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The Best Way To Be Instagram Famous

Updated on December 6, 2014


Instagram is rising in popularity. Back then, when Twitter and Facebook were still the possessors of the throne, Instagram was seen with triviality because people found its photo-limited social networking somewhat disagreeable. However, it wasn’t long before these people found themselves starting an account (maybe just to see how using Instagram really feels like) then ending up falling in love with it. Now, Instagram has a lot of avid users. People are now going crazy with posting whatever through it, may it be a sassy photo of the things they just bought from H&M or a typically-ignored, filter-overdone selfie. Whatever regular thing you post here, you will more or less want more likes for your photos which means you’ll need bigger figures in your follower count too. But how does one really gain followers in Instagram?

I have 1,600 followers on Instagram. Although that number might simply seem like a laughingstock for some, some of the people I know would still poke me every now and then to ask me how I arrived with that “whopping” number. I tell them at once that the whole process wasn’t instant and I basically went through so much before I got there. Therefore, for them to not to tap me anymore every time curiosity strikes them, I’ll simply lead them to Hubpages and see what I’ve written here.

So here are the ways I basically undertook and which you can do yourself in order for you to finally get that high follower count you badly desire:

1. Make a memorable username.

I started with a username that was basically just my entire name without the spaces in between the words. However, it wasn’t long before I felt the dullness of it all, owning a username that’s basically just ignored even by my friends. That was when I realized I gotta revise it and turn it into something more catchy so people would give it a second look if they scroll past it in their feed. From calumlabrador, it became calumskinnylove. Well, you might not be able to relate to that new username, but around where I am, people kind of get why I picked their username. You see, calumskinnylove is sort of an imitation of some of the lyrics of Bon Iver’s song “Skinny Love”: Come on, skinny love, just last a year. I’ve been singing this song ever since so I thought “Hey, why not turn my Instagram username into a fragment of that song?”. From then on I’ve used that username. Before long, people were remarking at how they literally “sing” my username whenever they come across it in their feeds. Also, whenever some of my friends would refer to me, they would sometimes address me by singing my username. That was when I figured my username’s catchy so I also turned my Wordpress and Twitter usernames into that.

I highly recommend turning your username into a similar fashion. Choose song lyrics for it then tweak some of the words for your name to fit. Or you can also grab a famous phrase from a TV show you’ve watched or your favorite comedian. Moreover, get rid of very confusing surnames that sometimes include numbers and non-letter characters in them (like calum114, hey-calum, _calumlove23) or the unnecessary repetition of some of the letters (like caaaaaluuuum, calluum). Although they will rarely do you any harm, they pose difficulties whenever people would ask for your username (of course, you will then have to write it down) or whenever people would try recalling it. It will also be discreet, if you can’t pick a song or a famous line, to put something in your username that depicts what your feed is about or even what you are fond of (such as calumphotography, caluminimalism). Just really really try to dispel any idea in your head that tells you to put numbers in them.

2. Post High Quality Photos.

It’s always a prerequisite before you can even become Instagam famous (unless you’re really really good-looking that people will still like even your ugliest photos). Get a cellphone with a good camera if you can’t afford high-end cameras yet. Watch reviews on the best camera phones and get what is deemed to give you the best results. However, I don’t suggest you do “evil” things just to get what’s best. Always consider your budget and the other specs of the phone too.

When taking photos, always know the strengths and weaknesses of your phone. Know if your phone does well in low-light, if it can capture without blunders even the speediest Ferrari, or if can capture trees without the sun making them look like silhouettes. This is very important because if you keep on posting photos backed by the strengths of your phone, you will slowly learn when and where to take photos for them to be of impressive quality. If your photos suck when taken in the dark, then it will always be a disappointment whenever you try. Like what some philosopher said, use your strengths and hardness them. This should also be taken into consideration whenever buying a phone. If you want photos underwater, then take a phone with IP67. If you want good photos in the dark, then buy a camera that’s esteemed in this league.

Watch tutorials on your how to take full advantage of your camera. Learn the terms in photography and strive to perfect them.

Also, don’t be scared to make use of camera apps and filters. Although people generally disapprove of filters, you must know that almost every prominent photographer I follow on Instagram can’t help but depend on filters in enriching their photos. Since professionals do it, you know you can be free with using filters too. With the camera apps, the best around include VSCOCAM, Camera360, Pixlr, Eyeem, and Snapseed. I’ve tested these apps. I use Camera360 put to Easy Cam in taking photos and VSCOCAM in applying filters and altering the photos. In applying filters, it’s best to watch tutorials too, as overdoing it would definitely crumble your photo’s quality.

Tip: Follow people on Instagram who use the hashtags #vscocam or #minimalism and observe their photos to see how your photos must basically look like when using filters.

3. Make Interesting Captions.

Although this will not ensure a torrent of followers, it’s always discreet to supplement your photos with captions. If you feel like your photos are too crazy and would need explanation, then use the captioning as an opportunity to clarify things. Some people would be thrilled with your photo especially if it’s embodying an incredible scenery or a place so it would be nice too to specify details about your photo in your captions. If you’d like to go for the professional look instead, you can opt to put details on how you altered the photo, such as your level of contrast, exposure, ISO or even your filter. You can also put in the time you took your photo or the place where you took it. This way, people who have similar interests as you might be persuaded to hit that follow button.

If you’re running out of ideas, you can just put some song lyrics to which you can link the photo or just whatever words that pop in your head. Just make sure the caption is not blank if your photo’s not that dramatic or if the photo itself cannot stand alone and leaving it captionless might simply addle the minds of your audience.

DON’T ADVERTISE YOURSELF IN YOUR CAPTIONS EITHER. It’s irritating and will simply draw your potential followers away from you.

If you want to have your first taste of a VSCOCAM tutorial, check this out:

4. Specialize.

One of the reasons why people become attracted to some Instagram accounts is because they what they’re looking for when checking these accounts out. That means they’ve known these accounts specialize or limit their feed on certain subjects or styles in taking photos. Before, I just post whatever that tickles my fancy, like just a selfie where I found myself attractive or photos of exam papers I aced. Soon however, after following a bunch of must-followed’s on Instagram, I noticed one similarity in these accounts: these accounts have specialties. There was this one account that focused on photos with people modeling. Another was merely posting photos of the stuff she purchases from prominent fashion brands. Taking photos of buildings and things architecture-ey was the specialty meanwhile of this other account. Whatever your hobby might be, you can easily fit it to Instagram. From then on, I began posting photos emphasizing not of myself but of architecture, people with dramatic poses, sceneries and the food I eat. Soon after, I saw my follower count grew. Although I cannot affirm this was the only factor that contributed to my quite pleasing follower count, I can still say this helped one way or another.

Post things you know you’re good at capturing and you like capturing photos of. Even from the beginning, already choose a field you’re gonna focus on Instagram. That way, people will find it easier to remember what your feed is about and if they’re in need of looking at certain kind of photos, they’ll instantly remember your account. This way of gramming will also assist you in developing your craft and perfecting it easier. Revise your username to fit to what you specialize in and BAAAAM! You’re already a potential Instagram celebrity.

Example of an account specializing on minimalist photos


Example of account specializing on fashion



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5. Post Regularly.

You do not want to keep your followers waiting. Well, there might be some upsides in posting irregularly and infrequently, such as delaying the suspense of your followers if ever they really are eager to check your posts out. Then the moment you post, the likes will come pouring in. However, this “delaying the suspense” technique rarely works if you have only 900 followers or less. If your follower count falls under this category, you then need to post regularly. This is for your followers to be more familiar with your username and your content. If your posts come in daily, what you do gets much more imprinted in the memory of your followers who get to see your posts.

Posting regularly doesn’t mean you cram all of your 50 photos in just a day. 6 photos in a day, posted at almost even intervals, will do. You do not want to annoy your followers especially those who follow only a limited number of accounts by making them see only your posts in their app.

Furthermore, it would really wise to know the bulk of the nationality or locality of your followers. If you’re the account whose followers live where the timezone is different, it will be nice if you would bring your posts during the hours when they’re probably awake or not busy. By “not busy”, we mean those hours when they’re no longer possibly at school or at work, which means the hours in their timezone at early morning or afternoon onward. For example, I noticed that most of my followers are Filipinos, Russians, Indonesians and British. Therefore, I time my posts such that most of my followers are on their “not busy” hours. If you have Internet connection every single time, then this might do you good. However, if your connection is intermittent, maybe it won’t be bad to post at once whenever you get Internet access.

6. Follow Accounts that Have Similar Interests.

This is a step you must do for it has two benefits:

1) Once you hit that follow button of these accounts, your name appears on their notifications and if you’re lucky enough, they might spare a glance at your account. The moment they feel like your account is worth a follow (based on what sort of photos you’re fond of posting), of course that’s one more hit at your follower count.

2) Once you follow these accounts, what happens is, by seeing the posts from these accounts frequently, you get to learn their techniques and styles in photography. If who you follow is really good in the interest you picked, then that means you gradually adopt too how they work on their photos. You see what you must avoid in photography, what types of subjects you can utilize for your photos, even the appropriate places where your photography will be much more effective. In other words, it’s sort of like a free tutorial without any of you noticing it.

Now if ever you’re following other accounts, even if you’re really yearning for more followers now, DON’t ever ever ask for a follow back. You will learn the hard way if you do. People who ask for follow backs from people they want to be following them rarely get what they want, and if they do, usually what happens is a bad images is being sown by that person who was asking for a favor.

What I resorted to when I was really upset with my follower count was follow some accounts that use the #vscocam, selected only those who seem to post great photos, and commented on some of their photos, remarking at how good their photos are, which is true too. In no time, I found some these accounts looking at my own too, and since we do have similar posts (although nothing I do will match theirs), some of them followed me back. I think that’s the proper way of doing it. When you do it, you let them know that you appreciate what they post. Some of them will be led into thinking that you might be posting what they post, too, and might spare your account a glimpse.

Here are some of my favorite accounts that you can follow too:

A) The You-Gotta-Dress-Like-This Kid Account: @davidguison (He has an app on fashion too! Download the dgmanila app now!)

B) The Sort-of-Rich-Kids-and-Know-How-To-Do-Hipster Account: @martinbauti @gerarddungo

C) The I-Have-So-Much-Feelings Kids: @mikoanchetaaaaa @ker.en

D) The All-Rounder Kid: @baileysondag

E) The I-Don’t-Feel-Like-Posting-My-Face-But-I-Know-What-I-Do Kid Account: @exceedthelimits

F) The Read-These-Books-I-Photograph Kid: @lookingforabura

Sneak peek to @davidguison's Instagram


Sneak peek to @ker.en's account


7. Tell Your Friends To Follow You.

If you’re just starting on Instagram, don’t be too self-important. Even if you harbor this idea that what you post is supreme and deserve big follows at once, it won’t just happen. You need your friends to critique your posts through their opinions, to keep that follower count alive, and sometimes, even their praises that you will find immensely motivating sometimes.

Also, the “friends” I’m talking about here also extends to the other people who follow you and even the people you follow. Strike up bonds with your followers and followings for your Instagram experience to be a truly exciting one. Anyway, farmers need other farmers to cultivate their crops and exchange ideas in growing them.

8. Be Humble and Teach Others The Story of your Success

Again, don’t be a phony by being really proud with your posts. Humility must always be worn by Grammers. Good image is everything in Instagram even if others see this as a rather unnecessary behavior. When you maintain a humble atmosphere in Instagram, people tend to like you more and won’t be turned off upon seeing your posts. If you see your friends following suit regarding their posts, then praise them. If they comment on your photos positively, thank them. If it’s negative, then ask them how you can possibly improve. Always, always help other people because you must remember, you started out of nothing too.

I hope these tips have helped you one way or another. Have a blissful Instragram experience.

Wanna spare my account a look? My instagram username is this: @calumskinnylove

© 2014 Calum Labrador


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Cheers pal. I do appaceirte the writing.

    • carter06 profile image


      3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Great tips here Calum especially for anyone wanting to promote their writing, books, business.. I have to say I love this social media platform but choose to keep it private for family use only and use twitter, pinterest, blog etc for writing..that interesting user name is a cool idea and love yours(one of my fav songs ever!!) will share this with my girls who use insta for work , & pin & tweet this ..keep writing..Cheers


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