how to build a following


how awesome is this photo?  i have a strange obsession with stock photos.  who thought this would be a good idea?  who is going to see a cheesy ass picture like this one and trust someone with their business?  shit cracks me up.  thumbs up everyone.  thumbs up.

last week you may remember that i set out to increase my instagram presence.  it was a good experiment.  i gained 50+ new followers.  that’s great, right?  i think so.  i’ll call it a success.  i’m nowhere near where i would like to be follower-wise, but that’s ok.  it’s a start.  overnight success is not in cards for me at the moment.  not saying it couldn’t happen, but it’s a slow build this internet stuff.

so how do you increase your social media presence?  what’s the secret?  after a little research i’ve come up with a few tips to increasing your social media footprint.  

1)  hashtag the shit out of your posts.  seriously, i cannot stress how important this step is.  research the most popular hashtags for whatever your posting and then make a second comment on your post and get to hashtagging.  for example, my post popular instagram post in my instagram history is a picture of prepared meals.  i’m not kidding.  it beat out cute dogs, cute babies, pretty girlfriend…everything.  prepared f**king food.

i used a few of the following hashtags on my post: #foodie #foodporn #foodgasm #cleaneating #paleo #hungry #goodeats #health #diet.

the likes keep rolling in.  people on instagram love prepared meals.  who knew?

2) know who you are.  this could have been step one.  you have know what you want to post to be successful.  you can’t just be a cool dude and hope someone finds you.  if you are a knitter of scarves, then be a f**king knitter of scarves.  find your niche.  own it.  take pictures, post said pictures and then hashtag the shit out of these pictures.  i believe it was stephen covey who said “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”  it applies here.  trust me.

3)  take a good photo.  i’m not going to pretend to be an expert on photos.  my photos need work, but i can spot a compelling photo.  i think we all can which is why instagram is so damn popular.  here are some camera phone photo tips in case you’re like me and need a reminder on the reg:

  • focus.  that should be a no-brainer unless you’re 65 years old and just got an iphone for your 65th birthday.
  • don’t use the zoom.  it will distort the photo.  you can zoom later while editing.
  • use the grid function / rule of thirds.  this means turn your grid function on (in settings people) and position your point of interest along the intersections of these lines.
  • leading lines.  use ’em if you got ’em.  these are lines that lead you to your subject – not just a clever name.
  • multiple perspectives.  get low.  get high.  look at your subject from various angles.
  • take lot of pictures.  don’t just take one and move on.  take a lot of photos.

lastly, use editing software for your photos.  my favorite editing app is snapseed.  it seems to have some basic effects for us newbs and some other stuff for those of you that know what you’re doing.  editing makes a world of difference on your photos.  instagram filters are great, but let’s be better than instagram filters.

4) find someone you admire and dm them.  make a new friend.  if you want to be in the game, then you have to know who is in the game.  find people that are doing what you want to do and reach out.  tell them how much you love their shit and ask them (kindly) to check out your page.  what’s the worst thing that could happen?  they could not respond, but what if they do and they like your page and they give you a mention.  then what happens?  you get 100,000 new followers from one dm.  bam!  you’re on your way.

5) communicate with you audience.  first off, let me define audience.  if you’re on social media and have one follower or one friend, you have an audience.  simple as that.  the goal is to keep your audience engaged while you grow your empire.  if someone asks a question, respond.  if someone leaves a nice comment (or even an unkind comment), respond.  social media is a two-way conversation.  people want to feel like they’re part of your story.  make them part of it.  if you want to see how it’s done, check out gary vee.  he is a champ at communicating with his peeps.

6) communicate with someone else’s audience.  this tip piggybacks tip #4.  find those people doing what you want to do and engage their audience.  respond to their comments (yes, even if they’re not intended for you).  like their comments.  ask them to check out your page.  again, make friends.

7) consistency.  be consistent.  find a good time to post photos and keep it up.  what’s the best time?  honestly, i don’t know.  i would guess it depends on your audience.  maybe you’re a food blogger and you post a pic of your breakfast every morning.  or maybe you’re in a heavy metal band and you finish your gig at midnight and post a pic of you thrashing after the gig.  whatever you do, figure out what time your audience is liking your photos and post then.  but don’t overdue it.  posting 25 photos a day never helped anyone or anything.

8) pay for followers.  i don’t know anything about this world and don’t even want to google it so that you can have more information around it.  it sounds sleazy.  i’m sure it works and there a million services out there where you can pay for followers or likes, but i’m not into it.  you can also tell when someone has paid for followers.  for example, have you ever followed an account with around 25,000 followers, but the person only receives 140 likes per photo.  umm yeah.  no bueno.

9) be authentic.  be you.  don’t be anyone else.  post what you want to post and write what you want to write.  your authenticity will shrine though and your audience will find you…eventually.

we should all be well on our way to instagram gold after following these tips.  if you have any questions, email me at or you can follow me on instagram here.  i think more thumbs up are in order (scroll up for visual).

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