Okay so you’ve started an Instagram account for your lettering & calligraphy, and you’re really hoping to grow it like you’ve seen so many other people do on there….
But every time you post it feels like crickets because you don’t have many followers.
So what should you do?
Rather watch than read? No problem! You can watch me explain my three tips for growing your Instagram by clicking the video below!
You might not believe it by looking at my account NOW, but I have been where you are. I remember how that felt– super frustrating and super discouraging. And honestly you feel sorta silly posting about stuff and feeling like you’re talking to absolutely nobody.
Now I’m not gonna sit here and tell you I have a magic pill you can take and suddenly you’ll start getting flooded with followers and engagement… Anyone who tells you that solution exists is lying to you.
Instagram is a longggggg game.
It is *hard* to go viral on Instagram. But I can definitely tell you that growing your audience slowly and steadily (ummm… ethically, without buying followers or tricking people into following you) IS SO WORTH IT.
Instagram is how I started my business, and I attribute soooooo much of where I am today to what I’ve been able to do on Instagram.
So maybe you want to grow your account full of like-minded artists as a community. Or maybe you want to grow an audience of people who want to learn from you. Or maybe you want to grow an audience full of potential clients. Maybe it’s a combo of all of those things, like me.
In any case, I’ve put together my 3 biggest tips here for you.
#1: Consistency (Quality Over Quantity)
Hands down one of the most important things you need to do when trying to grow an audience on Instagram is staying consistent with posting. That’s just the way it is. And I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s really hard work.
However, Instagram’s algorithm definitely rewards consistency. If you go too long without posting anything or having much engagement, the next time you post, Instagram just won’t show it to as many people. It’s the crappy reality of the Instagram algorithm.
Because of that, it’s really tempting to throw up some sort of post haphazardly, even if it’s not actually a very good post, just so you don’t get pushed down in the algorithm. The problem is, though, if you throw up a post that is just for sheer quantity and people don’t actually engage with it or like it, that ALSO hurts in the algorithm.
So algorithm-wise, my recommendation here is to come up with a consistency that works for you that you think will give you enough time to create QUALITY posts. 3 or 4 quality posts a week is better than 7 boring ones that people don’t engage with.
And as much as the algorithm is *important*, I also wanna make a big point about this:
Stop thinking SO much about the algorithm and think more about the real people following you (or that you WANT to follow you). What do they want to see?
Think about it… wouldn’t you rather follow someone with 3 posts a week, but anytime you see them you KNOW It’s gonna be good and you’ll always read it? VS someone who has a good one here and there but more often you just see random stock photos of coffee and you learn to kinda tune them out in your feed?
It’s not JUST about what the algorithm wants… in fact I’d argue that growing your audience on Instagram is WAY more about thinking about the people who are actually following you and acting more like a real human than an algorithm-obsessed content machine.
#2: Engagement/Participation in the Community
This one is similar to my second point in Tip #1 in terms of actually thinking about the PEOPLE on Instagram versus just the algorithm.
I get asked a lot about how to grow an audience on Instagram and the first thing I always say is to stop thinking about getting MORE people, and start thinking about the people who are already there.
I know that sounds counterintuitive cuz the whole goal is to get more people, but SEEEEERIOUSLY hear me out.
You need to engage and participate with the people who are ALREADY there, and paying attention to you. If you were in a room of 30 people who came to hear from you, you wouldn’t ignore them and go peek out the door to see if you could yell at anyone else to come in, would you?!
NO! You’d engage with the people in there, get to know them, learn what they hope to hear from you and deliver as best you can. And guess what? In turn, those people are going to appreciate you, or in marketing speak they will “know, like, and trust” you, and then TELL OTHERS. And then you will naturally get more people in.
Stop thinking about getting a bajillion fans, and think instead about making TRUE fans – real connections with your existing ones. That will go much, much further. Plus it’s way more fulfilling.
So practically, how do you do this? Well you gotta do the things that feel “unscalable”. Do the things that really, truly, take lots of your time and effort. Act like you would IN REAL LIFE.
- Answer ALL the comments on your posts…
- Like actually answer them. Not just a heart emoji. I will toss in a caveat here that once you reach a certain level this IS literally impossible… but if you’re here reading this post, I’m assuming you’re at a level where this is still entirely doable – even if it’s a lot of effort. I did this for the first 3+ years of my business, even with hundreds of thousands of followers. You can do it too!
- Answer all your DM’s.
- Yup, all of them. Or even reach out and start your OWN DM’s and start your own conversations as if you were an actual real-life friend.
- Visit the profiles of people who follow you and engage with THEIR work.
- Like this stuff, let them know you like it, and let them know you really appreciate them.
- Actively participate in challenges within your community, and hype other people’s work up too.
- There are SO many lettering and calligraphy challenges on Instagram. Participate and engage with some of those!
There are sooo many ways to engage and participate with the community, but the key is to do it meaningfully. Do the things that take extra time and take extra effort. When I first started and had a tiny tiny number of followers, I did whatever I could to engage with them. I even sent snail mail to a bunch of them.
Go that far. This stuff compounds over time, I PROMISE.
#3: Calls to Action
Okay and lastly, this one is a bit more of a little tweak to what you’re already doing that’ll have a big impact.
When you post things, make sure you have a “call to action”. That means you’re actively trying to inspire someone who sees your content to take some sort of action.
It can be as small as “double tap IF”, or “tell me your favourite _______ in the comments” kind of things, or as big as “come subscribe to my email list!” type of thing.
It may seem weird to be straight up ASKING for a double tap or a comment… but it truly helps!
People aren’t maliciously NOT liking or NOT commenting on your stuff. They honestly just need the reminder sometimes! It’s as simple as that.
Posting consistently is great, but posting consistently AND having your followers take action/engage with it is extra great.
You always want to be thinking about once you have someone’s precious attention, you’ve stopped their scroll, how can you make sure they don’t just read and move on? You want to get that engagement.
Since your goal is to grow your audience, use that valuable attention to do something that’ll move the needle.
… so a recap:
#1: Post consistently, and make sure it’s quality > quantity. Hone in on what your audience WANTS to hear/see… don’t post fluff.
#2: Engage, engage, engage. Do the things that take the most work. Do the things that feel the most like how you’d engage with your best friends on social media. Like, comment, start conversations, etc.
#3: Add more calls to action. Doesn’t have to be on eeeeevery post, but it should be on most of them.
And that’s a wrap!
Alright hope you found these tips helpful!
Now let me take my own advice and hit you with a call-to-action: if you liked this post, make sure you hit subscribe on my YouTube channel, okay?
It’s a big red button if you scroll down a little under the video. It may not mean much to you, but it means SO much to me and helps me be able to keep making videos like these for you for free.
For now I’ll link you to another post here I think you’ll find helpful, and I’ll see ya over there!
And finally, your dad joke…
Why do I follow breweries on Instagram?
For the Double-Tap.