When I finally decided to take the leap and start both a social media consulting business and my travel brand, I knew I had to get serious about my personal social accounts, especially Instagram.

My Instagram used to be an online scrapbook of sorts. I posted pictures to document my travels but made no efforts to edit them. I just uploaded shots from my trips without giving any consideration to the timing, captions, or hashtags. 

But in order to get more exposure, I knew I had to become more strategic. Followers weren’t going to find me if I didn’t take the steps needed to be found in the first place, nor would they follow me if I didn't have interesting enough content.   

Since the world of social media can get overwhelming at times, I decided to implement the following strategies, little by little, over the period of 4 months. It was important to me to keep Instagram still fun and enjoyable while avoiding burnout. 

After integrating these strategies, I went from gaining around 8 new followers per month to 50+ per month – that’s a 545% increase! In addition, I found that I was receiving 44% more likes, and 66% more comments per post.

Posting 2 images per week instead of only when I'm on a trip: As I mentioned earlier, I would only post photos when I traveled, which was maybe every 3 months. I’d typically post one photo a day, and those photos would either be raw or have one of the Instagram filters. There was no pattern, no consistency with timing, no color coordination, no feed theme. To avoid the lull in between trips, I now post 2 times per week. This is key to keeping my audience engaged. Some influencers will post daily to their feed, but I simply don’t have enough content, nor enough time, to post daily. Below, I’ll tell you what I do daily. 

Increased use of Instagram Stories: This is where I post daily – little snapshots throughout my day of what I’m doing. I love Instagram stories because it allows me to post any type of photo without straying from my feed theme. 

Using hashtags, tagging location, tagging accounts: This goes for both the feed posts and Instagram stories. Before, I would use hashtags and location tagging inconsistently, and I would never tag other accounts. Now, before posting, I do a little research (takes about 5 minutes) to find hashtags related to my caption, location, and the general theme of my account. I mix the hashtags between ones that have been used a lot (100K+ posts) and hashtags that are used very little (100-20,000 posts). I try to use at least 25-30 hashtags on each post, I have definitely found that this helps. I also have a list of repost accounts that I tag sometimes and repost hashtags that I use for travel. I’ve been featured on a few other accounts which have given me good exposure and a consistent stream of new followers. For example, I gained 50+ new followers from a Moroccan Instagram account that reposted and featured my photo of me in Chefchaouen.