In addition to running this blog, I also work full time in digital marketing and strategy. Here are my top five FREE ways to get more Instagram followers. There are paid tools out there, but this is for people who aren’t trying to drop bank on gaining followers.

  1. Stop saying “follow me!”

    And for the love of God, STOP POSTING THIS PHOTO!

    If your Instagram bio says anything like “follow me along on my adventures,” “follow me as a travel the globe” or “follow my adventures,” this is for you.

Think about it. When you see an ad online or on TV, it’s not just someone saying “buy this!” Advertisers know that before you sell something to someone and get them to actually want it, you have to tell them WHY.  A Mercedes commercial is going to show how fun it is to drive the car before they tell you how much it costs and how to buy it, because they know they have to get customers interested first.

So, WHY should anyone looking at your account actually care about following you? Instead, tell them what you’re going to offer them. For example, “I share daily tips on how to save money while traveling,” “Offering a glimpse into what life in a mountain town is like,” or just something that sells YOU as a fun and distinct person worthy of interest. This is your chance to not be a #basic #everyblogger.

2. Don’t be insufferable/basic/in a bubble:

Get out of that bubble, girrrrl.

You’ve seen people like this – or maybe you are people like this! Essentially, if your account acts like everyone NEEDS to travel, like there are no excises for not traveling, and refuses to ever acknowledge any of the realities of travel, like the fact that it’s expensive, and you need a certain degree of privilege to do it, then you are the problem.  Get off your soap box, and stop thinking your “journey” in life is to be an “inspiration” to other people. Is it inspiring? Maybe. But let other people tell you that, and try to be more aware of your audience in your posts.  Some offenders I found are:

  • “I’m just a girl who would die without travel.” No, you wouldn’t, and the vast majority of people who don’t weekend in Ibiza manage to survive.
  • “Love her, but keep her wild.”  We get it – you’re edgy and the reason you have stress in life is because you just NEED to be wild, and no one can understand you. Sure, you and eight billion other people who use that quote.
  • “Driven by wanderlust, fueled by passion” Also, probably fueled by someone else paying your bills.

I’m not pointing this out to crap on people who are full-on embracing a luxury travel lifestyle, but it’s isolating to a lot of people and makes it seem like you’re in an unrealistic bubble – but MOST importantly, it probably doesn’t show the REAL you, which is what people are going to connect with.

Not only is this terrible, but the punctation is wrong, too.

3. Be consistent

Make it easy on people to find you and start to recognize your name/handle by using the same name, everywhere. My Instagram name is HikeUpYourSkirt, so guess what my blog is? And guess how you find me on Pinterest? That’s right – it’s

Consistency should also be practiced when it comes to hashtagging your photos. Let’s say you live in Scottsdale, AZ – tag EVERY photo you take with #Scottsdale. That way, people interested in that hashtag will see you over and over and associate you with that topic.

You can also be consistent in who you tag in your photos. Since you live in Scottsdale, tag @ScottsdaleAriz and @Visit_Arizona. That way, when tourism agencies and companies are looking for photos to share, yours will always be easy to find.

4. Ask!

Want to do an account takeover, or have someone take over your account? Find a business that matches your niche (ie: adventure travel, wine travel) and ask if they’re interested in letting you take over for a day! Or vice-versa: is there a blogger YOU like? Ask if they want to share some content on your channel.

Want to do a giveaway? Find a brand (ideally a new one with fewer followers than you) who has a cool product that makes sense for you brand, and arrange a contest. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel; make the rules simple. To enter, have people follow you, follow the brand providing the product, and tag three friends who would also be interested. Boom – more followers for both accounts, and a fun prize for someone!

5. Look professional:

Artsy, cute, friendly, quirky..this is a good one!

If you’re positioning yourself as an expert on travel, you need to look like an expert. Here are some quick things you can do to look professional:

  • Change your profile image: Have you ever seen a headshot with more than one person in it? No. This is not  time for you laughing with your friends, this is a time for a clear photo that shows YOU (and make sure it’s a good photo, well edited.) Also, make sure it shows you, I don’t know, like, traveling?
  • Don’t over-post: Nothing is more annoying than scrolling through your feed and seeing (essentially) the same photo three times. Pick your best photos from wherever you are that day and post ONE. Yes, one. Otherwise, followers are going to get annoyed and unfollow you right away. Over posting makes it look like you don’t understand the social rules of Instagram, which isn’t very professional.

Finally, a bonus tip: interact with your fans!

Unfortunately, I can’t reply to *every* message or post – but I try to reply to as many as I can, especially when people are asking me questions or going out of their way to say something nice. When people interact with an actual person, they become vested in what you’re doing, and you become a real person behind the account. So say hi, thank people for their kind comments, and be flattered when people ask you for advice! It’ll help fans know that despite how many followers you have, you’re still trying to connect with as many people as you can.

What other tips do you have? Lemme know in the comments!

If you found this helpful, the best “thank you” you can give is signing up for HikeUpYourSkirt emails below (Which are fairly infrequent, don’t worry!)