5 Instagram Tips That Doubled My Following

IgGrowingpinHow many of you love Instagram? Personally, I think it’s my favorite form of social media because I’m such a visual person; I get so much inspiration from the things I see! At the same time, though, as a blogger I’ve found it to be one of the harder places to grow a following. Starting last November, I’ve been really intentional about putting some simple things into practice that have almost doubled my follower base. Today I wanted to share these easy tips with you so you can make them work for your Instagram account too!

Keep it Light and Bright

We all know Instagram has tons of filters to choose from when we’re posting our pics, but the reality is that what viewers seem to like best are actually light, bright, unfiltered photos! There are a few tricks you can use to make your pictures just that. First, try to use natural lighting whenever possible. Take your picture outdoors if the weather allows, or near an open window. Because of my hand lettering, I work with paper a lot, which helps to add large areas of white to my photos, but no matter what you’re photographing, you can use a light colored background to brighten things up. Finally, before you post, make sure you take advantage of the editing options in the Instagram app. Personally, I tend to make both the brightness level and the highlights as high as possible without washing the photo out or distorting the colors. I also make sure to adjust the warmth because when I take photos indoors, they often end up on the warmer side. Play around with the editing tools until you get a look you’re happy with. Here’s a glimpse at my feed so you can see that the overall look is cohesive, clean, and bright.


Stylizing Matters

Want followers? Post things they actually want to see. If I’ve learned one thing about improving my Instagram photos, it’s that taking the extra few minutes to style a photo makes all the difference in the world. Resist the temptation to just snap and post, and instead, think about what things you can do easily and quickly that would make the photo more visually appealing. First, consider the background. Is there somewhere else you could place whatever you’re photographing that would offer better contrast and draw the eye to your project? Are there basic props you can add to infuse color/interest? Let me show you what I mean.


Here are two Instagram photos I took of the same drink. I cannot believe I posted the first one. In my defense, it was two years ago, so I’m going to claim that I didn’t know any better. But look at it. It’s blurry, first of all, and there’s no attempt whatsoever at staging. It’s awkwardly angled and the straw is distracting rather than complimenting the drink. Now look at the second photo. The candy cane and ornaments give a holiday feel without taking your attention away from the drink itself. The drink is in focus and the colors are correct, unlike in the first photo where everything is a little too warm.


Here’s another example. The photo on the left was a crochet project I was working on a few years ago. The needle blends in with the yarn, and I didn’t even try to provide any background other than the leg of my jeans and the corner of the passenger seat of our car. Fail. Plus, it’s slightly out of focus and hazy. This photo got less than 20 likes. Now look at the photo on the right, a current knitting project I shared last weekend. I made use of a neutral wood background {a table at Starbucks} and added a hand lettered message. I carefully placed the excess yarn where I wanted it, positioned the needles, and edited the colors. This photo got more than 100 likes, not to mention positive comments from my followers. It took less than five minutes to style this photo, but it was worth every second in terms of creating a higher quality image that people would notice and enjoy.


Here are a few easy tips for styling that don’t take forever to do. One trick is use a faux white or light wood background {you can find them in paper or vinyl for a decent price on Amazon, or use scrapbook paper for small projects}. Another trick is to use your pens as props in hand lettered posts or incorporate some of your crafting supplies into a photo of a finished product. Seasonal items like candy hearts for Valentine’s Day or greenery and ornaments for Christmas add instant flair to a photo. For everyday projects, ribbon can make a great prop, as can food!

Separate Personal and Business

If your goal is to grow a following for your brand, blog, and/or business, it’s important to maintain a professional feel to your account. There’s nothing wrong with sharing an occasional photo of your cute kids, your cat, your family, etc. but the majority of your pictures should reflect whatever it is that your brand is about. My feed is a collection of hand lettering and general craftiness, which is what my followers want to see. Of course, followers enjoy connecting on a slightly more personal level sometimes, but if you can, keep your personal photos somehow relevant to your brand too.


For example, a few years ago, I posted the photo on the left…a completely random photo of my son eating. It’s blurry, it’s cluttered, and it’s completely unrelated to anything my readers want to see. Yes, my kid is cute, but the photo itself doesn’t do much to build my business. The photo on the right, on the other hand, is a personal pic from our beach vacation, but it also incorporates some of my own hand lettering as well as a motivational message that parents can relate to. This kind of post gives readers a glimpse into my life while still being meaningful to them at the same time.


Another great opportunity for bringing your family members {furry and non} into the mix is when they’re related to a post or project you’re working on. For example, Little Crafter painted these super-cool Minecraft canvases, so it only made sense to let him show them off. Now that Instagram has added a new feature that lets you easily toggle between multiple accounts, it makes more sense than ever to have a separate personal account for sharing pictures that are just intended for your family and friends. You can keep that one private for your own protection, and that’s a great place for the everyday photos that don’t relate to your business.

Hashtag All the Things

One of the absolute best ways to be “discovered” on Instagram is by using hashtags. Instagram users have certain things they’re interested in, so they like to browse relevant hashtags to find new images and accounts. For example, I personally love to follow the tags #shepaintstruth and #calligrabasics for daily lettering inspiration. If you use hashtags when you post, your pictures are more likely to make their way to the eyes of people who are interested in whatever it is you’re posting.


Sometimes, I feel like it takes me 10 minutes to finish a post because of all the hashtags I add to my description, but it truly does pay off. I’ve found it to be a great way to be seen by people who like the types of things I share. Also, sometimes certain folks who manage hashtags will share pictures they love, which gets you noticed by their audience {a huge benefit if they have more followers than you do}! For example, as a Tombow brand ambassador, I use the hashtag #tombowpro. Sometimes, they’ll pick up one of my posts and share it with their own audience of over 55,000, which brings lots of eyes to my feed, some of which become new followers!


Speaking of a chance to share and be featured, I recently started a hashtag just for you, readers and friends of One Artsy Mama! If you’re posting a photo of something you made, lettered, painted, built, or baked, just add the hashtag #oamandfriends so we can all see! {If your account is private, make sure to tag me @oneartsymama or it’ll be invisible.} Once a week, I’ll be choosing some of my favorite photos on my own account and tagging the creators, so there’s a chance to get seen by a larger audience.

Here are some of the tags I use, depending on the type of photo I’m posting. They may not all be relevant to you, but they’ll give you some good ideas of things to use when you share your own photos.

COFFEE-RELATED: #coffee #coffeelover #coffeetime #coffeeoclock #caffeine #coffeeotd #dailycoffee #podcult #starbucks #starbuckscoffee #coffeeart #starbuckscupart #coffeecup #coffeemug #mug #cupart

LETTERING: #handlettering #handlettered #handletteredabcs #lettering #letteringdaily #letteringpractice #letterer #letteredart #brushcalligraphy #brushpen #brushscript #brushtype #typography #doodleoftheday #doodlesofinstagram #handwriting #writing #handwritten #letterallthethings #moderncalligraphy #calligraphy #calligrabasics #calligratype #calligraphyart #calligratherapy #creatives #doodle #tombow #tombowusa #tombowpen #fudenosuke


FAITH BASED: #shepaintstruth #shereadstruth #illustratedfaith #biblejournaling #biblejournalingdaily #bibleverse #christiancreative

GENERAL CRAFTS: #creatives #ontheblog #craftiness #paint #art #artist #blogger #DIY #DIYBlogger #ilovetocreate #cre8time

FOOD: #food #foodie #dessert #chocolate #cake #cakesofinstagram #caramel #nomnomnom #yummly #eat #recipe

THE CAT: #cat #catlover #catmama #pets #petlover #crazycatlady #catsofinstagram #cutecatsofinstagram #bengal #bengalworld #bengalsofinstagram #bengalboy #bengalcat #bengalkitten #bengalkitty #kitten #kitty #meow 

Engage With Others

One of the best ways to grow and engage a group of followers is, of course, to engage with them. Social media is, after all, social. If someone leaves a comment, write back and don’t forget to tag them! If you’re scrolling through a hashtag or just your feed in general, don’t be stingy with your own likes and comments. Reach out, connect. It’s a great way to stand out from the crowd and to establish yourself as someone who relates to your followers. Don’t forget to do the same thing when it comes to brands! Tag them, comment on their posts, and always reply if a brand comments on your photos. It’s an easy way to network and make connections.

Similar Posts


  1. Thank you for the helpful tips! I absolutely love Instagram, and would love to grow my followers 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.