I've been asked quite a few times how I grow my Instagram followers, and even though there's tons of resources available to answer these questions, I thought I would throw my own experience into the pot. Read below for some secrets and soon you can be seeing a growth on your page as well.
I launched my blog as a personal incentive once I hit 200 followers. That was November 17th, 2015. That's the reason I post on Tuesdays! I have since grown to just under 4000 followers. The best part is, anyone can do it with a little time and effort!
First of all, if your goal is cosplay fame, I strongly encourage you to re-work your goals. It's easy to say you want to be cosplay famous, but what do you really gain from that goal? You might even lose sight of the joy you first had in this hobby.
Instead, modify your goals a bit, figure out what you want to come from cosplay. Maybe you want a profit from your cosplay ability, or maybe you just want to make some amazing friends like you! Whatever your new goal, you can start your journey with a few tips to grow your instagram.
I'll start with the obvious tips and work our way into the more cosplay exclusive ideas.
1. Post Great Content
The very first thing is to make sure all your content looks great, or is relate-able to your ideal audience. If you're posting progress pictures, make sure the picture is bright enough to see the details you're trying to show off.
Avoid too many blurry photos, but sometimes it's okay, for example when you just HAVE to share that selfie you got with your favorite cosplayer and it came out a little blurry, but you only got one. Things that get you excited, should get your followers excited too.
Along with the picture, your words should be pretty great too. Let your followers know what's going on, and be descriptive. Not everyone knows what you're working on at the moment, so go ahead and be repetitive.
2. Don't spam
Great content is only great if it's not posted too often. I think this is something that varies from person to person and is opinion based, but I try to never post more than three photos a day, and I always try to space out my content through the day.
On one hand, the more photos you post, the more potential followers you can attract to your page. But on the other hand, you already have so many followers who don't need their feed overflowing with spam.
3. Use Hashtags
To attract 'dem honeys like a magnet' if you will, you need to max out your hashtags. I think most people have adapted to ignoring the hashtags that flood the bottom of a post, but they are used as tag words for people to find you.
You are allowed to use 30 hashtags per post. Be careful though! If you go over 30 hashtags, Instagram WILL NOT post your caption! Instead of counting each hashtag, before I post the photo, I will copy my entire caption. If the caption doesn't post, you can quickly edit the photo, drop in your caption, and delete a couple hashtags until it lets you update it!
When choosing your 30 hashtags, a good mix of popular hashtags, and less common hashtags will ensure you get a good flow of likes throughout the day. More likes on a picture puts you in the "Top Posts" section of a hashtag search.
Some of my generic go-to hashtags for cosplay related photos are #cosplay #cosplaywip #cosplayprogress #cosplans #cosplayidea. You can also add con specific or location based tags like #ecee2016 #yeggeek
Whenever you post a specific character, use any hashtag related to the character including their name, nickname, show, series, genre, ship, fandom, etc.
You can see how easy it is to get to 30 hashtags, while still staying relevant without using the typical tags #happy #love #fashion etc.
4. Write a Call-to-Action
Followers are cool and all, but engagement is what you really want. Ask a question at the end of your post, or host a poll. Give people a reason to comment on your picture.
HINT: When people do comment, make sure you reply! Nobody likes a one sided conversation, and you need to remember YOU started the conversation! =D
5. Share on Other Social Media
This sounds like a no-brainer, but if you have other sites, share your Instagram page. Make sure people have access to it from every site they can find you on.
6. Like and Comment on Other Posts
This is my biggest tip I can give you. This is how I gain most of my followers. Take a step back and look at yourself. When you're on Instagram you probably spend most of your time on your own feed, checking your own notifications, and posting content.
So does everyone else on Instagram. This is where you go into specific hashtags related to your own comment, and like and comment on everything. Well, not everything... okay, everything. Ask questions on pictures, don't just say "Nice!" or generic comments like that.
If you want senpai to notice you, go to their page and spam every recent photo they've posted. Your name will fill up their notifications and be more noticeable than just one like.
As a basic rule, I spend 50% of my time on my own stuff, and 50% of my time liking and commenting on other's posts. It seems like a lot of work, and it is, but if you split it up, it goes by faster.
If your main goal is to make more cosplay friends, feel free to send out some DMs to people you're interested in being friends with. Don't worry if you don't get replies. Instagram messenger isn't the best, and some people don't even know what a DM is. But it is worth a try.
If you're stuck for ice breakers, you can try one I recently adapted - trading cosplay prints! Prints are becoming more popular and accepted in the community, so send out a message asking to trade prints! Chances are they will be excited for the opportunity, and you guys will get to talking about cosplays you've done, cons you've been to, and soon enough you're sharing tips and you're great friends.
PS: If you're interested in swapping prints with me, send me a message here, or on Instagram!
8. Host a Share for Share
A share for share, or #s4s is a super cool concept. People share a photo of you, and gush about how awesome you are (talk about ego booster), and then you return all the shares after a specific time frame.
It's a simple, easy, and free idea that gets your face on multiple accounts, in front of people who are following similar accounts. Plus, it's a great way for you to see all the people who follow you, and maybe you found someone new to follow yourself!
9. Tag Feature Pages
Another way to get yourself in front of tons of potential followers is to tag your nicest, most awesome cosplay photos with a few cosplay feature pages. You can either tag them in your photo, or DM them. Some only take one or the other.
People follow these pages with the purpose of finding new cosplayers to follow. A few of my favorites to tag are @starsofcosplay @thefanspov @cosplay.and.comics and @cosplayaminofans.
HINT: If you take a stroll through the tagged images of these feature pages, you can click to see who else people tag in their photos for even more feature pages!
10. Host a Giveaway
A fun way to gain followers and show appreciation for your current followers is to do a giveaway! I'm sure you've seen them on Instagram so I won't get into too many details. You can either make a photo to repost as entries, tell them to like or comment your photo, or any other rules.
If you start adding too many rules, it might just become a contest!
11. Host a Contest
Hosting a contest is virtually limitless. You can host your own cosplay contest, an art contest, or any thing you want. Usually, the prizes for a contest are a little higher value because the contest requires a bit more effort than a standard giveaway.
I've seen people enter them, but I've never been a part of one until now. They have a very unique structure and can be very fun. You can be the only judge, or you can leave it to a public vote.
IMPORTANT: Never feel obligated to host a giveaway or contest because you see other people doing it. It is a great way to appreciate your followers and bring more users to your page, but you can always tell your followers how much you appreciate them without prizes.
As usual, this was supposed to be a short and sweet post and it got a little out of hand. I hope you found it useful. If you have any questions, or tips to add, you can drop them in the comments below or send me a message here, or on Instagram!