Obviously you have the option of booking a professional photographer or getting with a friend who has a camera but content isn’t all about the quality of the lens. It’s about the photo as a whole!

The things you can do to make your content and page look better is PAYING attention to detail! I’m talking about the colors of your clothes, your location, your props, etc.
A post strategy is the blueprint for what to post, when to post and how to post. We create this for each of our clients during the insta-makeover phase and it is #1 thing that holds you accountable for upkeep your page aesthetic and strategy.

So many people have this false belief that you need to post EVERYDAY to be relevant on Instagram or to grow your following. FALSE, FALSE, I’ll say it again FALSE!

No no no no! First of all, if you have bad content, the solution wouldn’t possibly be to post MORE bad content lol. Think quality over quantity. Why would you stress yourself out everyday to create new content when your followers already don’t appreciate and engage with your current content? Now if you have millions of followers and millions of eyes on you. By all means post away. At that point no one is worried about the quality of your content, they have bought into the brand as a whole and will consume as much content as you give them.

But chances are, since you’re listening to this episode, you DON’T have millions of followers. Which means, stop stressing out, it’s not that deep. A realistic amount of posts and what I recommend to all of my clients who are building brands and their following is to post 3x a week. It’s not to little, not to much, but just right! Enough to be consistent but not enough to stress you out!

My last suggestion for your post strategy is to automate your posts. Manual posting creates too much headache and causes for you to give more focus and energy than necessary. If you create content, organize it and automate it, it’s 1 less thing to worry about. I’ve mentioned this before but we use for automating our clients calendars.

4. Your Target Audience Doesn’t Know You Exist

The most simplest yet challenging reason why you’re not growing a following is because the people who need you, don’t know you exist.

Right now, the easiest way to let people know you exist is by them seeing your content. But the less followers you have the harder this task becomes. So many coaches and social media "experts" say to post everyday but here are reasons why you shouldn't:

❌ If you don’t enjoy creating content - not everyone considers themselves a “content creator” if you’re one of those people (like me) don’t feel pressured to have to show up EVERYDAY on social. It will leave you feeling inauthentic, overwhelmed and burned out.

❌ If you’re unclear on your brand messaging or content strategy - you’ll only confuse your audience! Get clear on what you want to post and WHY!

❌ If you’re not posting QUALITY content - you’re only harming your brand and working against yourself! It’s okay to take time to create things you’re proud of and post less so that your goal is quality over quantity.

Now, if you are clear on your brand and your content pillars PLUS are clear on your messaging...then by all means, post away! The more you post, the easier it will become for people to find out that you exist.

You can also do collaborations with other brands and businesses and be intentional about sliding in DM's and making direct connections by simply introducing yourself!

In Conclusion:

Everyday is a day to get closer to where you want to be. To start that business, to grow that following and to simply connect with the people who need you most.

The best thing I could have ever done was utilize social media as a tool to connect with my ideal audience and build my following and awareness.

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